In His Arms

Nothing has brought a more clear understanding of God’s love for me than being a parent. There are many lessons and realizations that my husband and I have had since our son was born, and God is continually showing us more of his character as we experience the ups and downs of parenthood.

My son Theodore is 10 months old and a complete joy. He is energetic and active, independent and curious. He always brings a smile to the face of anyone that sees him. He has, however, never been much of a cuddler. He is always wanting to move and look around, and when I try to hold him close he tries to wriggle out of my arms, not liking to feel restricted. As other parents struggle to get their babies to sleep in the crib rather than their arms, my son would rather forego the snuggles and rocking and be put directly in his crib to fall asleep on his own. Although this is very helpful for me in getting stuff done throughout the day, I wouldn’t mind a few snuggles here and there and having my baby fall asleep in my arms.

This past weekend Theo wasn’t feeling well, which thankfully is pretty rare for him. He was having some tummy pains and gas and was very uncomfortable. He was crying and fussing, not eating or nursing. It was so hard to watch him in such discomfort and I spent the day holding him. For the first time since he was a newborn, all he wanted was to snuggle in close to my chest, rest his head on my shoulder, and let me soothe and comfort him. He slept in my arms off and on during the day and only wanted to be in my arms, as close to me as possible. It truly melted my heart and felt so good to be able to hold and care for my sweet baby boy.

Since then, he is feeling much better and is back to his normal, active self. However, when I have been putting him down for naps or bedtime, he has been putting his head on my chest and snuggling into me, totally relaxed, and letting me rock him. I have been absolutely loving it! This is so unlike him, even though he is feeling better. The only thing that changed is that he was sick and needed me, and I was there for him. Because of this, he experienced a love and comfort that he may not have even known he needed.

Sometimes we unknowingly hold ourselves back from the full extent of God’s love and care for us.

It feels like since he went through a tough time and had to rely on me for comfort in a different way, he has suddenly realized how comfortable he is in his mama’s arms. He has realized that even though he loves exploring and constantly being on the go, he is truly at home in his mother’s arms. With the experience of pain also came an experience of comfort available to him for which he hadn’t been reaching. Although I hated him having to go through that, I am thankful that the experience created an even stronger bond between us. It’s as if the full extent of my care for him was unrealized until he was forced to slow down and accept it.

I’ve seen this play out in my relationship with God. I long for love and belonging, but at times I forget that I can reach out for it. At times I am doing fine and forget to seek Him, and gradually I find myself empty before I think to go to my Savior to be filled. There have been many times I find myself struggling before I reach for the one who has been there all along, waiting for me to realize my need for Him.

There are times we must go through difficult circumstances in order to fully accept the love and comfort for which our soul longs.

If you have never experienced this kind of love and comfort before, I pray you let your wall down and allow yourself to lean in. If you are going through a tough time, there is someone who is on your side, waiting with open arms to hold you close and give you the rest you need to keep going. And if you have experienced this closeness before, don’t wait until your soul is weary before laying your head on the strong shoulder of the one to whom you belong.

 

10 Months Old

 

5 Days Old

 

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10 Month Schedule

Theodore is 10 months old! As a parent, I always find it helpful to see how other parents do things and what their routine looks like, so here is a look at our current schedule, which has been about the same since Theo was around 7 months old.

Wake Up and Breastfeed7:00/8:00am: Diaper change and breastfeeding. Then little play time before breakfast.

Breakfast8:00/8:30am: He usually has applesauce or mashed banana mixed with oatmeal, a pancake torn into small pieces, and/or a scrambled egg.

  • For each meal we usually try to give him a few finger foods and the rest is spoon fed. At this time he still prefers spoon feeding because he loves to eat and it is much more efficient. Chunks of banana are a little slippery for him, so he might have a few before getting frustrated. He does really well with chunks of pancake/egg.

