So I took my two houseplants and I put them back outside...Read More
Eugenics, a dystopian future, and a little romance? Yes, please.Read More
I have been struggling in the parenting department lately. My oldest--once so sweet and quiet--is now loud and rude. Mostly to me. She's still kind and funny. But when we interact, she demands my immediate compliance with all her requests, and loudly. Like, I'm getting yelled at for a significant portion of my day.
When my husband walks in the door from work, I'm done. I'm worn down. I'm through. I know that's a normal feeling, even when your kids aren't rude. I hadn't realized how much her attitude wears me down until we had one perfectly delightful day. No yelling. No tears...It was glorious. I felt energized. I felt hopeful. I felt like I could actually do this parenting thing.
But in the several days since the glory day, it has still been hard and I still feel like I am failing.
Permit me a foray into a distinction that may not seem like a big deal. My mind has been turning these two phrases: Am I parenting my kids well? Or am I loving them well? At first blush, there is no contradiction between loving my kids and parenting them well. But for me, parenting is wrapped up much more in performance--theirs and mine--while loving them is completely wrapped up in how I lean into the heart of God to draw strength and mercy to give to myself and my kids.
These are some distinctions that I am learning in my own brain. (These are not universal...just what has occurred to me as I've compared my motives and goals.)
Parenting my kids focuses on the desired outcome.
Loving my kids focuses on patience and grace in the moment, knowing that seeds of love and mercy will affect the outcome.
Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that he will also reap.
Galatians 6:7 ESV
Parenting my kids is about behavior, compliance.
Loving my kids is about teaching them heart-level obedience, not the appearance of obedience.
If you love me, you will keep my commands.
John 14:15 ESV
Parenting my kids tends to be about me and how well I am doing.
Loving my kids recognizes that I am laying down my life for my kids, drawing strength and love from the Holy Spirit to continue to go, day in and day out, as I shepherd them, as I speak kindness and peace, as I speak the truth in love, as I give discipline where it is needed and grace where God asks me to. Loving my kids means I can let go of expectations and take it a day at a time, leaning on God for wisdom in how to love each of them well. It becomes less about performance and more about the development of their characters and their image of God the Father. I am being challenged to shift my perspective for my sake and for my kids' sake. It's hard, but I have the feeling that it's worth it.
So when my oldest shouts and demands--contrary to the way I have taught her to interact with others, particularly her parents--I can take a deep breath and remember how God has taken so much from me. I can see her as my sister in faith, and instead of lording my authority over her, this moves me to compassion. I see myself in her--in need of correction but also in need of patience and kindness in this correction. I see her as a little flower starting to bud, to be treated with tenderness and firmness, until she blooms fully into the lily she is destined to be.
Rather, let our lives lovingly express truth [in all things, speaking truly, dealing truly, living truly]. Enfolded in love, let us grow up in every way and in all things into Him Who is the Head, [even] Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One).
Ephesians 4:15 AMP
A bunch of beads to remember things by, like a charm bracelet.Read More
When being the parent I imagined I'd be is way harder than I expected.Read More
Part 1: Why Is Church Unity Important?--Praying With Jesus
This is part 1 in a 4-part series on Unity in the Church of Jesus Christ.
As told in a letter that I wrote as we entered the Catholic Church at Easter 2015Read More
#confessionwednesday: If it's weird to love unicorns and be Catholic, I don't want to be normal.Read More
It makes a difference for you and for us.Read More
As your toes near the edge, your brain starts to send out all sorts of warnings. Some of these warnings are good, but others of these warnings are just fear masquerading as caution.Read More
"Is it real?" An Andy Gullahorn song about Donald Trump's toupee and the Real Presence of Communion? Yep. And it's hilarious all while poking you in the gut with truth.Read More
I hate being late. Especially on Easter.Read More
This post was originally intended for people making fat jokes--hey, it's insensitive and rude and perpetuates negative stereotypes about people who are loved. I thought I'd make a list of 10 things to keep in mind before posting one on social media or sharing with a group of friends.
