Tuesday, August 18, 2015

For the Love of Significance

Today is the Launch Day for Jen Hatmaker's book, For the Love.

And as part of the Launch Team, I have been asked to blog about this book/experience today.  Like August 18th, 2015.  It is 10pm Mountain Time, which means I missed the deadline on the East Coast, but whatever.  It's the day before school starts.  This is the best I can do.  And as Jen says:

I have had 5 months to figure out how to say what this book and experience has meant to me, and tonight, I still can't wrap the words around the awesome things that God has done through Jen's words.  5 months ago I was groggy and bloated and recovering from an appendectomy.  I was in a non-writing stage, wondering if anyone was ever going to read my blog and wondering if anything I ever wrote mattered to anyone.  Wondering if it ever would.

Yesterday I got an email from Jen. This is a best-selling author.  Her face is plastered all over stuff.  She's on TV.  She's queen of the hashtag.  She's legitimately famous.

And she sends out an email to her "Email Friends" the day before her new book launch day saying, "My biggest fear is that whatever I said or wrote won't matter.  I think about it all the time."

And I thought, you too?  Even you?  Successful writer? Even you who wrote these words that inspired me?

Well, good, Jen, you're human.  You struggle.  You struggle openly and beautifully.  And after writing the words that made me laugh and cry and grow in grace, I can reassure you that you matter.  What you do matters.  What you write matters.  How you mother and lead and grow and serve and struggle matters.

And you too, readers.  You matter.  What you do matters.  You are the only you there will ever be, and what you read and write and say and teach matters.  How you mother and serve matters.  You cleaning the toilets matters.  You wiping bottoms matters.  You apologizing after you scream your head off at your children matters.  You making 25 PB&Js matters.  You getting clothes and backpacks and lunches and notebooks and crayons and folders with or without prongs matters.  It seems fruitless and futile, but it matters.

And the honesty of it all matters most because
And maybe that's all I need to tell you about this book.  It is honesty and hilarity and truth and grace.  It brought together a group of 500 people who now consider themselves friends.  The Launch Team is a community of people sharing prayer and laughter and grace.  It is a place where I matter.  My voice, my thoughts, my needs, my prayers matter.  And when you read For the Love, I hope it reminds you that you matter.  I hope it reminds you that you, truth, and grace matter. 

Friday, August 7, 2015

On Being an Actual Human...

Prior to motherhood, I belonged to a group of really cool women who accepted me as is.  Human. Quirky.  Hot-tempered.  Sleepy.  Messy.  Flakey. But also interesting.  Smart.  Funny. Trust-worthy. Sensitive. Kind.

And because I belonged in this group.  Because they said, "you're messed up and we love you anyway," I realized, I'm okay as I am.  I like who I am.  I don't have to try to be perfect.  And I accepted being human in all of it's glorious messiness.

When I gave birth to my first tiny human, it was as though I gave up my ability to be an actual human. Ironic.

When motherhood happened, I sacrificed things that made me feel human to give life and safety and food to this most precious tiny human.  I gave up sleep.  I gave up showering daily.  I gave up my job.  My hobbies.  My relationships.  My right to pee and bathe alone. My right to do anything uninterrupted.  My right to eat things without sharing.  My right to leave the house without 3 bags full of necessities.  My right to time alone.  My right to quiet.  My right to pursue my dreams...

Some of these things the tiny human demanded I give up.  Some I chose to give up because they didn't make sense to financially continue.  Others just gently, quietly faded out of my life without fanfare.  On some level I expected this sacrifice.

What I didn't expect was that as that the tiny humans grew, they would see me as inhuman.  They would see me as the fixer of things, the supergluer, the magic band-aid giver, one who knows all of the answers, one who can draw the things, make the things, invent the games, clean the things... one who can magically provide food and drink at any time in any place from nothing...

Their expectations of my knowledge, will-power, and abilities are so astronomical that they do not believe me when I tell them that I cannot do something.  They do not believe me when I don't have food or they are hungry and we need to go to the grocery store before I can give them food.  They are completely unreasonable.  Strangely enough, I didn't fully expect my  children to be unreasonable.  I didn't expect to have to teach them everything.  Every. Single. Thing.  Like that Mommy is a human.  And she makes mistakes.

Thing is, I expect my children to be inhuman too.  I expect them to never have bad days.  I get frustrated when it takes them forever to learn something and change their behavior.  I expect them to behave appropriately at all times...  And this is a me problem, not a them problem.  The expectations, that is.

And the glorious thing is that we get ample opportunities to show each other just how human we are.  Every day, I screw something up.  And every day they do too.

And I suppose it would be best if I followed the advice of the Bible that says, "But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me." (2 Corinthians 12:9)

Because when I show them my weakness of being human, they can offer me grace.  And I get to practice receiving grace... Grace that says, "I love you even though you yelled at us."  And if they don't give grace, I get to practice giving grace... grace that says, "I love you even though you won't forgive me right now." 

The only way to accept being an actual human is grace.  And grace is just realizing that we are all a bunch of messed up kids who screwed something up and need their dad to come make it right.