Playtime: After breakfast we play a little before naptime. I try to put him on the floor with some toys or in his exersaucer or bouncer for independent play while I do a quick clean/tidy after breakfast. (Kids are messy, amiright?!)  His favorite toys right now are his standup activity table. He loves to stand while holding onto something, and he LOVES the music and pushing all the buttons. He still needs someone looking out for him falling as he can’t stand on his own yet. He also likes to play with his wooden stacking train, wooden cars, stacking rings, and blocks.

Morning Nap9:00/9:30am: The time for this nap depends on his morning wake up time. It’s usually about 1.5-2 hours after wake up. I change his diaper and then try to read a book or rock him, then lay him down in his crib. He doesn’t need much and can fall asleep on his own. Usually it is me wanting to hold him and snuggle and rock him to sleep and he fusses until I lay him down alone in his crib! haha

*This nap is usually about 1.5 hours. Sometimes as long as 3 hours on a rare occasion.

*He goes down for naps with his wubbanub (pictured bellow is the exact one we have). We like to use this for naps because it is easier for Theo to find in the middle of the night if he loses it. We try to limit his pacifier use to only while he is sleeping.

Wake Up and Breastfeed10:30/11am: I usually wait to change him out of his jammies until this time, after his morning nap. Then he will sometimes have a snack directly after nursing or will play a little and then have a snack.

  • For snacks he likes whole wheat ritz crackers, fruit puffs (banana, strawberry, blueberry), veggie/cheddar puffs, or graham crackers.

Playtime: Sometimes we do a walk , outside play (he loves his swing) or an outing before lunch. I might run errands. Other times we just play inside.

LunchtimeNoonish

  • He usually has some veggies and some fruit and/or some kind of protein. Again, we usually give him some finger foods while the majority is a mash/thick puree. He will get some chunks of carrot, peas, green beans, etc. and then a puree of the same. If a puree is thin, we mix with baby cereal (oatmeal, whole wheat..) He loves black beans, ground turkey, chicken, beef, etc. shredded cheddar…

Afternoon Nap1:00/2:00pm: Again, he goes down really well usually. Sometimes I nurse him before this nap (only if he seems hungry or it has been a while since his lunch/snack. Most of the time I do not nurse him, though. I change his diaper and might try to rock him a bit before laying him down awake in his crib. Fuzzy blanket & wubbanub.

*Sometimes he decides to poop after a few minutes of me laying him down for a nap. If he doesn’t seem to quiet down after a few minutes, I go in and check his diaper. Sometimes he has just scooted himself and gotten stuck in a corner or his legs stuck in between the crib bars. Lol

Wake Up and Nurse– 2:00/3:00pm: Wakes up, nurses, diaper change. Also may have a snack right away or plays a little and then has a snack.

Playtime: Sometimes we go on a walk, outside play, or outing during this time.

Dinner5:00ish: Pretty much the same as lunch. A variety of fruit, veggies, & protein.

Bedtime Routine5:30/6:00pm: Nurse, bath time, bedtime routine. I usually try to nurse him before bath time. I find that this works best for us because after bedtime he is not always happy to be going to bed and won’t nurse as well. Also, it helps so he doesn’t associate nursing with sleep and that is how he has learned to fall asleep on his own since he was about 5-6 months old. We give him a bath usually every night. We don’t use soap every time, but he loves playing in the bath and it also helps relax him and know that bedtime is coming. After bath time he gets dressed in his jammies and rocked and singing before bed. He lays down in his crib awake & falls asleep on his own.

Bedtime6:30/7:00pm: He lays down in his crib awake & falls asleep on his own.

*He wears a sleepsack (unless it is too warm) and has his wubbanub.

Sleeps through the night usually with no wake ups. Occasionally will wake up and make noise for a few seconds or minutes & fall back to sleep on his own. If he doesn’t settle we go in and sometimes have to reposition, get his wubbanub, change a diaper, or just rock and sing to him.

*The Wheels on the Bus is our go-to at the moment, especially if he doesn’t want to fall asleep at bedtime or wakes up in the middle of the night. He loves this and calms right down usually.

