She Runs A Good Race

mothering is a marathon

Pretty On The Outside But…

IMG_4843Don’t judge us by our Christmas card. 

We look pretty perfect.  Like the quintessential all-American family.  Don’t we?

The only thing missing in the picture is our adorable, chocolate labradoodle, Gracie, with a Christmas bandana around her neck.

It’s a great picture, if I do-so-narcissistically-say-so myself, as the mother in this photogenic crew.

BUT…

Just because I know how to pull together coordinating outfits and shoes, hire a professional photographer, and put lots of make-up on and smile just right, does not a perfect family make.

You know that and I know that.

But why do we ASSUME that because “someone is cute and wears designer jeans” as Glennon Doyle Melton (momastery.com) says, “that they have it all together?”

There’s a quote that keeps getting passed around Facebook.  I love it.  It’s truth.  Listen to it:

“EVERYONE YOU MEET IS SILENTLY FIGHTING A BATTLE.  BE KIND.”

For us Patays, the obvious battle I am so vocal about is living with Ryan’s disability (Prader-Willi syndrome.)  If you have been following my blog long enough, you know how much I vomit it all out.  But of course, there’s a thousand other battles going on in our family.

And yours.

Don’t be afraid to share, to vent, to offer honest stories and struggles.

Because EVERYONE and every family has something going on in their lives that make them uncomfortable.  No one family or marriage is perfect.

Let me say that again.  No family is perfect.  Nobody is perfect. No one’s life is perfect.  No matter how “pretty” you are, with a pretty house, and pretty garden, with pretty circumstances, you all struggle with something.  We ALL do.  I know I do.

Do you have anyone in your life that you openly and freely share without any filtering and photo-shopping?

Why not be vocal?  Why not share?  Why not try vulnerability and a little transparency?

We all like to post about our food, our restaurants, our genius and athletic kids, our vacations, our homes, and our oh-so-fun social lives on Facebook.  (Ok, not EVERYONE is on FB, and a sick, serial post-er like me, but you get what I mean.)  Why not post your struggle, your weakness, your failure?  Not in a poor-me way, but in an attempt to show your humanness and connect with others in such a humbling way?  For 2014, lets all give up pretending, masking, and posturing.  Just be who you are.

Who wants to go first?  I will hold your hand.  And be non-judgmental.  I will cry, laugh, and listen, listen, listen. To your heart.  Now give it a try.

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Divine Appointments & Chili

Touchdown_Chili_Recipe.ashxToday’s post may not be full of a thousand words.  But its packed chock full.

Of heart.

Of soul.

Of spirit.

Of joy.

Of awe.

Of humble appreciation.

Of gratitude.

Of humanity.

What comes out of a simple invitation for hot chili on a cold winter day astounds me.

A new family, new to us, and us, new to them, came over for lunch.  The house was picked up. Bathroom cleaned. Table set. Flowers in a vase. Nice-smelly candle lit. Fireplace on.  Cozy was the call.

Doorbell rang. We did the usual introductions. Hung in the foyer a few minutes. And then invited them in. Fully in.  Some of the kids were shy, some eager to play together, one full of questions (always, wink wink…).

We sat down and the floodgates opened.  We shared. We exchanged. We laughed. We over-shared and apologized, but it didn’t matter, not one bit.  It was rich.

And the whole time I am thinking and feeling grateful to be a part of a Larger God-Story going on here.

I love those moments, conversations, and meetings of new people, when you know God is behind the whole thing.  That there is a reason I am now in your life.  That there is a reason you are now in my life.  Its naught for naught.  Its deep. Its spiritual.  I call these Divine Appointments.

And always, a Divine Appointment is orchestrated by God, who loves and cares deeply about people.  He brings people together because someone needs wisdom.  Or inspiration. Or healing. Or love. Or a word of encouragement. Or an act of kindness. Or a new friend.  Or a special connection for personal or even business reasons.  Or deep spiritual truth and conviction that always points one or another back to the Lord.

Yesterday’s hot chili-and-chips-or-cornbread-lunch may have filled up my tummy.  Which lasts a few hours.

Yet our exchange with this new family filled up my heart and spirit forever.  I am so very humble to be a part of what God is doing in someone else’s life. I am grateful that God would use me, (really, Chris and me), a person so flawed, so messy, so full of my own sinfulness and mistakes, to be of inspiration to another.

I always say that crisis brings clarity to one’s life. And it does.  But on the happier flip-side, Divine Appointments with another human being also bring clarity and perspective on what really matters in this short life on Earth.

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