family pic

family pic

Monday, December 28, 2015

Striking out in Life

The inspiration for this post ;)
A year and a half ago life threw me a curve ball. In the game of baseball curveballs are unexpected and are thrown for the sole purpose of striking out the batter. The pitcher assumes that batter will be anticipating a pitch based off of a prediction from the speed and direction of his previous pitches. He then throws the ball with a completely different technique startling the batter, which typically results in a poor swing and ultimately a strike out. 

The curve ball I received actually nailed me, the batter, and left me laying in a fetal position on home plate. The ball was made out of steel... with nails sticking out of it... and it was on fire. I'm not sure if I am accurately conveying just how destructive this curve ball was ;)

So there I was laying in the fetal position on home plate.

"STRIKE 3!" What?! The ball had hit me. My uniform was seared and bloody. Clearly this was not a strike. But the call was nonnegotiable.

The game was over for me. But in this analogy, the game was life. Life kept going on. The baseball game was not over, but all I could do was crawl helplessly to bench and passively watch the game unfold. 

I tried to make the best of my bench status, indulging in peanuts and bubble gum. I told myself, if this is my new position I might as well make the best of it. But after a couple of innings, I was deeply discontent. I was chosen to be on this team. I was a Cardinal (seems like an appropriate team name considering the red hair). I could pretend that I was no longer on the team and live life as a mere fan, but that did not change the reality. I was still a member on this team.

But I couldn't get myself to step back onto the field. I decided to spend my time on the bench really watching the game. I saw some of our weaknesses as a team. We failed a lot with many strikes, missed catches, and good swings resulting in foul balls. I became relieved that we were allowed multiple strikes and errors. It even hit me that in this game, we were expected fail multiple times. There was a margin of error in this game.

I saw unfair calls being declared on my teammates as well. I listened to teammates as they passed me in between innings and heard stories of injustices done against them on the field. Some of them experienced a series bad calls and somehow managed to get right back into the game.

I started to watch our coach. I loved our coach, but I had been avoiding Him. He had chosen me to be on this team, even guaranteeing an unconditional life-time membership. I was pretty certain he was regretting this guarantee right about now as my contribution level was at a solid zero. But as I really started to watch Him, I did not see even a hint of regret in His eyes. He loved each one of His players and refused to draft any of them, even after a series of failures.

I realized that I had an amazing coach. He obviously didn't need me on His team. He simply wanted me on His team. Why me? That was a question I would never have an answer for. But it prompted the question "What now?".

I felt like a complete failure. I looked like a complete failure. But my coach wanted me back out on the field. I could finish out my career on the bench in shame, telling myself I didn't deserve to be on the field. Or I could get back out there.... joyful over the fact that I was wanted out there.

So this brings me to the present. Where I am ready to get back into the game, timidly taking a batter's stance on home plate. Going back into the game with a new perspective, a new joy, and the weight of performance off my shoulders.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Embracing Chaos as a Single Mother

Dear single mother. It is 10:11 PM and you have collapsed into your bed.

Your bed…covered with sticky notes because your son decided to remove every.single.sticky.note from the stack. Your bed... with a pile of clothes you never hung up on the corner. Your bed which is very likely to end up containing a couple of children by the morning.

You have collapsed into your bed, but your head is still spinning from your daily chaos...followed by a weight of guilt.

"I have got to get on a better schedule. I have got to get the kids to bed earlier.  I didn't even look over son #1's homework... we should have stayed up tonight to look over it. Kid #2 never brushed his teeth. The kids aren't getting enough sleep… "BOYS! STOP TALKING AND GO TO SLEEP"… I shouldn't yell so much. I need to come down harder on the kids. I never got groceries. I forgot to pick up child # 3's prescription. I should hang up these clothes. My house is a mess. My life is a mess."

A one word description of your day would be chaos. Absolute utter chaos. You feel like a complete mess… and, well, let's admit it… You.Are.A.Mess. 

And this is where you expect me to give you a 5 step plan to create a life of peace and order. I've watched other single families over the years and have analyzed my own life, I've recently concluded that life as a single mom is messy. You can only accomplish so much, by yourself, with only 24 hours in your day. It's not that some tasks might fall through the cracks... but that some tasks will fall through the cracks.

You can choose to live your life... with chaos....and guilt
You can choose to live your life... with chaos... and grace. 

You don't get to eliminate the element of chaos. But when you find yourself laying on a pile of sticky notes at 10 O'Clock at night and the weight of guilt threatens to suffocate you, you can wearily place that guilt into the hands of Christ. And rest in the joy and peace of His unconditional love.