Posted in Friendship, Mail on Mondays

Mail-on-Mondays: Dear Tidy Momma

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Dear Tidy Momma,

Last week I made my bed for the first time in probably a month, or two if I’m being honest. It looked so pretty, I almost took a picture and posted it on social media. Except I was afraid of what you might think of me, or worse, what you might say.

Don’t get me wrong. I love a made bed, a clean kitchen, and floors that don’t leave your feet feeling gritty when you walk barefoot across them. But the truth is many days this does not describe my home, especially during our busiest seasons of homeschooling and basketball.

During those days, you will likely find dishes in the sink, baskets of clean laundry waiting to be put away, dust on the mantel, and paperwork calling for my attention. And although I run the vacuum often, there will still be some grit -and probably a bit of dog hair left behind by our beloved Jack Russell who thinks he owns the place. The table will be cluttered with the latest art project, or other school work in progress, or perhaps just a  mess one of my people failed to clean up. There may be a pair of shoes littering the living room floor, and possibly a blanket abandoned on the sofa.

This is more often my reality.

When I find myself longing for order in the midst of cluttered counter-tops, cookie crumbs, and the overall chaos of our incessant comings and goings, I begin to wonder how you manage it all. And why I can not.

If I continue in that mindset, comparing my home to yours or my tidiness (or lack thereof) to your tidiness, I will worry myself into a pitiful state. Such comparisons are seldom helpful. Measuring myself next to you will not result in a cleaner house, nor will it allow me the freedom of inviting you into my imperfect home. Rather, my insecurities will pile up, crushing the likelihood of us spending time together.

So instead, I’ll choose to see you as a mother much like myself, with your own set of concerns, uncertainties, and dangerous little comparisons. And if truth were told, probably a messy home from time to time as well.

And I hope one day, despite our differences, we’ll sit together in my home. We’ll connect, one momma’s heart to another. And another day, we’ll sit in your home, and I’ll breathe in the loveliness you’ve created, gathering inspiration to take back to my own home.

Sweet friend, we have so much to offer one another. May we lower our guard, put away our unrealistic expectations, endless efforts to please, and critical tendencies.

May we accept one another exactly as we are -and where we are- in life’s journey. And as we do so, may we find a safe place to rest and recline, basking in the beauty and delight of unexpected friendship.

The heartfelt counsel of a friend is as sweet as perfume and incense. Proverbs 27:9 (NLT)
Posted in Mail on Mondays

Mail.on.Mondays: Dear Teachers

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Dear Teachers:

Thank you for investing in me. 

For making me feel important and smart and valued.  For praising me on a job well done.  For noticing a tiny glimmer of goodness within me, and encouraging me to display it more.  For creating a safe, warm, and delightful atmosphere in your classroom.  For tapping into my love for reading and writing.  For helping me find acceptance.  For pushing me to be my best.  For expecting more from me than I thought I could give, knowing all along I was capable.  For consistently showing me kindness, even when you were experiencing difficulties yourself.  For never letting on how tired, frustrated, or stressed you must have been at times.

I remember the make-shift reading center you created behind the large piano in your classroom.  It was my favorite spot as a fifth grader.  And then there was the creative writing folder we kept in seventh grade.  I misplaced it a few years ago and still search for it from time to time, hoping one day to come across it and revisit the memories it holds.  And the oral reports we had to present weekly in history class. Oh how I dreaded those, but somehow you managed to convince this shy young girl that she could, in fact, stand before the class and get it done … a monumental accomplishment indeed.

Junior High was filled with clubs and band – my favorite years.  I wish I could have carried you, dear band teacher, to high school with me.   Perhaps then, with you by my side, I would have found enough courage and confidence to join the marching band. But since you had to stay behind, I said goodbye to my band adventure and moved on without it. 

Dear teachers, I don’t think you realize what an impact you had on me and, no doubt, other students as well.  I’m sorry the younger version of me didn’t get it at the time, and that the thought of thanking you never crossed my adolescent mind.  I did not know you were doing more than your job, but I realize it now.

I now understand that teachers like you are a beautiful gift to the students they encounter.  For your teaching career is more than a career.  It is an opportunity to truly make a difference in the lives of those around you. 

Thank you for making a difference in my life.  Maybe one day I’ll enjoy the blessing of meeting you again; the opportunity to thank you face to face.  But until then, I will thank you here. And I will appreciate – and thank – the teachers following in your footsteps. 

So to all my teacher friends …. Thank you for making your jobs more than a job.  Thank you for loving your students and caring about not only their futures, but also their here and now. 

Thank you, teachers, for doing what you do, and for inspiring me to do the same.

Sincerely,

A thankful student

Posted in Friendship, Mail on Mondays

Mail.on.Mondays: Dear Friends, My Sisters

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Dear Friends-Who-Have-Been-Like-Sisters-To-Me:

How I love each of you.

You, precious girlfriends, have left your mark of friendship, of sisterhood, on my heart.

Some of you I haven’t seen in years.  Some I’ve lost touch with completely. Some are in and out of my life like a gentle breeze that comes and goes. And some of you are a very real presence still today. Regardless of where you are or how little or how much I see you, you are often in my thoughts and prayers.

