I've been getting thoroughly exasperated with my photography recently, especially taking photos of people, I'm just still really slow to get my setting correct on my camera and it's frustrating when 99.9% of my photos are irreparably messed up, like yesterday. But then there is that 0.1% that remind me that yes, I really still can take a good picture and help me to keep on going.
I took another when Josiah's expression was happier but this one is my favorite - this is kinda' how he's been feeling lately with his teething.
I stood there, in my friend's living room, sobbing. I had asked her to pray with me about the fear that sometimes seems to dominate my life but things had turned in a surprising direction. As my friends and I prayed the Holy Spirit lead me on a path of healing and freedom and now here I was, on the threshold of freedom as it were, terrified.
The Holy Spirit was showing me how much of my life is a facade, a life of wearig masks and trying to portray myself as someone good. Someone really, really good. I guess it started when I was a child. As a family we sort of set ourselves up as the "high-class Christians". The super-comitted folks who attend every meeting and tithed on every cent. We were always involved, always. Growing up I looked down on "those" people those who lacked our outstanding comittment to the church. But it was all a facade. At home things were not so good, and yet the worse our family life became the harder we worked to sit at the front and set the example.
This set a horrble precedent for my life. I distinctly remember a time, writing in my joural one night, when I wrote that I'd been wearing a mask for so long that I'd lost the ability to take the mask off and that I'd forgotten what my face really looked like. So now there I was, confronted with my hypocricy and feeling the weight of the burden of trying to live a lie. Yet I was terrified. A mask is safe, it hides my flaws, without it I feel naked and exposed. I feel uncertain. What if who I am is just not good enough?
My mask was so easily constructed from the "oughts" of the Christian culture. I gathered material from the Christian women's books I devoured in my pre-twenties. I knew really well who I "ought" to be. How could God ask me to lay it aside?
"God, what if who I am behind this mask isn't good enough?" In my spirit I was screaming it, my hands were trembling, my heart was pounding. My friend looked me in the eye and said "This is why Jesus died." And then, through it all, I felt His gentle embrace. In my spirit I saw him wrap His Fatherly arms around me and I heard him gently say "How could you ever not be good enough? I made you who you are." I thought about my children and how I would never say "you're not good enough" to any of them. They are all totally accepted, totally "good enough", totally loved.
Then the mask fell. It crashed and shattered into a million pieces and I was left in the arms of grace. Grace that covers my sins, grace that works through imperfection, grace that is great when I am weak. Grace that loves me just as I am. Whoever that is.
I feel a tiny bit of an identity crisis because so much of my identity has been made up of this facade. I've thought about getting a nose ring or something just to prove that I am not that too-good-to-be-true person anymore. Really I don't think it's necessary. I am just excited because there is so much more room to breathe now. There is so much more grace to just be me and to draw nearto my God knowing confidently how much I a loved. My friends told me that this is a journey, and I think that the person who has been hiding behind the mask will come slowly creeping into the light more and more. That really excites me. It is scary and unertain but it feels alive and true.
We went to the zoo on Wednesday. It wasn't as spectacular as the Aquarium but it was less crowded and it felt so good to be outside all day. My favorite parts: the Tiger came very close to the glass and allowed me to photograph him.
The flamingos, who looked so funny, like they were doing yoga poses and then taking the time to wait and watch the orangutans. I had my camera ready, just waiting for one to turn a head. I watched a mother and baby for a while and got to see the baby's face, though only for a moment.
Yesterday was somewhat of a miserable day. Naptime did not go well at all. All I ask my big girls to do is to play quietly. Josiah wouldn't go to sleep and wouldn't go to sleep so I nurse him and just as he's going to sleep Beth throws a book at Emma so Emma screams and wakes Josiah up so Josiah is screaming, Emma is crying and Beth is hiding because she knows she's in deep trouble. When the storm finally subsides for a few moments what does mama do? Open her Bible? Sit down to pray? Unload the dishwasher? Nope. None of the above. I took photographs of a bowl of cheerios.
Then I tried to capture a few spots in my house that were particularly depressing. It's very theraputic for me.
Today was much better. I cleaned up about 1/2 of the house and read to the girls, which is always great. And then worked out at the Gym which I'm just loving.
I've stayed up too late again - oops! Daniel went to bed at 10:30ish I think and I said "I'll be there soon" but I was on the computer and you know how that goes... It's 2:30 now!
I'm trying to teach myself web design and it has been very hard. But I heard some wonderfully encouraging words from a friend over the weekend.
This weekend was great. We went to a birthday party and I wore my skirt that I bought at Target this week. It's wonderfully casual and comfortable. It feels SO wonderful to be wearing comfortable, cute cloths again!
A weird thing has been happening to me - the more weight I loose the fatter I feel - how messed up is that? I started going to the gym at night a couple times a week, plus I have a yoga/pilates class that I try to go to. I've only gone twice so far but I'm SO glad to be exercising more. I forgot what was missing out on. The first night I worked out on the treadmill I was craving hamburgers after! Sure burn 100 calories and then eat 300 - that makes a lot of sense :-)
Today we went to the Library and I checked out: a "heart healthy" cookbook (it had lots of pictures - lol), a "firm abs and tight tummy" book (my tummy's lookin' like over-risen bread dough these days), and a "how not to look old" book also "Prince Caspian" (D& I saw the movie and it made me want to read the book to my kiddos again) plus... drum roll please! Two novels! I got two in case one is a dud. I rarely finish novels these days, the last time I read a "real" novel was when I was pregnant with K-A (my two year old!) And I checked out three or four before I decided that that particular one would be worth the time it took to read it. My Dad is always reminding me to read more broadly so there - I've done it.