Archive for the ‘Home’ Category

I recently read Brene Brown’s The Gifts of Imperfection.  It triggered a lot of soul-searching.  It led me to the realization that I define my self-worth based on how well I do things.  Thus, I feel very positive about myself while I am at work.  I am a productive employee who meets expectations in all areas. 

The problem is I am not a productive wife or mother.  Being a mother, especially to a preschooler and child with ASD, is so overwhelming.  Most of the time as a parent, I feel frustrated, anxious and hopeless.  This has produced a wife who is too emotionally and mentally exhausted to contribute much around the house.  My husband does all the cooking and laundry at our house. As a wife, I feel lazy, ashamed and like a burden.  So while I love being at work, I feel like I am crawling out of my skin at home.

And it’s all because I define my self-worth based on my level of productivity.  And I have no idea how to stop this.  For me, it’s like the facts are in.  My employer is highly satisfied with my performance.  If polled, my husband and children would likely say they are not.  I’m mean, bristly and short-fused.  I’m inattentive, unaffectionate and unhelpful.  I can rationalize that these statements are mere conjecture, and even if true, not true all of the time.  But even when I can mentally grasp that, I still can’t get those feelings out of my heart.

But today I read this:

 “There is a deep hole in your being, like an abyss.  You will never succeed in filling that hole, because your needs are inexhaustible.  You have to work around it so that gradually the abyss closes.

Since the hole is so enormous and your anguish so deep, you will always be tempted to flee from it.  There are two extremes to avoid: being completely absorbed in your pain and being distracted by so many things that you stay far away from the wound you want to heal.”

Work Around Your Abyss – Henri Nouwen

Now I feel like I have a road map of sorts.  I can see that I have let myself become completely absorbed by my pain at home and it has paralyzed me.  I can also see that I have pushed myself so hard at work that it’s allowed me to avoid the pain of ill-defined self-worth.  I need to understand this abyss of mine.  What led me to this place?  What purpose has this torturous self-worth served for me?  Why is it so hard to settle for good enough?  I don’t know the answers to any of those questions yet, but at least now I have a place to start.  Going to work around my abyss, trusting that someday it will close.

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Back in the Saddle

I’m a woman, a wife, a mother, an amateur theologian and a social worker.  In that order.  Sometimes I play all five roles decently.  More often than not though, it seems like I’m doing maybe one of them well and the others pretty half-ass.  I should try to put a more positive spin on that, or perhaps a more philosophical one, but I don’t know what else to say.

I started this blog eight whole years ago because I thought I had some clever, profound, important things to say.  At that time, what I wrote about did feel pretty clever, profound and important.  I had a small following.  I felt good about myself and my ability to write.  Seminary came and went and I discovered I wasn’t such a good writer after all.  My life got busier (namely due to the inclusion of a husband and step-daughter) and my world became some sort of confusing, mottled blurry continuum of events.  I began to feel less clever and certainly less profound.  The things I had to say didn’t seem so much more important than anything else anybody else had to say, so more or less, I quit writing.

I’ve recently realized that I’ve been living my life in the order of social worker, mother, wife, woman, amateur theologian.  Living my roles in that order is neither healthy for me, nor is it helpful for the others in my life.  Bit by bit I’ve tried to reorder my life.  I’ve started cross-stitching, coloring mandalas, playing the trumpet again, worked at reading more, doing some yoga.  So I thought I’d start writing again too.

It seems that the spirit behind my blog from the beginning holds true still now.  I wrote in 2006 and will reiterate today:  Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit to sustain me. ~ Psalm 51:12

And a right-on-the-money spin on it from The Message says it even better: Don’t throw me out with the trash or fail to breathe holiness in me. Bring me back from gray exile, put a fresh wind in my sails!

The joy of salvation. A willing spirit. The acknowledgement of the grayness that sometimes surrounds me. The promise that a breath of His holiness can overtake a day’s worth of weariness.

My hope is that this blog will be a place for me to share and explore all the things He has sent to sustain me. Laughter, tunes, random stories and some deeper ponderings. I hope it will all find a place here.

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What can’t be taken away

Although I don’t write much about the reflecting I do regarding my upcoming transition into marriage and motherhood, I do do plenty of reflecting.  I just turned 29 yesterday and I found myself thinking…

I’m almost 30.  I’m almost married.  I almost have a four-year old.  I’m almost a stay-at-home mom.

Seems like my reflections, fleeting as they may be, are jaw-dropping.

Today’s momentary reflection came just now.  The chica came down from bed, desperate for a granola bar.  While she was so politely pleading, I was gazing at the website for Mars Hill Graduate School in Seattle.  Her daddy presented her with the much needed snack and a melancholic something settled over me.

It’s something I’ve realized before, but everytime I realize it, I realize it deeper.  After January 31, the almosts (except the 30 part) will be reality and the horizon of my dreams will be far narrower than it has ever been.

But then the chica started putting the chocolate chips from her granola bar into her belly button.

The gray cloud lifted and an August’s worth of sunshine poured back in.

“In 10 minutes we’ll take away your snack and it will be time to go back to bed,” we told her.

The chica giggles her reply, “But you can’t take away my belly button.”


No we can’t.  And she and her daddy do not take but give all that is good to me.

kisses and hugs, little girl.  kisses and hugs.

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