Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Because Sometimes Showing Up Isn't Just Half the Battle, It's All of It.

At the moment, weariness has overtaken my ability to write through the deep and true of my own life. 

It's times like this when my blog can feel like a pet, yet another thing that looks to me to be fed and nurtured. But because I care deeply about this space and its value in my life, I resolve to come back, time and again, even when the well seems too deep to prime. 

A funny thing happens most every time I click on "new post" and see the blank digital canvas staring back at me. I feel like I'm home. The white space welcomes me to come on in and get comfortable, even if I was reluctant to show up in the first place. Sometimes you just have to show up.

This is a place where I am myself, a place where I connect in true and life-giving ways with others, a place where I spill my stories and my crazy. In the most serendipitous ways, by each post's completion, I end up in a better place than I began and I somehow come alive in the process of it all. 

So in the spirit of coming home and remembering I have a pulse, I show up here today. 

Because sometimes showing up is all we can do. And it's enough.

A new week began yesterday and I didn't want it to. I didn't have it in me to wife or parent or tidy or launder or just go on at all. I cried and prayed and took a nap and got dressed {at 2:15 pm} and picked up kids. I asked about their days and monitored screen time and somehow found the where-with-all to hang up an art caddy and memo board in my girl's room. I felt like the champion of the world, just doing that. The Man taught late and the kids were asleep when he got home. It felt like a not-so-small miracle, just doing the day. I simply showed up. And somehow made it. 

This morning the alarm went off too early and I stumbled into the closet like a drunkard. Waking was painful. I swallowed my pills, brewed the coffee, and met my running partner in the damp, dark cold. I could barely get out of bed, how was I supposed to run? Why do I do this? But one step propelled me to take another and even though it was a blur of a 30 minutes, I did it. I simply showed up and made it through the run, one mysterious step at a time. {And now I have a few extra endorphins in my arsenal for the day. Score.} 

Tomorrow morning I will show up among a small group of real and honest women. We'll forge our way through the first chapter of The Ragamuffin Gospel. Somehow they picked me to facilitate our discussion and somehow I said yes without batting an eye and for the first time ever, I'm okay with the fact that I'm "guiding" {if even in a small way} others through heavy talk about God and grace...even though I am in a particularly messy, very un-together state right now. I'm barely qualified to tie my shoes. So I guess I can only show up. Yes, hopefully I can do that. And perhaps that's just as it should be.

In this world of Pinterest-perfect projects, five-year plans and productivity formulas, good books on countless angles of marriage and childrearing and everything else, we can become just a tad overachieving in our expectations. As a wife and a mom and a manager of home, I have some sort of unwritten list in my head of what "good moms" or "good wives" or "good homemakers" are supposed to do and it's rather ridiculous. It makes no room for the days {or weeks or months} when real life interrupts and forces a drastic realignment of priorities.

While I resent the seasons in which fatigue is my constant companion and tears are ever beneath the surface and much about the future is uncertain, weakness forces me into a much-needed, lowest-common-denominator sort of mentality. I give up and I receive grace. Or else I die trying to live beyond my ability.

Do those I care about know that I love them? Check.

Are they fed? Just, fed. Check.

Did they leave for school with clothes on their back and shoes on their feet? Check.

Is there food for dinner? Check.

Is a bed available should I need to lie down and rest? Check. 

Does my van have enough gas to get to school and back? Check.

Do we have a home? Not a beautifully-decorated, spacious, scuff-free home. Just, a home. A physical shelter from actual storms and cold and critters. Check.

Are my kids getting an education? Not a perfect education. Just, an education. Check.

Am I loved? Check. 

Lord willing, there may one day be hearty doses of where-with-all to paint the walls that color you're dreaming of and do those special, extra, intentional things with your kids. There may one day be more money, more time, more energy, more normalcy. Or there may not. 

We make things too complicated. There are good things to accomplish and pursue, endeavors and desires that go above and beyond the lowest tier of Maslow's hierarchy of needs. But when life has us down due to health, drama, a new baby, crisis, depression...how 'bout we table the extras and be fine with just showing up? 

Receive the Grace that says loudly and clearly and with so much love, Hey! If all you ever do each and every day for the rest of your life is just show up, it's enough. And then take that Grace you've received and pass it around to the rest of the stragglers who are saddled with guilt because they're in a season when all they can do is show up too. And they think it's not enough.

If you've checked your own incredibly basic, seemingly pathetic list and you're feeling like you're just not enough, stop right now and congratulate yourself. You're here. You showed up. And today, that's enough.


  1. I showed up. I'm thankful I did. So thankful that you did as well. You have no idea how much I love you. I simply must.say.it.more.


  2. I just wanted you to know that I appreciated this today! Thank you!
    From, another IWU grad

  3. i feel absolutely certain that God is going to use you to minister something fierce to these lady-friends of yours. and these words right here are the proof.

  4. I clicked over from Ellen's blog (which I've started following only recently), and this was just what I needed. I'm getting ready to go to bed in the same pjs in which I woke. I failed to brush my hair all day. I did manage to keep four children alive, today, and that feels like a lot considering that one gets all his nourishment from me, two are trying to kill one another, and one is in science-fair hell.

    1. Brandee, I can feel your pain! We're in our first season of all kids in school (&%)!! After homeschooling all mine until this year it's been quite an adjustment! I just changed out of the PJs I've had on since yesterday. Shower desperately needed!

  5. I am glad you showed up today!

  6. So this post made me cry today. Seriously. I'm still sniffing and wiping.

    I just came back from vacation and I already feel too tired to face all of the tasks, wear all of the hats, and be everything I need to be. As soon as we got home my husband and I got in a big fight and even though we are fine now...I really really lost it. Bad. Ugly hateful crying out to God that I just can't do it anymore and that my life is so horrible and why doesn't he fix it. I'm okay now (It was just a moment) but I still feel a little gloomy and down on myself that I even got to that point (especially just AFTER a vacation?!? SERIOUSLY!?)

    So anyway, I've been on a blogging break and taking time to just read some other bloggers, especially those I'll get to meet at Allume. I'm shamelessly pouring over your archives and reading a lot of your stuff and it's meeting me right where I am. Thank you so much.

  7. aw man. this is just what I needed.


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