Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Straddling Grace-Places and Loving It {{serving up a guest post}}

She is fiercely loyal, sweetly quirky, and full of life. 
With strawberry blonde hair framing her ivory complexion, 
the woman can rock royal blue like nobody's business. 
I met her in a circle of women gathered around the Word...
Mark to be exact.
I still remember the first time we knelt in the same prayer group, 
and I know very few people with her passion for radical gospel living! 
She loves, leads, and learns transparently. 
I am wonderfully different through knowing her....

One recent Sunday morning found me sitting knee to knee with her following worship services talking of a post I had recently published on the topic of dying to striving. 
We discussed our journeys to a place of pervasive heart-rest in Abba's unalterable approval over us.
She holds the same mercy, but from a different platform than do I.
She has learned a release from voices of our culture (sometimes from down the pew), the pride of her own deceptive heart, and the enemy's vicious slander by walking head-high in the confidence of, not doing, but being the woman Abba is making her to be. 
She unashamedly grabs joy in her career path; pursuing growth and success in her skill sets not juxtaposed but aligned with loving and sacrificially serving her family.
I asked her to string out her heart into words so that I could share it with you here.

Excited today to host my dear 
Katie Kimmel as she serves up her grace stewarded for us in this place...

Here I sit with this incredibly unusual occasion of “free” time at school. 
We just got back from an equally unusual field trip because I work at an awesome 
(and now a days, also, unusual) school where a few times a year we get to take the kids somewhere and not write a report about it or even fill out a worksheet as we walk 
(another post for another time…she half smiles).  
I have a list of possibilities to conquer for here or for home, 
but typing this to you (and me) has been tugging at my heart for far too long.

I sit at my desk with about 40 minutes in between here and there. 
Between Work and Home.  
Between Students and Family.
Between Paycheck and Bills. 
Between Grace and Grace. 
Maybe you're sitting in this place, too? 
If so, I am excited to chat with you here as we straddle these grace-places. 
If you happen to be reading this with both feet on one side or the other of this tight rope, 
I’m SO GRATEFUL you're willing to hear my imperfect heart, and I truly pray there will be something for you to take away from it 
(and even if you don’t my teacher brain screams “Good for you for taking time to READ!”)

This “in between” has been a part of my life since as long as I can remember. 
My mom was an “in betweener” my grandma an “in betweener” in fact very few woman in my life were not. All working outside AND inside the home. We all have various reasons for doing so. All having various positions.  And, yet, all bound by some common threads….the in between and the guilt of it. I’m wondering if you are also a member of our ever growing “members only” group? If so, our membership requirements will ring true 
(and your head will begin to involuntarily nod) as you read the following list:

*You have had to choose between using a personal day to be room mom or the field trip.
* You are scared to death the next kid will get sick because taking another day off is going to require some serious maneuvering, but leaving them home without your arms is seemingly impossible.
*You have been approached by one or more people in conversation with the question of “how do you do it?”
* That last conversation normally at some point leads to the comment of “Staying home with our kids has always been VERY important to us, but GOOD FOR YOU!” as you hold back screams and tears you exit to, yet again, question your mothering abilities.

And then comes the real stuff. 

As if these first few telltale signs didn't cut enough, you have been met by something that has punctured straight to the core
I speak these next words from my heart to yours, dear in betweener
and in doing so I mean absolutely no malice to those who have caused this pain, but I KNOW these ladies love too deeply for us not to humbly admit that their “concern” has done far different than spur us on. 
You know where I am going with this… the kind sister or friend who has caught you after service, sent an email, given a pointed call not to ask you why your heart has you here, 
but instead to tell you how you are not following “God’s intended path.”

Well. There. You. Have. It.

Now, not are you only guilty of letting down your family, 
God is also disappointed. Awesome. 
And they must be right…right? 
I mean…she has been a Christian woman longer than you….
she is more spiritually mature…
she has chosen the “right” path in their own wife/motherhood walk. 

Your solidly prayed over reasons must be your heart leading you astray once more. Therefore, you are left with no choice, but to respond in one or more of the following ways (first insert head and shoulder droop)
“Financially I need to contribute,”…
“Well, now that they are in school at least part of the time, I feel like I can start to work a bit”… and my personal favorite …
“This is what my husband has asked of me.”

