Gratitude Friday: “Lucky for you, it’s just me”…

This week, I’m sharing a post from May 2014. AKA, three houses and a bazillion years ago. Skillet would have been almost two and Pumpkin a month into four.  There is a mention of this weird event called “nap” and I have no idea what that was all about. No one is doing that “nap” thing around our house these days. But I know, I am still doing a good bit of “just” over my life and my identity. I hope you enjoy this peek into our early days both as a family and as we were learning how to live from a place of “It is finished.” Goodness, I am so grateful for a church who taught the finished work of the cross.  

Just Skillet & Pumpkin May 2014
May 2014
Almost every single day, following a nap, we watch “Frozen.”  Now, you would think this is because of our daughter but lately, it’s totally Skillet’s request.  I pick him up out of the crib and he immediately asks, “Foshen?”

We pop popcorn.  We get down on the floor.  And he sits completely transfixed.

As long as they are singing.  He doesn’t so much care for the talking.

He knows the words to the songs.  He actually sings along.  At least the last word.

…GO!…MORE!…GO!…DOOR!

So fun.

There’s this little part when Anna meets Hans.  He runs into her with his horse.  They have that awkward conversation while being tossed back and forth in a boat for which he apologizes “For hitting the Princess of Arendale with my horse and for every moment after.”  Anna replies with a brush off saying her sister, Elsa, would have been freaked out but…

…”Lucky for you, it’s just me.”

To which, Hans says, “Just you?”

Our church loves…I mean LOVES…to teach about accepting our identity in Christ.  Most of our sermon series center around the central topics of grace, identity, and community.  That’s the way I see them.  There’s probably a bigger, grander, more theologically smart strategy.  But I get grace, identity, and community.  

Of course, our Pastor approaches those topics from different directions and with different stories but really, those topics are at the heart of what we value as a church.  It’s good stuff.  In fact, it has radically changed me and my walk with Christ.

The series we started on Easter was, “It is Finished.”  Again, good stuff.  The first sermon was “Striving.”  The discussion question that hit home for me was…

“Jesus’ final words on the cross were ‘It is finished,’ meaning there is nothing left to achieve, only things to receive.  In what areas of your life do you not believe that to be true?”

If I’m not living in a position of open reception to His will and blessings, then I don’t believe in His grace.  At least not fully.  Maybe my head does but my heart doesn’t.

My initial reaction was to think about my “job.”  And pretty much every woman I know and her “job.”

Follow me.

I believe we “just” ourselves into an identity.  

An identity that does not reflect a belief in God’s grace and our complete trust in our purpose exactly where we are.

Because we are “just.”

 I watch Anna say, “…it’s just me” and I hear myself saying, “I’m just a mom.”  “I just stay home.”  “I just lead a small group.”  “I just gave my last gluten-free chicken nugget to my son.”

You get it.

Because you do it too.

We “just” ourselves into an identity.  And OUT of the only identity that counts.  The one Christ gave us on the cross.

Being “just” does not declare I have been given a spirit of power.  It says weakness.

Being “just” does not shout I believe His plans for me are to prosper but rather that I suspect He’s forgotten me altogether.

Being “just” does not claim my role as a co-heir with Christ but instead, reflects my feelings that maybe I’m an orphan left behind.

I think about the other roles in my life.  And, unfortunately, I don’t “just” those.  

This morning I ran 4.5 miles.  No personal best in distance or speed.  And yes, I am almost an exclusive treadmill runner.  But I am a runner.  I own that title.  Don’t care what some elitist runner thinks about my distance, speed or treadmill.  I am a runner.  No “just” about it.

I’m a wife.  A daughter.  A sister.  A friend.  And, not too long ago, gainfully employed.  

There’s no “just” in those roles either.

But…Mom?  The one title I waited for and prayed over and LOVE WITH MY WHOLE BEING…that is where I am “just.”

Because being a mom is hard. 

Stay-at-home-mom, working-mom, part-time-working-mom, PTA-mom, foster-mom, CEO-mom, grand-mom, spiritual-mom, god-mom…those are all hard.  

I think in that moment when Anna defines herself as “just me,” Hans sees his way in.  He finds her weakness.  This girl.  She needs to be defined.  She needs to be loved.  She needs to be validated.  And from that moment on, his goal is to use that weakness to accomplish his goals.

Satan, he uses that same trick to accomplish his goals.

He hears me say “just” and he knows he’s got me.  He digs and pushes and whispers in my ear.  “That time you lost your temper this morning?  Yeah.  Remember that?  Cuz the kids do.  You scared them. They’ll never forget that.  Congratulations!  They’re scarred for life.”

Or, “Hey, don’t worry about disciplining or teaching or playing today.  You need some me time.  You’re worth more than some silly game of kindergarten.  Turn on a movie.  Take a break.”

Shamefully, some days I listen.  Not willingly but some days, the feeling of being “just” takes over.  

Since that sermon and our discussion of that question, I’ve been pondering this “just” concept.  It’s been swirling around in my head and in my heart.  

If I’m trying to teach my daughter “words have meaning,” then I need to be more careful with my own words.  Even when I don’t say them out loud.  I need to stop introducing myself as “Just a mom” when I meet new people.  Downplaying my role not only gives satan a foothold but it devalues my children.  They are the most precious gifts in my life (Dr. Band Geek, too) and to say my God-ordained responsibility to serve them as their mother is “just” implies they are worth less than, well, THE MOST PRECIOUS GIFTS IN MY LIFE.

My children need to hear truth in all things and that includes the truth of my purpose and calling to them.  

The good news is Anna proves herself wrong.  In the end, Elsa may have been the one with the fancy power but Anna was the one with the LIFE-CHANGING power.  She could love.  Selflessly.  Wholly.  Instinctively.  Bravely.  She wasn’t “just” anything.  She was the person who saved through love.

There’s nothing “just” about fiercely loving.  

Nothing.
Some days I am simply overwhelmed with how God puts all these little pieces of my life together.  Sends me amazing messages like unexpected emails or touching comments or out of the blue phone calls.  He puts everything and everyone together in such a magnificent manner.  Teaching me from all directions.  Because I am not the brightest bulb and thus I need to hear the same message in a million different ways.
Father, thank you for a church and a pastor who teaches on our identity in You.  Thank you for small group discussion and whispering these messages in my ear through it.  Thank you for opening my eyes to all those different ways You speak to me.  And thank you that even though I “just” myself out of an identity, You always lovingly remind me of who I am in You.
What about you?  Where are you striving instead of receiving?  Do you “just” to define yourself?
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