In the Middle of “Not Anymore” and “Not Yet”

www.gracepcho.comI’m turning 34 this year, and I’m in a weird place where I don’t feel young anymore but I don’t feel like I’ve quite arrived to where I’m supposed to be as an adult. I’m somewhere between “I’m not there anymore” but “I’m not there yet.” I’m not single anymore, but I’m not out of the trenches of toddler parenting yet. I’m not free to do as I please anymore, but I’m not free to do as I please (again) yet. When I was in my 20s, the goal was to get to where I am now- married, kids, stability, a steady groove- but now that I’m here, my heart’s struggling to be content and grounded. I look behind me and ahead of me, and my heart paces back and forth between mourning what’s not and longing for what’s to come.

I’ve been here before- this place of uncomfortable restlessness. The grass looks greener everywhere else except for the patch that I’m standing on, and I imagine everyone must be happier, more content, having more fun on the spacious, luscious grass they’re on while I’m stuck on my yellowing patch. It’s not true, but my heart has a hard time believing.

The middle is always full of the mundane and ordinary, and I’m reminding myself that every novel beginning is short-lived. The excitement fades, the long middle settles in, and the only way to get out of the pity party of discontentment is to look up. Instead of comparing whose grass is greener between you and me, I need to compare the grass we’re both standing on to the beauty of Christ. Neither yours nor mine can compare. Both of ours fade in comparison to Him, and only He can settle my restlessness and fill my heart to full contentment no matter the kind of grass I’m on.

I read this quote by Lysa Terkeurst the other day-

After all, the grass isn’t greener on the other side – the grass is greener where we water and fertilize it.

She wrote it in the context of marriage, but isn’t it true in every situation? The work of the middle is to water and fertilize. It’s not glamorous, it’s not consistently exciting, but when we have our eyes set on Christ, we find contentment in the mundane. The ordinary of the middle isn’t for naught because He is in it.

It’s Tuesday, and as Emily Freeman says, let’s appreciate the small things on this simple day.

What if, instead of thinking we have to choose between our ordinary life and an extraordinary life, we began to realize they’re the same thing?… Let’s take back the long day and the short years and all the months that come between them, because this is where our real life happens. and we won’t be so naive as to try to make the hard times beautiful, but we will have faith that the hard days are making us, remaking us, and forming us into the likeness of Christ. 

Happy Tuesday, everyone.

31 Days of Writing Freely

FREE-5I had a Story & Soul Session with the lovely Ashley Abramson last week, and she encouraged me to turn down the editor’s voice in my head so I can write freely. I’ll be honest. It takes me days, sometimes even weeks, to write a post. I edit as I write, and too often people’s faces come to mind and I wonder, Will I offend them? Will they misunderstand my intentions? Will they get what I’m saying? I go over each word and its placement and question whether it’s the right or best one. It’s exhausting, and writing starts to become a chore instead of an act of worship.

I want to write freely. I want to turn down the critic’s voice in my head. I want to edit less and write more. I want to weave writing into every part of my life by making it a habit so I’m taking up the 31 Days writing challenge. The goal is to write every day for the month of October, and even though I was thinking of quitting even before it even began this morning, I’ve decided that there’s nothing to fear and nothing to lose.

There may or may not be a theme to what I write this month. Most likely it will be a continuation of what I write most about- faith, life, and motherhood- but I’m hoping that my writing will take us down some new paths. I’m hoping to explore and uncover deeper things as well as be surprised by simple delights, and I hope you’ll come along with me.

See you tomorrow! (Hopefully)


Each day a post goes live I’ll be adding a link + title below so all the posts will be accessible on this page at the end. You can sign up to receive posts by email or you can follow along on Instagram!

Day 2 – No post

Day 3 – Dearest Single People

Day 4 – Dear Three Year Old of Mine

Day 5 – Being Other

Day 6 – No post

Day 7 – You Are the God Who Sees Us

Day 8 – You’re a Good, Good Father

Day 9 – No post

Day 10 – When Your Kid’s Just Like You

Day 11 – No post

Day 12 – No post

Day 13 – In the Middle of “Not Anymore” and “Not Yet”

Day 14 – Longing for a Soul That’s Well

Day 15 – No post

Day 16 – No post

Day 17 – This Is Why I Write

Day 18 – What I’m Loving

Day 19 – Catching the Sun

Day 20 – Taking a Step Closer Toward the Light

Day 21 – No post

Day 22 – No post

Day 23 – No post

Day 24 – Feeling Miss-y and Embracing Vulnerability

Day 25 – What I’m Loving

Day 26 – It Does Get Easier

Day 27 – No post

Day 28 – No post

Day 29 – No post

Day 30 – It’s Almost Christmastime

Day 31 – The End + Beginning of Writing Freely

Love One Another Well

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Relevant Magazine came out with an article last week about what it means to submit to one another in marriage, and this sentence sums it up well-

More than anything, it’s about learning to trust, to respect, and ultimately, to love one another, as Christ has loved us.

We know that the greatest commandment is to love God and to love one another. What better place to practice our obedience to it than in marriage? Marriage was created for us to experience community and the gospel in an intimate way, and with an eternal perspective. Our husbands aren’t simply our husbands, but also, our brothers in Christ. Therefore, submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ (Ephesians 5:21) means that we are to love and respect them because of what Christ has done for us.

Looking at my husband as a brother in Christ has helped me be more gracious, more understanding, and more patient. I can see him more clearly for who he is – a man who is just as broken as I am and who needs to hear and experience the gospel on a daily basis. When I see him with those eyes, I want to be more like Christ to him, I want to serve him and love him as Christ has done for me. It’s the gospel that motivates me, strengthens me, and gives me hope as I learn to love my husband well.

In the five and a half years that we’ve been married, we have struggled and fought to figure out how to make the other feel loved. Even though we’ll never be perfect at it, we’ve built a good foundation on how to better communicate our love for one another. Here are a couple of ways we’ve learned to do so. 

Learn each other’s love languages. This may be one of the most enlightening lessons in your marriage (and in all other relationships as well!). There are 5 love languages – words of affirmation, touch, gifts, acts of service, and quality time. We feel most loved when people love us the way we love them. My love languages are words of affirmation and touch, so I feel most loved when I receive cards or a snuggle from my husband. On the other hand, my husband is an acts of service kind of guy, so he feels loved when I do dishes or when I get the laundry done. Figure out what it is that makes your spouse feel most loved and do those things! If you can’t figure it out, have a conversation with him and ask him what makes him feel loved and appreciated.

Act with love even when you don’t feel like it. The feelings of affection come and go, and for an emotional person like me, it’s hard to act with love when I’m not feeling it. When we’ve had a fight or when we’re both tired, it takes energy and discipline to love each other as Christ has loved us. But obedience always brings blessing to the other person, and Christ is made much of in your heart when you do – both make it worth it to love each other even when you don’t feel like it.

Pursue and get to know each other better as time passes. We inevitably become different people as we grow older – dreams could change, love languages might change, circumstances will change. Life happens and often doesn’t go as you had planned, so with each new season, get to know each other again and sprinkle in some romance.

Above all, choose to love one another well as Christ loves you.

How do you love your husband well? What one thing could you do today to express your love to him?