August 16, 2020

A year of moments

Someone asked me the other day if —with all the cancelled events— I have missed speaking this year. Yes. I have missed connecting and sharing my heart; I have missed the energy I feel when I am on that stage and I feel the spirit in a different way than I do at any other time in my life. I have missed hugging all of you and hearing your stories and feeling and learning from your courage. I have missed the powerful healing that takes place when a room is packed with brave warriors united in strength to overcome. 

However as I have thought more about the question... I have been thinking about all I have gained during this time of slow down. I have been able to work on being present in every way with the people who need me the most right now. I have not felt pressure to choose between them and anything else. I have learned some things I didn’t know about each one of my kids. I have fallen more in love with my husband, and have seen the many little sacrifices he makes daily. I have watched teenagers melt at the smallest dance or giggle of a baby. I have laughed so hard at witty comments they make and little inside jokes they create with each other. I have heard them share memories of their younger years—none of which include our trips to Disneyland or big presents they got for Christmas—but the little every day moments of voices I made on certain books, and watching our favorite movies all together. Years of memories—many of which I had almost forgotten, that made an impact for them. 

This year has been different. Pretty hard some days with so many unknowns and news that is unsettling daily. I have had my share of panic attacks after leaving a store, wondering when and if there will ever be a time where every single person in the store doesn’t fit the description of the bank robbers from years past, or when people will ever be able to smile at each other again. I have missed connections. I have had days when parenting has been draining and I have craved a simple schedule full of consistency and certainty...and then jumped into it with so much uncertain about how long it will last or what it will look like for them. Sending babies out the door in masks in a world full of chaos and fear has been hard for me, but imagining them having to stay locked up despite not having all the information—without even knowing what is real and what is being used to create fear with intention—is another kind of hard. 

If we think it is hard as moms...just imagine how the kids feel. For years we have told them to get out despite their fears, stand up despite who is pushing you down, don’t believe everything you hear...some rumors are just lies mean people say to make you feel small. Now all the adults around them are struggling to do the same. Frozen. We feel frozen. Because whatever we someone it is wrong. Extremes on all ends of all topics blaming and hating, and not really caring about the group as a whole, or individuals really...just themselves and their cause. We are so used to telling our kids which way is up when their small world gets overwhelming...that it is hard to remember how to breathe—not just in these damn masks—but in this big world that feels so upside down. 

My word that describes my goals this year is...(and these words might be made up😜) expectational Neutrality—Not because everything has been easy and certain and fear hasn’t been present—but because everything has been uncertain and scary and unknown territory not any of us know how to navigate...and if I am not constantly in check of my inner neutrality...I feel the weight of it all. Everything we read contradicts the next, and every fact we come to believe is replaced by fear the more we learn. So we have to take each moment with a little more kindness. Each comment made with a little more patience. And each fear triggered with a little more faith. Become neutral in our expectations so nothing extreme becomes the very thing that breaks us. 

Satan wants us big and extreme, angry and hurt. He wants us to overcome pain by causing more of it. He wants us to run when things get hard and give up when we can’t handle the surprises we didn’t plan. He wants us to destroy hope and suppress light by causing fear. He wants us to think love is created out of acts of hate, and hate is repaired by only caring about ourselves. 

History has to many thousands of times. Fires will never go out by adding more wood to the flames. Hate will never be turned to love by fueling it with more hate. 

God wants us loving and kind, and willing to show up even when it isn’t easy. God wants us to forgive, and serve, stand for what is right in ways that uplift, not hurt those who see things differently. He wants us to do our part to bring light to our world, and be neutral in our expectations of what kind of world we can live in...because most of the time our trying to force it to change all at once—or believing that we have to—only creates more fear, inadequacy, and anger toward it, ourselves, and sometimes Him. He wants us to trust His timing, and not just force ours. 

We live in a world that is dark, and we know that it can and will get even more heavy. However there is light. It always shines. This year as my light has shown in more simple ways, I am grateful to know that it matters still. Moms at home, wondering if you make a have the power to change their world. Dads working from home feeling overwhelmed and unseen. We see you. Kids walking out the door in masks feeling uneasy , lost, alone, indivisible, and scared about what’s next in this year long game of Jumanji...we got you. We have no idea what the crap we are doing either...but we are going to get through it. Together. 

The work you are doing is great and it matters. 

Not every season will be one of big moments, but every little moment will be one that can change us in a big way. 

Keep shining...even if right now it is just for you. You are worth it. And if your faith in anything—including yourself— is feeling rattled...know you aren’t alone. I can’t even count the number of messages I have received from people sharing how this crazy year has shaken their faith in everything they once felt was constant that now feel like they are failing: confidence, hope, religious faith, relationships, parenting, and self worth. You aren’t alone if you are finding yourself questioning and reevaluating and relearning.  Give yourself grace and keep moving toward. 

I recently read an analogy about trials. We all go through trials, just like a boiling pot of water. Some get dropped in—like an egg—and it hardens them inside. Others go through the same trial of a boiling pot of a potato—and the trial makes them soft. Same pot of water, two outcomes. I think at times we each have fallen in both categories. Sometimes our pain takes us to a humble moldable softer version of ourselves and other times those moments harden us. Fears kick in, panic circles, and we lose sight of who we once thought we were. Give yourself grace this year. Some days you might be the potato, other days you might feel hardened like the egg. Both have their place in this rollercoaster we call life. Also—side note—we need them both to make potato salad. 

Look for the little glimmers of light each day. Know that this too shall end. Every season has a purpose. We have to search for what ours is in this one. What has God been trying to tell you? What has He been trying to help you remember that He believes you are? What role is He needing you to play in the lives of those around you? If we start asking those kinds of questions...we can get closer to seeing the purpose of these moments. 

We will remember this year—the year full of unmet expeditions that we didn’t get to choose—but we can choose to make the most of the moments we have got. Moments of slowing down. Moments of time spent together. Moments of light shining even when everything around it seems dark. 

That’s you! The light that chooses to shine anyways! Keep it up! You matter. You are important and your story isn’t over. This is just a little tiny section of a little tiny chapter. Keep moving forward...and use that courage you have always had to SHINE. 


Shaharriet Houchins said...

We have 9 kids all adults now except the baby who will be in Feb. 21. We were stationed in Idaho back then. I’ve seen your story awhile ago but so glad to find you have a loving husband and new kids and they are thriving! That’s a testament to Gods love for us and your belief in him. You have done what God ordained in your forgiveness and that is what is most important.May God continue blessing you all From one mothers heart to another.

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