I have said them all. 
Sometimes I’d choose one over the other,and sometimes I’d roll  ‘em all into one nice package deal so that I sounded like a deranged doll that you wound up and let loose. 
I felt like I should come with a tag….
wind me up and I’ll say over 5 different excuses just to make you stop.” 

Each time I walked away feeling more than guilty; I felt shamed
Would it change my situation? No. 
Would it make me avoid deep, meaningful, relationships with those wome
(and any others that I would even THINK may feel the same way)
You better believe it. 

To this day, some of the hurtful things stated “out of love” ring in my head when shame gets the best of me. 
–Side note: Telling another sister that you hope her and her family are left miserable due to her working, so that, her husband may change his mind about his decision…yeah…go ahead and leave certain things out of your “because I love and care for you” speech. 
Those things can’t be erased even after forgiven. 
By God’s sheer grace they may not continue to cause a divide and a relationship may be restored, but I PROMISE you they will hit time and time again.-

Here’s the deal my fellow warrior of the inbetween
Maybe one or more of those responses are true. 
Maybe financially you and your husband have decided your work is necessary. 
Maybe your husband has decided for one reason or another that you working is needed and even though it isn’t your ideal you submit… knowing that God’s plan is better than your own (even when you don’t agree with what He’s laying on that man of your’s heart). 

And maybe NONE of these are the real reason you have chosethis role as one who goes between.
Maybe, just maybe,…dramatic pause…you want to.

Maybe you have prayed long and hard. 
Maybe you feel called by a spiritual gift to share God’s grace in a way that doesn’t look exactly like that woman staring back at you. 
Maybe you WERE designed to be the wife to that man, the mother to those kids, AND the colleague to those colleagues. 
Maybe you were designed to BE the Light in an office, a classroom, behind a checkout counter, on factory line AND kindle that flame at home. 
And in coming to this decision, maybe your knees are raw and you've logged so many hours in the Throne Room you’re, pretty sure there is a permanent seat with your name engraved on it.

Guess what, dear friend, 
lean waaaayyyy in for this… further….further still… ok here ya go…..
Yep, and not just a chair, there is a room and it’s waiting just for you. 
Yep, YOU. Mother…wife….employee. 
The one who has a foot on both sides. Yes, you. 
The streets to your room are paved with gold and You.Will.Rest
Are you making the right decision? I don’t know. 
Am I making the right decision? I don’t know. 
I know that after all my prayer, my slumber parties talking with Jesus until way after lights out, this is what feels the best for my soul. 
And you know what? I’m going to own it. 
This decision, whatever the reason is 
(I’m excited to share mine with you over some coffee or maybe this place again soon),

I’m going to own it. 
I’m going to do it with gusto. 
I’m going to enjoy it. 
I’m going to do it as if the glory of God depends on it. 
And not the least of my reasons for doing so is because of you.
You the one who walks this same path. 

When approached with the shame that comes from within or is staring back at me across a church isle I vow to be brave. I do it so that you too may be brave. Warriors battling together, lifting each other up, spurring each other on, iron sharpening iron…arms linked and heads held high as together we claim God’s grace and mercy as our own and boldly proclaim THE TRUTH… that whatever the reasoning behind the choice to be both Mom and employee we are confident in this… 

that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation (*including a paycheck for services rendered and the choice to accept it), will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:38-39)

Will there be days we question the decision as we run around like chickens with our heads cut off trying to be it all and do it all just so we feel a bit less guilty? 
You better believe it. (more on how I maneuver VERY imperfectly through that in a later post ;)  

There are days when I literally feel like breathing takes too much time; those days, I’m walking a tight rope. Teetering back and forth waiting for one slip of the foot to cause my inevitable fall into that pit of shame I was never meant to call my home.
Listen here, sister in between, your feet weren't meant to wobble.

You were called to stand FIRM in the faith. So go ahead plant your feet. Dig your heels in on the promises of God…with one on the side of wife and motherhood and the other on the side of your earthly master. Knowing full well that if you are IN Christ you have one foot on the side of here and the other the side of eternal glory. And He goes before, behind, beside. Because His grace promises to meet us…Right. Where. We. Are. At.

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