I've lost track of time in the long summer days and short nights during this second round of hosting our host daughter, and I've neglected to write all of what I've so desperately wanted to remember about this time in our lives where miracles have rained down on us like soft, sweet drops of water on a thirsty land.
It was so dry for so long after Selah passed from this time into eternity, and I was parched last summer and praying and begging God for a miracle. I'd begged Him to fill the empty that was aching inside the hollow spaces of my heart.
As I began slowly taking those empty pockets and the ones filled with all of the memories that left me bitter and weeping and angry, as I slowly and gently began giving them voice and giving them over and really receiving the love God has been lavishing on me, life began to slowly and steadily change.
While circumstances greatly changed, too, I'm convinced more of what has changed is my heart.
The miracles that have played out before our eyes in the time and space of the past year have been great and deserve a space all of their own -- I mean, we've been praying for a daughter, the boys asking for a sister and here we are standing on the edge of having our heart's cry turn reality; greater still, though, is the miracle that has played out in my heart: the realization that I am deeply loved by God, and that I need to deeply love myself.
I thought for sure that I had loved myself, but when I began to ask questions of myself about my actions toward myself and my thoughts toward myself and my love toward myself, I realized I'd actually been eating the lie that speaking the word love equates actually loving.
Our actions speak much louder than our words -- not just toward others but also toward ourselves.
As I began taking this to the Lord in prayer, I began realizing that I hadn't been loving myself through actions or thoughts or words.
"When will I lose this weight?"
"I'm sorry I'm always so thoughtless."
"I always forget everything."
"I suck at this mothering thing."
And the kicker -- I asked myself if I was treating myself the way Jesus would treat me. All I could do was shake my head in wonder at how far I was from really living in the grace and love and truth of Christ.
For the longest time, I've come to realize, I had accepted Christ's forgiveness ... but I never accepted the grace He offers for us to leave behind the guilts and shames of those things for which we're not even sure why we feel guilty and shamed ... for those things which we're not even consciously carrying shame and guilt. The subconscious is a beast. And since we operate out of our subconscious 95 percent of the time, I figured I'd better pay attention to what I've been doing because it was telling me a lot about what I actually believe.
And what I'd been believing was that I was not enough.
Not good enough. Not thin enough. Not healthy enough. Not fit enough to be a mother or a wife. Not pretty enough. Not smart enough. Just plainly and simply not enough.
It's amazing what happens when we start giving the lies we've been living to a living and loving God.
It's amazing what happens when we start believing and accepting what Christ actually says about us in John 15 -- that we are chosen, we are his friends, we are beloved.
And it's amazing what happens when we start treating ourselves that way.
A miracle, indeed.
Interested? Here's the self-talk I began changing:
Before: "I want to lose weight because I'm uncomfortable with the way I look."
Now: "I love every part of myself. And every part of me tells a story. My body does so much."
Before: "I'm so fat."
Now: "I have fat on my body, but that's not who I am."
Before: "I suck at this motherhood thing."
Now: "I love being a mom even during the tough moments."
Before: "I always forget everything."
Now: "Forgetting is part of life; I'll try to do it differently next time."