Wednesday, March 28, 2012

How I {DON'T} Do it All!

Invariably when I meet new people they'll ask the infamous question. Sometimes it makes me laugh loudly. The question itself is pretty hilarious. Sometimes I think to myself - if only you KNEW! It comes in various forms, but pretty much is all summed up in this version:

"HOW do you DO it ALL???"

The answer is so ridiculously simple, that I can't believe everyone else hasn't figured it out!

You know ... between being a wife, having five children {ages pre-school through college}, providing hospitality, keeping up with the literal mountains of laundry, homeschooling, feeding everyone, serving other women through speaking/writing ministry, the list goes on and on. What seems like such a DIFFICULT question to answer is so incredibly simple that I sometimes am still shocked when people ask.

Are you ready?

BRACE yourself, please!


Let me word it differently, if you couldn't catch it that way.

I do NOT!!!

I Can't! I Don't I WON'T!

Here's why. God didn't create me to do it ALL. He created me {and you} with a specific purpose. What He has for me to do daily, in some way, will be different than what He has for you to do. And it SHOULD. He didn't create us to live these identical-cookie-cutter lives. We need to EACH be seeking HIM about what He has for us, INDIVIDUALLY, to do. And it should happen regularly.

So for those of you trying to figure out how to juggle everything - here's a few tips.

1) Stop comparing yourself to others. As women we're so guilty of this. So often we spend way too much time looking at what OTHERS are doing, instead of focusing on what He has for US to do.

2) Ask the Lord to help you figure out your priorities. What does He have for you RIGHT now, in THIS current season. That likely will look a little differently in 6 mo, a year and five years from today.

3) Be willing to make the adjustments the previous step calls for. Little Johnny does NOT need to be in multiple extra-curricular activities to grow up to be a man of integrity and ready to face the real world. TRUST ME. Want to destroy your family? Spread yourselves too thin running from place to place.

4) Have realistic expectations. I'm warning you, this one will be TOUGH on many of you. For me to fulfill what God has for me in THIS season, I've had to let other things go. Let go. Sometimes say no.

We can't "do it all". That's just a big fat LIE. Grab a few moments and get alone with God. Ask Him what He has for YOU ... for THIS season. What does HE want you to focus on? Not what are all the other voices saying you must do. What is HE saying?

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Diversity - A Glimpse of Heaven

Living in rural, central IL, diversity isn't something I get to enjoy every day. Well, other than the precious diversity within my own four walls. I have always appreciated diversity, but it wasn't until our family became a multi-cultural family did I realize how much I would ache for it.

One day the reality hit me ... I am no longer the "Momma of a Caucasian Family". I see things through a different lens now. I feel things through a different heart. I hear things through a different filter. This is good. This is necessary.

Recently my girls and I were at our local Aldi grocery store. My precious seven year old exclaimed to me in the most urgent and excited voice ... "Momma!!!, we're not the only brown people here!". Those words stopped me in my tracks. I quickly made eye contact with my spunky sweetie with big eyes full of happiness and a tinge of a look to encourage "how 'bout lets not shout that so loudly' just now". We finished up our shopping, managed to make it through the checkout without too much sibling rivalry that day and then headed back to our car. As I opened the car door, I knew it was time to connect. I got down at eye level with my Texan girl and asked her how it makes her feel when she realizes she's not the only brown person in a store. We chatted a bit and I drew her in close while telling her how I want her to know I'm always here to talk about these things. She hugged me tight and said ... "Momma, I thought I might be in trouble when we stopped at the car and you needed to talk to me!". No, sweet girl, not in trouble at all {this time}. ;)

Living as a multi-ethnic family is a glorious blessing! One that has given me such a far greater vision of what heaven will be like. It also comes with responsibility. We need to take the time to see and feel and hear a little differently than we used to.

Last month I had the absolute privilege of traveling out to PA and speaking at a women's retreat. Never could I have envisioned what a deep blessing that trip would be on so many levels. One was the area of diversity. Meeting women from all over the world who now resided in the same corner of the US was just amazing. I loved hearing their various accents. They teased me that I sounded like I had picked up a bit of a Texas. ;) I have my Daddy to blame for that one. {No he's not from the south, but those who knew him will never forget that southern drawl of his.} The women shared stories that came out of a vast variety of cultures. As we stood and worshiped the Lord together I could not help but think of how this is but a glimpse of heaven some day. A day when we will ALL stand together with no racial barriers and worship our Father face-to-face. I long for that day.

Being there in that beautiful place made me ache for my baby girls to be with me. How fun it would have been to see them meet in person the women who were so touched by their testimonies of LIFE and ADOPTION.

Not too far down the road from us, another family is preparing to welcome home a new child. Their family will soon resemble ours. Perhaps that's just the beginning of growing diversity here in my 'lil corner of the world in rural, central IL.