 

There’s our routine! Of course we make adjustments as needed for flexibility and sometimes he wakes up earlier/later in the day and the whole schedule may need to be adjusted. And sometimes he’s just a little more tired or more awake than usual, so we follow his cues, but this is pretty similar most days.

When you spend half your day trying to get your baby to sleep

Perhaps one of the most important aspects to nail down about parenting is how to get your baby to sleep. 1. Because it’s for our own sanity. 2. They need adequate sleep for growth and development…or something like that. Some days it feels like I spend the majority of my day trying to get my baby to nap. There’s nothing worse than spending time nursing, rocking, and snuggling your baby sleep, laying baby down and settling in to a task or cozying up with a blanket for a bit of relaxation only to be quickly stirred by the cries and fusses of your baby.

I don’t know about you, but some days it takes hours to get my son down for him to only take a 30 minute nap — and I get frustrated, very frustrated. To be real with you guys, sometimes I get mad at my baby. I see other moms post things like, “Baby didn’t feel like napping today, but yay I get extra snuggles!” — Folks, this is NOT me. When my baby doesn’t sleep, he is a disaster, and so am I. He is usually so tired, but fighting sleep like it’s his job. He becomes fussier and fussier, crying, red faced, and unable to be satisfied. He doesn’t laugh or cuddle. He screams. Usually he is not sleeping because he is over-tired. The more he cries, the more tired he gets, the fussier he gets. It’s a terrible cycle that I often find myself in. I try so hard to find that sweet spot where he is drowsy enough to sleep, but not too tired that he is cranky. I feel that most often I miss the “mark” with this formula.

One particular day I had spent hours in this cycle. I knew my baby needed to sleep but he  was fighting hard. I was standing outside the door of the nursery in tears listening to the wails of my son, so frustrated that I did not want to go in and comfort him for the 105th time. I sent a text to my husband saying something like, “I can’t do this anymore.” He came to find me shortly after (he works from home) to offer support. I said something along the lines of “I try so hard to lay him down drowsy but not over tired and I feel like I’m either too early and he is not sleepy enough to fall asleep or too late and he is too tired to fall asleep. I just keep missing the mark. I’m failing.”

Mamas, these are the quiet whispers that we have to fight off every day. These whispers are sometimes found deep in our hearts and aren’t always spoken out loud, but they speak to us day after day. They slowly tear us apart, taking away our confidence and the joys of motherhood.

These are lies, plain and simple. When we start to become overwhelmed with feelings of inadequacy as a mother, we are succumbing to the lies that we are not good enough and in turn we perpetuate this in everything we do.

I find myself here often, and it usually feels rational. I begin to think I am a horrible mother. I am not cut out for this. What was I thinking quitting my job to do this every day? Somebody else could take care of my child better than I can. How come I don’t have my crap together? [She] is so much better than I am….

LIES.

Listen to me. As soon as I said these words, my loving husband promptly told me how my thinking was not only incorrect, but not healthy. He made me see how I was striving to attain a perfection that didn’t exist. He encouraged me by telling me that I am a good mother. I love my son. I care for him every day. I feed him, hold him, comfort him, make him laugh. He is taken care of and he is loved. That is being a good mother. All those other things are not what is important. Everyone is just guessing and trying. Every child is different. Every family is different. What works for someone else may not, and probably won’t, work for you.

There are plenty of people out there that want to tell you how to parent. We often read these books and articles as if they are textbooks to motherhood. Something to consume, learn, and then practice. But they are only advice. Sure, there are basics that are kind of non-negotiable, but the rest is all up to you. How do you want to parent? What feels best to you? What works best for your family? Becoming a good parent is a process of learning your child, trying something and then being willing to change if needed. As much as I would prefer a formula for success, there isn’t one.

My husband challenged me that the next time I was struggling with something, instead of googling and reading a thousand different ways to deal with it, ask one or two people I know personally. Talking to someone you know usually breeds more authenticity in the discussion of the struggles of parenthood. Seeking advice from the people around you is often more valuable than anything you can read in a parenting book. Still, everyone has different experiences and ways of doing things. Be encouraged to look outside yourself, but then also do what feels best to you. Us mamas need to stick together. We are meant to uplift one another. To come alongside and say, “Hey, I see you. I’ve been there.”

