My Thanksgiving Feels…

Here I sit almost a year from when I first put my fingers to the keys and began this whole ‘writing’ thing to see what it was all about.  Ironically, it was the holidays that sparked my writing bug, due to my desperate need to get all the emotions and ‘feels’ out of my head and off my heart.  Fast forward 10 months and here I sit, still writing, still needing to desperately pour out the contents of my heart….and I feel content.  I feel an overwhelming sense of peace as I am able to sit here and write (while 2 of my 3 children are on the ‘overly recommended amount of time’ for an ipad and my tiny tot is singing along with Daniel Tiger…ain’t life grand), able to drink my latte (well 2nd if we are really  counting) and prepare for the abundance of love that is going to pour through my front door in 48 hours.

It’s amazing what 1 year can do.  What perspective can do.  What letting go can do.  As a mom, a wife ,a friend…I see the constant need to have things all wrapped up in a pretty little bow to display to those I love most.  My reality is more of whatever I had the energy to get done stuffed in a reused gift bag with crumpled up tissue paper.  And you know the best part?! That is OKAY!  No one cares about the crumpled tissue or bag that already has another kids name on it, they care about the contents.  They care about what’s inside and that my friends is you.  Your heart, your intention, your love.

While I love a clean home, a perfectly cooked meal and conversation that looks more like The Fuller’s and less like The Conner’s, I realize that The Conner’s really had it all figured out.  They lived on what they could afford, they didn’t put all these high expectations on themselves and they accepted the blue collar lifestyle that had been bestowed upon them with Dan in construction and Roseanne waitressing at the mall.  But you know what, they were happy.  Yeah they may have cursed at their kids and taught them life lessons before developmentally appropriate, but isn’t that life?  Isn’t that reality?  Showing our kids what humility looks like when you lose your crap and say things that should have been left at a back alley.  Showing them love when we stand up for them to that kid that’s 2 heads taller and feels the need to shame your child to make themselves feel better.  Showing them the reality that money does not grow on trees and instead teaching them how hard work and saving will get them that shiny new bike.

Life is full of these moments, these chances, for us to screw up and still get it right.  To do the wrong thing and still somehow teach the right.  Saying I’m sorry, I forgive you, will you forgive me and I was wrong teaches our kids less about being perfect and more about being human.  When I look back at my childhood I remember a handful of times where my parents got it wrong, where they missed the mark.  But the memories that fill my soul are of all the times they got it right, when I felt secure, loved and adored.  I remember my dad teaching me how to type a letter to my grandma on the typewriter (yes typewriter!!!) while my mom cooked dinner with Murder She Wrote playing in the background….oh the 80’s.  I remember my 10th birthday at the skating rink where I began to cry (who know’s why….I still cry a lot) and my 15 year old brother going to the DJ and asking them to play “It’s My Party and I Can Cry if I Want To”…and I did.  I remember my mom being my best friend and always telling me how much she loved and prayed for me.  I remember my home being filled with joy and love as all our extended family lived two thousand miles away and us 5 were all we had.  I remember being happy.  So moms, as you sit here this holiday season feeling like you are screwing your kids up, getting it all wrong and feeling like an ultimate failure, rest assure that all your kids see is “mom”.  They see you trying, they see you smiling, they see you loving them with everything you got.

The holidays are not made to break us but bond us.  They are meant to be a time of reflection for us to look back at the past year and breathe, maybe drink, but mostly breathe.  You survived it!!!! To appreciate the moments that were good and learn from the moments that were bad.  To set new goals and start believing those dreams that God has placed upon your heart.  I couldn’t imagine this past year without writing.  It has given me a new sense of purpose, belonging and knowing who I am.  I have a new set of confidence and not because I think I’m that good at it but because I now know who I am in God’s eyes, verses the world’s eyes.  I spent too many years seeing myself as the world saw me and friend, it broke me.  It left me feeling insecure, not enough and without purpose.  But as God’s daughter, his imperfect, sometimes loud, emotional daughter I am enough.  Because I am His.  He made me with weird quirks, a sailors mouth and heart for Jesus.  I know that while I mess up, daily, my intentions are good…my heart is real.  I love so deeply that my feelings get hurt often but that is when I remember to stop turning to this earth to please me and turn to the one who made me, created me, knitted me together in my mother’s womb and knows me beyond measure.

In the end, it is my faith that has saved me.  It has taken me out of the darkness of depression and given me the gift of hope.  It has allowed me to dream beyond what I could ever see and offer me a future that is filled with excitement.  It has given me my truth and torn down the lies that  attempted to take me down.

Friends, we aren’t perfect (as much as our perfectly edited Christmas photos may look), we are human.  If this time of year brings you more pain than joy, then take it off.  Enjoy the perks of spiked eggnog and go to a movie.  If this time of year brings you happiness and hope, then embrace it!  Wake up, put on the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and cook until your heart is content!  Lets approach this holiday season less through our own lens and more through the lens of Christ.  Through the lens of love, joy, peace, kindness, gentleness, goodness, patience, self control and faithfulness.  However that may look for you.  Lets set down the expectations of the Hallmark channel and put one foot in front of the other for the life we have been given.

All will be made right.  All will be made new.

So as I bid you my farewell I ask you to just close your eyes and take a deep breath (the good kind, where it literally is a full body experience) and smile (even if you don’t feel like it…there is scientific proof to this friends.)  You are going to survive this holiday season, so how do you want to do it?  Lets give grace to those who may not deserve it and love ourselves a little better.

Don’t forget, our kids are watching….

Xoxo,

Melanie

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