Summer is here! School is out, the rainy weather is stopping, and it’s HOT in my neck of the woods. I survived my first year working at our boy’s school. My family has survived my first year working full-time. I’ve always worked but not a Monday – Friday, set schedule, full-time job. They survived with fewer homemade meals, more tasks to do on their own, and many days one tired mama. But we made it and I’m grateful for this past school year, my job, and the growth that has happened in us all.
This year I’ve been purposing to embracemore of this life. Each month I sit back and reflect on what I’ve learned and am embracing in this season; what I’ve held too tightly or let slip through my hands. I thank God for the areas I’m growing in and for this
“embrace” journey. Thank you for joining me on this adventure.
With growth often comes growing pains! Our eight-year-old gets them often. He asks for his dad to massage the back of his knee until the aching subsides and he feels better. I’ve tried to fill in when dad isn’t home, but it’s just not the same, and he lets me know. I’ve learned this year no one can quite understand my growing pains like my Heavenly Father. My husband, family and friends have been supportive of me going to work full-time. They have understood there are things I just couldn’t do this year. My close girlfriends have made time for me on my schedule and been accepting that I have to say “no” to more things.
But that doesn’t mean this year hasn’t been hard and lonely. It means I’ve had to use my planner like never before. It also required spending time laboring over what I can say “yes” to and what I should say “no” to. There were days I left the house in a frenzy and pulled in the driveway twelve hours later too exhausted to cry over the difficulties of the day. Can you relate? Has this year seemed busier, more challenging, or been filled with learning something new? Have you felt alone in your season?
Some days these growing pains have been downright hard! The saying; “Can’t teach an old dog a new trick,” has been ringing in my head quite a bit. However, I’ve learned you can, if the “old dog” is willing. The days I was willing and embracing the growing process were much easier than the ones I was longing for a less busy time. Guess what, my previous was difficult too. My part-time job was challenging and frustrating certain days. The car pool route I did between two different schools and activities for our three kids was draining! AND the days I embraced that season went a lot better than the ones I grumbled about. In order to grow and embrace each season well I have to take the good and the bad days while embracing the mundane.
At my new job this year the growing pains came in ways I wasn’t expecting. I’ve been learning to sit more, be still, and become a better listener. Each of these are challenging for me. One thing I loved about my previous part-time job was, when I finished my tasks for the day I could go, wow was that a blessing. This year, even in the slower moments, I had to be present; trying to be still and embrace finding something to do. In order to learn my new job duties, I needed to listen more. My brain goes extremely fast and most times when someone is talking to me about an issue; I’ve answered their question, figured a way to help them, and have a plan for how this can go smoother in the future, all before they’ve completed sharing their issue. Numerous thoughts often are rolling around in my head and I try not to blurt them all out……. sometimes I do better than others. I’m learning to listen better; to my husband, children, family, boss, and friends. It’s literally a battle in my head! I’m realizing that I’ve missed quite a bit in my life by not taking the time to listen.
I’m embracing the growing pains that come with breaking old habits. I desire to hear more of what I’m missing out on by not fully listening to those around me. I’m pursuing slowing down and being still even when it feels uncomfortable. I want to embrace the growing pains in this area in order not to rush through life. I love this quote by Dallas Willard, from the book Soul Keeping, “You must ruthlessly eliminate hurry from your life.”
Maybe listening is hard for you too, or maybe speaking up is. I can also relate to not wanting to answer tough questions. While getting a pedicure for Mother’s Day, the sweet young lady asked me if I have any siblings. I still dislike this question. It has been eight years since my younger brother passed away, but when that question comes up it feels fresh and painful. That day I briefly answered and changed the subject. I’m working on embracing this question more. I want it to be an opportunity that I get to talk about my awesome, kind, and brave brother. To also share what I learned from him in his twenty-six years here with me. I want to share about what God has done in my life on this grief journey. I miss my brother and would LOVE to have him here today, but I also know there’s a deeper trust in God that has come out of this season. There’s a softening of my heart that has come from the growing pains of grief. Grief is something we all have in common. We are all grieving something; a person, a season, a place, or plans we long to see happen. Maybe by sharing my grief story the sweet young lady would’ve been able to share hers. Opportunities are missed when I’m quiet at the wrong moment. I miss out when I stay stagnant and don’t actively pursue growth in my season.
Is there a question that causes you to clam up? One that you just don’t want to answer? A question that for someone else might be NO BIG DEAL. But, when asked, you freeze, want to run, or breeze past it. What are you missing out on by not embracing it? This can also open the door to the lonely side of grief because it’s your hard question, not everyone else’s. This is area of grief I have to continually grow in and realize, grief is unique. No one grieves the same, even if it’s a similar loss, we all process differently. And that’s okay. Grief also moves at its own pace through different people and during different seasons. This is why I’m truly grateful to lean in on my Creator, who knows me better than anyone else. Just like my eight-year old needs his dad sometimes to help him through the physical growing pains of life, I need my Heavenly Father. I’m grateful that He lets me continually stumble and grow in His grace. Even if some days that feels like a crawl instead of a leap. I’m praying those of you reading this find some time to get “real” with God and share your difficult questions. Let Him know the areas that are hard, lonely, and hindering you. When I bring my cares to Jesus I can then begin working on them and walking a little lighter. I pray we all continue growing and embracing more of this life, even in the difficult times, it’s a gift.
In my morning devotion time I’ve been studying 1 Peter and am just about to the end. I am comforted and strengthened by these couple of verses and pray you are too:
I Peter 5:10-11
After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His
eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you. To Him be dominion forever and ever.