A World of Weirdos

I was just watching an old video of Grace coloring a picture of really tiny scribbles in different colors. To her and to me, they were flowers. In the video, she’s asking me to draw a picture of a dog. Her word for “dog” sounds a little profane, but as her mommy, I knew exactly what she was saying. At the time, I didn’t think twice about it. Now it makes me smile at its innocence. I really would have had no idea what she was saying now, but then it made total sense. I spent the most time with her so I knew her language when no one else did.

One of Grace’s early works of art: “Flowers and Mom.”

  As parents, we know our kids better than any of the other billions of people living on this earth. We know their hearts and minds backward and forward. But something happens as they get older. We start to lose that connection. I look at our oldest, Noah. He is going to be eleven this year. He has two settings lately. He is either making obnoxious sounds, thinking that he’s being hilarious, or he’s highly sensitive and insecure, snapping at us or having a meltdown over the battery dying on the iPad, or the Snickers ice cream bars being gone; everything is a really big deal right now. 

  I miss the days when I knew him backward and forward. I guess this is what all those old ladies meant at the grocery store when I was sweating, trying to get everything on my list while trying to keep his butt seated in the shopping cart and they would say with those annoying, all-knowing smiles, “Enjoy it! It goes fast.” 

  At the time, I was thinking, “B*tch please. Do you smell me right now? I haven’t showered in three days. Enjoy it, my a**.” Well, it turns out they were right. I should have enjoyed it more because that kid is gone. My sweet Noah whose laugh—best little kid laugh ever—would echo off the canned goods and make strangers the next aisle over start cracking up, is now constantly trying to imitate his favorite tv characters or he’s breaking things around the house trying to flip half-filled water bottles to make them land on end. My favorite phrase has become, “Go outside!”

  And yet, we still have our moments… 

  “Mom, sometimes I feel like I’m always going to be alone,” he said to me the other night,  one arm flung dramatically over his eyes. 

  “Why is that, buddy?”

  “I just don’t think anyone gets me…the kids in my class think I’m weird.”

  “Hmm…well, do you think they’re weird?” I asked him.

  “Sometimes…Especially the girls,” he said pulling his arm from his head.

 “I think sometimes at your age, we start to feel lonely because we think we are weird, ourselves, and we defend ourselves by trying to believe it’s the other people who are more weird than us. So everyone takes turns picking on each other so that they don’t have to be the weird one that day. Does that make sense?”

  “Kind of…”

  “Look, no one–NO ONE–is perfect. We all are ‘weird’ because nobody is exactly the same. Even twins have different personalities, right?” 

He nodded. 

“That’s what’s tough. We live in a world where people want to be a part of something but we all feel so misunderstood because we are all a little ‘weird’ or different.”

  “You mean like how I still like Minecraft but the kids in my class don’t as much anymore?”

  “Yep, that’s definitely part of it. God gave you a desire to be creative. You like to express it right now by creating Minecraft worlds. God gave some of the other kids a really strong interest in sports. It doesn’t really make anyone ‘weird,’ He just wants us to be different because we all have something special we are going to do in this world.

  “I know you’re going to do something really awesome someday, Noah, because God gave you an extra dose of ‘different.’ I am so proud of you. He gave you a tough job because He knows you can handle it.” 

  He was quiet for a minute. “Okay,” he finally said.

  “I love you, buddy.”

  “I love you too, Mom.”

  He doesn’t say it much anymore, so as I left his room, it filled my heart. I really believe what I said to Noah. We all are different, with our strengths and even our vulnerabilities because we all have something special that we are meant to share in this world through our experiences and lessons. There is a reason we were born at this time, in this life. God really does have a divine purpose for all of us. We may not understand it when we’re going through it. It does sometimes feel lonely. But we need to be open to it all. 

  How did people know, trust, and believe, that they are meant to do extraordinary things? Look at the light bulb. I just went to google “Tesla” to make my point, but found that the light bulb was actually more of a collaborative invention made by a bunch of 19th century “weirdos” trying to improve what the last one started. I am willing to bet, those guys all seemed super weird to their friends. But they were hellbent on creating this thing that would revolutionize the world.

 And I love thinking about Jesus this way, too. For the record, I am not trying to compare any of us to Jesus, but I am trying to make a point. Here was this kid; rumors flying in the adult world about his illegitimacy so he’s already off to a rough start. People think he’s a little “touched” anyway. Any kids his age probably thought he was nuts! At one point he wanders off and goes missing for three days and Mary and Joseph are worried sick thinking he’s been kidnapped or killed and they find him in a temple preaching to the religious leaders and his response is, “Well, where else would you find me besides, my Father’s house?” Like, “Duh?” Meanwhile, Mary is probably having a heart attack. But really, how do you reprimand the Son of God? I don’t think you can ground him…Thank God, Mary had Gabriel clue her in before Jesus was born. But still, she’s probably like, “God, what am I supposed to do with this…?”

But Jesus knew from a really young age who he was. He wasn’t worried about being weird. He was on a mission. What if we could be so resolute about our life’s purpose? What if we could just know what it was we were meant to do? It would take so much of the anxiety out of life.

But that’s not part of our journey. We have to feel weird. We have to feel lonely and uncomfortable because we need God. We need Him to help us navigate life.  He wants us to need Him–he gave us our quirks and knows our weaknesses. He’s our Father who knows us backward and forward. He doesn’t stop understanding us when we hit our pimply, knob-kneed pre-teen years or our awkward, fumbling adult years. He’s our constant. And the coolest thing is, He doesn’t stop loving us during any of it.

