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!