just show up
This has been my new mantra for parenthood and for life in general. It seems self explanatory and maybe even a little basic for a life motto, but I think there’s something to it. It is easy to write inspirational things AFTER you have been through a trial and have seen the other side. It would be easier for me to wait to write all this once my daughter is older and we aren’t struggling daily just to keep our head above water, all amidst a pandemic. But, I think there is something powerful about reading someone’s thoughts during a trial. Showing up is all I can do most days, and that feels like climbing Mt. Everest a lot of times. Getting out of bed and showing up for the day is HARD. I want to crawl in my bed, hide under the covers and sleep and watch trashy TV until I have a headache. And when I do get out of bed, I want the day to go MY way. But as moms, Christians, women, and just general adults, we don’t, and we show up, no matter what the day holds. And that, my friends, is more than enough.
During this season with Lydia (5 months at this time) I have tried to control every aspect of her life, which should be pretty easy since she can’t make her own decisions, BUT she proved me wrong. With all of her medical issues, including hyperekplexia, acid reflux and laryngomalacia we have had lots of issues with feeding. I tried breastfeeding for probably too long, and felt an immense amount of relief when I finally gave up control and chose to bottle feed. Even then, I didn’t learn my lesson. I tried to control how much she ate at each feed and made it a personal goal and measure of my success if she ate the correct amount. She had growth issues and struggled to eat with all her medical issues, so I think I coped by trying to control. It was heartbreaking to watch her struggle with something that should come so naturally. A couple weeks ago, I hit a mental breaking point and finally found through the Lord’s direction a book by Rowena Bennett called “Your baby’s bottle-feeding aversion: Solutions”. Lydia had developed a bottle feeding aversion because I was “pressuring” her to eat. The book talked about supporting feeding versus controlling feeding. My job is to simply show up at the appropriate times with enough food to feed her. THAT’S IT. It is not my job to force her to eat. It is not my job to control her hunger. It is my job to show up and to listen to her cues. I have a feeling I will need to learn this lesson A LOT during her life and my parenting journey, but for now, I will continue to show up. Show up with food, show up with love, show up with support.
I’m studying Paul in Acts right now, so I will be using him as an example but I’m positive this lesson applies to almost every character in the bible, and therefore in our lives as well. Jesus calls us to simply show up. When Paul was in prison after doing nothing wrong, he simply showed up, daily. He showed up to his trials and spoke the word of God. He showed up every day, writing the epistles. He didn’t wallow in self-pity or ask “why”. He was merely present, listening, with an open heart and willing to serve God. (Although, they didn’t have trash TV at that time so maybe things would have been different if he could binge watch Netflix shows.) That’s ALL we’re asked to do. We are not asked to make our own plans, we are not asked to be successful, we are not asked to DO anything except show up. Show up for a relationship, show up for God.
I think you get the gist here…in all parts of our lives, including in marriage, we are asked to show up. And that’s it. Your reply is, “but marriage takes work!” It DOES take work. Show up for the work. Show up every day ready to fight for your marriage. Just like parenthood, just like following Jesus. Show up for the hard stuff AND the easy stuff. Show up when your spouse wants to be intimate with you, show up when there’s a disagreement. SHOW UP. Don’t hide. Don’t force your opinions. Show. Up.
As I am re-reading and editing this to post on my blog, my daughter is now 9 months old and I needed to re-read this! Not just for parenting, but for the racial and political issues happening in our world right now. It has been my nature to close social media, focus on my own life and starting this business, rather than showing up for the hard conversations. I want to show up to talk about racial injustice. If we don’t show up, who will? If you are reading this, please keep me accountable and ask me how I am showing up today. Thanks for listening friends!