...and not "what is not," or "what I'm not." It is a daily struggle to fix our gaze on the current moment and the voice of God. The waves constantly laugh at me telling me what I am not and what is not in my life, and being more active on the old (Catholic) blogosphere just gives them more fodder to do so.
I am not a theologian.
I am not a daily Mass attendant.
I am not a homeschooler.
I am pushing 40 and do not have my own basketball team of children.
I am not a breastfeeder.
I am not a mother who makes all her own baby food.
I am not a mother who does not use processed food.
I am not a mother who only shops organic.
I am not a wife who doesn't get upset with her husband.
I am not a wife who keeps the house clean, the kids fed and has energy left over for her spouse on a daily basis.
I am not a wife who has the children tamed and dinner on the table when her husband comes home.
I am not a woman who is organized.
I am not a blogger who has taken the interwebs by storm.
I am not a joyful mother and wife all of the time.
I am not a full time working mother, but am always tired.
I am not the mom who can make macaroni art with her child, have dinner on the stove, the laundry done and folded and still have a smile on her face.
I am not...
I am not..
I am not...
The devil is in the details of comparison. I was recently having a conversation with Patty over at Tales of Me and the Husband (you should check out her blog - she's one of those joyful people I admire!) about the frustration of trying to break into a community, online in this case, but also in real life. There are always expectations based on age, marital status, faith, etc etc etc dot dot dot...and there is a lot of judgment based on what others choices have been (and then feel yours should be). We become insular, forgetting that part of our duty as married people (well, any people) is to reach out to the world as a sign of God's love. We get focused on our family, on our friends that make us feel okay about where and who we are, and forget that others are trying to make their way into this world. We forget that we don't like to be judged for our choices for our family, and while we are called to be our brothers' keepers in helping one another walk a holy walk, they are choices every family must make for themselves. We forget that we should be building each other up. We forget that our own insecurities can lead us to tear down instead of build up. It is a rough enough world out there without us raising an eyebrow at family choices that are not harmful, or not extending an inviting embrace to those who are at a different spot on the road. We get nowhere alone. So today, I vow to look at "what is" instead of "what is not" and help you to do the same. Life is rough, but heaven is worth it!
I am a woman.
I am a woman who loves the Lord and is learning to love Him more deeply.
I am a woman who had learned to live with loss.
I am a woman who is self-sufficient most of the time.
I am a woman who has gifts to share.
I am a woman who feels deeply.
I am a woman who falls daily, but keeps getting up even when I don't feel like it.
I am a woman who is searching for better ways to advocate for the least of these.
I am a woman who is trying to love and serve the Lord and bring His love to the rest of the world.
I am a wife who loves her husband.
I am a wife who appreciates that her husband loves her with the same unconditional love as Christ.
I am a wife who tries to have dinner started or at least planned most days.
I am a wife who prays with and for her husband.
I am a wife who tries to encourage and support her husband in his passions.
I am a wife who tries desperately not to nag.
I am a wife who is learning how to love her husband better.
I am a mother.
I am a mother who dances with her children.
I am a mother who sings her children to sleep.
I am a mother who snuggles her babies and slathers them with kisses.
I am a mother whose heart breaks when her babies are suffering.
I am a mother who puts food on the table.
I am a mother who enjoys the sound of her children's laughter.
I am a mother who endures the sound of her children's whining and crying despite the urge to run out the door.
I am a mother who prays with and for her children.
I am a mother who is committed to teaching her children that God loves them.
I am a mother who is committed to teaching her children to be kind, to love well and see the dignity in everyone they meet.
I am a daughter of God.
I am a daughter who is growing in patience with her mother.
I am a daughter who misses being someone's little girl, but live it out being a mother who loves on her little girl.
I am intelligent.
I am funny (even I am the only one who thinks so).
I am loving.
Whether I see it or not, I am beautiful, blemishes, extra pounds and all, if only because God created me, and He does not create ugly things.
You are beautiful. You are loved. You are.