Chipped teeth & chipped lies

My daughter was a little over 2 years old the first time she knocked out her front tooth.  It was a beautiful Spring day and we were all playing outside.  She had meandered towards the neighbor’s driveway and was playing with a giant red ball, the kind you can buy at Walmart for like $2.88. She was chasing after it and decided to dive on top of it, hoping to land her squishy little belly onto the soft underbelly of the ball.  But she missed it, the ball kept rolling and she landed face first onto the concrete.

The second time she knocked out her (other) front tooth was when we were visiting grandma Broberg and she decided to quietly sneak into the kitchen, drag a chair over to the cupboard, and hoist herself onto the counter to snag herself a famously dubbed “grandma snack.” Well, she achieved her goal only to succumb to a faulty dismount that left her with one less tooth.

So when I learned last week that she had sustained a badminton racquet to the mouth from a kid in gym class and had chipped off a large portion of her front right tooth, although I shouldn’t have been too surprised, I was.  I figured she was done with tooth injuries but I guess I was wrong.

This time was a little harder for her. The other two times she had lost a tooth, she had been so young.  Before her hot tears were dry on her chubby little cheeks she was running around again, defying nature without a care in the world.  But this time she was an 11-year old girl, keenly aware of how she presents herself to the world.  A middle school tween, trying to figure out her place in this world.  And although she’s incredibly brave, she’s also still my little girl.  I knew in my heart that the question was coming.

But I was wrong, she never asked me anything.  Instead, she declared it. “Mom, I’m so ugly with my tooth like this.” It broke my heart to hear her say it, but I let it hang there in the air for a moment.  Although untrue, it was an expression of how she felt, and I always want her to feel safe in sharing her feelings with me.  “I don’t think that’s true,” I finally said.  I went on to explain to her how nothing about who she is had changed.  And it’s who she is that makes her beautiful.

Several nights later I was tucking her in bed, snuggled up next to her.  I was tickling her back when she said it again, “I just feel so stupid & ugly with my tooth half missing.”  As we talked a bit more about how she was feeling and about what makes a person truly beautiful, I realized again how easy it is to believe lies.  How without even realizing it, we can believe things about ourselves and even about others, that just aren’t true.

We believe the lie that we aren’t GOOD enough. We aren’t SMART enough. We aren’t PRETTY enough.  But enough for what? Enough for who?

She was believing the lie that because her tooth was chipped that it somehow made her less attractive which in turn made her less valuable as a person.  Which is completely untrue.  But I quickly realized, I still have faulty thinking myself.  There are times in my own life when I’m too busy to get a home cooked meal on the table, or my house is messy, or one of my kids does or says something unkind, and I believe the lie that says I’m a failure as a mom.  Sometimes when I haven’t been exercising or have been eating my feelings, I believe the lie that I’m not enough because I weigh more than I’d like.  I’m constantly battling the lie that says I’m not enough as a pastor’s wife because my personality and giftings don’t seem to line up with what many would expect.

But the only way to combat lies is to replace them with truth.

We believe lies all the time.  Because of _____, you’re not enough.  When the truth is we are always enough for God.

The truth is because of Jesus, we are FORGIVEN (1 John 1:9), FREE (John 8:32, 36) SAVED (Ephesians 2:8-9) LOVED (John 3:16) (Romans 5:8) STRONG (Isaiah 40:31) (Psalm 27:14) (Joshua 1:9) & VICTORIOUS (1 Corinthians 15:57) (1 John 5:4) (Romans 8:37).

As we talked, I felt like we were chipping away at the lies together.   Like each lie that was identified and brought into the light, His light, was like striking a chisel with a mallet.  Slowly chipping away at the thick layer of lies and revealing His beautiful truth.

Today, let’s exchange the lies of the Enemy for the truth of His word. Let’s believe with all of our hearts that we are made in His image and our identity is found solely in Him.  We do not find our identity in other people, in our successes or our failures, we don’t find it material things or in our physical appearance.  We refuse to believe the lies.  Instead, we exchange them for the truth of who God says we are.

