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Archive for August, 2013

It’s A Big Day

Today was Gideon’s first day of Kindergarten. He was excited about his new teacher, new class, and new school.

Gideon Kindergarten

I am not worried about him in his big new pond. He is a great swimmer.

It amused me that the PTA hosted a “BooHoo Breakfast” for the Kindergarten parents. Some of my friends are very sad and filled with anxiety over this milestone, but my feelings boil down to, “Praise Jesus.”

I am happy and excited for Gideon and for me. We will both be venturing into new territory. He will be in real school where he will learn all kinds of things I wish he did not,  how mean kids can be, and things I do not have the patience to teach him, Math.

I will be down one kid every day and, with Wash in preschool three half days, I will have actual kid-free time on a regular basis. I already have multiple ways to fill this time, of course I do!

I want to grab all those sad parents by the shoulders and shake them. This is not a day to be sad. This is a day to rejoice. This is a day our children start their journey to being a useful member of society. I know, I know. Laying the groundwork when they are young is essential. I know. I did that, but now their real journey starts.

How can I be anything but joyful on this day when the whole world is open to him? There are so few moments in your life when the possibilities are as vast as they are when you start school. Kindergarten. Starting college. Beginning a new career. Getting married.

This is one of those rare opportunities to treasure. It should be a day when the zing in your step and your mind are so great you leave rainbows and songs in your wake, not tears.

I hope he has so many great things to tell me that he does not shut up for the rest of the day. If his first day was less than stellar, we will pick ourselves up and try again tomorrow, because it is all part of life and the learning process.

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Writing a Bio

I have been serving in different teaching capacities at our church for a few years now. For the fall, Ries and I are both stepping into new leadership roles. Because of this, I was asked to provide a bio for the church’s website. (update: They are in the midst of revamping and simplifying the site, so the bios are on hold.)

What would I include in a bio for church?

I have standard bios, of varying lengths, I use for writing and training, but they are appropriately focused on those areas. As I sat in front of a blank screen yesterday, all I could come up with was this:

Michelle spends her time reading, writing, brewing beer, and praying for no zombies tonight.

I do not think that is what my, albeit liberal, Baptist church has in mind. All the other bios on the page talk about how much passion they have for sharing Christ (I have that), and how much they love teaching or helping others (I love those things too), what kind of family they have (I’ve got that too!), and a favorite verse (boy, do I have one of those). How do I merge the quirky and sometimes inappropriate me with the more gentle me?

I have gentled in the past few years, especially since leaving the regular workforce and having kids. Nothing humbles a person like having a baby poop on your favorite shirt, never being able to go to the bathroom alone, or really do almost anything you used to do at your own leisure again. (For example, while writing this one post, I was interrupted for lunch; multiple bathroom breaks, not mine; copious crying, also not mine; and putting the youngest down for a nap, sadly not my nap.)

I was in desperate need of humbling when I left work. I thought more of myself than anything else. At the time, I thought I was staying home for my family because God asked me to.

Now, I know God asked me to stay home for me. In His mercy, He has made me see what I could have become and led me to be someone else instead. Still me, but better. Less prideful (most of the time) and more empathetic (usually). Do I still struggle with all my faults? How much time do you have for me to tell you about all the ways I have screwed up lately?

Each day I learn something new about the world, myself, and God and I grow. If I write a personal bio, not the kind for professional use, I want it to reflect the way I have grown and how much the discovery process as I go means to me and my journey to God.

If I wrote a bio for my church website, it might say something like this:

Michelle came to know Jesus at a young age, but never understood what it meant to be a precious child of God until she was much older. She is passionate about teaching and discovering the wonder of God’s love and provision. Michelle serves with her husband, Ries, in the youth ministry and they have two small boys of their own. Michelle is many things depending on who you ask: a writer, a reader, a technology guru, a baker, a geek, or someone to laugh with.  No matter her role in the moment, she strives to love others as Jesus asked. Her life verse is Psalm 27, the ending of which implores we, “Wait for the Lord; Be strong, and let your heart take courage; Yes, wait for the Lord.”

What would your bio say?

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