Wednesday, June 25, 2008

The Surreal Life

God led me to write this because one of you needs to read it after reading all the different She Speaks recaps posted all around the internet. I don't know who you are, and it doesn't matter. It may be more than one of you. Whoever you are, this is for you:

Sometimes it's fun to experience grown-up life. To put on big people clothes and wear things like makeup and shoes-that-are-not-my-scratched-up-flip-flops-from-Target. To be around people who tell you that your hair looks good or they like your outfit or other forms of compliments.

Because, as I was quick to tell folks this weekend, that's not real life for me. Real life for me is short people who boss me around and make unrealistic demands and then cry loudly if I don't comply immediately. Real life involves hardly ever being told my hair looks good or my shirt is cute. Usually, if anything, real life involves "helpful" comments from my teens who are just trying to keep me from embarrassing them around their friends. And my real life wardrobe? Think stretchy, soft fabrics-- in a myriad of colors. Think clothes you can wear all day and then climb into bed still wearing. Real life means getting unwittingly sucked into arguments with these same short people who, while small in stature, have negotiation powers to rival the most accomplished business person you could think of. They should be writing books on success in the business world.

So, She Speaks was a nice temporary departure from real life. While I am honored and proud to be a part of the P31 team, I am on the fringe-- hovering on the outer edges while I take care of all this real life stuff at home. I contribute as best I can (and I am so grateful for their patience and understanding in that area)-- but I am also very tethered to the needs and demands of my family. So being at She Speaks is sort of surreal. (After reading about my real life, you might see how that could be.)

But the thing is, I like it that way. By Saturday night this past weekend, I was aching to scoop up my two year old in my arms, longing to have one of our rambling conversations with my husband, needing to see my children's faces. I wouldn't trade my real life for my surreal one. As Curt reminds me, in ten years there will be lots of things I can do that I can't do now. And in the meantime, I am treasuring real life. A very full, very busy, very loud real life. (I said to my kids on Sunday, "I just spent the weekend with 550 women and I don't think all those women put together were as loud as you people!") But I wouldn't trade the noise, the ruckus... the joy I derive from my life with these people.

I just felt led to write all that after posting several times about She Speaks. I know how Satan can take things like She Speaks and make a mom feel like she is not doing anything important or valid or worthwhile "just being a mom." Like she is missing out because she is at home. Especially if you weren't there because finances or time or life prevented you from coming. So I wanted to wrap up all my She Speaks talk by driving that point home-- don't take your eyes off the value of what you have right in front of you. Focus today on letting Jesus give you His perspective of what you are doing in your home, with your family. Let Him fill you with purpose and joy as He points out the flowers along the way.

"Many eyes go through the meadow, but few see the flowers in it." Ralph Waldo Emerson
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Kelly said...

Marybeth, this was so good...even though I don't have children at home, I can take what you are saying and just apply it to my everday work, at home with my husband and our two black labs, just in everything in be appreciative of what I have and what's in front of me, and to pay attention to the small things, like seeing the flowers in the meadow.
Great post! As always, I love reading your insights!

Wrinkled Shirt Ministries said...

Lysa wrote today about the cool girl and the dorky girl. You are definitely the "cool girl!"
Thanks for sharing!
Paula G. <><

Anonymous said...

Thank you. I know the Lord is not leading me to write and market like others are pushing me to do. I know His perfect timing is just that...perfect. I know that when I abide in Him and obey His voice, He is more than faithful to direct and refresh me. Your words are full of wisdom and run deep.

Beth said...

Amen, girl! Amen...

Alyce said...

Thanks Marybeth!

Debra said...

Thanks Marybeth. Well said and taken in.

Billie said...

Thank you.

Joy in The Truth said...

Marybeth: Oh, thank you. My heart is so right there with you! It was a true blessing and privilege to attend She Speaks. My husband is so supportive and encouraging...he makes it easy for me to attend. God bless him truly. He sees things in me I don't yet see, and I am thankful.

But as I left Thursday morning to drive from PA to NC with a couple of friends, my family and I sat in a circle holding hands and praying together. Mommy here was sobbing tears of thankfulness, joy and sadness (missing my family) at the same time. I told them my heart would be content once again when I was back home with them.

She Speaks was awesome. And I know God wanted me there, and I was thrilled to be there. My heart is humbled and thankful before Him.

But Monday morning as I was back home doing laundry and the "mundane" things of life, my heart was so happy and full. Even today as I carried more folded laundry upstairs, I bowed my head before Him in thanks for the contentment and joy of serving my family. The simple pleasures.

Thanks for keeping it real. Real is good.

Sharon Sloan

Mindy said...

Thanx 4 the comment. It was an amazing weekend--but it is good to be home! I bought your book when Lysa came to a conference my church hosts in WI in March. After this past weekend, I've finally invested some time to start reading it and am excited at everything I'm learning.
Mindy <><

Lori said...

Perfect timing, Marybeth.


Diane said...

All I can say is this post helped me. Thank you.

Lori - The Simple Life at Home said...

Thanks for writing this. Although it would have been impossible for me to have come (coming from the Persian Gulf might have been just a wee bit impractical), I still felt a little twinge of envy when I read all the cool posts about it everywhere.

Thanks for reminding me that I've got my own great, cool gathering right here with my special family every day.

Sarah said...

MaryBeth - I so agree. Life is so full. Enjoy the journey. I sit here wanting to write a thoughtful, deep, spiritual response but I hear little needs calling too and know I should be attending to them. But, I do want to finish by saying that I love hearing about your busy "loud" brood and wish I could have had that many children. What a beautiful thing. Enjoy, love and hug them from the blogosphere! You are exactly where you are supposed to be.

Christine said...

What a beautiful reminder. Thanks for the glimspe into your real vs. surreal lives. I know exactly how you feel. Even though I'm a performer who a few times a year puts on a gown, full make-up, 3 inch heels and sings opera, I gladly shed that for my family after the show is over.

Shari said...

Ohhh MB, I so love you. As your friend, I know how 'real' you are. I pray I am as real as you. I sit her today, doing laundry (like, how many clothes can one 13 year old boy actually wear in one week?) and I've yet to shower, do my makeup, even comb my hair. And yes, it's almost 3pm.) I suppose the world around me (not those in my house, for sure!) assume I am always dressed to the hilt, have perfect hair and makeup and consider how everyone else should be dressing, when in fact, I pray it is so far the opposite and just want to be at home most of the time. I love that God encouraged you to write this...I think everyone needs to hear that life 'ain't always a pretty picture on the outside, that it's much prettier on the insides of our homes. I pray that women everywhere will know that the best ministry we can do is right in front of our very eyes. Thanks for keepin' it, Shari

Celly B said...

Oh, Marybeth, thank you so much for this post. I thought that I had come to terms with the fact that this summer was not the right timing to attend She Speaks, but I found myself a little jealous while reading others' posts about the conference. Thanks for reminding me to be grateful for the season of life I am now in!

Chris Hogan said...

Thanks for posting this Marybeth. I signed up for She Speaks this year and then cancelled for many different reasons. God has showed me very clearly I need to focus on the ministries he has put directly in front of me. God blessed me and my kids with the opportunity to help with VBS for 2 weeks and go on a local mission trip. I couldn't have done those things if I had gone to She Speaks.

Thanks for the confirmation that it's ok to be content being at home with my family. There isn't anything bigger or better out there I'm missing out on.

Dawn said...

I'm glad I had the chance to kick off our shoes, relax, and chit-chat on Saturday evening.

Oh, and don't discount the fabulousness of that blue stretchy shirt. :-)

I'm backtracking through the blog because I had missed out on that crucial piece of information that YOUR HOUSE SOLD! Congratulations!!!