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.
I do not take this day lightly.
My heart swells with thanksgiving that I live in a place where my innate need and hunger for freedom is met.
This framework of outer freedom bestows a space where my many-times trembling, but just-enough-times brave heart fights for my inner freedom, a sacredness no one, no thing can touch.
I have the freedom to be kind.
I have the freedom to enjoy beauty.
I have the freedom to learn, grow and change.
I have the freedom to be generous.
I have the freedom to be trustworthy.
I have the freedom to love my neighbor, period.
I have the freedom to take risks.
I have the freedom to be gentle.
I have the freedom to walk with integrity.
I have the freedom to be filled with respect for all.
I have the freedom to show compassion.
I have the freedom to journey with humility.
I have the freedom to forgive.
I have the freedom to shine my light.
I have the freedom to be patient.
I have the freedom to be authentic and vulnerable.
I have the freedom to don the mantle of courage.
I have the freedom to open my heart to an abiding faith.
I have the freedom to work with all my might.
I have the freedom to always hope.
These freedoms, similar to the outer ones, must be fought for on the battlefields of my heart, my soul, my body and my mind with great strength and courage, every moment of every day.
HERE’S TO BRAVING THE FIGHT OF ALL FIGHTS TOGETHER!
If you have the great privilege to meet Brian Herbert Maret, you immediately like him, but more importantly, you immediately feel liked. Did you catch that? You immediately feel liked. Listen again. You immediately feel liked. This is the man I call Dad.
Yes. My dad is a gardener and can grow a mean crop of tomatoes. Yes. He’s a missionary and has lived his life serving the God he loves. Yes. He’s a sports fanatic and will watch almost anything with a ball in it. Yes. He packs the best boxes in the safest ways for shipping items all the way to Africa or even New Jersey. Yes. He loves fishing and touching worms and pulling out all the hooks that get lodged in places fish (and squeamish daughters) are not happy about. Yes. He’s a husband who has loved my mom for more than 63 years. Yes. He is all those things and so much more.
Nature and/or nurture passed down only some of those things to me. No. I am not a gardener. Yes. I love God. Yes. I’m a sports fanatic. No. I can’t pack a box to ship across the street, much less to Africa. No. I don’t like catching fish or touching worms or pulling out hooks. Yes. I love my husband and hope to make it to 63 years (28 and counting – check it out HERE).
BUT BUT BUT…
There’s a few more powerful life lessons he shared with me that made me be a better mom (and a better human)…
1. GET DOWN ON THE FLOOR
For as long as I can remember and especially during my young mom years, the image I have of my dad is ON THE FLOOR surrounded by children (and toys and crafts and books). The key is ON THE FLOOR. At their level. Doing what they love.
One day, I watched my daughter crouch down to speak with a child who was asking her questions. I asked her why she did that and she responded, “I learned that from you, Mom. It shows basic respect for them, even though they are little.” “Oh my goodness,” I said, “I learned that from my dad. It just comes automatically.”
Thanks, Dad, for helping me to “get down on the floor” with my own children and those I don’t even know very well, to be a respecter of persons, no matter whether they are two or 92, brown-skinned or blue-eyed, the King of Ethiopia or the poor Somali boy with no shoes. Based on the podcasts I have done with my now child-adults, this idea of respect at all costs for all people seems to have struck their deepest chord. Thanks, Dad.
2. TALK TO STRANGERS IN GROCERY STORE LINES
I know how to embarrass my kids. That’s for sure. Especially when my two youngest were teens. I talked to strangers in strange places, but especially in grocery store lines. If they were wearing a Steelers hat, I would strike up a conversation about the latest game they lost or won. If their cart was filled with healthy fare, I would make some comment of admiration, knowing my checkout receipt was laden with Cheetos, Gogurts and frozen pizza. To add to the problem, their older brother joined in the fun! They, however, hoping to avoid this horrible atrocity of connection, would rebuke me quietly in my ear or poke me in the ribs, reminding me that we were just here to shop and get home.
