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Thursday, May 1, 2014

I Gotta Be Me

This morning I had an epiphany.

A while ago, my daughter came home from college and had us all take personality tests.  She had to take one at her church so they'd know better how to place her in a service role and she had been guessing all of our personalities ever since.  I already had a copy of mine and DW's so we had fun reading all about our different personalities and how/why we relate to each other the way we do.  It's really fascinating.

So, this morning, my epiphany...
I have been doing it all wrong the past year and a half!  Somewhere in the adoption process (likely toward the end and possibly even IN China), I decided that who God made me to be was not good enough.  I needed to be someone else...more structured, stronger, rational, reliable, boring.  This is what these boys need (I said to myself).  All the books say it, older boys raised in an institutional environment for their early life will need lots of structure and stability.  I am in trouble (I said to myself), I had better buck up.  I had better get serious about school, and chores, and order, and conformity (those of you who really know me are laughing right now).  Nevermind that I have no idea how to do this.  I mean, I do love it to APPEAR orderly.  I love a clean house and dishes all put away and beds made.  But I will forego ALL of that in a heartbeat if a friend calls and wants to do something fun, or maybe even something not-so-fun, just together :-)

So, a year and a half in, I am very close to hating myself, people.  I don't know who the heck I am.  I mean, I hear myself and I DONT EVEN LIKE ME.  What the?!?  Why am I doing this?  No wonder I can't bond with my kids, I have no idea WHY they would ever want to bond with this person.  She is ridiculous, at times mean even.  She is not fun, she has forgotten how to laugh, she is stressed all the time.  She snaps at the most ridiculous things.  She wants to run away.

The point is...I don't have to run away.  I need to STOP running away from who I am and BE who I was created to be.  Enjoy the ride, look at the scenery, get off at all the stops and explore.  Shop in all the thrift stores and eat in all the hole-in-the-wall cafes!  Did it ever occur to me that God put these particular boys in our family because THEY needed fun and compassion MORE than structure?!?  Hmmmmm, that's an idea.

So, I'm over it.  I am who I am.  I actually LIKE who I am when I am not trying to be someone else.  I will leave that other person to my husband who, by the way, is my exact opposite.  Just a glimpse into his personality...when I suggested going to look at a tiny vintage camper I am interested in buying to redo and use for fun "girly" trips to Country Living Fairs and such, he suggested that instead, I use the $$ I am saving for this to...wait for it...GET THE HOUSE PAINTED.  WHAT?!?  Yeah, because that is almost the same thing as freedom on the open road.  Sigh.  (God love him.)

Sunday, March 16, 2014

About 12ish years ago, we started "skipping church" on Sunday nights in favor of spending the afternoon/evening with two of our favorite families.  The "Baptist" part of us felt maybe a tiny bit guilty for doing so, but since none of us are particularly motivated by guilt, we were fine with it ;-)
Little did we know that we had formed what we now call "the original small group".  We have lived, loved, laughed, and cried our Sunday afternoons away together.  Yesterday afternoon, the first of our children got married.  Y'all, this is a big deal.  We have 12 children between the 3 families...this was our first wedding!
I am not sure where I would be if God had not put these families in our life.  I remember lots of nights after we spent time at "the Mangum" riding 4 wheelers, or boating on the river, or just hanging outside in the shade or sun while the children played...

Dads in charge of 4wheelers

and daughters

Dads and Sons and Jeeps and guns

Moms during the "summer of painting"

when one of us said "YES, we CAN paint every available surface of this house, no problem!"
We would load up and head to one of our houses to cook up something for supper and sit around the table talking about how good or bad life was at the moment,  how rich or poor we were at the moment, how happy or sad we were at the moment, how fulfilled or unfulfilled we felt at the moment, how nice or mean we felt at the moment, how much we loved or hated our current jobs, how much we loved or didn't love so much the current President, Pitcher, Preacher, or Pediatrician.  We listened to and gave opinions on disciplining our children, loving our siblings, and honoring our parents.  We talked about the difference between "being a good Christian", which in the South sometimes just means showing up at church regularly, and having a real relationship with God and how that looks different (from the outside) in each of us.  We agreed, we disagreed, we agreed to disagree, and we grew together through all of it.  We lived beside each other through heartaches and tragedies, family estrangements, financial disasters, and real marriage troubles.  We talked and prayed each other through it with statements like "There will be no divorce!" and "This is no surprise to God, He knows what He's doing." ,"How can we help?", and "This is when we keep turning TO God and not AWAY from Him".

I am honored and humbled to have friends like these.  Friends who know all about me and still choose to love me.  How do people live without these kinds of friends?  I am glad I don't know the answer to that question.