The Makeup Bag Moment

Saturday rolled around and it was time to go pick up hubby. I was thrilled and I wanted to look nice. I’m down 9 pounds, and thought I’d do something other than the no makeup/messy bun/leggings look that I’ve been rocking for months. I’d try to look cute for him. So I got my jeans on, and a cute t-shirt, flipped my hair up out of the way and yanked open my makeup drawer.

It’s not actually an entire drawer of makeup, for those of you wondering. It’s just the drawer that held the few makeup items I had.

Had.

My precious, wild three year old had opened every tube of LipSense color, remover, gloss, poured out what she could, let the rest dry out. Okay, no lips. I’ll just do my powder and my eyes.

Mascara? Open, dried out. Eyeshadow? Covered in dried LipSense. Powder? Same as the eyeshadow. Even my eyeliner was broken to nothing.

Now, it’s been three years since I bought any makeup, and it’s been MONTHS since I wore any of it, but it was mine. In my drawer. In my bathroom. I thought the couple times she ran out with a little color smeared on her face was just nothing. I cleaned her up, and the closed drawer made me feel like all was right inside the drawer.

I completely lost it. I was crying, and chunking things in the trash, and I called my hubby and he seemed confused, a little like he couldn’t hear me, and a little like it didn’t matter anyway. But he pointed out I should have left already. More tears as I hung up the phone, now mad that he couldn’t see my problem for the problem it was.

I stormed around, angry and crying. My 6-year-old tried to comfort me, and even told me she would try to buy me new makeup. I turned to look at her and it hit me. I hit my knees and pulled my three littles close. I lost my peace over some makeup because of a million other things weighing on my heart. I kissed each of their sweet faces, helped the girls with their hair, and we went to get my husband.

I don’t care about makeup. While I can’t replace 15 tubes of LipSense, or even the other things I have right now, losing my peace over that moment was silly. It wasn’t the real issue brewing under the surface. I was forced to admit that the tears and ache had nothing to do with makeup.

It has to do with working out how robbed I feel of the dreams I had for the next few years with my two boys. Good things can also be hard things. As much as the peace of God has overwhelmed me through all of this, I still have so much processing that I’m working on.

It looks a little like this:

Did you know I am a curriculum nerd? I was so excited for the curriculum I was going to use with the boys this year. I thought it was going to be a great year.

Did you know I am getting to stay home for our school year? I had so many activities planned for the boys.

Our activities, places we would go, things we would see. It all sits in a basket in my mind, full of things that were going to be that never got to be.

It’s my least favorite brain basket. Sure, I have plans with the other kids and those haven’t changed, but they aren’t the plans I had with the boys.

So I lost my peace over a bag of makeup. I’m thankful I didn’t unpack and live there – not over the makeup, not the with the basket of undone things. I returned to God and asked Him to remind me why we are doing this, to remind me what He is doing, and why He calls us to surrender the hardest of things and let Him have the wheel.

Friend, what are you losing your peace over? Is it the real problem, or just an outlet for something else you need to deal with?

 

Refueling When Parenting is Hard

If you’re anything like me, when you first held your tiny baby, you didn’t think your precious child could ever let you down. In fact, the possibility of disappointment probably wasn’t even a thought in your head. It wasn’t in mine.

The last year has been grueling. I’ve found myself disappointed, heartbroken, and hurting over the actions, words, and behaviors of one of my kids in particular.

It can be incredibly difficult to face each day when I know I’m going to be battling the same thing, with the same person. It’s exhausting at times.

I’ve seen plenty of analogies for our energy – batteries, engines, meters. Empty, full, overfull. Dead in the water, running right, on overdrive. It can be hard identifying where we are at and helping our kids do the same. Taking care of ourselves can seem almost mysterious at times – like is a hot bubble bath going to do it today, or do I need to work on my day planner and budget to refill my battery?

While sometimes self-care is pampering, for me it is often doing a hard task or completing something so that it’s off my plate, so I have one less spinning plate to deal with.

And what about when we do a little self-care, but still feel the sting of what’s not going right? What about when we are taking care of our battery but the smallest thing drains us because it was the same thing as yesterday, the day before, the week before, and on and on.

