Sunday, August 10, 2014

Shiny Things

Like most people, I love shiny things.  My love is not limited to materials things like a new dress, purse, or piece of jewelry.  I'm ashamed to admit that I also like intangible shiny things. Maybe a job with a nice title.  Knowing the right people.  Or sending my son to the right school.  This realization hit home today after an uncomfortable conversation with a dear friend.

Fulfilled: The Refreshing Alternative to the Half-Empty LifeI am blessed to be part of B&H Publishing's Bloggers Program so I periodically get a great assortment of new books to read.  Today, I selected Fulfilled: The Refreshing Alternative to the Half-Empty Life by Joey Lankford.  The book chronicles his journey from a comfortable life in Tennessee to the mission field in South Africa after he felt called by God to leave his quest for material wealth and comfort behind.  Lankford sold everything he owned and moved his family to South Africa to spread the Gospel.  

At first, I felt I didn't have much to learn from the book.  I have given up some level of comfort, personal and professional, to follow a dream God placed on my heart more times than I can count.  I left high-paying and relatively secure jobs because I felt His calling to pursue something else.  While I haven't made it to a mission field, it wouldn't take much for me to drop everything and go if asked.  Even though I enjoy nice things, I'm not completely driven by the need to get them. 

After that conversation with my friend, I found myself wondering whether I am as "spiritually mature" as I think I am.  Were all those moves really about listening and surrendering to His will or did I have my own (more worldly) motives mixed in?  Was I really just after another shiny thing?  For some reason, I think He wants me to reflect on this question now.  I'm grateful that Fulfilled, and my dear friend, put the issue on my heart.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Embracing Imperfection

Some days I look back and reflect on the tough roads I chose.  Single parenthood, a rocky start to my career, and just generally not "settling down" in my adult life.  Each of these paths involved a deliberate choice to walk down a road that could be fraught with peril.  Shame, unemployment, and poverty often felt like they were literally knocking on my door. 

Moms' Night Out DevotionalAnd it was humbling.  The looks of pity.  Hurtful comments.  My own perceptions of being judged.  I literally had to crawl myself out of a pit and most days, it wasn't pretty.  It's still not actually.  Although I've come a long way in the last 10 years, many days I feel less than two steps from being right back where I started. 

The key for me has been to press on and embrace what God is trying to teach me through my dysfunction.  That's one of my takeaways from Kerri Pomarolli's devotional, Mom's Night Out and Other Things I Miss... too.  The title and cover were a bit deceptive.  I thought it was about moms needing a break every now and then.  What's inside is a light take on the real challenges of motherhood, the pressure we feel from society to live cookie-cutter lives free from imperfection, and how the gospel and scripture completely refute that notion.  It is something that we all must come to grips with in life.  We will all ultimately fail at something or come up against a problem we just can't fix.  This is a great devotional to help moms cope with the many failures we must confront day to day.