The truth is: You are the BEST parent for your child. You know what they need better than anyone else. Trust yourself. If you are unsure, seek advice from trusted friends/family/mentors and remember it is a guideline. Use your resources to gain information and then try something. If it doesn’t work, try something different. Remember there is no secret formula for any of it. With this in mind, try to live in the moment and go with the flow as much as you can. Parenthood is a journey. There is always something new to learn. Take time to enjoy every moment as much as you can, and when you’re frustrated, that’s okay! Truthful parents will tell you they have felt the same.

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Don’t let me forget

Don’t let me forget, my son, the little moments that so quickly are passing by.

The much anticipated moment when the midwife first laid you on my chest late one very cold December night.

And when the nurse held your tiny body to give your first bath and exclaimed how expressive your little face was for a newborn.

And the first time you found your way to latch on to nurse to begin one of the most difficult, yet rewarding experiences of my life.

The way your tiny mouth moved rhythmically and your eyes would begin to close, until you pulled off, leaving your dainty lips puckered and fists softened.

The way your daddy held you in his gaze for the first time, eyes glistening and proud. He still does that.

Our first night home, your daddy and I, a couple of unqualified kids choosing to do this journey together, hand in hand.

The nights with you right beside our bed, me exhausted but afraid to close my eyes and miss your nighttime stirrings.

Your daddy getting up to change you and lay you in my arms to nurse as I sleepily read bible passages on my phone to try to stay awake.

The nights when you fell asleep on your daddy’s chest, as he held you close so mommy could get a few extra hours of sleep.

When we were driving an hour and a half back and forth to look at future new homes when you were just a week old and you slept the whole way without fuss.

The night I held you and nursed you on the floor in an empty room the last night in your first home as your daddy finished packing up everything.

And the next day we signed papers to sell our house, and you were there, sleeping soundly in your car seat as we handed over the keys to our first home together – your first home. Bittersweet.

And then we rushed the hour and a half drive to sign papers for our new home, our new home as a family. You just 4 weeks old.

Your great-Grandma watching you that night as many friends and family helped us move our belongings into our home.

As you are constantly learning and growing and becoming more independent, I love the quiet moments we still have together.

The moments rocking you to sleep at night, with the sliver of moonlight streaming in and resting on your forehead with your dreamy, half closed eyes and little fist clutching my shirt. Me tucking back the small hairs that fall over your left ear. Your hair is longer on that side.

The moments in the middle of the night when you wake just to be close to your mommy and know I’m still here.

Even when you wake in the night more than I’d like, I know that you are healthy and happy. As I hold you close, at first wishing for sleep, I change my perspective and savor the snuggles.

I pray for you, my son. I pray for your health, your comfort, your happiness. I pray you will always feel secure and know that you are loved. I pray you know you are and will always be taken care of.

I thank God for you, my sweet boy. I am thankful for you. That you exist. That you are mine. That you have made me what I have always wanted to be. That being your mother has not taken away my identity, but added to it.

I pray that you live loved. That you will be strong and confident. Brave and courageous. Respectful and kind. That you, like your daddy, will be a powerful example of a true, godly man.

I pray I don’t forget these precious moments with you.

What You Can Expect

Thanks for joining me!

