Monday, September 29, 2014

Identity Crisis

I had a bit of a meltdown last night.

My husband – that poor, poor man – asked me a simple question, unknowingly unleashing a flood storm that he had no idea was coming. I had been stuffing, stuffing, stuffing some things inside me – knowing they were there, but unsure of how to deal with them – and his question chipped a tiny fracture in my unstable wall, causing all the bricks to come tumbling down and out.

I don’t really like to talk about my feelings. I’d rather not feel them at all. I’d rather talk about you and your feelings. I deal with my issues on my own. My husband is privy to more than anyone else, and he can deal with me better than anyone. But when it comes to emotional things, they’re mine.

I’m not denying that I have feelings and issues; I just don’t like to advertise them or burden others with them. I can take care of them on my own. But last night I couldn’t hide my insecurities. I didn’t even talk about them much; I just cried them out. Eww. Honestly, I was a little disgusted with myself.

I often say that my 20s were an uncertain time. I graduated from college (HIGH!); I suffered through my mother’s illness and death (LOW!). I had fun with my friends, traveled, and got married, so the decade ended well.

Then I turned 30, which I LOVED. I entered my 30s with confidence, knowing who I was and where I was headed. I had my children and raised them. I loved being a stay-at-home mom, and didn’t miss the office one bit.

Now I’m 40. I was excited to enter this decade, because I really feel that the possibilities for what I can achieve are endless. I not only feel confident, but empowered to turn my ideas and hopes into a reality. But I’ve had this weird feeling of being held back. I couldn’t put my finger on it.

After last night’s “situation,” I woke up with a clear head. I woke up with the thought: God’s promises are new every day. And then I saw a friend had posted this picture on Facebook:

Photo by Gerre Brenneman
I instantly recognized and realized my problem. I have endless possibilities in front of me. I am so many things and want so many things that I’m not sure which direction to go. I am and will always be a wife and mother first. But what does that look like now that my kids are in school full-time? Do I stay home and finally figure out how to cook and keep the house spotless? Or do I take advantage of the hours I have and look for a part-time job to help contribute financially? But if I do, what happens when the boys get sick or have a field trip? Do I serve more at church? Volunteer? Pursue my passions? All of the above?

I am overwhelmed with ideas. Or am I just overwhelmed?

Yesterday’s sermon at church was about “Who am I?” I know that I am a daughter of our risen King. So I’m leaning on my Abba in heaven to direct me. I’m going to do a little of everything I mentioned above and hope and pray that the Lord guides me (pushes, shoves, drags me kicking and screaming) in the direction He wants me to go, because I’m just not sure. And for a Type A, OCD, checklist-making, routine-craving woman, that is not a comfortable place to be.

OK, I’m getting off my shoebox now.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Just Another Manic Monday

Oh Monday, you never cease to claw at our door. You’re our weekend hangover. You make us drag ourselves out of bed with your incessant to-do lists.

Except my cousin Sonia, who is the only person I know who loves Mondays.

Manic? Maybe.

Instead of being oppressive, perhaps it can offer opportunity. A new day, a new week, and – as I tell the boys – this is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it and let’s OWN this day.

So, a few things I’m looking forward to this week:

1. The boys have half days all this week due to parent-teacher conferences. That means I don’t have to pack lunches! You have no idea how happy that makes me. It’s the little things.

2. Those half days will also give me extra time to take the boys to the library, get the car washed, visit the dentist, and take the boys to get haircuts. These chores may seem burdensome but they are necessary and help me feel productive and accomplished (see “to-do lists” above).

3. Thursday night we have our bi-monthly young couples’ Bible study. I love these people. I love their enthusiasm, their opinions, their questions, and their friendships.

4. I’m starting a board game exchange with a friend, where we’ll trade board games every week. New ways to have fun with the boys without spending a dime. Today we’re exchanging Twister for Quirkle.

5. Every week I think I have nothing going on – how will I fill my time? And yet things continually come up. This is good and bad, as I’m not a go-with-the-flow type of person by nature. But God is working on me to be flexible despite my need for structure. 

What are you looking forward to this week?

OK, I’m getting off my shoebox now.

Monday, September 8, 2014

A Real Man

We live in such a broken world – a world filled with hatred, anger and violence. A world where anything goes, and anyone can do anything.

Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice was let go from the team today, his contract terminated after video surfaced of him punching his then-fiancée (now-wife) in the face and dragging her out of an elevator earlier this year.