If you have time today, listen to Lauren Daigle’s song, “You Say,” and allow the truth of who God says you are to change your faulty thinking. Let his truth replace the lies.  His word tells us that we are declared righteous through our faith in Jesus (Romans 5:1) and that He calls us by name and we are His. (Isaiah 43:1)

 

 

To Motherhood

bittersweet

 

Motherhood, in its truest sense, is just plain bittersweet.  We do our best to embrace the present but it’s always accompanied by a remembrance of the past and a hope toward the future.  Because of this, our mama hearts are in constant limbo.  But, I believe there is something truly beautiful about the collection process of both the mundane and the magical.  Motherhood is largely comprised of the two coming together and creating in us a sense that all of life is a little bittersweet.

Good-bye sweet girl

Good-bye sweet girl.

These are the words that were silently spoken by my heart this morning as I watched my daughter leave for school.

I stood there, from our front door, watching her walk away.  I couldn’t take my eyes off of her.  The chilly air kissed my face and my bare feet were planted on the cold, wet concrete steps.  My heart felt like it was stuck in my throat and tears, like prisoners, tried escaping down my cheek.  All at once it felt like a decade had passed me by in the blink of an eye.

Today my baby is 10.

I remember the days, they don’t seem all that long ago now, when I would find myself dreaming of a time when my kids would be more independent.  I remember anticipating the days where all three of my children would be able to feed themselves, get dressed on their own, and do basic hygiene without any help from their mama.  And I realize, a little despairingly now, that my dreams have come true.

Lessons from my 30’s

So, I’m turning the big “40” here in a few days and while this milestone birthday can be a bit depressing for many, I find myself excited for this next decade and all that it will hold.  Honestly, turning 30 was kind of hard for me. And yet, as leery as I was heading into those years, some of my greatest personal growth occurred during that time. Here are a few things I have worked hard at in the last decade that have also enriched my life immensely.

1.)  Girlfriends that love fiercely.

One of the best things about being this age is that I’ve learned how to choose well when it comes to my friendships.  I’ve discovered that great friendships don’t just materialize, they are made.  It takes time and energy to form a deep and lasting friendship.  A friendship that’s worth anything to you has undoubtedly endured misunderstandings, hurt feelings and a few bumps and bruises along the way.  But that’s what makes them so valuable.  You’ve invested your time and a decent amount of work into the relationship.  You’ve taken risks and have shared vulnerable moments together.  If it’s a truly deep friendship you have probably had to lovingly correct, ask for forgiveness and possibly even work through moments of jealousy. But strong, healthy friendships go there.  They do the hard, deep work because they know the reward is worth it.  These friendships, the ones that love fiercely, that go the extra mile and are committed to digging in and doing the hard work when life calls for it, these are amongst the sweetest gifts God gives.

Love is God, not a chameleon

“All you need is love.  All you need is love. All you need is love, love.  Love is all you need.”

The lyrics to the Beatles’ famous song play like a soundtrack in my mind.  A classic. It’s a catchy feel good song.  Each beat like an anthem declaring itself to my heart.

Everywhere I turn lately, it’s all I hear.  Love is the answer to everything.  We are love warriors and we have hashtags stating #loveisloveislove, Madonna even chanting it at the end of her speech at a recent women’s march. “We choose LOVE! We choose Love! We choose Love!!!!” She screams this into the very same microphone that only moments before amplified her thoughts of blowing up the White House.

And I wonder….Is this really all we need? Is this the love we need? If we just chant the word enough, or if we scream it loudly from a microphone, or maybe if we hashtag it to death, will something change then?  Will the word love be enough to heal our our broken hearts? our communities? our country?

It seems as though love has taken on a loftiness about it as of late.  Tenuous in nature, it is sweeping across our nation making unsubstantiated claims.  It has become an abstract, vaporous idea that invites people to adhere their own personal definitions to it.  Suddenly, love can be whatever you’d like it to be.  And while this idea presents itself as being inclusive and freeing, I believe it does us a disservice.  How can we all claim that love is the answer when our definition of love is so vastly different from one another?