I have always enjoyed writing and have done various blogging in the past, but I had never quite found my niche. I always thought that I couldn’t do anything else because I wasn’t good enough at anything. There was nothing I was an expert at that I could share my wealth of knowledge with the world. On my journey into new motherhood, I have enjoyed reading and subscribing to various blogs about motherhood and the home. I realized something that gave me the courage to start blogging again. I realized that the blogs I enjoyed most were ones written by ordinary mothers, not claiming to be experts by any means. The most helpful articles I read were simply ones that I could relate to. As a new mother, I have been bombarded with information on “Do this,” and “Don’t do that!” and “If you don’t do this then our child will never [fill in the blank]” Oftentimes I was left feeling discouraged and inadequate trying to obtain these lofty goals of motherhood. But there are some posts I’ve read that have truly benefited me, and I realized that these were the ones where mothers were gut-wrenchingly honest about their experiences. The moms who admit to not knowing it all. The ones who don’t always have the insta-worthy photos of their smiling kiddos and perfectly placed coffee cups and folded laundry. I mean, come on! I felt like I was the worst mother of the year looking at some of those blogs and websites. So I decided that I didn’t need to be perfect to blog. I did not have to be a professional sleep trainer, house cleaner, multi-tasking supermom. Because sometimes I haven’t showered in days. Sometimes I get dressed up and never leave the house. Sometimes I want a break from my kid so I can casually stroll the aisles of the Walmart in town and not buy anything. Sometimes I’m wearing the same spit-up covered t-shirt as yesterday (and the day before) and my kid has been crying all day. Sometimes I leave the laundry and the dishes so I can relax and make my son giggle from all my kisses. The goal that I am always continually striving toward is to be a genuine and relatable friend to come alongside others and focus on the joys and simplicity of life. I want to be someone who focuses more on the precious moments I get to spend with my family than the outward appearance of having it all together. I want to fully embrace the life of a mother and homemaker and not be ashamed of doing something differently than someone else. Most importantly, I want to inspire others to do the same. I don’t want others to look at me and think I have it all together, because I don’t. And seeing things like that can be disheartening. I want to write because I enjoy it. My posts will be about my journey, as a mother, wife, & friend and what I am passionate about. So here’s a guarantee that what you will read will not be perfect. The photos you see will not always be insta-worthy. But let’s all work towards making our houses true homes filled with laughter and messes and lots of love.

 

Shimmer

V. shine with a soft tremulous light

Light is a beautiful thing, but there are times when it can be overbearing. A sudden burst of a flashlight in your face as you are walking on a dimly lit trail leaves you blinking the residual stars away. An early morning shock from when your spouse accidentally turns the overhead light on is usually not the most enjoyable start to someone’s day.

Light is best when it is soft, warm, and complementary to it’s surroundings.  A glistening reflection of the sun bouncing off a cool, clear body of water. A warm stream of morning coming in through a porch window and falling delicately on the words of a well loved book.

“You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.”

‭‭Matthew‬ ‭5:14-16‬ ‭

 

I love the symbolism of light. As a firm Christ follower, I believe that I am called to be a light in the world. On reflection today, I have decided that I don’t just want to be a light, but I want to shimmer. I want to be a light that glistens. That is pleasing to be around. A light that doesn’t blind, that doesn’t hurt one’s eyes. One that doesn’t overwhelm or shock. One that is truly not a source of light itself, but a reflection of the true source. I want to be tender, kind, warm, and loving, bringing a shimmer into even the dullest of days.

 

via Daily Prompt: Shimmer

Who is Ananias?

Acts 9:1 – Meanwhile, Saul was still spewing out murderous threats against the Lord’s disciples.

Acts 9:10 – In Damascus there was a certain disciple named Ananias. The Lord spoke to him in a vision, “Ananias!” He answered, “Yes, Lord.”

Acts 9:13-14 – “Lord, I have heard many reports about this man. People say he has done horrible things to your holy people in Jerusalem he’s here with authority from the chief priests to arrest everyone who calls on your name.”

Acts 9:15-16 – The Lord replied, “Go! This man is the agent I have chosen to carry my name before Gentiles, kings, and Israelites. I will show him how much he must suffer for the sake of my name.”

Acts: 9:17 – Ananias went to the house.

Before Paul was the well-known apostle and author, he was Saul, a mass murderer of Christ-followers. Saul had a terrible reputation. The evil in him was out in the open for everyone to see; he dedicated his life to persecuting followers of Jesus. And, for some reason, God chose him to spread the gospel to the Gentiles. There are many impactful written and spoken words that came from Paul. He led a brave and inspiring life, but before Paul was this influential figure, God chose someone else: Ananias. He may not be a well-known character in the bible, but Ananias played a very important role in this whole story that led to Saul becoming the servant and sufferer for Christ that we know and love.

