As you read this you should know, this week is the 27th week of the year 2017. Half a year has passed, can you believe it? Right now I am writing this blog to a rerun of a movie, the baby is playing on her mat next to the couch awaiting her beloved bath time. Then her last feeding for the night and off to bed she goes. Bridget is four and half months old already. Her personality is so vibrant, it's a delight watching her grow.
Not only is the baby growing, Tyler and I are 130 days away from marriage. We started marriage prep recently and took the couples questionnaire. Turns out we are a whooping 75% compatible, which is actually extremely high as far as couple’s results go.
So much is going on in both our lives, personally and professionally that I feel like I didn't even see this past half a year. It's hard for me not to get overwhelmed with thinking about this life. Since becoming a parent I have realized, in a new way, how important it is to be intentional with how I spend my time. Mostly because the largest portion involves taking care of another human, so I really only have moments here and there for freedom all to myself.
While freedom rings in our ears this 4th of July, it has me looking back and pondering if I've been living totally free in the first half of the year and how can I free myself more with this last half of the year. This has been a hard adjustment, not being as free. B is a super chill baby and getting married is something that Tyler and I are looking forward to but my heart has felt the loss of freedom in the beauty and joy of gaining a family. I cannot get up and just go anywhere, now it's a process to do anything. Heck getting to the car with the baby plus the baby stuff, in one armload, is a feat.
I'm a BIG freedom girl. I get a little stressed when I'm too busy or haven't had time to just be willy nilly. I understand the good uses of scheduling things in life of which are certainly convenient to partake in when necessary, but I'll be honest, I spend a lot of time craving a horse to ride on and a field to frolic through. (I grew up with horses, so don't be thinking this is totally far fetched.) So in the midst of being super busy how can I really experience true freedom?
Saint Pope John Paul the Great once said in a Wednesday audience, “In the sanctuary of his conscience, man’s most secret core, God makes his voice heard and his law known, that law which reaches its perfection in the love of God and neighbor as Jesus taught. By following this law in the light and power of the Holy Spirit, man achieves his full freedom.” True freedom is the fullness of a life with Christ.
What does that life practically look like for you? I've learned many things from this past half a year that have helped me let go of the chains of sin and death to embrace true freedom. I’ll share two: Remember the hard times and think positive.
Remember the hard times.
Who got excited when they read that part?! No one. It's not easy looking back on the moments in our lives that are painful. Whether these pains are decisions I've made and have fallen short of the God's grace, or situations that have been out of my control. It's uncomfortable getting into that mess.
Why is this important you ask? All of these moments are apart of your life, they make up who you are. I'm NOT saying you should dwell on any of these moments. Do not gravel in your suffering, no one likes a whiner. If you are feeling stuck in a rut that might be a sign you should seek help and professional talk with a counselor.
Prime example, I had just landed what I thought would be my dream job. Then I got prego and things need to shift. (You can read about my story here) I needed to take care of me and my family. It absolutely sucked having to put my career on the back burner. It's now in the works for me to join a ministry that has been on my heart for awhile now. God has been abundantly generous with opportunities. The joys and hardships prepared me for these next steps. After all, it helps to know where you have come from to look forward to where you are going next.
A tip I've done in the past 26 weeks: Write down the difficult moments you have had in life. Go look in the mirror and read the list to yourself. Reflect on how you are still standing today. By God's grace, you made it through, you are stronger now. You are incredible.
A saint I added to my squad is St Ignatius of Loyola. Without giving away much of his story, St Ignatius definitely walked an uphill battle to sainthood. He went from the glory of the battle field to the glory of the Lord. The motto for the Religious Order he started, Society of Jesus, is Ad maiorem Dei gloriam, meaning, For the Greater Glory of God. I love this saying. I think this motto is a great reminder of what I have done or encountered in the past has led me here. I strive to live each day anew all for the greater glory of God. I often write the abbreviations AMDG on anything I am working on as a focus point.
I'm a firm believer that your attitude affects your ability to receive from God. The glass is half full. Contrary to that view it seems some people focus too much on what they don't have in life. AKA the fear of missing out. How can you shift your way of thinking? One religious sister explained to me the thought of viewing everything as a blessing. Not like cheesy hearts, rainbows, unicorns and sunshine coming out your behind but an authentic look at each moment or event and finding God's blessing there; the light in the darkness.
What lights a fire in your heart? Don't give up. Trust that the Lord truly has counted every hair on your head and He will not leave you to despair. I've discovered I need to turn what motivates me into DAILY habits.
I'm not a big fan of the time it takes to workout and be healthy. Like can't I just think healthy thoughts and be set for life? Why do I need to deny myself a second piece of cake or literally write a time down each day so I make myself hit the gym?
If I am working out and eating well, I feel better. Simple. It's a mental thing for me. When I don't get a workout in, it's not the end of the world, but I do get in a little lazy funk about it. I can complain to others about it or become restless. Therefore, I know it's better for me to do something each day to be the best version of myself.
A tip I’ve done over these last 26 weeks: Think about the things that cheer you up. Can you incorporate at least one into your week each week? Think about your dreams. What is one small thing you can do this week that will bring you closer to achieving them? Baby steps are perfectly acceptable!
A saint I added to my squad is Saint Thérèse of Lisieux, The Little Flower. If you have not read the Story of a Soul you are missing out. Truth be told I didn't get to know St Thérèse till I was older. Learning about the simplicity of her joy and how she embraced the littlest of God's blessings changed my outlook on life and my heart forever.
Sometimes I think we toss this 'free lifestyle' around too much without realizing how sin can eat away at our freedom. So this is your mid-year reminder to check yo'self, brother! Remembering the hard times and thinking positive go hand-in-hand. As we pop open those beers today on the 4th of July and rejoice in the freedom we have as Americans don't forget to look inward to think about the ways you can become truly free. What other tips might you have that I can try?