How can a person be branded? I wonder. And I imagine my logo or signature burned to my butt the way my grandpa branded his cows with a hot iron on the farm. Am I really supposed to market myself? I inquire of the Lord. Imagining myself as a commodity with a bar scan on my forehead. I suppose my wrist would be much more chic and therefore more marketable than my forehead? Haven’t we learned yet that people and personalities can’t be bought and sold? I was deep in thought and trying to gather my littles to go walk the dog so we can get to Chick-a-play so I can write and read.
“YOU HATE READING!!!”my seven-year-old shouts at me when I ask her to stop reading a book in order to join us to walk the dog. My precious book worm.
“I don’t want that one!” yells my two-year-old, referring to the socks and actual clothes she does not want to wear. My sweet barefoot-and-pajamas girl.
We FINALLY get to Chick-a-play (after a two hour struggle) where the girls can play behind a glass wall so that maybe I can get some writing done. I now have 45 minutes left before nap.
Drum roll, please… I’m working on my first ever book proposal! Wooo hoo!
And the process is nothing like I expected!
This Chick-a-play plan is going well. And then, a whole team of middle school baseball players show up and squat half their height to pretend they fit under the sign that reads “Must be shorter than this to play.” They look like giants compared to my little girls. And they pile in and crawl up the stairs where the girls play. I’m sure they are great kids, but I can’t see what happens in those tubes and that floating car at the top of the indoor playground. So…
“Girls! Come eat your chicken!”
Eventually, the boys go eat their chicken and my girls go back in. Honey packets are squirted all over the table. My two-year-old seems happiest when stickiest, or sopping wet. The boys go back in. I call the girls back out. This goes on. I’m sure you understand.
I do manage to get a little work in. Time to go home and nap. I call my mom and Ms. Jane and tell them about the cool things God’s doing:
I told them how I thought, in some romantic way, you just needed a paper, a pen and a good word to write. Sound the “ehhhhh” buzzer. Wrong!
So, I spent that last Sunday asking the Lord for His strategies and game plan. He gave me details, like go to a specific small group and when and certain people to email and contact and when to launch my new website (good stuff to come!!).
Last Tuesday, I took a training conference call, learned what a “One Sheet” is and learned I need a graphic designer and website help. What am I gonna do? I have 4 weeks.
I tell my husband that I feel like we need to go to small group (by “feel like” he knows I mean, God said so). So we go.
We leave the house, at the time the girls normally are IN bed. We discuss how this is CRAZY as we drive 30 minutes across town. As we sit down and listened, the discussion fell upon topics I want to write about in my book!
Suddenly, to totally change the subject, a sweet young mom goes, “So, I’m a graphic designer…” My husband and I flashed eyes at each other (just like we did when the discussion happened to be on my book topic) and we smiled something HUGE. She went on to share about a tough situation at work needing prayer, so I’m sure the appropriate facial expression was NOT the huge smile that my husband and I could not wipe off our faces. Poor girl. This new visiting couple just sits there smiling while she pours out her heart. Then when it was our turn to share prayer requests, I said, “Just this morning, I learned I need the help of a graphic designer!” Then it was her to turn to smile and flash eyes with her husband!
I said I also need help with web design, and she pointed to the guy across the table!
“I’m your guy for that!”
And then, the husband of the graphic designer chimes in, ”And I’m a producer and videographer if you ever need that!”
“I will!” I exclaimed! “That’s part of my vision are videos that will go with the book!”
What’s even better… that training call taught me I need to “market” myself as a writer nowadays. Oh no, I thought. And apparently, I need a “brand.”
But the Lord is so specific! Get this…She’s not only a graphic designer but does so from a marketing standpoint! And he’s not only a web design guy, but really loves branding! It’s his thing. What?!?
Ms. Jane said, “Wow! Wow! Wow! How rare to not only find a whole team like that in ONE place, but also a team of believers! That these young Christians are out in the world like that! Wow! Wow!”
My mom said, “Are you writing this down??! You need to write this down! About hearing God’s voice and obeying!” So this is for you, mom. : )
The woman who prayed over me on Sunday told me that we tend to be really good sharing between us and God but not too good about sharing between us and others. And she said this is the kind of story we all need to hear! So this is also for you, Ms. Linda.
So I try to journal all this down to share with you. Then laundry and dishes. Toys are everywhere…where did all these come from?? Just before making dinner, I switched over the laundry and went downstairs for ten minutes tops before I heard a shrill, “Mooooooommmmmmmmy!”
I fly up the stairs and did not find blood, only glitter glue. An empty bottle of glitter glue sat next to its contents, poured thickly on to my toddler’s piece of paper and stickers, pooling on to the table.
Ok. This is no problem. It’s actually pretty. Don’t you think?
I take a photo while she sits in time-out. I “clean” it up, but realize I’m actually playing in the mess. The blue glue and all the glitter stretching from the paper towel to the table. Its like GAK. Remember that stuff from Nickelodeon? How is there so much? I enjoy the viscosity and sparkles and then actually wipe it clean off the table. No problem.
Then, I turn around.
Dog poo… and glitter glue… all over. It’s on the carpet at the entry way, living room, hallway. Oh no! How is there more?? All I can think, as a military wife in this moment, is putting the house up for sale and a potential buyer’s crusty crunch of their first barefoot step on to the carpet from the foyer. “Welcome home?”
Ok. It’s ok. My seven-year-old makes the gracious and genius remark, “At least it’s not dry yet.” Oh yeah! I need to clean this up ASAP. I get to work. The toys are still everywhere, the toys that little one was supposed to be cleaning up instead of playing in glue.
While cleaning up dog poo and glitter glue I had this amazing thought:
It was as if God was giving me two choices. I can clean up this mess graciously and keep my house clean. Or I can clean up the physical mess while messing up the peace in my home, with a huffy, yelling, sour attitude. By God’s grace, I chose peace. It’s ok. It’s gonna be fine.
Then, I turn around.
You guessed it. More glitter glue, presently drying up, gracing the entire hallway and into the master bedroom. You and I should’ve seen this coming because I still hadn’t found the missing culprit… the lid. I’m finally getting a bit frustrated.
My husband, who feels loved by coming home to a clean house, opens the door where the toddler is in time-out and the hazardous trail of toys lay. I had stepped over the mess all day because SHE had to clean it up and she is often very crafty at finding ways to get others to do her work. The worst is when he comes straight in the door and starts picking up the floor. I snap at him for cleaning up. Why did I just do that?
This feels rotten for two reasons: 1.) Feels like the munchkin did it again, and managed to ace avoiding responsibility and, 2.) Feels like I got a “C+” on house-keeping report card and an “F” on respect-the-husband report card… and that’s a really bad feeling for a first-born achieving type.
My husband and I discuss all the messes on the floor while I scrub and I apologize and clean up the mess I made between me and him. I quickly come to grips and remind myself that my worth as a wife is not reflected on my unpolished floors and that I did not actually fail. That my success is in my faithfulness. And that grace covers a multitude of sins.
Scrub a dub and time to make dinner.
The point of all this? That still small moment was my moment with God today. Today, He did not choose to meet on my knees in my closet alone with a pretty candle and my Bible, but on my knees scrubbing the carpet with a dirty rag. His voice connecting with my heart in the middle of my mess. Without the stress or the mess, we wouldn’t have the chance of refining moments like that.
We are refined in a million tiny fires.
Cheers to you! And may He tune your heart to hear His today.