My family, the body of Christ, is made up of some of the most beautiful women (and men!) on the earth. I am glad to be counted among them. And I love, love, love reading their blogs, hearing about what is going on in their lives, what they are learning....
But, hmmm. How can I say this? I often don't feel I really *fit in*.
See, a lot of these blogs are organized, inspiring, deeply spiritual. They can discuss a lot of serious things. They are beautifully written, almost like poetry.
It's like this in church sometimes too. Especially in ladies Bible studies. You sit in a group and realize that they women around you are amazing. They are sweet, kind, gentle... All the things you want to be.
And I AM changing. God is teaching me to be more patient and gentle. But I am beginning to see that having the attribute of gentleness doesn't necessarily change your personality.
I'm not a super serious person. I'm quirky. I like to laugh. A lot. Incidentally, it is one of my favorite things about my husband. The man makes me laugh every. single. day. That scores major points in my book.
I'll be honest. I do the comparison game a lot. And the thing about the comparison game is that, no matter how well you are doing, you always, always lose. There are no winners in the comparison game.
Having a blog has shown me some pretty ugly things in myself. I have read other blogs and seen that these other writers have a bazillion followers. And I start watching my numbers. I try to think of ways to attract more readers. I check back on my blog a gazillion times a day to see if anyone else has subscribed.
Then I sit back and realize this is insane. This is why I went follower-free on my blog. Because I recognize that I can get caught up in stupid pursuits. In my heart, I realize I need to be writing for an audience of One.
Or I will read some of the super-spiritual blogs. I love these girls. They poetically write how God spoke to them in a falling leaf, the way the light fell across their dining room table, or how they just *knew* which scripture to read that afternoon because it was spelled out in their alphabet soup. I read this and think, wow! That's amazing! And then I think about how I need to plant more trees in my yard and stock up on Campbell's soup.
Or I read about how this particular mama organizes her household chores, her homeschool schedule and her finances. She has software for this and a spread sheet for that. She always has a ready inventory of what is in her pantry and refrigerator. She has menu plans until 2050. She has color coded charts and has laminated those bad boys and wow are they shiny and pretty. I get schedule envy.
Some of them even promise if you will just do this particular method or organization you will have less discipline problems with your kids, you will have less stress in your home, and your husband will love you better because your home will be a well-oiled machine.
Except, well, that is not the way I roll. Sure, I can learn a thing or two. We can always learn from one another. But if it isn't customized to my home and my family, what good is that?
I hear all these awesome stories about how God speaks to people and I want God to speak to me too. I want to go to far away countries. I want to feed hungry children. I want to do all kinds of things. Except God doesn't usually speak to me like that.
God usually speaks to me through every day things.
And it is rarely poetic.
God teaches me about His unconditional love as I change diapers. I profoundly realize that if it were not for the great love I have for that particular child, I would surely exchange this child for a substantially less stinky one. Don't judge me. You don't understand. My kids can put out some rancid diapers.
God teaches me that His mercies are new every morning because no matter how mad I was at my kid the day before, I want us all to start over the next day. And I instinctively know it is never good to go to bed mad.
God teaches me about the importance of repentance because I know my kids are truly sorry for what they did wrong when they try to do the right thing the next time around.
It isn't that I don't think falling leaves are beautiful.
It's just that for me, one of the most beautiful sounds is hearing my children laugh. (I think God likes hearing when we laugh, too!) Or hearing my husband play guitar with our two oldest boys. (Don't you think He likes hearing our music, our praise?)
It is beautiful to see him baking banana bread with our lone daughter.
And sometimes the most beautiful thing in my home at the moment is clean underwear.
I am a mother of eight. It is here, in this life, that God speaks. He doesn't speak to me the same way he would speak to a single woman, or a mother of two, or even another mother of eight who is totally and uniquely different. We are not cookie cutters.
I can't write about alphabet soup moments because, for me, that is not real. And I believe the best way to allow God to speak through you is to be honest. It's ok to want to progress in good qualities. That's a great thing. We should all be yielding more and more to God, allowing Him to change us into holier people. But we should NOT be looking at others, comparing ourselves to them, and wishing we were more like they were.
We should keep our eyes on Jesus.
Besides, I've never been crazy about alphabet soup. If God is going to speak to me through food, I'm pretty sure it is going to be chocolate.
linking up today with Emily, another of those amazing bloggers I was talking about, and one who keeps her eyes on Jesus. I love being *me* with her.