Real Talk.

Parenting is hard. Such a short sentence packed with so much truth and vulnerability…

Before I begin, let me say that I am beyond grateful for both of my children. As a woman who was told “children won’t be likely”, I can assure you that not a day goes by that I don’t thank God for them. I often look into their eyes and feel awe and a sense of wonder and feel just downright lucky that they are mine to care for. I often get a lump in my throat when I think about how far we’ve come.

Soon after Sadler was born almost 7 years ago, someone told me, “if parenting is easy, you aren’t doing it right.”

Reid and I have been in a season with Everly lately that has tested every bit of patience we’ve prayed for and has aroused every ounce of fear hiding in the shadows of my mind that say, “You’re not doing enough”, “You’re not a good mom.”, “You’ll never measure up.” Yes, we know what happens when you pray for patience. You don’t get patience, you get opportunities to *be patient*. And I have not passed all the tests.

There’s an ebb and flow of emotion, where I find myself smiling while encapsulated in their voices and stories one moment, and biting my lip in a fit of anger in the next. In the blink of an eye, it all seems to go awry sometimes.

Thankfully, there is an awareness that continues to sweep over me and I catch myself often before this happens. But it still happens from time to time, and lately it’s been happening almost every night at bedtime.

I will be the first to admit that mornings at 5AM when the house is quiet and I can sit in stillness and peace, I’m at my best. But bedtime has come to be the part of the day that I absolutely dread. I literally anticipate whats to come and work myself up to thinking it will be different this time. And by the time we are ready to say our prayers, I’m literally crying as I ask for forgiveness for losing my temper.

Tonight at gymnastics, I talked about our 3-year-old bedtime tantrums with a fellow mama/friend/family member —one who happens to have *double* the amount of children we do and often comes to mind when I feel like *I’ve* got a lot on my plate. (She literally is my parenting hero.) We swapped stories and laughed as we shared book titles that have been recommended to us through the years. It was encouraging to be reminded that we aren’t alone, and to also be validated in our thinking that whomever dubbed the “terrible twos” as the hardest part of toddlerhood got it WAY WRONG.

Tonight after dinner, a wave of peace and confidence came over me. Bath (shower) time was actually enjoyable rather than a fight. We sang. We laughed. We acted silly.

I decided to read one my all time favorites to them, “The Velveteen Rabbit”. They recently watched the movie so Sadler was eager to spot the differences between the book and the movie. Everly assisted with turning the pages and we made it about 3/4 the way through before I could tell they were getting sleepy. We decided we’d finish it tomorrow night, said our prayers and tucked in for bed.

As I read my favorite part of the book, I couldn’t help but think how God is using this season of my life to make something real out of me. Yes, my outward appearance may be wearing down in the making, and I may feel tired and defeated at the end of a day, but he’s awakening my heart and bringing me to life.

It’s easy to think when we scroll through social media that those people and families we see “have it all together”. That their lives are only made up of what is shown in the pictures they post. That they are perfectly designed so they won’t break and are full of knowledge of things and places, much like those toys The Skin Horse refers to.

Maybe you look at me and think I’m all put together, too. I am here to tell you that I am most certainly not. I am fragile, I break easily and sometimes my edges are sharp. But if there is one thing I’ve learned to be true, God uses all things for good for those who are called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28) Ever so slowly, He is turning me into something real and full of life, and that takes time.

I know I will look back on these moments with my kids and laugh. That I will miss the simplicity of bedtime struggles when life hands me something new in another season.

I am optimistic that just sharing this story with you will free me from expectations tomorrow night and will give me a new perspective when I’m faced with a bedtime challenge. I am thankful that even amidst the struggle, there is always a shimmer of beauty amongst the strife.

As I snuck upstairs to snap a pic of these pages in the book, there they lay. Sound asleep. Peaceful. Content. Quiet. The light from the bedside table looked like the view from inside a diamond as it gleamed around the room.

We’ve got much to be thankful for.

Set an Intention to Live on Purpose

This bracelet came in the mail today. I went to a workshop recently and had the opportunity to make it. I was asked to come up with my word. It took only a few minutes to think about it, but the word WAIT quickly came into my head. I thought it odd at first. What was I waiting for?…

I’ve spent my life searching for ways to practice patience. I’ve failed often. I used to put rubber bands on my wrist at work, and each time I found myself feeling impatient, I would pop my wrist with the rubber band.

I’ve found myself reminding my daughter and husband almost daily of practicing their patience, in hopes that it would resonate with me in my own practicing.

I’ve jotted daily reminders to myself about not having a tone, or just remembering to smile and to be patient with others.

While all of these efforts were certainly helpful and some continue to be even today, I’ve come to learn that often if we make a tiny shift in our perspective, our situation can turn out differently than the direction it’s headed. What if the patience I have been seeking seemed unattainable to me because I was looking at my desired outcome the wrong way? What if all I needed to do was find a way to shift my perspective so that I could become a more patient person?

So I wait…

I wait to hurry.

I wait to judge.

I wait to raise my voice.

I wait to react.

I wait to compare.

I wait to argue.

I wait to criticize.

I wait to assume.

I wait to give up.

I wait to label.

I wait to run.

I wait for grace.

I WAIT.

And in these moments of waiting, I’ve found God taking over as my focal point. 

I’ve discovered that things will manifest themselves so much differently if I simply wait it out before having a knee-jerk reaction, an unnecessary tone, a preconceived notion, a painful worry, a repetitive fear, or a consuming doubt. God knows today and he knows tomorrow. He is guiding my path with grace and an open heart and I am so thankful for the salvation I find in His glory.

I am becoming a more patient person by waiting.

Waiting allows me to live on purpose.

Living on purpose allows me to serve God’s plan for my life.

So I will wear this bracelet as often as I can and when I look down at it, I will remember to WAIT. I am grateful for the simplicity of what this bracelet offers.

When in doubt in your own life, I encourage you to turn inward. Find your word. Set your own intention. Living on purpose changes the game.