Raising Magnolias

Because it's never too late for happily ever after…

For Lent. For a lifetime.

I messed up today.

Praise God that He meets us in the mess.

Today was just one of many; one of every; where I’m reminded that my life is different.

Different than I planned.

And in the mess, I’m jealous.

And I’m tired. I should never respond to anything when I’m tired.

I saw a card on pinterest that said, “I’m sorry for everything I said when I was hungry.” I’m sorry for what I said when I was tired.

And here we are, day two of Lent. Messy. 

I’m kind of a rebel when it comes to Lent. Everyone’s giving up stuff and so I feel like in order to not be part of the crowd, I need to NOT give up something.

I can think of plenty of things to give up, but then I wonder how that is honoring to God? This is rhetorical question. I’m not really looking for answers.

If we are to give up something, than how do we FILL it? With more of Jesus?

If I don’t drink my diet coke tomorrow morning will I love the Lord more?

I don’t know. I’m actually planning to drink my diet coke, but I will commit to praying while I do so.

And I don’t understand the whole Fish on Friday thing.  I never knew any Catholics until I went to college. And now almost everyone I know is Catholic or they pretend to be during Lent.

Every Friday there are fish fry’s (fries?) all over the state. People stand in line for hours, drinking to stay warm and to help pass time and are rewarded for their patience with a fried fish feast.

I love fried fish. And I love hushpuppies. And I love God. I just don’t get what this all has to do with a risen Savior.

I don’t know. Maybe it’s just because I’m tired.

And a little cranky.

Maybe I’m just jealous because I’ve never been.

But today, the mess.

And I know I’m still a mess because before I can even tell you what happened, I’m going to shower you with my carefully considered and perfectly legit excuses .

Again, the aforementioned. I was tired. Very tired.

And emotional. Just having spent several  days with my 99 year old mamaw who was sick and then better then worse then near death and then better again and I was emotional.

And I was mad. And profoundly sad.

And embarrassed.

And lonely. Not lonely-lonely. Just a “I have no friends who have lived this particular fire” type lonely and so even though I’m surrounded by people, amazing people, who love me,  (and let’s face it, adore me)—ya know, humbly speaking :), the experience of my fire can be quite lonely.

And so I fired-off an email to my ex-husband.

With the intent to burn.

And as I wrote, there was a little—whatever—a loud voice in my head saying, “Don’t respond. Don’t respond. Don’t respond.”

But I responded anyway.

So last night as I lie awake (lay awake?), completely frustrated with myself, it comes to me.

Two things, actually.

I’m an emotional person.

I know, right? Totally surprising information. And I didn’t even have to pay a therapist to tell me that.

A few weeks ago, Coulter and I were finishing a three-book series on these kids who were stranded on a deserted island and they were finally found and their mom gets off the plane and my reading gets waver-y and the tears take over and  I can see this momma running to hold her kids and I feel her pain and I ache for these lost kids and Coulter looks up at me like I am stone-cold crazy and we just bust out laughing.

And we laugh and we laugh and we laugh.

Yes. I’m emotional. I won’t apologize for that.

But a bigger revelation, maybe not so much for those around me, but to myself is that I’m still—ya know—a little—

Mad. 

Like, there is some serious anger in my heart.

And I don’t want to be angry.  When I fire an email like that—when my first reaction is to sting and dig and when I take the bait and when I give into hate —

Everybody loses.

And I hate losing. Seriously, do you know how many times people tell pageant girls that everybody’s a winner?

Uhm, no they’re not.

And this isn’t a competition. It’s my life. It’s the lives of my children. It’s the lives of those I love and those I treasure and I don’t want to build a future with an angry heart.

And I learned once that all behavior is either fear-based or love-based so I have to ask. What am I afraid of?

*On a side and somewhat weird note, I had a dream last night that I was competing in the Miss America pageant again. But it wasn’t 15 (ughm) years ago. It was today. Like as a 41 year-old Mom. And I had forgotten to practice the piano and I couldn’t find my swimsuit and I kept telling everyone that “it’s OK if I don’t win.”  And they were like, “well that’s good because you’re not gonna” and I woke up (which was wonderful because as my mom would say, it was sign that I had actually slept) and yes, I woke up and I thought—

What the HALE was that?

And the Lord said to me. My beloved. My daughter. This is not a competition.

And you don’t need your swimsuit.

And you don’t need to practice your piano piece.

And you don’t have to answer anything with poise and professionalism.

You only need to rest in My Grace.

His love.

His faithfulness and the truth that God?

Well.

He never changes his mind.

About loving you.

About loving me.

And while this may not be a competition, I am winning.

And every day I see through eyes of Grace two bright lights whose determined-eyes  sparkle fierce and whose joyful-spirits sprinkle happiness like rain falling down and being a Mom should come with a crown and a sash (although ixnay on the swimsuit) because children, my children, remind me every day.

IMG_9610-2

I am winning.

They are the jewels.

They are the crown.

All I have to do is look and name.

And see.

And give up—-for Lent and for a lifetime—-my fear of losing.

“Create in my a clean heart, O God and renew a right spirit within me.”

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