Sunday, December 4, 2011

The Next Thing

Tis the season for it.  The good stuff.  The good will towards all, and the cookies.   The parties, the presents, and the cookies.  The worship and reflection.  And the cookies.  So much goodness and happiness and calories squeezed into such a short amount of time.  For me this translates into eight separate to do lists bouncing simultaneously around in my brain.  Like a ping pong machine.  Seriously.  Don’t be surprised if you find me wandering aimlessly in the aisles of Walmart in my bathrobe with a glazed look in my eyes.  Fa la la la la la la la la.  I can tend to get paralyzed by my “to do” lists up in my head sometimes.  It’s all swirling around in there, like a tornado.  I get sucked into the vortex, and all I want to do is (figuratively and literally) rock back and forth in the fetal position for a minute or two.  

 There is what I refer to as my A list...standard every day protocol.  Laundry, bathing, reading Disney Princess story books with Madeline, etcetera, etcetera.  But what really debilitates me is my B list.  That is the list that I never get around to.  That's the "if I get done with my A list" list.  It's also the important list.  It's  the people I need to be praying for.  It's losing the rest of this baby weight.   Raising daughters who know and love and follow God. Reaching out into my neighborhood.  Getting ahead financially.  Being available for friends who need an encouraging word or someone to cry with.  Keeping my house presentable for company.  Most of all, I get overwhelmed with the holy life.  Am I living a life worthy of the Name to which I am called?  Seriously?  Is there anything remarkably  Jesus-ish about me? 

Will I ever. 
Do this. 

So usually what happens is this.  I throw in the towel.  I eat half a dozen donuts, swipe the credit card, watch the Kardashians instead of sweet prayer time with Jesus, and I leave my girls in their pajamas all day.  I pull my car into the garage and don’t take the time to say hello to the several neighbors that are raking their leaves or putting up Christmas lights.  I see friends and church or at the store and have casual conversations with them, our mouths saying one thing, but our hearts and eyes speaking a language of disappointment, longing, and failure.   The heaviness of the failure literally makes my shoulders sag .  I feel like I’ve disappointed myself, my family, my friends, and most of all, my God.   And I know that being overwhelmed and feeling like a failure is self-inflicted.  I know, I so deeply know, that God did not design life to be like this. 

One of my favorite movies from the nineties is What About Bob?  It’s a comedy about a doctor-patient relationship that goes awry.  In this film, Dr. Leo Marvin (Richard Dreyfuss) aides Bob Wiley (Bill Murray) in overcoming his phobias with “baby steps.”  These steps involved taking small measures towards a greater goal.  For whatever reason, it makes me think of cooked spinach.  Yes, I am strange.  Anyways, back to the spinach.  I don’t like the way it tastes, but I know it’s good for me.  So sometimes I want to just eat it in one bite so it’s over with.  But then it slides down my throat and my gag reflexes kick in and it’s not a really pretty situation.  For me or anyone sitting within three feet of me.  However, if I were to take small bites, and chew on them for a while, it would be a little more manageable.  And then it would be gone.  Baby steps. 

Oswald Chambers has been quoted as saying, “Trust God and do the next thing.”  The next thing.  A bite of spinach.  Baby steps.  For me, the next thing would be what is set before me at any given moment.  It would be the tree for the forest.  What if, instead of allowing my guilt to weigh me down  for not praying for my children enough, I stopped for a few moments and lifted them up to Jesus?   What if I chose a banana over a donut?  If I chose to take five minutes to call a friend that I hadn’t connected with a while?  What, just what if, I decided to park my car in the driveway and run over with my girls and say a quick hello to a neighbor?  And the mother of what if’s…what if I trusted GOD while I did all this? 

I know that being debilitated by my goals is not how God has called me to live. I’m learning that the process of becoming holy as He is holy is a moment by moment process.  It is choosing Him over the Kardashians.  It is choosing to roll over to my husband and ask him to pray over our family instead of both falling asleep the second our heads hit the pillows.  It is deciding to do the next thing.  And all of those next things will dramatically shift the direction of my life, of my character, and of my holiness.  Just like shifting the tracks of a railroad.  They will point me along the path of righteousness, baby step by baby step. 

