The last few mornings have been cool and breezy, and rain is starting to bring our beautiful state some relief from the torrent of fires that have had its way with so much of the beauty God gave the northwest. (Still praying for you, firefighters.) I think it is more than safe to say that this warm summer is moving on and making way for the fall, a season I love equally as much and have plans to soak up before baby #3 joins the party (P.S. How am I almost in my third trimester?) But as I look back not only on the last month but on the whole summer, I realize what a growing season it has really been, what sweet lessons I am learning about my marriage, parenting my two very different children, and knowing God and his word in ways that move from heart and my hands from here to there. And I am so, so thankful for every part of it.
In the past month, it has become very clear to me the ways I fail to respect my husband, and trade his honor for my own well-being. I would venture to say that we have had more strong arguments in the last month than we’ve had in quite some time, but that has also brought a really beautiful, very real repentance from me. I married the most selfless man on the planet. He married an incredibly list-oriented, get-it-done-and-look-good-doing-it woman. In this combination, my default is to go and his default is to support. For so many things it works, but in so many ways I’ve unintentionally elevated my dreams and ideals for what our life should look like over his. So we are entering a new season starting over. Every single day I cannot believe God gave me this man forever, and every single day I want to make sure he knows that and doesn’t have any fan in the world bigger than me.
I also learned to say “no” this summer. My middle name might as well be “do you like me?” so this simple act was really incredibly difficult to follow through on. But I did it, and almost immediately God opened a new door that I without hesitation stepped in to. I’m paying attention to myself more, to who I am versus who I want people to think I am. With a husband, two babies and one on the way, a real teaching job and a ‘pretend’ writing job, friends who love me, and a teeny tiny ministry God is constantly growing my heart more and more for, my plate is full. And I’m not doing the whole comparison thing anymore. Really, no more “she has way more on her plate so I should be able to do that, too” because, no, that is not how this works. I will flex and stretch and do my best to stand before Jesus and offer him a life that I gave all I had to steward my people and love all of His well. But I’ve spent a lot of years standing before others and pleading my case for approval and I have to be done with that. Everything loses perspective when I lose sight of Jesus. And sometimes the most holy thing we can do is simply say “no” to a good thing so that God can do the best thing in us.
And a few fun things: first, let me tell you about the books. My summer reading list has brought it. Y’all, being in a book club and going through Make it Happen has honestly changed my life. It was such an organically built and diverse group, and I think because of that I learned ten times more. I also laughed my way through Women are Scary and loved, loved, loved Wild in the Hollow and Chasing God. To be fair, Go Set a Watchman was not what I expected and I am still having a difficult time taking Atticus off my hero pedestal, but I loved the book and think Harper Lee is pretty great. And For the Love was a perfect mix of funny and necessary, written in perfect Jen Hatmaker form. But maybe the best book I read all summer was the shortest, most simple one: Deepening the Soul for Justice was a two hour read, but profound in its simplicity. Cannot recommend that one enough. My nightstand is already piled high for the next few months, just the way I like it.
Also, did you see the sweet cards on Coffee + Crumbs? The whole site just got an adorable makeover, and the shop is up and running, so stop over there and get yourself some encouragement for your mama friends!
And finally, college football starts this week. Amen and Amen. You all now know what I will be doing every Saturday morning for the next four months. Welcome back to my life Lee Corso, I've missed you.
This summer has been pretty great. Turning thirty. Sun-kissed shoulders. Five years of sobriety. Bonding with a new baby boy in my belly. Asking for forgiveness. Trips to California and Texas. Harper's hair finally fits in a top knot. Tomatoes from the garden. The lake. My first attempt at chalk painting (and why this will never be a DIY blog) Cold brew. Saturday Farmer’s Market. My mom and dad moving to town. And Jesus, with the sweet, sweet grace he offers. I love Him. Some days have been full, others have been simple, but I think we have made the most of summer. And it’s been real good.
I’ll be taking some time away from social media starting in September, because, you know, I just need to. I try to carve out space in my weeks away from the screen, but as I did last year, I’m feeling like a longer break is more than merited again. I hope to write a lot, so ideally this space won’t stay quiet, but the rest of the noise I let in will. I want to be nearer to the most important people and things in my life, and right now I think that means putting some distance between the not-so-real things. So, I’ll see you in pictures when it’s scarf and boot season, sound good?! (P.S. If you mostly stay up with j.e.b from facebook, you can subscribe below and they will come to your inbox. And that's as close to a shameless plug as you'll get from me. Promise.)
Finally, thanks for reading what I write here, friends. Writing is 95% for me as I think and process and fill this need in my life to craft something, but I will never be able to tell you enough what your affirmation does for me. I don’t want to need it, but gosh, I sure am thankful for it. Sweet blessings and lots of love for a fall season full of pumpkin bread, red leaves, chunky scarves, and maybe, just maybe, the most genuine love and friendships you’ve ever had.
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