I was a little kinder to my dad when he did this very thing (probably because I secretly loved it). It wasn’t just grocery store lines. It was the man sitting next to him at a sporting event. It was the new neighbor getting their mail. It was the teenager crabbing on the same pier. I am still kind to him when he does it and in fact, I spark up the conversation right along with him.
Thanks, Dad, for teaching me that people, and even my own kids, want to be known and seen and heard. That you can always find that “something” that provides the sacred space of human connection and by doing so, reminding each one that they are of great value. Thanks, Dad, that finally, my now 19-year-old admitted to me (the last time it happened) that she “gets it” and that she actually likes that part of me. Thanks, Dad, for passing along that trait and your friendly self to my second-born who is relentless in his pursuit of a common connection with those he meets (as one of his friends reminded me just yesterday).
3. MOW LAWNS THAT AREN’T YOUR OWN AND KEEP IT A SECRET
I found out recently that my eighty-something parents drive their widowed, ninety-something neighbor to get groceries. Lots of secrets were kept about these very kinds of things. I would find out from others all the little (sometimes big), kind, generous, unseen gestures that my dad would do for them. Mowing lawns (“I’m outside anyway.”), washing endless dishes every night when we were teens, sharing zucchini from his beloved garden, giving money to the poorer at a time he was poor himself, praying every single morning for us kids and now his grandchildren (along with my mom), and of course, so many things that are still a secret.
Thanks, Dad, for encouraging me during those unseen times of being a mom (countless loads of laundry, lunches made, sleepless nights and booboos kissed…something I now have in common with my own child-mom). Thanks for reminding me that it all counts (not just the stuff that’s noticed), that nothing is too little, that each ordinary act of kindness makes me a better mom and the world a better place, a place where God and all His kindness, generosity, and many times unnoticed Self is revealed to those who need it most.
HAPPY FATHER’S DAY, DAD! And all you other amazing dads out there! It’s your day and I celebrate you!
What do “getting down,” “giving up birthdays” and “making MINI-MEs” have to do with this beautiful and messy parenting journey? Join with me as I interview Rachel, the baby of the Dolly Mama family. In just 20 minutes, she breaks out her wise voice, even though she can’t even break open the bubbly yet! But don’t worry! She’s produces enough bubbly herself!
CLICK ON LINK BELOW TO LISTEN TO 20 MINUTES OF CAN’T MISS THOUGHTS!!
Thank you for taking the time to listen! Please share this with anyone you know who is beginning the parenting journey, in the middle of the mess, or still navigating it all with adult children!! It’s powerful stuff!
I am so excited today! I am launching my first podcast entitled the Dolly Mama and the Millennials! This podcast will be mostly for moms and dads to get help navigating the very beautiful and messy journey of this thing we call parenting!
You will get a behind-the-scenes look at the secrets, struggles and successes of our typical American family (if there is such a thing as typical). My desire is that you would come away from listening to it encouraged on your own journey and receiving the grace you need to keep up the good work you are already doing!
To whet your appetite today, join with me as I interview Josh, our third-born of four adult kids. We explore “our big three” according to him, what he believes we highly valued and esteemed in our parenting and family life. You’ll find out about my mom mantra, “TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF AND YOUR STUFF” and how that kept us from continuing to have those never-kept behavioral contracts I had my kids sign but never followed through on (you can read more in detail about this by clicking HERE). You will also hear what other TWO (what this Dolly Mama would deem) SUPER important life values somehow made the leap across that seemingly giant chasm between my heart (and Allen’s too) and his!
If you are just at the beginning of this crazy journey of parenthood, somewhere in the messy part, launching your kids into adulthood, or “been there, done that” and just want to be reminded that it was all worth it, this podcast is for you! We are parents from the moment they are born until they moment we take our last breath. I’ll never get away from being their mom, nor would I want to.
ENJOY (It’s only about 20 minutes!) BY CLICKING HERE!!
AND SHARE WITH ALL YOUR PEOPLE!