How frightening it would have been for Ananias. As many vicious accounts of the horrible things Saul was doing to followers of Christ were spreading, Ananias had to approach him and lay hands on him! That’s awfully close to get to a murderer like Saul.

I think the amazing thing is that Paul has become one of the most central figures in the spread of the gospel, but Ananias’s incredibly brave act does not get mentioned very often. Ananias made a decision to say “yes” to God, even though it was hard; even though it seemed incredibly scary and even a little crazy. Some may have thought that what he believed the Lord was asking him to do was not the Lord. His family and friends may have responded that he was foolish for thinking the Lord could use him to change a man like Saul. How could he even think that getting close to that man would do any good for anyone?

What would have happened if Ananias had let fear control him and he hadn’t gone to Saul? Saul had seen a vision of this specific man coming to him and showing him the Holy Spirit. If it had been anyone else, the outcome may have been very different. God could have simply spoken directly to Saul, without using someone else. God could have done it so many different ways. But God uses people. And being used by God is challenging; it is difficult; it is refining. It is beautiful. “the Lord’s eyes scan the whole world to strengthen those who are committed to him with all their hearts,” 2 Chronicles 16:9.

I would like to think that the Lord could reward me with such a job. A job so frightening and ridiculous, that it could only be from the Lord. A job that would require me to completely trust and rely on Him. A job that would potentially give me no credit at all, but would allow God to work in others’ lives. A job that would require strength, perseverance, and humility. A job that would take the greatest effort to accomplish, but that would likely be unseen. One that would glorify God and fulfill His purpose.

It can be easy to get caught up in following the Lord’s will and plan for our lives when it is something others can see, and even praise us for. It’s not as easy when our lives don’t appear to be doing the Lord’s work as obviously as we think they should. Maybe we are feeling unfulfilled in the place we are at in life, feeling like this is just not what we were made to do. Our lives can begin to become monotonous. Our daily interactions can seem meaningless and uneventful. We want to do great things for God and His kingdom, but how can we? God sees us. He sees us right where we are at. He searches the earth for those who are deeply and truly committed to Him. And that doesn’t mean that they are doing something news-worthy for the sake of the gospel. It could simply mean that the Lord saw your heart, spoke something to you, and you said yes. It could mean that you were there for one person, one who  may not have had anyone else. It could mean that you saw a need and fulfilled it, even when it wasn’t glorious, fun, or noticed. It could be that you are doing your job well, using your gifts, having a good attitude, using every moment as an opportunity.

I thank God that he uses people like me. I may not have any specifically glamorous talents or careers, but I want to be fully committed to living for Christ in my daily life. I want to say “yes” when the Lord asks something of me, without question. I want to make every day a fulfillment of God’s plan, that includes so much more than me in this lifetime. I want to see my life as one small, but essential, piece of the Lord’s intricate tapestry.

God can use anyone. God can change anyone. He has a plan and a purpose. He is in control. 

For Your Goodness

There are days that are hard; days that I find it difficult to come up with reasons to keep going. Sometimes I feel like my life has no purpose and that I am not making a difference. Sometimes things are just not the way I would like them. People are not nice. Work is exhausting. I feel unappreciated. I’m fighting with a friend or having relationship problems. I start off with the best intentions. I want to help people. I want to love God and live for him daily. Then, in small ways, little by little, my attitude shifts and I begin to think, “what is the point? why bother? no one cares or notices. I’m not making a difference. This is pointless.” I am no longer focusing outward, but inward.

These negative and self-serving thoughts threaten a healthy and fruitful mind.

I can become discouraged, perhaps because I am a perfectionist. I have big dreams and things I want to accomplish. I want to make a difference and change lives. I want to do great things. But more often than not, I am not confident that I am accomplishing these things, and doubt begins to settle in. I have a tendency to see a lack of immediate or obvious success as failure; and failure scares me. Not only does failure scare me, it makes me want to quit. I would rather not try at all than to try and fail. I know, I know. I remind myself often of the quote: “I’d rather try and fail than to never have tried at all,” but it has never been an easy concept for me.

But here’s what struck me today, as I was blessed to be standing among family at my home church this morning, lifting my hands and praising to the familiar song, “10,000 Reasons  (Bless the Lord) by Matt Redman.”

For all your goodness I will keep on singing. Ten thousand reasons for my heart to find.

There are more than 10,000 reasons for me to keep singing. To keep living and praising and being. But even just one reason is good enough for me: the Lord’s goodness. Despite my imperfections. Despite uncaring people and less than pleasant life circumstances. Despite anything I may face that may cause me to want to give up, the Lord Himself is enough. His goodness is enough. Although there are many reasons, just the essence of who God is gives me reason to keep pressing on. This brings me hope, but it also kicks my butt into gear, as I align my heart with the one who gave me life. As I remind myself that the Lord is constant. His character is true and never fails. So his goodness, along with the reason to keep singing, will always remain.

Bless the Lord, Oh my soul.

A New Normal

Transition is always difficult for me. When I finally get my groove and find my place, I do not want to switch it all up and start over. I am a person who lives completely in the present. Yes, I do plan and organize the heck out of my future, but when it comes to truly being, I am in the present all the way. When I am aware that change is coming, I tend to go through a period of grief (or sometimes even denial) leading up to the change. As one season of my life fades and develops into the next, the new place becomes my present. Change is usually easy for me once the transition is over. This is where reflection comes in. A glimpse into the past while still living and being fully present where I am currently. Reflection is a beautiful thing and a healthy habit to establish in your life. It is a way of teaching ourselves, a way of gleaning from the wisdom that is hidden deep inside of us. As I had been in a lot of transition recently: graduating college, leaving my home and place of familiarity, being done with school (for now), living on my own, and starting a new full-time job in my career, I have had a hard time finding my place in it all. It has been half a year since I graduated college (which seems crazy), and I am just now feeling somewhat settled. Here is some reflection that occurred during the transition period:

I have gotten remarkably talented in letting go of the past, when the past was not one I desired to remember. But is hard for me to let go of things that I want to remember about my past. As some of my closest friends are in the midst of college leadership training, I find myself wishing for the crazy, busy, exhaustion of the experience. Because it wasn’t those parts that stand out to me–it’s the intense growth and sense of purpose I felt within me. A sense that you were part of something, a tiny piece of the most beautiful and intricate puzzle. A part of a team, a part of a body, working towards something that is valuable not only to you and each other, but bystanders–the people you are serving. It’s not the community of my college that I miss as much as the feeling of being a part of something special. I wanted to cultivate growth in others, knowing that I was going to come out of it being the most changed. I loved every part of that season of my life. Now, I am struggling to feel that same purpose where I am. I’m living in the present, but I am not satisfied. Where is the goal and the great purpose? What am I working towards and how am I being molded and shaped? I am feeling depressed and discouraged, stagnant and dormant. Where is the newness and the growth? I feel like because I do not see an end anymore, it is difficult for me to see a goal/purpose. I am used to my life being separated by school years and semesters. There was a distinct beginning and a clear end. There was not only some thing to work towards, but some time. My life is used to being guided by time and chronology, and now it feels as if I am going and going forever. I don’t see the end and I don’t see my future. It’s just continued time and space. Going and going and going and going…. So how do I make my time now more meaningful? How do I give it purpose? How do I work toward something that challenges me to grow, even when I do not see an end? It all makes me realize that there is only ever one goal. There always ever was. And it was not separated by year or by leadership position. It wasn’t accomplished in the end of my college career or the passing of the mantle. Instead, those were all check points in the goal (or the race as Paul puts it) that we are in as Christ followers here on earth. It is not about what our purpose is, but who.