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Little devotions from the LAEFC blogging team to encourage you in your walk with God.

The Story of Who I Was: Week 3

Posted by Heather Donmoyer on OP2er @ 2:04 PM

 

Again, if you would like to submit your story, please email Karen.

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(Originally posted on TheDropInTheBucket)

Once upon a time…somewhere around the end of high-school or beginning of college… I stumbled across a saying “What is ‘normal’? ‘Tis but a setting on my hairdryer.” And I yearned for that to be true. Because from my earliest reckoning I have known that I was not normal.

Normal people cannot, at age 4, instinctively know that a note is off-key.

Normal 10 year olds don’t write introspective essays on the abstract meaning of life.

Normal teenagers don’t aspire to be a missionary martyr when they grow up.

And I knew the way I dressed wasn’t normal for girls.

My hobbies (prose, poetry, working on my novel series, baseball, and making stop-motion movies on Dad’s camcorder) weren’t what girls did.

And normal girls certainly weren’t playing with Star Wars action figures or amassing an encyclopedic knowledge of Quantum Leap and Star Trek.



I distinctly remember being an awkward teenager who preferred the company of adults to my peers because they “got” me and could answer the questions I had. I couldn’t wait to be counted as one of their number. Because my young, foolish self thought that crossing an age line would suddenly expunge that feeling of not quite fitting in.

Fast forward to college. The closest I got to feeling normal, because I was able to surround myself with likeminded professors and classmates. And boys liked me for the first time. That was a good feeling. A thing that felt normal. Until I opened my mouth and was quickly schooled on the fact that intelligent females are the ones the guys will debate in theology class but never date.

But I found one who would.

Married him.

Like any normal person would.

First comes love. Then comes marriage. Then…

6 years. 6 years and 6 kids. 6 years, 6 kids, but only 3 who drew breath. And from those 3, only 2 who lived past that first day of life. Normal wasn’t even on our radar anymore. Because, seriously, we couldn’t even answer the simple question “How many kids do you have?” without either having to lie or make the conversation horridly awkward.

In between compiling a medical file thicker than Webster’s Unabridged Dictionary, I was also attempting to do the homemaker thing. Cooking wasn’t my forte. Dish washing was what happened when we ran out of spoons and laundry when we ran out of clean socks. And just when I swallowed the fact that I was never going to be Martha Stewart, Pintrest was birthed to remind me I’d never be that crafty, organized, fun mom, either. More like the mom who gauged stages of life by the British Literature I could read to my kids or the sci-fi and fantasy shows and movies they could watch. And the one who dreamed of one day tutoring them in Koine Greek and Latin.

By the time our second son was born at the end of those 6 years, my overactive mind was slowly going mad from the tedious chaos that is the life of a stay-at-home mom. Friends were getting their Masters’ degrees while I spent every two hours of the day and night nursing my tiny son so that he could shed the spectre of the “failure-to-thrive” label he’d been born under. Others were building solid careers while I  drilled sight words and became a soccer mom. The walls were closing in.

And I didn’t get it.

Because I love my kids – all of them – with such a deep, unfathomable love so why didn’t raising them feel as fulfilling as everyone said it was? Why did I feel like Sisyphus while others waxed poetic on the joys of motherhood and made housekeeping seem as if it were the pinnacle of a woman’s existence? Why did I crave time with dead languages rather than cultivating relationships with living people? Why couldn’t I be a normal wife? A normal Mom? A normal Christian?

And then 4 years ago, God began taking me on a journey. He started slow, because He knew that’s what I needed. And the work isn’t done yet but I get it now. And I’ve started to embrace the beauty of who He created me to be, quirks and all. I’ve started to reach out. To connect my corner of the world with others who are also willing to admit that life can be messy and beautiful at the same time. More and more I’m finding women who are a lot like me. And together we are building a safe haven to do life.

And though we may have different ways of engaging the world around us we can all agree:

The only normal thing about people is that no one feels normal.

There is no one type of wife.

Or husband.

Or mother.

Or father.

Or adult.

Or teenager.

Or child.

We are far too complex for the farce of normal.

And yet… we all strive for it. For that intangible thing that somehow proves we are a citizen of the human race. As if the label “normal” grants instant validation and a boost of self-esteem. As if homogeny were valuable and a goal to be strived after.

The truth is that the moment we exit childhood is the moment we begin crafting the first of a myriad of masks we will use to project “normal” to the rest of the world. But the only “normal” that exists is found on hairdryers and washing machines.

It’s time to start defying the farce of Normal.

To begin believing that what we bring to the table – our strengths and weaknesses – have intrinsic value.

To see the beauty in diversity.

To refute the lies whispered all around us and exit the masquerade.

Let’s stop pretending that we always make the right choices; that our houses are always spotless; that our spouses meet our every need; and that our kids never fall short. Or even better, let’s stop convincing ourselves that these are true of our friends.

There is a world full of people craving authenticity. Moms who want to post pictures of overflowing baskets of laundry (clean or dirty) without labeling it #EpicFail. Parents who know they are the guardians of fish who are asked by society to climb trees. People who are weary of shouldering the heavier loads of depression, addiction, and mental illness alone and crave a place where life can be messy without feeling judged.

The Good News is that grace abounds. That you are valued beyond comprehension. That the God of the universe came down to live in our dirty, messy world. He defied the perceived norms. Offered love and comfort and friendship to the marginalized. Introduced a whole new economy where those who seek to be first will come in last. Where those who would lead must first become servants.  And where our weaknesses become our strengths.

Where not being normal isn’t an issue.

 

Because normal never existed in the first place.

This essay and I are now part of the Messy, Beautiful Warrior Project — To learn more and join us, CLICK HERE! And to learn about the New York Times Bestselling Memoir, “Carry On Warrior: The Power of Embracing Your Messy, Beautiful Life,”  just released in paperback, CLICK HERE!

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