Fat shaming is real and it can be very ugly. But I realized that instead of just trying to fight it by shaming those who participate in it, I think it is more effective to share the truths I have learned about myself, about my inherent value, about my worth as a person of larger-than-'normal' girth. Maybe you need to hear this; maybe you know someone who needs to hear this. Share away.
1. I am created in the image of God. Because He spent time on me, I am worth knowing. I am worth looking at. I am worth talking to. My whole self--body and soul--is knit together in the goodness of God. Every human is a mystery wrapped in flesh. I want to know more mysteries. I want to learn more about God and about the lovely people around me, no matter what they look like. I want to apply that grace to myself, too. How about you?
2. I am beautiful. Not in spite of my weight, not because of my weight, not merely on the inside. I really like my face, my athletic frame, my hair, my legs. Because they are me. I celebrate the beauty of the whole of my physical body. You can, too. My friend Nicole Morgan encouraged me to take things I am proud of and celebrate them. I celebrate my thick, dark hair. I celebrate my pretty brown eyes. I celebrate my feet that take me places. I celebrate my body for bearing three children. What can you celebrate about your body?
3. I have something to say. For too long, I felt like I couldn't speak about important things because I carry more weight than what is deemed healthy. I felt like others would ignore me, might think I was ridiculous for speaking up, because of my size. It's not true. I have something worth listening to because I am human, not because I am thin or fat, or rich or poor, or mentally stable or on anxiety and depression medications. My story is worth telling because it is the story of a girl learning how loved she is, and I think there are a lot of people who need to hear that story, no matter how big or small the storyteller is. I am the temple of the Holy Spirit, and I am loved as I am. So many times verses about being God's dwelling place get used to silence overweight people, to shame them into guilt over their size. But silencing another person is never the answer. We need to reason together, speak kindly to ourselves and to one another. What story do you have to share?
We are loved no matter what. No matter shape. No matter size. No matter what.
So, before you make a fat joke, whether it is directed at another person or at yourself, maybe you can think about these things:
1. Am I celebrating or denigrating someone's body (even my own body)?
2. Is it affirming the image of God in another person or in myself?
3. Does it silence someone else by taking away their right to speak for themselves?
There are so many other hilarious jokes to be made. Let's not waste time on the ones that steal dignity from our brothers and sisters, and even from ourselves.
I have been blogging now for five years, which seems crazy to me. I had the idea to start a blog while I was in my second year of marriage, teaching Spanish at the college level, and busy living on campus in Brooks College at Baylor University--I didn't think I had a the free time to start something new, but I am so glad that I did. In giving myself a place to write, I let myself experiment; I stretched out my writing wings and filled the space available to me.
It has been so fun to write, to feel a tug in my heart to write even more. To be honest, I have wanted to be a writer since I was in third grade. My first short story was about the Hamburger Man, a hero who looked much like the Hamburglar, but Hamburger Man did good for mankind, instead of making enemies of strange clowns with his thievery like the Hamburglar. Yes, it was as cheesy as it sounds (pun intended). But I have always written with passion, even passion about hamburgers. I do love my hamburgers.
When I quit my last job outside of the home, I thought it was simply because I was pregnant with my third child, that childcare would no longer be covered by my small paycheck. But being home with my three kiddos, I realized that I want to do more. It's not that they aren't a full-time job--they absolutely are. But I still have something to say.
I have written over one hundred posts over at paintedwithoutmakeup.com, my previous blog. As my writing career is developing, I don't want to leave behind everything I have thought through with you--my readers, my friends, and my family. Here are some of the posts I am proudest of:
For now, I am challenging myself to push the boundaries of what I have come to expect of myself and the people around me and even how I think God moves and works. Thanks for joining me here at amanda.martinez.beck.com. I look forward to more writing adventures.