Rice was charged with assault but has not done jail time; instead he’s in an intervention program for first-time offenders. He’s sorry – he admitted his behavior was “inexcusable.”

There are plenty of jerks in this world – more than I can count. Cowardly, pathetic excuses for men with no self control who abuse women. I don’t want to focus on them.

Instead, I thought I’d share a couple of personal examples of real men – men who value and respect women. Men who model Christ and love His creation.

Example 1: My father, Samuel Maserejian. When my mother was ill, he would visit her daily at the hospital. One day there was a power outage, and the elevator at the hospital was out of service. After a long day of work, he climbed something like 15 flights of stairs just to say good night to her.

A real man puts his wife’s needs ahead of his own. A real man is not afraid of sacrifice. A real man is physically strong but doesn’t use his strength against a woman.

Example 2: When Jayson and I were dating, we went to Armenia together. A couple of days before our return, we attended our friend’s wedding and made the mistake of eating some egg salad that had been sitting out that humid day. We both got food poisoning. Our long flight home was not fun. I don’t do well with public restrooms anyway – OCD in full effect – and so I waited patiently until there was no line to use the airplane’s restroom. I spent at least a few minutes layering everything with toilet paper (sorry, environmentalists – I just can’t). Apparently there was an inebriated man on the plane who didn’t like how long I was taking in the bathroom, and started banging on the door. Jayson – again, we were just dating – jumped up to defend my honor to a drunken idiot who was twice his size.

A real man defends his woman’s honor. A real man doesn’t take crap from anyone. A real man faces his fears. A real man protects his future-wife from harm.

There are real men all around us.

Men who work hard to provide for their wives and children.

Men who risk their lives to serve our country.

Men who encourage women in their careers.

Men who affirm women.

Men who cherish.

Men who protect.

Men who are chivalrous.

Men who respect.

Men who uplift.

Men who treat women the way Jesus treated women: as children of God, made in His image, worthy of the love that brought Him down from heaven and the death that put Him up on the cross.

I expect to be treated this way. Anything else is unacceptable.

OK, I’m getting off my shoebox now.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014


My heart has been heavy this past week for reasons both common and personal.

I give equal weight to my own issues, the problems my friends are weathering, and the atrocities in the news worldwide. Sometimes the burden is overwhelming, and I feel pushed into the ground.

Prayer is usually the only thing that can lift me up, so I’ve been praying a lot. But I also decided to take a bit of my own advice from my last blog post and keep perspective.

In order to do that, I will make a gratitude list today to keep my eyes focused on the positive amidst the negative.

1. James has his first soccer practice tonight. He is beyond excited and looks adorable in his little cleats. His enthusiasm is contagious, and I’m grateful for his joy. 

2. I received emails this morning from two women at church who are my friends and mentors. We are working together on a project and they are full of ideas, creativity and enthusiasm. They inspire me.
3. My husband wasn’t feeling well yesterday, but he still got up and went to work. He labored on Labor Day. He is the most hardworking man I know.
4. Silas will begin allergy shots this week. He’s not thrilled about it, but I’m grateful that there is a long-term solution to this problem. I’m also grateful that his allergies and asthma are manageable, and pray these shots will be effective in decreasing his symptoms.
5. My phone is a real point of contention between me and Jayson. Well, I should clarify that it’s my OCD regarding my phone and constantly checking it that causes some problems. But my phone is also my connection to my sister and pregnant best friend who are both 3000 miles away, and to Facebook and Instagram where my cousins all over the United States and Canada are posting their kids’ first-day-of-school photos, and to my friends in Japan and Indonesia and Lebanon and the Netherlands.  
6. I’m grateful that God is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. His love and protection is over each of us whether we are in a Christian school, a public school, a country that allows religious freedom, or an area of oppression. He is the same, He is good, He is love, and He will be victorious over evil.
7. This week is New York Fashion Week. Designers will showcase their Spring 2015 ready-to-wear collections. It makes me happy to see the imagination and ingenuity of these artists.
8. I have a post-it on my desk with a long list of friends I want to visit with. I’m so grateful for the kind, genuine people in my life.
9. I’m grateful to live in California. Despite its many problems, I live in an amazing and caring community, attend an active church, have access to the mountains, and don’t have to shovel snow. I repeat, no snow.

What are you grateful for today?

OK, I’m getting off my shoebox now.