  So to get to my point, I was thinking if we can all give each other that kind of grace; to know that we are all on the same kind of unknown journey, struggling, trying to figure it out, could we all be a little more loving and grace-filled toward each other? Could we all understand that none of us feels comfortable in their own skin? No one is walking around thinking that they have everything figured out. Sometimes we feel God giving us a sign that we’re on the right path, but most of us don’t have the gift of knowing what we’re doing here. Most of us are still like little Noah, feeling homesick and lonely for a true home that we are waiting to go back to, but we don’t understand it because we don’t really remember it. We just know that this human life is a tough one and we’re falling flat on our faces much of the time. 

  My hope today is to be attentive and receptive to God’s purpose in my life. I want to be open to His plan for me and to give grace to others who are trying to follow His plan for them. I will hold back judgment because I understand how hard it is to know what we are doing in this world. Everyone feels a little “weird” sometimes.



Radical Death Therapy

One of my all-time favorite movies is “What About Bob?” with Bill Murray who plays a neurotic hypochondriac named Bob and Richard Dreyfuss who plays Bob’s uptight, ironically narrow-minded therapist, Dr. Leo Marvin. It’s an oldie but a goodie, in which Bob basically cures his own mental illness by driving Dr. Marvin to a mental breakdown. If somehow you’ve lived the past twenty-eight years without having seen it, I highly recommend it. 

There is a scene toward the end where Dr. Marvin is actually trying to kill Bob by blowing him up in the woods. I’m giggling just thinking about it and typing this out…sigh…Bob looks at this attempted murder as a clever new type of therapy which he calls “Death Therapy” and sees the ropes and restraints Dr. Marvin has bound him with as a metaphor for the chains the Bob has placed on himself his whole life and now needs to “break free” both in a literal and figurative sense.

Anyway (I’m getting to the point, I promise), I think I’m going through a sort of radical death therapy myself. While no one is actively trying to blow me up (though I know there are people out there who might fantasize about that), God is testing my limits and challenging me to break free of old, debilitating thoughts and behaviors that no longer serve me. 

For starters, we are selling our home. We have lived here for about two and a half years. I swore as we unpacked boxes in this house at that time, I would “NEVER MOVE AGAIN” with God as my witness. And yet, you can go ahead on MLS right now and see pictures of an impossibly clean version of our home waiting and ready for the perfect buyer who gets hot and bothered over a walk-in pantry and granite counter tops just like I did, once upon a time. I think our bigger goal is to have more yard for the kids to explore and less house to clean. Plus, it would be nice to have Scott’s commute to and from work shortened.

The second crazy thing is we have no idea where we are moving to! Agh! I know, right?! It’s so scary and so exciting at the same time. We have no plan. We might end up being renters if our house sells quickly enough. There was a time in my life where this would have completely freaked me out. But this time I am embracing whatever life throws at us and can I just say, this is such an incredibly freeing thing. 

I have a kid with severe anxiety, won’t this derail him? Won’t I be damaging all of our kids beyond repair with so much instability? Old Me used to hang on to self-defeating beliefs like that and allow myself to be held back, but not anymore! We go where the wind takes us (within a reasonable driving distance to our family and friends and a few modern conveniences, like Kroger). 

The truth is, I’ve always felt a little homesick in this house. When I look out at our half acre slice of suburbia, I can’t help but feel we just haven’t taken root here. We have great neighbors, we have my parents a mile up the road…what’s missing? 

I think for us it was heart. Somehow we got lost and try as we might, things just never felt right here. We’ve been living a life that we thought we “should” be living. We were doing all the things we thought “should” be making us happy, but they aren’t. We are still feeling empty at the end of the day. 

So we are changing that. We are pulling up our anchor and taking to the open sea of life. In the words of Bob, “I’m a sailor! I’m sailing!” 

We are letting go of the “shoulds” and going with the “coulds.” This could be a really amazing opportunity. This could be the change we needed. This could be the answer to our prayers.

And I’m sharing this with you because I am learning that our life path doesn’t need to look like anyone else’s. We are never too old, too young, too rich, too poor, too fat, too thin, too inexperienced, or too broken to do our own kind of “right.”

LET GO! Stop holding yourself back because of FEAR of the unknown. If you feel compelled to do it, there is a reason. I don’t know what our future holds, but I know if we keep God in the center this time, we won’t get too far off course.

It’s getting late. I should wrap this up. I need to start researching goats and chickens. I know Grace will back me up. The boys might be a tougher sell. #LivingThatHomesteadLife.

I’m sailing!


You Are Enough

I woke up not liking myself very much today. I have many days like that. Anyone else? It’s when that lying devil gets between our ears and tells us that we aren’t enough, that we are so flawed, we’ll never get life right; we’re meant to be unhappy. I sometimes think my anxiety is a direct line from Satan trying to sabotage me through my own weakness.
When I get like this, I clean. I clean the house and somehow it feels like I can clean my soul. I was cleaning under my nightstand and I found this note from my daughter. I have no idea when she wrote it, or how it got there, but I know God put it there for me to find today. God’s love for us is bigger than the lies that creep into our thoughts when our guard is down. We can’t change our past, but we can try to do better going forward learning from the mistakes we make. They say failure is the best teacher. I just wish the lessons didn’t have to hurt so much. But maybe we wouldn’t learn if they didn’t.
We are not perfect, but we need to lean on God when we feel like this. I am good. You are good. I am enough and so are you, because of Him.