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.

When Your Kid’s Just Like You

www.gracepcho.comPeter and I went head to head in a screaming match over him eating his last bite of dinner tonight. I begged him to take it, but when he kept refusing the begging turned into threats. It seems ridiculous that I wouldn’t give in, but I wanted a win for once. He’s stubborn to an extreme and isn’t easily persuaded by logic, repeated commands, threats or anything really. He’s basically me when I was a kid so I should have a better idea of what should work best for him. But I don’t.

That’s the scariest thing, isn’t it? When someone is like you in your brokenness? He’s needy for love and attention like I was, and I wonder if my parenting is just perpetuating the same me with all my insecurities and issues except in boy form. SCARY.

One of my strongest memories as a kid was fake crying in my parents’s room because I told myself that they didn’t love me. I said this over and over again until I convinced myself it was true. I’m sure my parents were annoyed, and I’m sure they reassured me that they did, but this was a theme for my childhood. I always felt less loved, and that didn’t go very well with already being wired to need more love. Or was it the other way around where I needed more love because I didn’t receive as much? Either way, I see the same thing in Peter, and it both annoys and scares the crap out of me.

How do I love him the way he needs to be loved? Is it even possible for me to fill this need of his? How do we discipline him so he doesn’t feel rejected? How do we keep him from finding his worth in how well he behaves or completely rebelling because he can’t measure up to what we expect of him? Why can’t he just be like James??

I don’t know the answers, but I know that he was wonderfully created by a God who knows him AND me. I’m sure sanctification is part of the reason why Peter’s so much like me. Right, God? Every night I tell him that I love him, that Daddy loves him, but that God loves him the most. I want him to know we might fail in loving him well, but there is a God who loves him without limits. I hope our love will show him that, but if not, I want to point him to the One whose love never fails.

You’re a Good, Good Father

www.gracepcho.comNewborns amaze me. One day they’re in their mommy’s belly squirming about and the next day they’re born and charming the world. They’re fragile yet resilient. They’re tiny yet powerful. Newborns turn adults on their heads and flip their hearts inside out. And what could be more precious than baby feet? They make my eyes turn into hearts and make me swoon.

Tomorrow we get to meet the newest baby in our extended family, and I know my heart is going to burst when I hold her in my arms. She has been long awaited for, and her birth, her life, is like the first blossom that pops up after a hard winter. It’s the sweetest, most promising sight you’ve ever seen, and you know that a new season of life is here because of it.

I started singing this song as I thought of her and her parents tonight.

You’re a good, good Father
It’s who You are, it’s who You are, it’s who You are
And I am loved by You
It’s who I am, it’s who I am, it’s who I am

Her new little life reminds me that we have a good, good Father- a Father who is for life and redemption and who loves us so much it makes His heart burst.