Archives for posts with tag: family

Why stop now? People seem to like this format. Since my blog as of late has turned into a diary of sorts with which I confess the most selfish parts of me, let’s rip off another band-aid, shall we?

I’ve set out to really work on changing something about my character. It’s a fundamental flaw of mine – something so deeply embedded into my way of thinking that I only realize I’m doing it every once in a while. Maybe you struggle with this, as well, even if just in your subconsciousness. Here it is: I, for most of my life, only begrudgingly celebrate the successes of others. Sometimes I have a hard time even acknowledging when someone I know and/or love does something great. The center of this problem is my struggle with pride, which you can read about here.

Why do I do this? Honestly, I think the reason is that I misguidedly believe that if I acknowledge or celebrate the success or talent of someone else, it somehow diminishes my own talent or success. Which is ridiculous. But, for me, it really sometimes feels like admitting defeat if someone else’s garden is producing more fruit than mine. Or a friend’s photography or craft or baking business is really taking off and those things are really still just hobbies for me. Or – get this – someone I love and/or admire offers me insightful, intelligent, spiritual advice that I hadn’t come to on my own. Those are all real life examples of things I’ve not wanted to celebrate in other people because I have this problem where I think I need to be better. Man, that hurts me to say out loud.

The reason this is heartbreaking is because, often, what I’m really rejecting is a God-given gift, ability, or trait that someone is choosing to use for His glory! How could my response be anything but celebratory? Does it somehow make me MORE successful or talented to ignore the achievements of others? Of course not! And I really, really want my love for Christ and for others to be so great that a win for my friends really feels like a win for me, too. I want my people to know that I’m rooting for them and I really want to be a source of encouragement for people who are using their gifts!

I will say, there are some gifts people have that I have no problem giving a Standing O for. Singing is one of them. I am NOT a good singer. Not at all. I try and I dream and I pray for an angelic voice but, well, that request remains a prayer list staple… My sister is an incredibly talented singer. Since I know I’m not competitive in the singing race, it’s easy for me to give her praise and not feel a pang of jealousy. She’s better than me and that’s all there is to it. In fact, I cry happy tears when she sings because her talent is so wrapped up in the heart of God that I can hear him through her voice. Sometimes awesome graffiti makes me cry. Sometimes it’s a youtube video of a world class ballerina or a street drummer in New York. I can’t do any of those things well and they are using their gifts so beautifully that I am awestruck and grateful to the God who made them and gave them such talent.

But from now on, I want to be someone who applauds my “competition” instead of toeing the line with jealousy at their achievement. That said, I’m going to start calling out my friends and family for the things they do that are grand, be it a delishly prepared apple pie or the gentlest, most thoughtful encouragement, or a blow-my-mind expert parenting move. I want to celebrate you people because you are worth celebrating. You are inspiring and smart and beautiful and all kinds of talented. Thank you for embracing your gifts and sharing them with me!

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I saw an article recently on Facebook which lamented how moms “lose a part of themselves” once they become a mother, basically due to the major shift in having to account for and incorporate a child into all of life’s plans versus just accounting for yourself. Several women identified with that feeling, maybe you did/do, too. I want to give some credence to this concept because becoming a parent is a big shock to the system. You get a baby, of course, but you don’t get to sleep or eat or go out, etc., whenever you want to. Maybe you don’t shower for days at a time. Maybe, like me, you had a “postpartum uniform” consisting of the same pair of sweat pants and a breastfeeding tank top. Also, a big robe that I’d throw on for chilly nights or special occasions like company popping over. Just ask Matt. I wore my postpartum uniform for a solid four months, maybe more. The transition can be jarring. That said, I don’t relate to the “lost myself” post for a few reasons. First, I think the whole idea is moot if we stop to consider the fact that not only have we not actually lost any of ourselves, God has miraculously taken pieces of us and multiplied them. Second, feeling lost was not my experience at all. Motherhood is where I found myself. More on that in a sec. Third, and what I want to dissect more than the other two, if you are in Christ, who cares if you lose yourself? Isn’t it kind of the point of following Jesus to lose yourself to find him? To peel back our layers of self-centeredness until we can see only Jesus at our core?

