Friday, December 31

Closing Thoughts

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,



Frances said...

Oh my. With the exception of the fact that I've always been a thrift store fan, your experiences mirror my own. I have often said that I have more confidence,love my family more, and am an over all happier person since turning 30. Too bad we don't live closer!! :)

Lori said...

I enjoy your blog, your words, and your heart that shines through. Blessings for your family in 2011.

Trudy said...

We have many who are like you where I live, including myself, in the southeast Texas area. You would fit right in.

Happy New Year. I pray many blessings for your family in 2011.

Rebecca Ann said...

happy new year Hannah! Its encouraging to hear your words, its so true I used to want to please everyone too! But we can't go with the culture, we have to go against it. The Lord is so so good as well with me as I had to see that I needed to not spend so much money on the clothing and spend more time with my Lord.

Love your blog as always! your a big encouragement to me.

In Christ,

Anonymous said...

Beautifully said! May 2011 be a mountaintop year for your family, full of the joy of the Lord.

Laryssa Herbert said...

Too bad we don't live closer! We're a lot alike. :-)

Michelle @ Give a Girl a Fig said...

This is beautiful...and to know at 31 what I am only just learning at are headed in the right direction. Embracing your unique and beautiful self is so huge...I pray this year be full of goodness, less heartache, and continued growth into becoming the woman God created you to be. (And I admire your thrifty's impressive. I miss your clothing posts!)

Sommer said...

Beautiful post as always Hannah! Happy New Year to your family. I pray this coming year will be full of blessings for you all.

Lots of love,

Chelsea said...

Thank you so much for this post - it's something I needed to hear and think about in my own life. I also have spent much of my life trying to please people. I think some things came into perspective for me just recently when we announced the coming of our second child (the due date is our first child’s 18 month birthday). My extended family's reaction made me aware that I better stop trying to please them because to do that I would not be anticipating the coming of this baby with joy - I would be looking on it as an "accident" and a hindrance to my education and my career as they do. Thankfully God has given me a heart for my family. I love being home with my son and soon another baby. I have no intention to finish my college education (unless I can do it from home, which I am trying) and I have no desire to leave my children in daycare while I have a "fulfilling" career. It's time to please God and my family, not others.

Anonymous said...

Love this post and your blog in general, Hannah! We have a lot in common :)


Karen G. said...

Wishing you and your family a great coming year! I am blessed in knowing you. I can tell you of many who admire your strength and frugality (that's a good thing). Thankfully, you have been faithful to raise your children and live your life as you and Sean believe it should be and not necessarily trying to please others. God has a purpose and a plan for each of us and that plan isn't the same for everyone. Be Blessed!

Becky said...

Hannah, you are such a wise woman. My husband served over 20 years in the military & served as a lay minister for almost that many. He knew he had a calling to pastor on his life, but was waiting on God's timing to pursue it. When he retired from the Air Force, the Lord opened that door of fulltime ministry & he became an associate pastor. I noticed myself trying hard not to mess up for now we had all eyes on us (or so I felt that way). I aimed for perfection until I realized that I was trying to please man & not God. Praise the Lord for His grace. I can live free from fearing of missing the mark. Yes, God has called me along with my husband to the ministry, but I am liberated in the fact that my first calling is to family, my home, our homeschool. We are not ever going to be perfect & we will miss the mark at times, but it's ok because as you said it so well (in so many words)..His mercies are new every morning.

Continue with this wonderful blog. You are a blessing to many. May 2011 be full with all of God's wonderful blessings to you & your beautiful family!

Anonymous said...

Great post as usual and yet another one I can totally relate to. My husband and I were just discussing this over dinner on our date night a few days ago. Lately God has really opened our eyes and we really feel led to try please Him only, not other people. I often fall very short of this, but it is so nice to not feel any guilt over not pleasing everyone else. It also frees up a lot of time to focus on the things in life that really matter.

Happy New Year!

Anonymous said...

What a thought provoking post, I too have tried to please everyone with most circumstances coming to a hurtful end. I'm learning now it's ok to be who I am in Christ,knowing there are people like you who give so much encouragement to weary hearts. I joke with my husband that if he had to relocate that we should pick upstate New York so I could live closer to you.I'm thankful in knowing I'm blessed by people who don't know me but their lives are in line with how my husband and I believe. What a blessing you are to me, and yes if you find others who are like ourselves please send one my way too(very hard to come by now days). May God bless you and your family in this New year.

Della said...

I can totally relate...I now think I KNOW what the meaning of "Hind sight is 20/20. Happy New Year, Hannah to you and your family!

Anonymous said...

What a beautiful post and one that I can highly relate to in so many ways. Although I am at the other end of the raising children, I too have wondered where the "kindred" spirits are for my life. My husband and I have many many friends but no one even within our church that we share convictions with and can walk hand and hand through life with common bonds beyond our salvation. Our pastor feels that this is the sign of the end times that we are in. I use the internet to connect with a few like minded folks even tho we are hundreds of miles apart and find joy in seeing and knowing there are like minded folks out there. Your blog is one of those that I enjoy and read often. I am always reminded that my life's joy in found in Christ first, not in having the friendships that I long for, and that truth brings me so much joy!
Blessing to you

Anonymous said...

Wonderful post!! and it gets even better when you hit 40!!!..

Have a great new year!

sue in NJ

Jen said...

Thanks for this great post. Your blog is such an encouragement as you work on so many of the same things I am. Have a wonderful 2011!