(This post is all over the place...discombobulated. And I am going to leave it just like that. I started out talking about a book I am reading that is impacting me greatly...and then went off into left-field. But I don't have time to make it flow good and nice and cohesively. I just need to get stuff out. I don't want to be fake and only post good/nice when there is plenty of not good/not nice.)
A few days before we left GA my sis-in-love Steph texted me and let me know I would henceforth be part of her Book Club.
Being a girl who was desperately sad to be leaving the great community of girlfriends the Lord surrounded me with the past 14 years, this was music to my ears. New potential friends? Yes, please!
Tomorrow night is the first meeting I will attend.
This is the book we are discussing:
Honestly, my socks weren't blown off when I read the title. A book about motherhood? I want some life-changing, deep, theological book - nonfiction or fiction, it doesn't matter. But not something about motherhood. (And my kiddos were aghast at the four-letter word in the subtitle :) )
And honestly, my sockets weren't blown off when I read the first chapter a week and a half ago. So I put the book down...until a couple days ago (because I am a procrastinator). But I am also a rule-follower, so I was determined to
slog through read the book before the meeting.
So I started reading again. While I still am not done quite yet (but I do intend to finish!)...my socks are officially, totally blown off! The second chapter drew me in, and hasn't let go. I could have written most of this myself.
I have cried.
I have taken copious notes.
I have highlighted and screen-shot-ted (I have the kindle-edition).
Yes, this book is about motherhood...but so. much. more.
It is hitting me right where it hurts. Right where I am struggling. Right where I always struggle.
Striving. Working. Spinning. When will I ever learn? I have struggled with these things for years. I have written about this before.
I know (pointing at my head) the great truths of our Christian faith. I know all the Sunday school answers. The problem is I often don't live them out...don't let them sink into my heart and actually change my feelings, my thinking...and therefore, my behaviors.
I knew this move would be hard. I knew that. Of course it would be. Duh. Stripped of all the amazing friendships and support network we had built for 14 years. That takes time to build. Of course it does. I knew to expect this...and I thought I was ready.
But here we are. Right smack dab in the middle of hard. And I am whiny. I am lonely. I am ready for "hard" to be over. This is enough, Lord. Can't we be past this already?
Part of the problem, I am realizing, is that I have relied on my friends...when I should have relied on God. I have a bad day? Call a friend. Having trouble in school with a child? Call a friend. Anything big - good or bad - happen? Call a friend. Pour my heart out to a friend on the phone. Over tea at my/her kitchen table. At the playground during a homeschool group get-together.
Friends and community is great - a gift from God! But not when I use them to replace God.
The change in our location and circumstances is revealing some work I need to do. Work I need to allow God to do in me, I should say. Stripped of my friends/community I am feeling so alone. Needy. Like the picture of a woman walking around holding out a cup, hoping someone - anyone - will fill it for her. What is my worth? Who am I? Where is my value? The people who know me, the people who like me and think I am great? They are across the country. Yes, I can still talk with them...some. But it is hard (time difference, AND most of them are homeschooling many children, among other reasons) And yes, we do have long-time friends here, and family, but they are busy too.
And all of this, ultimately, is good. I know that. We are exactly where the Lord wants us to be. The 8 of us - sticking closer together than ever before. Figuring out this new normal for our family...together. Seeking God's will for us in this season...together. It is good. And hard.
So, I am working hard. Trying to make everything normal. And perfect. Because perfect is how I like things. And I want everything to look perfect to everyone around me, too.
To wrap up (because rest-time is almost over!)....
The book has hit me hard.
I need to lean into Him. Find my worth totally in Him. Know how loved I am.
Some of my favorite excerpts:
What if He's not at all surprised when we fail at our feeble attempts of perfection? What is He is so madly in love with us that His feelings don't change based on our behaviors?
And - wait for it - what it it's actually His love that changes us, not our attempts at trying harder? What if, by realizing how incredibly loved we are, we actually started living like it?
Paul's prayer for you in Ephesians:
"May you have the power to understand, as all God's people should, how wide, how long, how high and how deep His love is.
May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God."
Fullness of Life. No more striving for worth. No more straining for attention. Completely and lavishly satisfied.
Experiencing the love of Christ? This is where the power comes from. This is where we will be made complete...full...free. Free from the comparisons. Free from our anger, our impatience and our selfishness. Guilt and shame have no power to change us. It is in being loved that we are changed.
Goodness tied to performance of any kind is never sufficient. Worth tied to performance is always fleeting. Never good enough. Worth found in the goodness and love of God can silence the voice of failure in an instant.
You are not good because you are a good mom.
You are not good because you do good things.
You are good if you are a child of the King.
You will miss experiencing God's goodness in your life because you will feel like you don't deserve it.
Yes, you will keep trying to find it. You will keep trying to earn it. And you will keep tripping on your own efforts.
Because you can't be good by trying harder. You can't be good by performing better.
Goodness comes from the grace of God. Undeserved. Unmerited. And irreversible.
(I don't know how to end this post...so, Amen!)