Before I was a mother, I had my faith and my values; they became the foundation for which I lived my life. Things were real and rich and good, yes, but they were also kind of fluid. I was responsible for myself and only myself. I could, if I wanted to, change my mind from day to day about what I believe and being fickle would have had little impact on anyone except for maybe me. When we had Harper, figuring out what I core-believe hit me like a ton of bricks. A wave washed over me when I started parenting. A wave of identity and intentionality. It’s one thing to live your life in a state of total personal impressionability, but when I became a mom it was an immediate and important goal of mine to provide stability, consistency, and dependability to a future generation. I have totally “lost myself” over the last six years in the sense that 2015 Laura is very unlike 2009 Laura. I happen to feel like whatever of me I “lost” was made up for (times ten) in what I have gained through a grander knowledge of God and through finding my identity in Him as I fight the selfishness I’m prone to in order to show Jesus to my family. If I lose myself in becoming a parent, that’s a small price to pay in order to find God. Consider this: Matthew 16.24-26 “24 Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross, and follow me. 25 If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it. 26 And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul? Is anything worth more than your soul?”.

Self-centeredness and self-absorption are things I believe that every human struggles with. We all want to feel important, we all want to be heard, we all want to be well-liked and respected. We worry about our bodies, our social standing, our bank accounts. We all think other people are way more interested in us than they actually are. Selfies are a thing, need I say more? And now we have these megaphones of social media where something we say or show can reach hundreds – maybe thousands – of people in only minutes. Now listen to how sad this is: What do we use these platforms for? We use our platforms to elevate and showcase ourselves instead of God. Try scrolling through your posts to see for yourself who or what you are prone to elevate…I was convicted, maybe you will be, too. I say “Look at me” much too often when I should be saying “Look at God” or even “Look at God in me.” I use pictures or words to subtly communicate, “I am healthy. I am good. I am smart. I am together. I am successful. I am…”. This is so convicting because I am not I AM. But I sure put myself on a pedestal like I AM.

So, this is where losing yourself and finding yourself merge together. Whoever we are or were or whatever – doesn’t matter. Let’s stop trying to hold on so tightly to that person. We have to work hard to change our patterns of behavior in order to elevate God over self; if we do not proactively seek to lose ourselves to find our identities in Christ, we will always default to serving ourselves. What we CAN do is soul search. Pray and read and listen to what God has to say about the identity He wants us to have (hint: it’s going to look like Jesus). It’s very good to be intentional and have direction. Write down and memorize a personal or family mission statement. Here’s a clip of Cortland saying ours. Matt and I pray that our Family Creed will help us focus and re-focus as many times as our culture encourages us to think first and most often about ourselves.

One other quick thing on our personal missions: I have friends who are doing incredible, selfless, mountain-moving kingdom work around the world. I used to get a little jittery when I would hear people talk about feeling called or led to a foreign country, because I’ve never felt that kind of burden and wondered if maybe my compassion-meter was broken. It was as if my belief was that we are ALL called to a foreign country if we’re connected enough to God or are spiritually mature enough to really hear and understand what He’s saying. This belief assumes that, if you’re not a “real” missionary somewhere impoverished, then you’re spinning your life’s wheels. If we dwell for too long in this pattern of thinking, our everyday life here will start to seem inconsequential. But have we pondered the plight of America lately? Our country’s poverty is not for lack of food or shelter or clothes…it’s our spiritual poverty and our level of depletion is crippling. Alarming. Devastating. My burden is for right here at home in the US and, oh boy, do I feel called. There is kingdom work EVERYWHERE here. Don’t be fooled by full bellies and trendy clothes and lots of degrees – people are drowning in wealth, but starving here. Right here. We can do this.

