"Great job!Caleb has discovered the joys of digital photography. While he can rock a selfie and some of his photos reveal a fascinating glimpse of life through the eyes of my little hurricane, many of his photos leave something to be desired.
"Hey Caleb, let's take a picture of Abigail's shirt. It's so cute today!"
"Well, that's great. But let's try backing up a little bit."
Caleb tends to get hooked on one show at a time and watches it ad nauseum until we can't stand it anymore and force him to watch something new. This week, he is hooked on Super Why. The characters always have a problem and fly into a storybook to help solve it. In every episode, a storybook character says "I can't help it! It's in my story!" The solution to the problem is always to change the story. So instead of Humpty Dumpty sitting on a wall, he throws a ball with his friends.
Today, I suggested we share a bag of popcorn for our snack. Caleb was quite excited about a bag of baby bell peppers we'd just purchased at the store and said "I don't like popcorn anymore, Mommy. I like peppers and carrots now. I can't help it! It's in my story!" Giggling a little, I asked if he zapped the word popcorn and changed it to pepper - just like Super Why. With an extremely serious look on his face he said, "No, mommy. I just changed my story. In my brain."
It was a sweet little moment and in no time he was jabbering away about balls as per his usual. But the exchange has stuck with me throughout the day. With child like innocence, he changed his story. I would love to so easily change my story! No more popcorn, only peppers. I'd love to change my story from "Allison sat on the sidelines." to "Allison joined in the game." For a few hours I pondered and pouted over the story that never seems to change. Always the French fries, never the salad. I wrestled with what a friend said today "Sounds like there's an athlete in you. You just need to do it."
I have no answers tonight. I know I want to change my story. I know I want something different.
But there's one thing that has echoed in my heart with every thought of changing my story. Each time I wrestled with how I could change, I was quietly reminded there's One who already has. There's One who saw the story of a dead and hardened sinner, lost in her own ways, and changed it. He reached into my selfishness and pride and changed my story. Glory! Death to life. Selfish to servant. Victim to victor. And He's not done. My story is still being written. Every time I take the pen and write words that don't belong, He comes along and changes them.
I don't know what my story holds. I know I want to see change. But I also know that it already has.
Do you see this one? The one with the blue eyes that sparkle and shine? He changed my name.
Do you see this one? The one with the smile that literally stops strangers in the store? He changed everything I knew about motherhood.
Do you see this one? The one with all the hair? She changed...well, she changed everything.
Together these three have rearranged me from the inside out, stretched me beyond my limit, split me in two, and made me weep in pain and exhaustion. They have brought me hurt I never knew possible.
Together these three have challenged me to be better than I was, forced me to live outside of myself, and burst my heart wide open with a love I never imagined. They have brought me joy I never knew possible.
Motherhood is nothing I expected it would be. It's so much harder. It's so much better. It's so much more beautiful. This Mother's Day, I'm so thankful for these 3 precious little ones that call me "Mommy." (And often call me "Mommy! Mommy! Mommy! Mommy! Mommy! Mommy! Mommy! Mommy!") They are such a precious expression of my heart and I wouldn't be who I am without them.
I've been doing a lot of thinking lately. (Marathon nursing sessions and ridiculously long laundry folding sessions tend to allow a lot of time to think...) I've also spent way too much time on Facebook.
On Facebook I see the best parts of each friend. I see the friend with 4 children whose home is filled with schedules and peace and no television. Ever. I see the friend (also with 4 kids) who just opened her own shop where everything is lovely and perfect and her children don't leave things destroyed in their wake. I see that friend who makes time to work out daily and makes healthy choices for her family. (Come to think of it, that friend has 4 kids too.) I'm left feeling like my life is chaos, all my things are ugly and need to be updated so they're trendy, and I'm ruining my family forever by running through the drive thru.
But here's the thing. In the past year, our family has gotten to know our church family pretty well. These are families that we see in real life. (And they, in turn, see us.) I see the friend struggling to parent a snarky preteen. I see the friend who lost her job but not her joy. I see that friend that meets me in my chaos and loves my family fiercely, even when we all lose our minds. Wow. These real life relationships have changed me. But they've also helped me find me.
Someone asked me today about Abigail's schedule. As we chatted I realized she really doesn't have one. With the boys, that would have sent me into a tail spin! I worked tirelessly to get everyone on a routine so our days were predictable. Organized. Scheduled. We were all miserable. I thought we needed more schedule so I buckled down more. Then somewhere, somehow, I just stopped. I stopped trying to hyper schedule our day and just let it flow. But as I talked to my friend today I realized how much more relaxed we had all become. And then, in the middle of our conversation, it hit me. I am me. God gave me these kids because they need ME as their mother. Not my friend who perfectly schedules her day. Not my friend who has an eye for creating beautiful treasures for her shop. They need me - loud and crazy and unscheduled me.
I think for the first time in my life I'm really ok with that. These kids have changed me. My church family has changed me. Growing a family has changed me. And "me" is a wonderful, beautiful thing!