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Beautiful Burps

I was trying to express to Greg how I feel when I write, and the best I could come up with was that it felt like burping.  Like everything I digest in life has spent a little time jostling around in my heart and mind until pressure builds, and  I burp.  And feel a whole lot better.  It's not the prettiest comparison, but it sounds better than what happens on the other end...if you smell my drift.

I spend so much of life just absorbing, taking in, and swallowing whatever life has to offer.  I've had meaningful moments with loved ones and interactions with not-so-much loved ones.  As I move through life, I feel like I only have a second or two to respond to each significant moment before the next one hits.  This includes some of my most precious moments with God.  It's like I feel this cloud of holiness descend on me, and then my three year old yells through the fog, "I need to go a lot of poops!" Onward Christian soldier.

But when I write, life makes sense.  There is something about pausing to make sentences out of all the jumbled thoughts and words in my mind.  To pull something concrete out of what otherwise seems like wet cement.  It really allows me to reflect in a way that is good for realize how God is weaving His story in me and throughout me and the ones I love.  It gives me lessons, purpose and direction.  Writing, for me, feels like burping...the pressures of the absorbed life built up and released.  And I feel a sense of relief every time I pull something significant (to me) from the the fray.

For others (like my husband), writing feels like a form of Chinese torture.  And that's okay.  But I do feel that everyone needs to burp.  It may not be writing.  For some, it may be cooking.  It may be running.  It may be coloring in a princess coloring book.  Perhaps singing.  Making bracelets.  Painting nails.  There are treasures that God has given each one of us to allow us to pause and make sense out of the life that He's called us to.  Something life-giving, that we all walk away from feeling refreshed and renewed. 

Our God is a God who loves us and sings over us with great delight.  He has not only given us deep joy in knowing Life through His Son, but He has chosen to give us treasures along the way.  Treasures and talents, to make sense of the Life He's given us.  And to know Him more.   I know that my God is honored when I sit down to write.  I know that He is blessed when I pause and let out a beautiful burp. 

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

What I'm Not.

There are many words I would use to describe myself.  I feel that I am genuine, a tad gossipy, funny, intuitive, and prideful.   I am an idealist to the nth degree.  I thrive on relationships, and my world is not right when there is a rift between a loved one and myself.  I could make conversation with a wall.  I have, in fact, made conversation with a wall.  I count beans.  I have a proactive personality.  I know that Jesus loves me regardless of what I say or do, but I am forever, FOREVER trying to be good enough for Him.  I am a quality time kind of gal.  I can be passive aggressive.  Just ask my poor husband how many times a day I let out the dramatic sigh.  Hey.  I didn't say it was all pretty, but I'm a work in holy progress.  Amen and amen. 

But my list of what I am not is a lot more difficult for me.  Especially when it comes to serving God.  There are so many wonderful opportunities to advance the Truth inside and outside my church community.  And I want to do every single one of them.  Bake sale? Sign me up.  Worship team?  Got it.  Youth Mentor?  Totally.  Childcare?  Love kids.  Neighborhood outreach?  Yes and yes. 

What happens in all my yessing is that I run from activitiy to activity, with a hallelujah thrown up in between my driving and painting and baking and reading.  My mind is running faster than my poor body, like an obese person with a personal trainer yelling for them to catch up.  I feel panic welling up in my throat, not wanting to let anyone down, feeling like I'm doing a half-butt job of everything.  I secretly (or not so secretly) am crabby with everyone who is not volunteering as much as my saintly self.   I cringe as Madeline asks where I'm off to next as soon as Greg walks in the door. And, inevitably, I crash. and burn.