And just in case you couldn’t quite understand toddler talk in the above clip, but wanted to know the words:

Moss Family Creed

Moss Family Creed

 

You’re going to learn a new term in today’s post and it’s “Snow Globe Happy.” It’s even pictured at the end of this entry.

I wish you guys could be flies on the wall when Harper is dancing. I don’t really even know how to describe it. Poking. Flapping. Shaking. Squatting. Pointing. Jumping. Absolutely NO flow or predictability. I’m going to have to post a video eventually, but this is December PHOTO project. So. Pics ahead and I super-wish they were in motion.

I think her luxurious fur jacket really adds something, don't you?

I think her luxurious fur jacket really adds something, don’t you?

Squatting WHILE flapping here.

Squatting WHILE flapping here. And smiling at nothing in particular.

You should know that there's no music, nor is anyone else in the kitchen. She's just high off of here completed project!

You should know that there’s no music, nor is anyone else in the kitchen. She’s just high off of her completed project!

Today’s Advent activity is what inspired Harper to do all the dancing. She’s developed a fascination this year with snow globes, so we made some out of cleaned-out jelly and pasta sauce jars. I bought some little trees and people (oh, and glitter) at the dollar store. She was amazed by the whole thing – totally loved it. She started cutting a rug and, well, once she starts, she can’t stop. It’s known as snow globe happy. I just love her.

Harper and I making the globes.

Harper and I making the globes.

This is snow globe happy, guys.

This is snow globe happy, guys.

Happy Birthday Harper

Nanny, Harper, and Grandad

Happy Birthday, Mom! Every day that goes by, I understand more and more how fortunate I am to have you as my mother. It wasn’t easy or typical how we came to be – not like most stories – but through intentional living, you and I have built a relationship that’s solid, deep and always growing. Thank you for being an example of generosity, creativity, and genuine concern for others. Thank you for making a big deal out of things – holidays, birthdays, people. You help make things special and memorable; you mark otherwise ordinary things, places, or days throughout the years using enthusiasm and extravagance. How boring our family gatherings would be if we didn’t have your knack for festivities! It’s no small thing, Mom, and I appreciate the effort (and sometimes hard work) you put into making a big deal out of us.

You open up your house for any and every one. You give gifts to friends and neighbors just because. You pray for people you know well or not at all. You and Dad led your kids to know God in a real and healthy way; there’s no greater thing you could have done for us than that. You are a good woman, a good mom, and now look how good you are at being a Nanny! Harper is one lucky girl to be the recipient of such love; you should know she’s as obsessed with you as you are with her!

So Happy Birthday, Mom! You are surrounded by friends and family who think you’re the best! We love you!

And I’m really green. I told Matt the other day that I planned to start blogging and his first question was, “What’s the name of your blog going to be?”. I thought he’d be impressed that I’d already done some legwork and secured “MattandLauraMoss” as my blog address. On the contrary: “Ha! What? You can’t have that as your blog address! It sounds boring. Think of all the blogs you follow; they all have creative names.” Turns out, there is a method.

Truth is, I don’t follow any blogs – not regularly, at least. If you’re my friend and you have a blog, please don’t take offense! Actually, tell me the name of your blog so I can follow it. I plan to start reading blogs regularly so I can keep up with all the unwritten rules (ie: You can’t just name your blog after yourself). After Matt’s advice, I went back to the drawing board and tried to come up with something catchy and creative. I racked my brain for what seemed like forever, then gave up and landed on a blog address that’s only slightly more crafty than using my first and last name.

Moss, Mossketeers, Mossimo, Better Together, Eight Days a Week
Blog address brainstorming

I don’t know all the things I’m going to write about, but I hope the things that are most important in my life will stand out: God and intentional living, my husband and daughter, my family and friends, and then other bits and pieces. I’m also hoping that I’ll be motivated to finish off some projects so I can blog about the end results!

One more thing, I’m a little disheartened to know that “MattandLauraMoss” = boring! Awesome. Thanks, Honey…