This past weekend, I had the kids on my own while Jeremy was away on a guy’s (long) golf weekend. I am 34 weeks pregnant which makes me not quite miserable, but definitely not as confidant in my ability to chase after my 2 year old in public (She’s one fast mama-jama and, believe me, we call her “firecracker” for a reason).
Whenever I’ve been away for the night or a weekend in the past, Jeremy has always been incredible about seizing the time with the kids. He isn’t afraid to take them to restaurants, the beach, parks – you name it. He wears them out and they always have a blast. With this in mind, I wanted to make the weekend a fun time for the kids while on my watch. But I could also sense I was carrying some anxiety inside about my growing limitations to keep up with them in certain public settings. I was having a hard time settling my spirit.
Our first 48 hours had been pretty simple. We did the normal school day routines, played games, played outside, read books, watched a movie and cooked together. When Saturday morning rolled around, I didn’t have a plan for what we’d do after we made cinnamon rolls (which were made and eaten by 7:30am, I might add). As I grew increasingly indecisive and semi-anxious about how to spend our day, I almost missed the fact that Harper and Bentley were playing a full-on soccer game in the backyard, while Kensington dribbled a playground ball in the grass nearby. This had actually been going on for much longer than I had realized in all my hand-wringing glory AND they were playing nicely. And every parent knows: don’t ever disrupt your kids when a good thing is going on!
As I stood on our back deck, my yellow coffee cup in hand, I took a deep, grounding breath and made a conscious decision to let myself off the hook of “entertaining” the kids for the rest of the weekend. I was reminded of the beauty that can emerge when we let things happen organically from time to time. I grabbed a warm blanket to wrap myself up in, to save me from the crispness of the coastal morning air. I settled down in my favorite chair on our deck and watched my kids play and laugh together. I felt thankful for invitation and the sense that it was ok to just be.
A few minutes into enjoying my simple view, I remembered I had promised to send Jeremy a picture of my new haircut. I had gotten my hair done two days earlier (the same day Jeremy had flown out of town) and hadn’t worn makeup or done a thing to my hair since. Oh well, I’ll send him a picture anyway. After picking a few selfies, each showing a different angle of my hair, I sent them off to Jeremy. But as I continued to sit watching my kids play soccer on the grass, I felt drawn to keep looking at one particular picture of myself.
In the past, I most definitely used to look at pictures of myself obsessively and unendingly critically. The years when I struggled with my eating disorder were marked by me either obsessing over my looks or, in harsh contrast, not being able to look at pictures of myself at all. I knew this draw to look at my own selfie was not at all similar with my past tendencies. I sensed it to be an invitation from God.
When I looked at myself in the picture, I felt God nudging me to notice myself in all of my simplicity and beauty. I noticed the freckles on my nose my makeup usually tends to mute. I noticed the dazzling blue color of my eyes I usually describe (completely underwhelmed) as “gray-blue”. I noticed the pretty pink in my lips somehow reminding me that I’m alive.
But then I felt God guiding my thoughts towards everything I can’t physically see in the picture. In that very moment I felt Him say:
Audi, take notice of this moment…
You are just BEING.
You are not performing, accomplishing or fulfilling a role. You are not making something to show others. You are not cleaning up or covering up for appearances. You are not chasing after something that is yet to come. You are not reaching out towards something more. You are not adding anything to the beauty I made when I created you. You are just being.
In THIS VERY moment… Do you know you are wildly loved?
I sat in stillness for a long moment, His question echoing deep within me. This, of all questions, is the one I’ve been intentionally seeking to mend and heal my answer to over the past few years. One thing the journey has taught me is that these God encounters are to be honored, held and savored.
Do I know…
When everything seeking/pursuing/striving is stripped away and I am just me…
In all of my simplicity and nakedness…
Do I KNOW I am wildly loved?
Then everything in my soul whispered a resolute and confident: Yes.
Putting aside all of life’s demands, roles and expectations… Do you know you are wildly loved?
In the comments, I’d love for you to share with me how you sense God showing you that you are wildly loved.