Hello, dear friends! Long time, no communicado! Things have been even crazier than normal in my universe as of late.
The school year drew to a close, ushering in an onslaught of unnecessary class parties and faux-graduation ceremonies for five-year-olds and trophy presentations for the t-ball league that doesn't even keep score.
I went on a cruise. Alone. #hatersgonnahate
We sold a house. And bought a house. And moved into the new house in the middle of renovations so all of our stuff was covered in sheetrock dust and then plastic protective covering, in that order.
I planned a baby shower for my dear friend of 20 years and then forgot to attend and throw said shower. #yesyoureadthatright
You might be wondering, "how does one forget to attend a baby shower one is throwing?" The answer is...apparently, very easily.
I wish I could blame missing my girlfriend's celebration of her soon-to-be firstborn on the chaos and stress that abound when you move a family of five from one home to another, but no. I wish I could blame it on the overabundance of activities on our calendar at the end of the school year, but no. I wish I could blame it on anything other than my own error, but no. #itwasmyfault #filethatawayunderstuffonlyjordanwoulddo
When my girlfriends and I were in the planning stages for this baby shower, a lot of dates were tossed around. Saturday, July 11? Sunday, August 2? Maybe Saturday June 6 or 13? It started to sound like Charlie Brown's teacher's voice after a while..."wah-wah-wah-wah, wah-wah-wah-wah." The A.D.D. part of my brain apparently checked out due to detail overload and -- hey, shiny things!
Ultimately we settled on a date: May 30. Which was a Saturday. NOT A SUNDAY. #iknowthisnow
Don't ask me why, but as the shower approached I saw it in my mind on my calendar (that I should, in theory, have looked at) on Sunday, May 30. I realize now this was not even a real day - it was either Saturday (5/30) or Sunday (5/31). There was no in-between. I received the invitation one of my cohosts mailed out: a shower for Allie, Saturday May 30. Again, in my head it read Sunday, May 30.
I was SO confident that the baby shower I was throwing was on Sunday, May 30, that I planned my son's birthday party for the entire day of Saturday, May 30. #letthatsoakin
The morning of May 30 arrived and I woke up and started scrambling to get everything ready for a day spent taking seven boys under seven to an air show in Atlanta as part of a birthday celebration for my middle child. I made grocery store runs. Bought more snacks and junk food than was necessary. Packed coolers and candy and sunscreen (did I mention it was 95 degrees that day, as was made evident by the steam coming off the asphalt where we were sitting in misery in the airport parking lot). I tried not to think of how tired I would be the next day after having a bunch of six year olds stay for a sleep over in the house we'd lived in for six days that was covered in plastic panels and sheetrock dust. I made a choice to muscle through it, because the next day was important: I had to throw my friend's baby shower.
We packed the boys up and carted them off to the airport to see the crazy trick airplanes and synchronized fliers. We arrived and got to pay $25 for parking. We got the boys coated in sunscreen, grabbed our coolers, the blankets (to sit on), and the wagon, and off we trekked with seven boys under age seven to find a place to camp out. No sooner had we found a spot to sit before they were hungry, so we fed them $5 hotdogs from the concession stand. They were thirsty, so they drank their Sprites and then asked for a Capri Sun, completely depleting my drink supply in less than five minutes. The start of the air show was delayed and the boys started asking to go home and swim before the excitement even began. The birthday boy was in tears because he was "hot," and rest of the boys were constantly screaming in awe and crowding around the people in front of us, who weren't fans of us, because somehow I think our boys thought moving up into other people's space would help them see straight up into the sky better. #itdidnt
After watching two planes (out of a total of about 20 that were flying in the show that day), the boys unanimously voted that we return home to swim. So we made the mile or so hike back to the car with a crying six-year-old who was hot, six other boys who were amped up on Sprite and Capri Sun, two coolers, a pile of now-dirty blankets, and the wagon. #thisisfunright?
After we returned home I quickly got all of the boys changed into swimsuits and did what any good mother would have done: I sent them to the pool with my husband while I took a nap. #noshame #okalittleshame
After a short one-and-a-half-hour nap I forced myself to reenter the chaos and donned my own swimsuit and cover-up, then headed down to the pool to assist Super Dad. As I walked down the street toward the swim and tennis area, I pulled out my phone and checked my email, then opened the Facebook app to see what amazing things I had missed that day.
First I saw someone's post about the government's role in 9/11 and how we are all sheeple who blindly follow a corrupt socialist agenda. *sigh*
Next I saw that it was a friend's birthday, and I quickly wrote her a greeting, adding to the other 597 "happy birthdays" that were already posted to her wall.
Then I saw it. My heart still races when I think about it today. To say I was horrified doesn't even begin to describe the depth of my emotions.
