At the end of each month, I write about things I learned. This practice has helped me pay attention to life, myself, and God’s presence. In no particular order, here are 10 things I learned in April:
1. Having a bigger family means there is an increasing complexity of needs.
At any given moment, there are multiple needs, requests, and demands. Someone may be crying, while someone else wants milk, while someone else needs help with homework. I’ve been learning to quickly assess what is most urgent and important at each particular moment, and being okay with other needs not getting addressed immediately.
2. I am a better writer when I have structure, accountability, and daily discipline.
I’ve learned so much about myself through doing my 100 Days of Memoirs project, and am so glad I decided to do it. I’m 24 days into the project, and already see how good the process has been for my writing.
3. Don’t mess with Scientology and sugar.
We watched several documentaries that I recommend. First, Going Clear, which presents a history of the church, but also tells the stories of ex-members. It was eye-opening, and revealed so much abuse and exploitation I wasn’t aware of. Second, Fed Up, about food, exercise, the world-wide obesity epidemic, and the particular dangers of sugar. It made us reevaluate our family’s eating habits in a major way. If you watch either of these, I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments.
4. People are more important than tasks.
I keep learning this lesson over and over again, especially in this season of life. I could easily prioritize all the endless “things that need to get done” over all the people around me. Sometimes I need to intentionally choose to be present to people, and let go of other agendas.
5. A major perk of living in Honolulu is the frequent out-of-town visitor dropping by.
This month we had a steady stream of friends visiting from various places, and it was great!
6. Ministering with young kids is a challenge and a joy.
Steve and I have been called to minister in a variety of ways, and also believe in integrating that with our family. This month we had opportunity to co-teach a workshop for a large group of college students, and brought 1-month old Aria along. We tag teamed teaching, me nursing the baby, Steve rocking her to sleep in his arms, and doing Q & A with the students. It was a little crazy, but a good experience.
7. Feeling desperate is often a great place to be.
In moments or seasons of complete desperation, we are more open to experiencing healing, freedom, new hope, and transformation. I’ve seen this to be true in my own life, and others around me. What if we embraced the areas of desperation, and asked how it might birth new life in us?
8. A huge part of parenting is finding the right motivators.
Somehow my husband came up with this deal with Aaron (who generally doesn’t eat well-rounded meals):
9. After about half a year of doing little/no exercise, my body’s core is really weak.
I’m gradually working physical activity back in, starting with being able to do one good push up. Another related lesson – it’s really difficult to exercise while caring for a newborn and toddler full time.
10. Empower people vs. rescue people.
A very wise friend reminded me of this paradigm. If we’re going to effectively parent, lead, minister, serve, and teach people, it really does need to be primarily about empowering them. Rescuing may solve an immediate problem, but only empowering will lead to real, deep change.
Your turn…what did you learn this month?