Your heart, my friend, may be a little (or a lot) tender right now with all the constant change going on.
Today, I pray only kindness FOR you.
May all those you come in contact with act and speak kindly to you.
May unkind and critical mouths be shut so that discouragement has no voice.
May you see clearly all the ways you are shown kindness.
May every act of kindness satiate the empty and soothe the hurting spaces in your heart!
May all the kindness you receive overflow FROM you to others.
May you find ways to pass along this precious gift you have been given.
You won’t have to look very far.
It might even be that person who doesn’t deserve it.
Your kindness won’t be wasted.
That I know for sure.
From my heart to yours.
Today IS A BIG DAY. It marks the Dolly Mama “tell your friends how great they are” post. I can’t believe I haven’t done it sooner. I am a little embarrassed (and if you know me, that’s a load of hooey…I wouldn’t know embarrassment if it smacked me right in the behind).
I’m feeling a little snarky right now. Bear with me. I’m planning to be serious and sappy and smooshy and sentimental. I promise.
It is true. You really are GREAT! Like wearing a superhero cape GREAT! Like standing behind a mic and getting an award GREAT!
Some of you are GREAT because you don’t let me stay my “less than the true Esther Goetz” self. You believe in me. You encourage me. You kick me in that not-embarrassed behind when I need it. You believe in the best version of me and you build me up one brick at a time. I LOVE YOU AND NEED YOU.
Some of you are GREAT because you are my cheerleader. You sing your praises to my words-of-affirmation-is-my-happy-place heart. You root for me and would have poms poms shouting “Esther Goetz is ‘da bomb'” if I would let you (and I might). You make me feel like a champion. I LOVE YOU AND NEED YOU.
Some of you are GREAT because you love what I love. We can talk heady stuff like Christian doctrine or watch the NFL on a Sunday afternoon. We can eat ice cream or watch the Bachelor together (no judgment please) and laugh at the screen and ourselves (“Do we seriously watch this show?”). I LOVE YOU AND NEED YOU.
Some of you are GREAT because you are just “WITH ME.” You sit with me in the dark times. You laugh with me in the comedy that is my life. You stick with me when I’m screwing up. You talk me down off the ledge when I want to jump. You have no judgment for me (take note, you who judged my Bachelor watching). I tell you all my secrets. I LOVE YOU AND NEED YOU.
Some of you are GREAT because you make me feel connected to you in every way. You wave at me across a crowded room, save a seat for me, send me a birthday card, grab my hand when we are together, and remind me that we are “two peas in a pod.” I belong to you and you belong to me. I LOVE YOU AND NEED YOU.
Some of you are great because you are FUN. You make me belly laugh. You always have an adventure for us to go on! You are super okay with my snarky nature and “give it back” to me when I’m dishing it out! You’re not afraid to remind me about all that’s good! You give energy when this “Esthergizer Bunny” is about done. I LOVE YOU AND NEED YOU.
Some of you are GREAT because you open my mind and heart to new things. You don’t let me get stuck. You ask me great questions, challenging me to rethink the way I always have and help me to change “just a little bit” at a time (even though I might fight you in the moment). You make my view of life (and many times GOD HIMSELF) bigger! I LOVE YOU AND NEED YOU.
Some of you are GREAT because you are wise. You’re like the GPS of my life. You help me navigate all. the. things. with understanding, grace and kindness. You straight-up give me advice (even when I’m being stubborn and a know-it-all). My dreams matter to you and you help me to keeping working toward them. I LOVE YOU AND NEED YOU.
ALL OF YOU ARE GREAT because you love me. For who I am. Plain and simple. What more could I ever ask for or want from a friend? Nothing! Whether we text each other every day, talk to each other once every six months on the phone, are only able to connect on social media (like right here in this little corner of the internet), I count you forever as my GREAT friend, one that I will treasure in my heart until I take my last breath.
Okay people, my snarky voice has quieted and all is right in my very sappy world as I think of you and all that you mean to me! I love you, my GREAT friends!
From my heart to yours.
*source for quote unknown*
I got a leaf-blower for Christmas.
Not a girly, light leaf-blower.
A manly, heavy-duty, back-pack, professional leaf-blower.
Last fall, we moved to a house in the woods and there were lots of leaves once the trees said “goodbye for now” to their petals of yellow and orange.
Lots of leaves. Everywhere. Constantly.
Enough to jump in and be lost for days in a pile of them.
You get the point.
I begged my husband for said leaf-blower and when I opened my bright shiny Christmas package, I giggled with glee. My kids nodded in amusement because they just know.
What do they know?
They know some out-of-the-box, but very cute things about me. Okay, not so cute. More out-of-the-box. Or at least out-of-the-gender-culture-box.
I like those things about me.
I like them a lot.
I am who I am.
I am not super girly. Or more true, what culture says girly is.
I like NFL football.
I like being physically strong.
I like spreading mulch.
I like feeling powerful.
I like taking care of myself.
I really like rescuing people. In fact, I just did it this afternoon when my husband texted and said, “I have a flat tire.”
I like being a little manly. Or more true, what culture says manly is.
I am who I am.
You know how parents get a lot of things wrong?
This is a BIG DEAL one that my parents GOT RIGHT!!
They never ever told me who I should be. They let me be ME. Fully. Always.
If that meant being strong, so be it.
If that meant traveling alone in Europe at 21, so be it.
If that meant moving to North Dakota on a whim, so be it.
If that meant loving football, so be it.
Yesterday, we had a huge storm. Leaves everywhere. Branches down. The yard was a mess.
Guess what I did?
I woke up and declared mightily, “I am going outside. Where is the leaf-blower?”
You know how spouses get a lot of things wrong?
This is a BIG DEAL one that my spouse GETS RIGHT!!
He never tells me who I should be. He lets me be ME. Fully. Always.
If that means spreading mulch, so be it.
If that means having a fantasy football team, so be it.
If that means rescuing him on the side of the road, so be it.
If that means taking a picture of me donning my leaf-blower, looking powerful, so be it.
(SIDE NOTE: My hubs chuckled with admiration as he watched me…maybe he thought I was sexy with this giant backpack, conquering leaves and sticks and yard debris. I sure thought he was sexy when I went back into the house and found out he made the bed.)
One last thing.
Sometimes, I am not so strong.
Sometimes, I need help.
Sometimes, I am a girly girl. Or more true, what culture says girly is.
Sometimes, I can’t pull the throttle hard enough to turn a leaf-blower on.
Guess what my husband did?
My tall, flower-loving, bed-making, likes-to-shop-at-cute-little-shops partner still let me be ME. Fully. Always.
“Yes.” He said, “I’ve got you. I can turn that on for you.”
I am who I am. Period.
Manly. Girly. Me.
P.S. Our yard looks beautiful again. Driveways clear. Walkways clean. Sticks gone. Leaves blown. Yup.
Manly. Girly. Me.
- JUST DO THE VERY NEXT THING. I am not in any kind of position to plan ahead because my world is changing at break-neck speed. Don’t add anything extra to my plate right now. Add my best version of LOVE into the mixture and trust it will be really okay in the end.
- DIG DEEPER TO FIND OUT WHAT IS GOING ON BENEATH THE SURFACE. Is it fear? Is it bad boundaries? Is it people-pleasing? Is it comparison? Maybe it’s something good. Faith? Good boundaries? Being true to myself? Take a minute to listen.
- WATCH HOW MY BODY RESPONDS TO EACH OPTION. Do I tense up or do I sigh with at least some measure of relief? Check myself again and again until I sense which direction my body is sending me.
- SINK DOWN INSIDE OF MYSELF WHERE GOD DWELLS. He is filled wisdom and love, goodness and life, healing and hope and SO AM I. Trust my God-filled gut.
- GIVE MYSELF PERMISSION TO CHANGE MY MIND. The decisions I make do not have power over me. I have power over them. There is not one right one choice and everything will go to “hell in a hand-basket” if I make the wrong one. Change is often a good thing. It means I am learning and growing.
How did you feel, LITTLE ANT, the day your world was turned upside-down, the day I moved the huge rock that your whole little life revolved around and was protected by just so I could build a rock wall to line the fence in my yard?
How did you feel?
Maybe you felt…
CONFUSED. You were scampering along, working hard to take care of your family, happily doing what you were supposed to do. Suddenly, you found yourself exposed to a world you’d never known. Maybe you asked yourself, “What the heck just happened? Why oh why?” I don’t blame you. I would feel the same way.
Maybe you felt…
ANGRY. I know you did because you bit me, at least three times. I felt it sharply under my pants just moments later. You know what? I would bite me too. Maybe it was all your little self could do to yell, “THIS IS NOT RIGHT! SEND ME BACK TO THE WAY IT WAS!”
Maybe you felt…
OUT-OF-CONTROL. After all, life as you knew it had just changed forever. All those systems that you had put in place to make your little life easier and more predictable blew to bits. Your formula for how the world works and works well was upended, to say the least. When I ventured back to check on you, I saw a whole bunch of you just scurrying around, looking like you didn’t know what to do next.
Maybe you felt…
AFRAID. Who wouldn’t? I sure would. Would some giant ant-eater come out of the woods and gobble you up? Would your life ever look remotely the same as it had before the rock was taken away? Would your ant family be okay with this new normal? Would you be able to find another rock?
Maybe you felt…
SAD. Some of your family and friends were just taken away from you, some never to be seen again and some that you don’t know when you will see again, eat with, play with and work with. It’s just horrible, my little ant friend. Just horrible. It’s not really supposed to be this way and I’m so sorry what happened is putting you through this. I would just stop right now and cry the tears that are rightfully yours.
Maybe one day, LITTLE ANT, you will have a whole new world, one where you will be working, taking care of your family, busily at peace and full of new adventures. Yes. I bet it will happen soon enough.
