Some disciplines are worth doing even if it means doing them late. For me, looking back and remembering what I’ve learned each month has become a life-giving discipline. So, even though I’m a week behind, I bring you …
#1: I need to stop being surprised by May-Madness.
Every year I get blindsided by the craziness that comes with school-aged kids in May. The madness of May closely resembles that of December, with gifts to buy and parties to juggle. The difference is that I plan for December-crazy while allowing May-Madness to plow me over year after year.
Well, no more.
As part of my “Just Say No to Crazy” campaign, I will plan ahead for May and go in with my eyes wide open. Starting now!
(Oh, and the “Just Say No to Crazy” campaign isn’t really a thing, but it should be.)
#2: Listening to audio books can be a spiritual discipline.
At first, listening to audio books was a little bit like torture. Unlike reading, when you listen to an audio book, you can’t speed up the pace OR look ahead to the end. Both of these factors can severely get on the nerves of someone who a) likes to read really fast to get to the good parts and b) likes to look ahead to know what’s going to happen next.
Hello. My name is Carrie and I (might) have a control problem.
God has shown me over the last couple of months how listening to books can serve as a spiritual discipline. Listening to someone read forces me to slow down, stay present and receive whatever comes without trying to rush ahead to the good parts. This discipline of listening is helping me to practice staying present in my own story, receiving whatever comes without trying to rush ahead to the good parts.
#3: My kids can use the “Find my Phone” app to stalk me.
The other day we all updated our “Find my Phone” app on our phones. The purpose: to have a way to stalk my people when I want to know where they are. (Yes, we’re back to that control issue again.)
Little did I know, my kids would be the first to use it on me.
While out on a date night with some friends, I got this text from the kids (who were left at home), “Mom, where are you? Why did your phone go away from dads? Did you go to the bathroom or something?”
Seriously!?! Yes, my darling. I did.
#4: In one pile of books, you can learn so many things.
This book pile is the most diverse I’ve read in awhile, and I learned so many things.
Here’s the super-condensed version of what I learned:
7 Women: These seven women made a difference in history because of one main thing: their resolve to follow the Lord. I want to live – resolve – follow like they did.
Communicating for a Change: Not many people will get giddy over a book like this, but I learned a new teaching style and I. am. giddy.
Wild and Free: Just because you love someone’s words and inspiration on Instagram doesn’t mean you’ll love their book. I can totally get behind the message of this book, but for some reason I couldn’t get into the content of it. Bummer.
Daring Greatly: We all feel shame. It’s important to build shame resilience. Vulnerability is important. Let people see you. Rinse and repeat.
Thriving in Babylon: In order to thrive in our modern day Babylon, a follower of Christ should major in humility, hope and wisdom.
8 Great Smarts: According to this author, we have the potential to be smart in eight different ways (word, logic, music, picture, nature, body, people and self smart). It was interesting and fun to think through the smarts of my people and how they play into how we learn/relate/engage together.
#5: Discipleship really is my bag.
This has been on my What I’ve Learned rough draft list each month since I started this discipline in January. I don’t know why I keep taking it off my list.
When I lose my way and begin to spin my wheels in a million different directions, the Lord keeps steering me back to this. Discipleship. Walking out this journey of faith together.
This is where I am able to pursue my passion and live out my purpose. It is the underlying desire behind each blog post, each retreat, each bible study group. Discipleship is my thing.
#6: It’s time to admit I’m battle worn.
I knew right away we were under attack. When both the cars needed costly repairs right after my husband stepped away from his job, I sneered at the enemy. God had given us peace. Financial stress would not take us down. We would not be moved.
Then came the physical hits: poison ivy turned into all-over hives. Medication for hives caused dehydration, which led to what appeared to be a bladder infection, which turned out to be kidney stones.
And just when I was back on my feet physically, the Accuser turned his attention to my boy.
With every physical battle, there is a greater spiritual battle at work. I know this to be true. But for one reason or another, I didn’t want to call what we happening an attack. And I didn’t want to ask for help.
The enemy loves it when we crawl in a hole and stay quiet in our pain.
But God. (Yall, He’s so good.)
Right in the thick of our struggle with our boy, an email appeared in my inbox. In a blog post titled “To Servants of Jesus in your 30’s and 40’s”, Bible teacher Beth Moore spoke to my current reality. She said something to the effect of, “You’ve come of age and you’re doing it. You’re living out your purpose in Christ. But be warned: the enemy will come after you. He’s ruthless. He’ll come after your kids too.” Confirmation #1: This is a battle.
This past weekend, we opened up our Bibles to continue a teaching series through Daniel, and our pastor preached about the realities of spiritual warfare. My eyes welled up with tears. His message was confirmation #2. “The enemy is after you, and he’ll come after your kids too.”
Yall, I’ve been under attack. I am battle worn.
#7: Even Mama Bear has to surrender to the authority of Jesus.
When the Accuser went after my boy and our parenting, the Mama Bear in me showed her teeth and lifted her paw. Through this struggle, Jesus taught me an important lesson about Mama Bear.
You can read all about my struggle here.
#8: I like creating places for people to take a deep breath, but when it comes being the one who needs the breath – I’m not a big fan.
I look this picture right before the boy melted. He didn’t want to be in the middle of this love fest.
Receiving love can be hard. This I know.
When I showed up to our last day of Bible study war-weary, we didn’t even get to our opening prayer before I melted. My friend drew me in and whispered me these words, “We called this place the Breathing Room for a reason. You get to take a deep breath here too.”
She was right. I’m grateful for friends bold enough to get in my face and tell me the truth.
#9: Leaving town is good for the soul, even if you’re a home-body by nature.
Over Memorial Day weekend, we packed the car and headed to a friend’s house in the Hill Country. It felt a little like fleeing for our lives. It felt like running away from our problems. But for a weekend, it felt so good.
#10: There is always something to be thankful for.
This past month has not been fun, but God has been faithful. He has comforted and encouraged. He has healed and restored. He has provided. He has inspired. He has defended. He has protected. Even in the hard, our God is good.
As my friend Amy always says, “There is always something to be thankful for.”
If you’re still reading this really long post, give yourself a gold star.
Thank you for reading.