One of those committments is a community Bible study I'm in.  We are taking the year to go through the book of Acts, and it is a-may-yay-zing!  One of my favorite passages is in Acts 6, where the early church was thriving and growing.  They were selling their possesions, giving to the needy, and constantly breaking bread and praying prayers together. Love. The distribution of the daily food was getting a little unorganized and tricky, and the twelve apostles gathered the believers together and said:

"It is not right that we should give up preaching the word of God to serve tables.  Therefore brothers, pick out from among you seven men of good repute, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we will appoint to this duty.  But we will devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word."   Acts 6:2b-4

I know that it sounds like Peter and his homies were cocky, but my understanding of the text is quite the opposite.  Peter was crystal clear about his purpose and calling.  He had walked with Jesus, he had waited upon Jesus, and he was being obedient to Jesus.  He didn't waste his time running around and "yessing" everything that the early church threw his way.  The apostles knew what they were.  And knew what they were not.  Because of thier obedience, the church grew by the thousands.

Although my intentions are to honor God with all of my yessings, I end up losing sight of God in the flurry of servitude.  It's like a bad romantic comedy, where the starlet spends half the movie primping, tanning, dry-cleaning and outfit shopping in order to impress her love interest, and it turns out he prefers sweats and no makeup.  We run around like chickens with our heads cut off, shouting, "Praise the Lord!" while we run into walls and ditches and all sorts of trouble.  Meanwhile, God wants our sweats.  He wants to direct us towards purpose and promise in our quietest moments.  Like he did with Peter and the early church. 

I need to have more quiet moments with God.  To know what He asks of me before I go yes crazy.  I need to know myself through His eyes.  I need to learn how He has crafted me so perfectly to fit into His body.  I believe our God is a personal God, one who has made us to serve in a unique capacity.  For me to say "no" to an opportunity to serve means that opportunity is open for someone else to fill it as God calls them to.   It all works together like a holy orchestra, each of us picking up an instrument as God calls us to play; the music reaching and blessing His heavenly ears. 

So. I am learning.  I am ever learning.  I am learning to say "maybe" instead of yes to service opportunities.  To get in my sweats and pray about it.  And then to feel confident in saying no, just as Peter did, if God is leading me elsewhere.  Therefore, my list of what I am not is growing.  I am not an artist.  I am not a Sunday school teacher.  I am not an encouragment card writer.  I am not a "techie".  I am not a grounds crew type of gal.  I'm not a speaker.  I am not a bake sale participant.  I am not a preacher.   I am not good at sending care packages.  I am not a greeter.  Maybe that will clear some space inside my head and my heart for God to whisper gently to me what I am.

Monday, October 3, 2011


My best friend and her daughter came to visit us this weekend.  Yes, I am thirty, and yes I still call her my best friend.  We don't wear the necklaces, but if asked to I would rock one on her behalf.  In my book, the title of Best Friend is one that is earned through moments of faithfulness, selflessness, and honesty that all stack up on top of each other to make something so sustainable.  Something that takes on a form of it's own and gains momentum as the years pass. Like a giant snowball of awesomeness.  Enter my snowball.  Nicole Renee (Martell) Centanni the first. 

When Nicole moved away seven years ago we cried so hard that our husbands had to literally peel us apart.  That was a dark day for me.  I knew that I could search the ends of the earth for someone like her and come up empty.   Nicole, my best friend of a thousand lifetimes, one that knew me so deeply and honestly, and she was leaving.  Stupid Minnesota.  I will punch you.

 I felt robbed because Nicole and I couldn't do daily life together anymore.  We had walked through such significant moments together:  college, ministry, young love, and our first years of marriage.  She was my go to.  Our friendship had only known side by side living.  We didn't know how that could translate with her moving three hundred miles away.   I was nervous that the depth that we had so carefully built, moment by moment would fade into the oblivion of Christmas cards and class reunions.

 However, Nicole and I resolved to keep a great thing going.  We committed to visiting one another as often as possible.  We sat down with our calendars and our Hot Tamales and marked out our best friend weekends with permanent red ink.  Friends and family would comment on how much effort I put into seeing Nicole.  It didn't feel like effort.  It felt like a necessity.  I needed her.  It actually took more restraint on my behalf to not visit more often.