For you are the sisters I never had.

You see, I’ve received many blessings in my lifetime, but having a real-life, blood sister is not one of them. Growing up with two younger brothers, I played the role of big sister well. However, I couldn’t help but wonder what it would be like to have a sister of my own.

That, dear friends, is where you came in.

God placed each of you in my life at different times, in different seasons.  And you’ve all done your jobs well.  I know this because despite the passing of time, your names abide on my lips, your smiles are etched on my heart, and your beautiful laughter rings in my ears.

Because of you, I have been blessed with the joy of sisterhood. I am forever grateful.

Grateful to a God who knew I would need special friends, and the exact time I would need them.  A God who loved me enough to make it happen.

Grateful to you, my sweet sisters, for loving me unconditionally and for truly hearing me, even when my words were few and my choices were poor.  For accepting me as is, yet encouraging me to become even more. For allowing me to share my deepest feelings, my greatest fears, and all my less-than-perfect ideas and solutions with you. And most of all, for opening your hearts to me as well.

I hope you will one day read this and know, without a doubt, that I am speaking of you.  Yes, you, my dear friend who has been like a sister to me…

Oh, how I love you, my cherished friend, my sister.

Love,

Me

Do you have a friend who has become more like your sister? If so, take a moment to let her know what her friendship means to you.

Posted in Mail on Mondays, Motherhood

Mail.on.Mondays: Dear Child of Mine

 

 

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Dear Child of Mine:

I know you dislike me saying no to your ideas for fun and adventure. You see my “no” as an unwelcome interruption to your plans.  Especially when everyone else is going there, and doing that, and wearing such things as they do. Yes, I am keenly aware that when I say no, it hurts a bit.  And I’m so sorry.  The last thing I want is for you to be hurt, or to feel left out, or to miss out on the friendships that await you.  Yet when a “yes” is not best for you, I must stick with my “no”, however unpopular it may be.

I understand that other parents aren’t always bothered by the things that concern me.  Sometimes I may err on the side of caution more than others think I should.  Sometimes I must listen to that uneasy feeling that surfaces in my mind, in my heart, even though I cannot fully explain it.  Sometimes, my child, I simply need you to trust me.  To know that even though I will not always make the right decisions, every decision I make is made out of my deep love for you.  Can you trust that’s true, my child?  Oh, how I pray that you do.

I am confident that one day, when you are older and have children of your own, you will better grasp these matters.  In the meantime, I pray that you’ll begin to notice my yes’s a little more – and be grateful for them.  And may you learn to look at my no a little differently too.  Perhaps you will realize that maybe, just maybe, there is something good hidden beneath momma’s no, possibly even a blessing in disguise.  Wouldn’t that be awesome!

As I speak these words to you, my precious child, I can’t help but hear God speak them back to me.  You see, in God’s eyes, I am a child as well – His child.  And as His child, I am sometimes troubled when His answer to me is no. But through the years, I’ve come to realize that when He says no to my plans, He is placing me in the perfect position to experience something better.  A beautiful blessing I would have missed had He not said no earlier.

So I am learning to trust Him more, and I pray that you’ll do the same. That you’ll learn to trust this momma who loves you so very much.  And that you’ll learn to trust God who loves you even more than this momma of yours can. 

Oh, how I love you, sweet child of mine. 

Love, 

    Mom

Posted in Faith, Mail on Mondays

Mail.on.Mondays: Dear Weary Friend

 

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Dear Weary Friend:

I know where you are today. 

You are worn out with responsibility.  Exhausted from the heaviness of your load.  Fatigued.  Fed up.  Spent.  Ready to drop. Or cry. Or scream. Or hide away, at least for a day or two.

I understand, my friend.  I’ve been there too.

I know you don’t want to be in this place, and you didn’t intend to end up here. But here you are, facing a weariness that you can’t seem to shake.  I would love to snap you out of it with a long warm hug, or a tasty cup of coffee, or a yummy piece of apple pie smothered in vanilla ice cream (low-fat, of course). And although all those things sound lovely to me, they are mere short term fixes in the big scheme of weariness.

What you need, my dear weary one, is a more lasting solution.  One which can actually replace your disappointed, dead-tired condition with something more. Something better.  A life-source to pull you out of the rigid waters of weariness and into calm, peaceful waters that pour liveliness, contentment, and satisfaction back into your very being.

Yes, my dear, you need more than I can give.  More than you can give yourself.  But the amazing thing is when you and I have no more to offer, there is still a way.  There is still One who can do what we cannot.  One who can fix each of us, if only we’ll ask. And listen. And follow His lead.  One who is more than capable to meet us –to meet you- exactly where you are today. 

So don’t give up, my soon-to-be NOT-weary friend.  Find yourself a quiet place, pull out your bible, read and pray, pray and listen.  Soak in His words. Pour out your heart, your troubles, your concerns. Ask Him for guidance, wisdom, and insight; for strength, and courage, and energy.  It is all there, waiting for you.  And He is there, sweet friend, eager to unleash his great blessings of rest and newness upon you. Enough for today, and then tomorrow, and then each day that follows. 

Trust me, my weary friend, I’ve been there. He will do for you what He has so faithfully done for me. 

Love, 

        your friend