But for now, my new found friend, I get it. I get you.
I’m with you and I AM you, more than you will ever know.
God-speed, my LITTLE ANT friend.
Me? Not my kids’ savior?
But I’m a mom and I want to be. So very much.
I like saving them.
From bad choices.
From all that’s wrong with the world.
It feels really good.
For the moment.
But I know it’s not good.
For their hearts.
Because when I am their savior,
I am also “saving” them…
From good choices.
From all that’s right with the world.
Doesn’t sound like much saving in the end.
Then what’s the point of this motherhood gig?
If it’s not for saving?
Hang on a minute.
Wait for it.
Wait for it.
What’s that still small voice whispering inside?
What’s that “aha moment” I can’t deny?
Has motherhood saved me?
bringing me JOY that I’ve never known before
revealing PATIENCE as I stumble along in the unknown
breathing HOPE when I need it the most
reminding me of BEAUTY in the ordinary moments
granting KINDNESS when I can’t find any in myself
allowing me to experience unconditional LOVE
opening my heart to see the tenderness of good good GOD
The question persists, but the answer comes.
PERHAPS IT HAS.
PERHAPS IT REALLY HAS.
If you only knew what I really believe about faith…
Would you still worship with me?
If you only knew how I voted in the last election…
Would you still respect me?
If you only knew what’s happening in my home right now…
Would you still confide in me?
If you only knew what’s happened in my past…
Would you still value me?
If you only knew the number on my scale…
Would you still have grace for me?
If you only knew my opinions about the issues facing our world…
Would you still like me?
If you only knew how I spent my money…
Would you still be my friend?
If you only knew what goes on in my mind…
Would you still trust me?
I keep secrets.
I stay in my cage.
I show you a false version of me.
I protect my self at all costs.
ALL BECAUSE I WANT TO
belong to you.
be accepted by you.
be LOVED by you.
Jesus tenderly brings me out of hiding.
I have no secrets with Him.
He sets me free.
He allows the truest version of me.
He protects my REAL self at all costs.
I AM SO GRATEFUL THAT I
belong to Him
am accepted by Him
am LOVED by Him
I want to be Jesus with skin on FOR you.
I want the same FROM you.
Together, maybe we can show this Jesus to everyone else.
Oh may it be so.
Spending this past week with you two beautiful women was the highlight of my 2020 so far. (I know that’s not saying much, but bear with me…winky face!)
I couldn’t ask for better daughters than you. I actually couldn’t ask for better people in my life than you.
You are all that I hoped you would be and so much more than I could have ever imagined. You breathe beauty and hope and strength and faith and life into me.
You have done for this ONE mama what I long to do for everyone. You have shown me that all it takes is ONE breath of GOODNESS at a time to infuse LIFE into another.
You breathe BEAUTY (not just the outward kind even though sometimes just glancing at you catches me off guard and I am dumbstruck). You each see the world through eyes that find the small things glorious, like the sand between your toes or rainbow-sprinkled ice cream on your tongue. You spend your days creating what’s lovely for my hungry eyes and ears. THANK YOU!
You breathe HOPE. Your zeal for making the world a place where there is “liberty and justice for ALL” (and that really means ALL) makes this mama heart do a happy dance. You adamantly believe that it starts with you and you are more than willing to figure out how to make it happen so that it ripples out into this broken and hurting world. WOW!
You breathe STRENGTH. Watching the two of you discuss really hard things from political reform to gender roles to spirituality to personal responsibility made me wish I could grow up in the beautiful world you envision. You do NOT shy away or disengage, but listen intently and respond with bold conviction. You are strong, my daughters and I am so PROUD.
You breathe FAITH. In a world where many of us (your mama included at times) seems to have lost its way, you continue to believe and trust. You believe and trust your ever-evolving selves (woohoo). You continue to see the best in others and take joy in loving them right where they are, walking alongside of them in humility and grace. The two of you have an unwavering anchor for your souls in the good God that is at the root of all that’s right and true and wonderful. My socks are officially KNOCKED off!
You breathe LIFE. Life in the form of a good morning hug and quick “I love you.” Life in the form of washing the dishes and saying “Take a break, Mom.” Life in the form of abundant grace given when I falter and even fail. Life in the form of laughter over game-playing competitiveness. Life in the form of your sweaty yoga duet on the deck. Life in the form of heart-to-heart discussions about our individual and collective fears, hopes and dreams. Soul-filling LIFE.
So dearest ones, my beautiful girls, two of my closest friends, I salute you. I believe in you. I trust you. I am thankful for you from the tippy-top of my noggin’ to the very ends of my toes to the deepest space in my heart. I stand in awe of you.
But mostly and always, I LOVE YOU.
Your ONE Dolly Mama
P.S. I am now over here in the most beautiful and sacred puddle of good tears. I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.
P.P.S. You are rocking my ONE world, your world, THE world. You go my girls!!