A beautiful thing started taking shape during those visits.  When Nicole visited me, I paused life for a weekend.  I was able to take a deep breath, a time out, a respite from daily living.  I was able to step back and survey my life, with a companion that knew me so deeply and helped me see it more clearly.   Nicole would encourage me, help me see beauty where I saw ashes, promise where I saw disparity.   She would remind me of the things that I value.  She would "sing my heart's song back to me when I forgot the words" like that cheesy Hallmark saying.  Our hubbies would always tease us about our weekends together, bracing themselves for the "revelations" we would come home with. 

Fast forward a few years, a few pounds, and a few kids later.  Our weekends together still feel as necessary, if not more, as they had at the beginning.  Nicole and I may be more interrupted than before, and may have stockpiled the Disney DVD collection for our girls so we can actually get some talk time in, but it is so freaking worth it.  It is worth the crazy drive and the choppy nap schedules and the pounds and pounds of goldfish consumed by our children.  I still walk away from our weekends together with a fresh lease on life and the God that gave it to me. 

 There is so much value in doing daily life together with others.  God calls us to.   However, there is much to be said about taking a time out with someone you love and allowing one another the space to think aloud, to breathe, to mourn and to heal. It's like free therapy with the additional bonus of junk food and sleepovers.    A respite from daily living is necessary in order to do daily life well.  Although I would jump through fiery hoops at the chance to be Nicole's next door neighbor, I have learned to appreciate such a time as this.   

So, my dearest Nicole.  If I could have seen seven years ago what I now see, I probably would not have slashed the tires to your moving truck.  What God has developed in between our hearts, our families, and our lives is so much more beautiful than this little brain could have imagined.  Cheers to respite.  Cheers to my best friend. 

Oh, the comfort, the inexpressible comfort of feeling safe with a person, having neither to weigh thoughts nor measure words, but pouring them all out, just as they are, chaff and grain together, certain that a faithful hand will take and sift them, keep what is worth keeping, and with a breath of kindness blow the rest away.   
                                                                                                                             -Dinah Craik

Sunday, September 18, 2011

You Win.

This past weekend I attended an incredible womens conference at my church.  It was so refreshing just to sit and learn.  To be still with my God.  To remember.  I had many take-aways from the weekend.  However, my most glaring takeaway was that I somehow entered my name in a competetion with all of humanity. And I am a sore loser.  Not your typical lesson application, but in my own little weirdo world, it is. 

The speakers at our conference were super talented and super beautiful and had a super heartbreaking story about how God refined and loved on them through a super trying experience.   These incredible sisters, Holly and Heather (, lost thier husbands eleven years ago in a canoeing accident, and have spent the last decade sharing thier journey of healing, restoration, and the birth of a new song within them.  They were vulnerable.  They were witty.  They were charming.  They were so in love with thier Jesus you could literally breath it in, like an incredibly holy perfume or something.  They also had super voices that made my eyes fill with tears as they earnestly worshiped thier God.

I am embarrased to admit this, but for the sake of growth, honesty, and all that good stuff...I'll claim it.  I was super jealous.  I sing.  I am witty.  At least my mom thinks so.  Besides, I'm in love with Jesus too.   I tried to focus on thier words. To allow God to just hug on me through thier story.   But I just kept looking at these women of God and thier goodness and thier beauty and super-ishness, and my mind kept rolling around a simple phrase: you lose.  I was sizing myself up against Heather and Holly, and my mental grand jury found me lacking.  I kept coming back to it, like pushing around a loose tooth with my tongue to make sure it was still there. And it was.

Although this is something that God and I are working on, there are times when my prideful nature flares up like a nasty coldsore or something.   It is so hard for me to concede that someone is prettier,  kinder, stronger, or holier.  Ugly?  Totally.  Honest?  Absolutely.   It's like that Saturday Night Live skit Penelope, where Kristen Wiig has to one-up everyone who crosses her path.  "Oh, you are going on vacation to Hawaii?  Well I am the president of"  Except I don't say it out loud.

The reason that I'm sharing this incredibly unnattractive thought pattern is because I know that I'm not alone in this.  Or at least I hope I'm not, because after my loved ones read this they might not like me so much anymore.  Kidding.  I think.  In all seriousness, it's easy to fall into, especially in the marriage-and-kids phase of life.  Like, what's up with the put together moms, who work out, spend time with Jesus, and then have pancakes from scratch on the kitchen tables by 7am?  I want to immediately find some flaw in them to feel better about myself.  Can I get a holler please.  Anyone?

I'm sure you don't suffer from this delusional way of life.  But if you have, by chance, encountered someone who thrives on the mental one-upper, isn't it such a turn-off?  That others cannot celebrate what God is doing in your life because of the searing jealousy and the internal comparisons?  People who won't encourage you or compliment you or tell you what they've learned from your presence in thier lives?  People who think so much of you but do not take the time to tell you that because thier pride is choking them into silence?  Again, I'm sure that you have not struggled with one-uppiness, but I'm just sayin...

Maybe I'm being dramatic, but this is a point of sin in my life that I know God is calling me out of.   It does not benefit me.  It does not glorify Him.  It keeps me rooted in my seat at a womens' conference, exhausted with my mental tallies.  It keeps me so busy pleading my case to my internal grand jury, that I am missing the Point.  The Point is that my God created me, crafted me, and called me to fix my eyes on Him.  Not on my mirror.  Not on others.  He is asking me to walk away from these lies about needing to win the race of life, and towards humility.  Towards truth.  Jesus.

So, I left that conference changed.  That weekend God gave me the ability to look around at others and declare: you win.  You are prettier.  You are more kind.  You are stronger. You have more money than I do.  You dress better than I do.  You sing remarkably better than I do.   You know more about the Bible than I do.  And that's okay.  I don't need to figure out a way that I am better than you. 

I praise God because He is releasing me of that choking pride.  I was able to look at Heather and Holly and thank them sincerely for sharing thier story and thier hearts and all of their super-ness.  I'm sure they had no idea about the battle I had won in doing that, but that's okay!  God knows.  I know.  God is continuing to show me, again and again, the very best version of myself.   Usually it's through exposing an ugly side of myself that just needs to, with his help, go away.  And I know, I deeply and inherently know, that there is a Saviour who died to declare me a winner.  How could I ever lose with a God like mine?

He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.

-Micah 6:8

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Walking Back Through

When my mom read my previous blog, she made the comment that in a couple decades my friends and I will all be going through identity crisis again.  Once the kids have flown the coop. I immediately began daydreaming about all the things Greg and I would do once we had the resource of time to ourselves.  Somewhere in between an Italian vacation and opening an orphanage, she interrupted my thought flow by saying that that's not something for me to be worried about right now.  She gets it.  My mom knows that what I'm learning in life right now is enough.

Unfortunately for those around me,  I don't always get it.  I sometimes forget that what God is teaching me is for me.  I tend to apply my lessons to the rest of humanity at large.  If God is growing something in me, then He must have a message for me to shout loud and clear to the rest of the world. What?  Not everyone is a 30-year-old-stay-at-home-lactating-mom-of-two-who-is-trying-to-save-money-and-lose-weight?  Huh. 

The thing is that I get overwhelmingly annoyed by unsolicited advice.  We've all heard it.  Marriage is the hardest work the first year.  The seventh year. I'd give anything to be your age again.  Kids are emotionally secure if you allow them to sleep in bed with you. Kids are emotionally secure if you do not allow them to sleep in bed with you.  Private schools are superior.  You will not be able to keep your house clean when you have two children.  And, of course, the birthing stories. Love those.

There are times that call for, or beg for, our story.  There are moments when our story can bring healing to others.  I can recall many days where a loved one shared thier journey with me, and it had me looking at life and God and and myself in a new light.  I have shared parts of my story with others, knowing that God allowed me to trudge through some things for moments such as those.  I have watched friends walk through unspeakable tragedies, only to turn around and walk back through them with someone else.  That is wisdom.  That is love.

I think of my dear friend Summer.  By the time I had Madeline, she already was an experienced mom of three.  I, in all my type-A-ness, with my diaper bag packed like a red-cross station, with my 25 phone calls to the doctor a day, with my super-extended conversations about nap schedules, must have been so annoying to her.  Everything with Maddie was a huge deal.  Summer just listened to me, prayed with me, offered invaluable advice, and walked alongside me as a new mom.  She was out of that phase of newness, but still chose to double back and walk through it with me again.  She was priceless to me.  Still is.

What if we wear our lessons, experiences and wisdom as garments of praise instead of rites of passage?  What if we view them as an opportunity to turn around, and walk back through them with those who need us to?  What if we try to remember what it was like for us?  To be young and in love?  To lose our first tooth?  To have our first child?  To not have a date to prom?

I would seriously fall over if someone with adult children said, "I remember what it's like to be a young mother.  Why don't I come over and watch your kids for a couple hours, so you can do something lifegiving?" Instead I usually get a passing "Appreciate this time.  They grow so fast."  Instead of telling a college student that they are living in thier glory days, I should be inviting them over to my home for the family dinner they so desparately need.   Rather than feeling so "beyond" phases that my loved ones are walking through, I should be doubling back and walking back through with them.  Closing my mouth.  Holding thier hands.

Sometimes, when I pray, I imagine how many times God has heard similar prayers.  It's overwhelming to think about how many prayers rise to the ears of our God...prayers about love, life, and life lost.  He does not tire of hearing our stories.  There is nothing that I have walked through that God has yet to see, or that is bigger and stronger than Him.  But God doesn't pelt me with advice.  He doesn't patch up my requests with simple antidotes.  He walks back through with me.  Illuminating the way.  Allowing me to pick up the treasures He's laid for me. Watching me grow as I stumble along the way, like a proud parent.  Holding my hand.  So patient is my God. 

"Experience is a brutal teacher, but you learn. My God, do you learn."
-CS Lewis

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

My New Normal

I went with some dear friends to a park last week, and we attempted to sit long enough in between the spitting up and pulling hair and fighting over Veggie Straws (not us, the kids...although if there were cookies involved I might have thrown down) to talk straight and be real.  This is one of the many things I value about this particular group of loved ones: thier willingness to drop the curtains and be candid and real.  Love them. 

One of my girlfriends confessed that she is struggling with her identity right now. 
Her honesty brought a lot of head-nodding and a collective amen from the rest of us.  It is tough.  In a culture that is driven by definition, it's easy to flounder when the something that you were is now the something that you are not.  Think about it.  After spending almost all of our lives in full-time school, most of us join the working world.   We are used to a beginning time and ending time of responsibility each day.  Any time outside of that is ours for the taking.  Then baby makes three. When we have children there is nothing 9-5 about it.  Life as we know it is seriously turned upside down.

I remember feeling the abruptness of it all when Madeline was born.  As much as I rejoiced in her and felt like my love for her could move heaven and earth, I mourned a part of me that I thought had passed.  The skinny me.  The career-driven me.  The fashionable me.  The "contribute to the world to make it a better place" me.  The part of myself that begged my husband to go out for drinks and appetizers at 10pm on a Sunday night.  I seriously felt like I was in a huge whirlwind that gathered me up, tossed me around for a few months, and then spit me out on the other a frazzled woman with ten different shades of  awesome sweatpants.

Early motherhood is a beautiful and sometimes painfully consuming journey into the land of selflessness.  Where little hands and little hearts need you to so literally sustain thier lives.  Where for a few months you smell like spit up.  And probably for a few years you don't know what day of the week it is.  Where love runs through your veins so deeply and frantically that you swear it creates a pulse of it's own.  And where you slowly readjust.  To a new normal. 

