Monday, August 10, 2015

The New Normal- Part 1: Calling Jesus

When I sit down to write something, it's sort of like looking through the unfocused lens of a camera. I have a good idea of the thing that I want to capture, and typing words helps me bring the thoughts into focus. Capturing those thoughts in words is a really important part of my life.

But, as I mentioned yesterday, I have this idea about a "new normal" for my life that is a process I'm just beginning. Not only is my vision blurry, but I don't even know where to point the camera.

I had some thoughts about "normal" life that I jumped to right away. Fit back into my clothes. Make sure that Story gets on a schedule. Try not to let the house explode with baby things. But I'm experiencing first-hand how hard all of that is.

Fit back into pre-baby clothes? Easier said than done when you've got diastasis recti so badly that you can fit almost three whole fingers in between your abdominal muscles. And, I mean, I'm hungry all. the. time. Breastfeeding makes some women get super-skinny. It makes me get dessert.

Make sure that Story gets onto a schedule? Absolutely, but just let me get thirty more minutes of sleep... because I was up for at least an hour every night for the past, like, three months. (who sleeps 3rd trimester?) And, who wants to be rigid about a schedule when you're going to hand over your firstborn to someone else to keep for eight hours of the day? I've wanted to squeeze the quality out of the moments, not lay her down in the pack and play to learn to take a nap there.

Try not let the house explode with baby things? Do I really even need to give you a word picture for that? Maybe I'll just take a real picture at the end of today and post it on here.

These seem like good things, right? They're goals I set for myself before I had Story, and they still sound pretty good to me most of the time. It's just that, well, are they even realistic? Or important? I'm not sure that I know anymore.

But I do know this. In Mommy-world, there seems to be a LOT of pressure. It feels like a judgement-welcome zone. Like middle-school, but for grown women. I know that there are these little pockets of community where there's freedom, and out of God's graciousness and through my good friend Holly Thurman, I've been invited into several of those communities this summer. But in the great big world, which includes the internet, you know you're being judged. I don't think I'm just being paranoid here. Maybe I'm drawing from my own experience. I judge. And, come to think of it, I was kind of rotten around the middle school years, too. There's no sense in denying that. And I think there are a lot of people who judge, too. As my cousin Stephen jokingly said to me and Andy back in February, "I can't wait to judge you when you're parents." We took no offense to this. Stephen was teasing us, but... I think somewhere deep down I also knew that it was true. And I think it would be naive of me to expect him to be the only one who felt this way.

Being judged as a parent isn't something to get bent out of shape about. Because it's going to happen, and probably not to your face. There are so many ideas out there about parenting nowadays. And I guess it gives us some sort of twisted boost to our self-esteem when we can look down on one another for vaccinating ( or not), formula-feeding, sending a child to daycare, letting them have their own iPads... you get the idea. We do this. I do this. And from somewhere within this random assembly of opinions, my idea of "normal" springs forth. But, the ground feels so shaky. It's like that sand from that Bible verse in Matthew. I can sort of see myself looking to the right and left and watching it all slide around my toes. Digging your heals into sand isn't helpful. So what am I supposed to do? Where will I find this "new normal?" What do I need to value? What do I need to try to control? Where do I need to loosen up on my desire to control? The answer is, it's unclear for me right now. Like I said, blurry, but... I think I am figuring out where to aim the lens, at least.

I'm looking to the Bible. Because, it's not the sand. It's the rock. Unfortunately, there is no New Testament passage on vaccinations or organic diapers, but there is the story that I read today about what to do when you're facing a crisis. It's the story of Mary, Martha and their brother Lazarus. At the beginning of the story, it says that Lazarus got sick, and good old Mary and Martha completely bypassed WebMD and the homeopathic websites and called for Jesus. No, I'm not saying that Andy and I are going to avoid Western medicine when Story gets her first ear infection and opt for some prayer beads and holy water instead. The passage doesn't say that a doctor wasn't called. It just says that Jesus was called. And I'm guessing that He was one of the first people alerted. So there's my take-away for the day. Crisis? Call Jesus. Then, maybe, if you're feeling it... check the internet.

So that's what I've got into focus for now, folks. This "new normal," this is going to be a tough one to figure out. And I need to let Jesus know about it. I love the way that the message was sent, too... the sisters said, "Tell Jesus, 'the one you love is sick.'" That's pretty cool, right? Because you can't tell that to the internet, or even, really, to your favorite mommy community. When you tell your mom troubles in those places, you're saying "The one I love is in crisis." When you tell it to Jesus, you say, "The one YOU love is in crisis."

Bear in mind, that Jesus heard this message, and then waited around for a few days for the worst thing to happen to His really good friends, but that's a blog for another day. For now, I'm focusing my words in on this principle: "Jesus, can you come on into this identity crisis we're having at the Wermel's house? We're going to need you to show us how to be working parents. Because the ones YOU love don't want to get sick."

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