It’s when I bounce against the bungee 3 or 4 times and am hanging between canyon walls, that I am reminded that all of these things are me trying to do this in my own strength. I’m trying to be smart enough, charged enough, ready enough, focused enough. I’m trying to do this myself because I forget that Jesus is waiting to be my strength.

So often, in the pursuit of self-care, I am pursuing my own strength, wisdom, energy, enthusiasm, and courage to face the hardest of things. So often I am distracted by this notion that I must pull myself up by my bootstraps, that I lose sight of the empty tomb. A price too great for me to pay for myself, my Savior paid it all.

We can chase all the self-care, do all the self-care, read all the self-help content, and attend all the self-help meetings, and the emptiness, lack of energy, loss of strength remains. But when we pursue Jesus, and ask Him for enough for today, we no longer have to muster enough to face another moment. For He is there, being enough for that moment, and the next, and the next. One moment at a time, until we look back and see how much He conquered on our behalf, in us, and through us.

I’m not saying don’t take the bubble bath, or fill in the budget, or line out the day planner. What I am saying is, don’t mistake the minimal energy those things will give you for the strength and energy our gracious Savior has for you.

Until next time,
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A Prayer to Share:

Dear God,

While a bubble bath may be a temporary comfort, we turn to you for lasting comfort. Give us the strength for each moment as they come. Help us to parent for the long road. Help us have wisdom in each circumstance to point our children first toward You, then toward the way that pleases You. Help us persevere. Build strong character in us as we learn to do this hard job.

In Jesus’ Name,
Amen.

Parenting Stretches Us

Parenting always pushes me out of my comfort zone and really forces me to examine my thoughts, motives, actions. I have to really analyze my feelings, determine justified and unjustified emotions, and move forward with the day to day, no matter how happy or hurt I am.

My sweet son was talking to his dad on the phone as we drove home. I listened to half the conversation and could tell his dad was going to a movie, and he wanted to go.

“But not in 3D!!” My son exclaimed.

Hmm, I scratched my head.

“But I had to sit on the front row… Dad, I hate the front row,” he lamented.

Into the darkness of night, I fixed my gaze, as my feelings stung a bit. See, I worked extra hard to put together a movie day with just the big 2 and my husband and I. (Which never happens, for the record.) I’m not “in the know” enough to know that I should buy Marvel movie tickets 2 months ahead of time, or wait a couple weeks to try to see it. So we got stuck with front row seats.

3D gives me a major headache so we opted for a regular showing. But I was just certain that movies, popcorn, soda, and no little kids to hang out with would be a total win. But at this moment, all I heard were complaints.

My knee-jerk reaction/thought was, “I’ll never take you to another movie.”

I wish I could pluck thoughts out of my head and cast them in the trash, forgotten. But that’s not the case. I have to challenge the thought, the feelings, and find what makes the most sense. I have to ask Jesus to help me sort it out.

(Yes, I think kids need to be taught gratitude, but I don’t think this was entirely a gratitude issue. And even if it was on his part, I still have my part to sort out.)

See, parenting gives us these moments and lots of them. Moments where we can cry, stomp, and even lash out. Or moments where we can analyze our thoughts, our hearts, and choose our responses carefully.

In this case, I was merely eavesdropping, so adding my thoughts to his conversation would have been rude. I realized the effort I put into making the movie a special treat for the boys was my energy and effort spent, and being a words of affirmation girl made it hard to hear the opposite. His complaints weren’t far from my own – I thought the front row sucked, but it was better than not going at all.

And I’ve never known a kid that didn’t love a 3D movie.

And I think it’s normal for a kid to say what he/she thinks it will take to get what they want. He wanted to go to the movie with his dad and stepmom and siblings. Regardless of whether I made it a special afternoon, or we had a blast. He still wanted the experience of going with them.

That’s reasonable. I don’t mind experiencing the same thing multiple times if I get to experience it with different people that are important to me.

Okay, we’ll go to another movie at some point.

Sure, I’d love rave reviews about how perfect the afternoon was and how much they noticed that we went out of our way to make it fun for them. But then I have to remember that the absence of that, while felt sharply by myself as a words person, isn’t actually an insult.

I’m thankful that parenting teaches me so many lessons. I’m glad that parenting is part of how God is making me my best self. I’m thankful I get to walk through these things and that I get to learn to love expressively and fiercely. I am better for these moments that are a little painful.

Until next time,
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