I remember, after time, easing back into some activities that were life-giving for me.  Dates with Greg. Leading a small group for high school girls.  Worship team.  Coffee with my besties.  Running.  And oh man, did I capitalize on those playdates.  Let's be honest. There was no playing.  Maddie was like two weeks old.  But I needed that time with other new moms who were also living in the land of selflesness.  And I began to emerge as a version of myself that I really liked.  I loved my baby girl and my husband & the life that God was creating around us. 

Fast forward a few years, and we now have two beautiful daughters.  I am again adjusting to a new normal after the birth of Abigail.  For me, the whirlwind was not as insane this time around.  I don't feel as frazzled, and my sweatpants are being kept under lock and key. Most of the time.  Part of it is that I knew what to expect, and the change was not as abrupt as last time.  Another part of that, however, is that I am embracing the change...knowing that I will be refined into an even better version of myself if I am honest with God and with those He's placed in my life.  And if I continue to do things outside of parenting that are life-giving to me. 

So...on the topic of identity, I am choosing to be Rachel Jeanette Hamann, lover of God and people.  I feel a sense of freedom with that definition.  I feel that it will allow my gracious God to take me wherever He desires, and that I will love Him and those He's placed around me with all my might along the way. And right now He has me in our home, loving on and serving my family.  Who knows where He will call us next?  But in the spirit of living in the moment, I am choosing to stake my identity in Jesus Christ, and let the love from that overflow where I'm at right now.

"So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me." Galatians 5:22

Monday, August 22, 2011

Someday Ray.

When my husband Greg and I were dating in college, we would dream aloud about the life we would forge together.   I remember those late night walks around Judson's baseball field with fondness.  We would talk about our wedding day, our marriage, our ministries, our children and everything in between.   Our young love was filled with dreaming and scheming.  Greg would cap those conversations with a "someday, Ray, someday".  I would sigh in response and continue to plan out our super meaningful and noteworthy future. 

What makes those memories bittersweet is that I am still waiting for my someday.  In reality, I have spent most of my life in waiting.  Waiting to arrive.  Waiting to become an incredibly mature follower of Jesus.  Waiting to be skinny enough.  Financially secure enough. Waiting to be the proverbial wife.  Superstar mom. Thoughtful daughter and sister.   I consider myself a professional waiter.  As life is happening in and around me, I am waiting for my Arrival. Whatever that is.

 I recently began reading Cold Tangerines by Shauna Niequist, where she talks about celebrating the extraordinary nature of everyday life.  I could yell out loud, "Yes! Yes!  Yes!  Me too!" as she described how, she too, was waiting.  I know  that God revealed a little glimpse of His heart to me as I read this book.  I know it because I could feel my Spirit let out a big sigh of finally someone had shouted out what It has been gently whispering to me for a while. 

What I'm at the beginning of grasping is that my life is not about waiting.  It truly is the smallest moments that create my life.  Crawling around on the floor and barking like a dog with my three year old.  Hugging my husband in our kitchen when I'm covered with spit-up and spaghetti sauce and who-knows-what-else.  Listening to my neighbor as she pours out her heart.  God is building my story and my life in these small moments.  They are what make me.  They are what honor Him.

I know that God can be in our dreaming and scheming.  I know that He's given those soulful moments to me as a glimpse of what is possible if I hand over my dreams to Him.  I also know that He has called me to not check out of reality and exist only in my alternate best-self universe.  That I won't become the best version of myself until I start stacking these "insignificant" moments on top of each other.  To build something bigger and better than my daydreams.

So, tonight I am going to make a craft with Madeline for the fifteenth time this week.  I'm going to really listen to my husband as he tells me about his day.   I will hold my sweet baby Abigail and let her pull my hair out to her little hearts content.  When I pray over them at night, I will look at each of my loves, full in the face, and tell them how proud I am to be their wife and momma. 

 My someday IS today. 

With the past, I have nothing to do; nor with the future.  I live now. 
-Ralph Waldo Emerson