Posted with a caption that read something like, "so excited to celebrate this mama-to-be today as she prepare's for baby W's arrival," was a photo of my friends. At the baby shower. That I was throwing.
I spastically punched at my phone, desperately trying to pull up my contact list so I could call my sweet, lifelong friend who was very probably unhappy with me at the moment. Her phone rang and rang and went to voicemail, and I left a quite frantic message, something along the lines of, "OMIGOSH OMIGOSH OMIGOSH OMIGOSH OMIGOSH, Allie! OMIGOSH! Your baby shower! I missed your baby shower...that I was throwing for you. OMIGOSH! AHHHHHHH! Ok, wow. Wow. I am SO sorry. I mean, seriously, I am SOOOOOOOOO sorry! Call me back, k?"
I then immediately dialed my other girlfriend whose home we were using to host the shower. She answered immediately. "Hey there..."
Oh, the horror. The shame. I didn't even know where to begin.
"Emily. OH MY WORD. Emily. I forgot Allie's shower today."
Emily, being the gracious southern belle that she is, immediately responded, "Oh, Jor, it's ok! I just thought you were swamped with moving and that you decided you couldn't come."
How could I tell her that, no, I didn't miss the party because I was swamped with moving, and no, I didn't miss it because in the crazy end-of-school year madness I forgot.
I missed it because, in my mind, it was scheduled for Sunday May 30, not Saturday May 30. Because my son's birthday party was Saturday May 30, which could only mean that the shower I was throwing had to be on Sunday May 30. #ireallydothinkiamlosingmymarbles
In the end, my friends were able to laugh about my...er...mishap, and Allie forgave me and knows that I love her, but I have to be honest - I felt absolutely horrible. Like the worst of the worst of friends.
Over the next several days I felt the enemy heaping condemnation on me. It's just like him, isn't it? He takes the smallest (well okay, maybe it wasn't the smallest) of offenses and uses them to diminish not only our sense of self worth, but also our perception of the love God has for us.
I started to feel like I was underperforming as a human being and as a Christ-follower. That I was constantly disappointing my kids, that I wasn't meeting my husband's needs, that I was a fair-weather friend, and the list goes on and on. Satan is great at planting lie seeds in our heads that sprout and quickly grow out of control. I was in a funk and I was emotionally beating myself to a pulp.
Then, as often happens in these scenarios, I dragged my battered and broken self to the foot of the cross, where I lay in exhaustion and weariness. I opened the Word and I read a section of Scripture that I've seen a thousand times before, but this time it was just for me and it was life-giving to my soul.
"...sin didn't, and doesn't have a chance in competition with the aggressive forgiveness we call grace. When it's sin versus grace, grace wins hands down. All sin can do is threaten us with death, and that's the end of it. Grace, because God is putting everything together again through the Messiah, invites us into life - a life that goes on and on and on, world without end." Romans 5:20-21
A bit more simply put is the very same truth, this time found in the lyrics of one of my favorite songs:
Where sin runs deep your grace is more
Where grace is found is where You are
And where You are, Lord, I am free
Your holiness is Christ in me
My big-time mistake (missing the baby shower) wasn't a sin, mind you, but I still carried the weight of shame and condemnation that was rooted in the lies of the enemy. And, being real, I have sinned enough for all of us, so plenty of time my shame is rooted in the depth of my depravity.
Shame is heavy.
Condemnation latches its claws around us and holds us in a death grip, refusing to release us. We live as slaves to our mistakes, to our pasts, to our inadequacies, and we feel like we're suffocating under the weight of it all.
When we bring our heaviness to the foot of the cross and we lay down the lies of the enemy for the truth of who God says we are in Christ, everything changes. The darkness of sin and shame is replaced by the bright light of grace. Apart from Christ we are all the horrible things Satan speaks into us, and then some, but when we are hidden in Christ we are as pure and spotless as the Lamb himself. Praise the Lord!
I love the version of Romans 5 you read above (The Message). I especially love this part: "All sin can do is threaten us with death, and that's the end of it. Grace...invites us into life that goes on and on and on..."
Sin is death.
GRACE IS LIFE.
Let's choose life and allow Him to heap grace upon grace on us.
I allowed my sweet friends to heap grace upon grace on me after my major friend faux pas. I chose to believe that they love me and see the best in me and know my heart, and to accept their forgiveness and understanding, which were things I didn't even want to extend to myself. We laugh about it now, and I, of course, now triple-schedule things (laptop, iPhone, and paper planner). After missing my dear friend's baby shower, two parent-teacher conferences, and out-of-town friends coming to my house for dinner (I was out when they showed up on my doorstep, majorly confusing my husband), I decided it was time to pull out the big guns.
If I happen to forget about something important in the future, though, I reserve the right to use this as my excuse: