I read a great quote tonight that I'd like to share. Perhaps you've heard it, but I never had.
"He who trims himself to suit everyone will whittle himself away." Raymond Hull
Much of my twenties, I think, were spent this way. Trying to fit in to what I thought people expected of me, or what was culturally trendy. I remember once buying a bag full of sale clothes at the GAP for Annaliese when she was a baby because I would only dress her in certain labels. On one slim income, our meager dollars could have gone so much further if my pride hadn't been in the way. You know how quickly babies grow - a month or two later and the clothes no longer fit Annaliese. By the time we had Eleanora, three children later, those once trendy and hip clothes I had been to proud of looked so ridiculous that I quietly packed them away.
I wanted to please everyone in my twenties. While there is much to be said about the merits of being a peacemaker, I frantically tried to be one, appease everyone, make sure I offended no one by having no opinion, never speaking up for myself and the stress of it all left me with a ridiculous ulcer.
Thinking back, Aiden's birth changed so much in my life. Like really, there was all of a sudden more important things than having cute hair and spending more of our money than was necessary to have the right outfit. Now, please hear the truths in the words I am writing. You will never catch me outside my house without makeup, oh my - I'm way to pale for that, and I do like to look nice for my husband. The motivation of my heart was all jumbled up and a mess.
I'm 31 (for a little bit longer) and I think it's alright for me to say that I like who I am in Christ today. I'm not like anybody else I know. I don't fit in in most crowds (if you happen to see a crowd of thrifty, thirty something, husband loving, nature huggin', conservative mamas of many - send them my way). I have no idea what my once favored Ann Taylor LOFT has on their racks right now, but my husband delights in me and our children love me (depending on how much math I've assigned them that day). I'm not dowdy (on most days) my shoes are comfortable (all but for one pair) and I can clothe all my kids for what department stores charge to clothe one (admittedly, I do get a happy smile upon finding cute GAP girl dresses at the thrift store for a buck). I know full well of the ways I daily fall short of the mark I'm aiming for, but I know forgiveness and grace and beautiful new mercies for the next morning.
Anyway, these are my closing thoughts today as the calendar comes down. We rehearsed tonight with our children the goodness of the Lord in our lives over the past year. 2010 was a very difficult year for our family in many ways, mostly with losses of all sorts, but still it was so nice to sit around the table, Addie snuggled in my arms and the big boys on either side of me, Papa flanked by his older girls and little Chase and hear each of the kids tell about their favorite times this past year over delicious pasta that Annaliese made and Sean's steaks from the cow hanging in our garage. I have fiercely loved my family and my God and those He's brought into my path. Who can hold regrets for the hurts that come from loving too much?
I wish you all a new year full of God's blessings, closeness to Him, and grace for each day,