Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Seasons & Shame

You hear this seasons term all the time, I'm sure. I hear it--and something inside me pushes it away as if it's some jargon to use to get away with quitting easily, or moving on with no regret or shame. No doubt I struggle to accept the reality that there are indeed seasons of life- changes that come, that need to come, that are inevitable or best for you, or me, or heck, everyone involved...the greater cause perhaps.

The last nine months I have pretty much dedicated every spare second to working for my church as the Children's Ministry Director. It was one of the scariest, exciting and challenging seasons (there I go with that word) of my life thus far. It was there that I discovered I'm actually more capable than I gave myself credit for. It was there that I discovered leading people was both humbling and so beautiful. It was there that I discovered how deeply I need people, relationships, one-on-one interactions with sweet souls more often than I'd ever made time for in my life prior.  It was there that I let so many new people in-- sharing my life with them--in turn watching my little girls fully embraced and loved by people who have now become like family.

That season has been so rich, and so full, and yes, so very busy if I'm being honest with myself--but also so life giving. It changed me.

I have always been one of those people very obsessed with flowers and plants, taking out my iPhone embarrassingly on walks to capture yet another gorgeous California bloom. Yet I'm not one to actually have a beautiful flower garden in my own yard. I don't take the time to dig the dirt, find the right soil, get my hands dirty and do the work to have lovely flowers that return year after year.

Pretty interesting that it kind of correlates to my life, huh? I'm actually having a little bit of an ah-ha moment as I type. Somehow, I've always admired the rich friendships and bonds and beautiful blossoming relationships others had...but I've never been really willing to dig deep and do the work in my own life to get there, too. Until this past year.

I recently decided it was time for me to step down from leading this ministry for a variety of reasons, but mainly, I really knew that personally my focus and balance was off. My kids are so little, and gosh, their lives are flying by. I just really want to be a good mama to them and for the sake of sticking with a theme, I want to stop-enjoy their beautiful flowery goodness, take too many photos, be able to be present in mind and not feel stretched beyond my capacity.

As much as I know it's the right decision, this is where that ugly shame word can creep in. You could only handle it for 9 months. What kind of person stops a job after that short amount of time? What did you even do? You clearly weren't meant for this role at all. 

It's pretty dang timely that I'm reading The Gifts of Imperfection, and sweet 'ole sucker-punch-you author Brene Brown just happens to be the master researcher in Shame. She says that "Shame is basically the fear of being unlovable --it's the total opposite of owning our own story and feeling worthy. Shame is the intensely painful feeling or experience of believing that we are flawed and therefore unworthy of love and belonging."

..."Shame keeps worthiness away by convincing us that owning our stories will lead to people thinking less of us."

So true, right? The human struggle. We want love and belonging and we don't want people to think less of us, because, gasp--the horror.

I am so grateful that I'm part of a community that both recognizes seasons of life as a real thing, and also quickly lays fears of shame to rest.

I now have my own flower bed of relationships that will not just go away-- but grow deeper and fuller the more I care and invest into them, especially as I have more capacity to do so. I grew, I changed. God knew exactly what he was doing and wove me right into all of it.

I am worthy, I am loved, I still belong. I'm owning my story.

print by Jackie (one of the beautiful souls I met along the way)


  1. Gosh, I haven't read a blog is so long...and it has been even longer that I left a comment. There should never be any shame in putting your family first, even if others may not understand that priority in your life. Also, the older I get the less F*** I give about what people think of my decisions ESPECIALLY when it involves my family. I know you only share a little sliver of your life on social media, but I have to say it makes me so happy to see you (and the fam) doing so well, making these new friendships and finding your community. You guys made big sacrifices but with that comes big rewards. lots of love to you xoxo

  2. Hey friend, I completely understand. Ministry is hard!! Hardest job I've ever had too. You made impacts, cultivated leaders, cast vision, and no doubt injected some bright rays of sunshine in that ministry. Those will not go away---the impact will outlast your time. That's how God designed it! The hope of the world, and what an exciting thing to get to see her in action for a season. Love you and I understand you! Enjoy and rest what He says about you. BELOVED. :) xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxo

  3. So proud of you my sweet daughter. You did an amazing job, loved and encouraged wonderful people to come along side you and they did! I am so blessed by all that God is doing in your life Katie. You have always been amazing but didn't always know it. I hope you know it a little better now! Hugs from your Momma 💕

  4. Since the end of Google reader, I only catch up on blogs when I think to go and check to see whether anyone has posted on things. Today is my birthday so my kids let me sleep in. I laid in bed and I messed around on my phone. I really connected with this post. It's hard not to be all things for all people and then one day wake up and realize you aren't fully present in your own life. My wiring and my family story leaves me constantly striving to feel like I've earned my place in the world. I'm always afraid of letting someone down-and I guess in that that I'll realize I'm surely not enough. Silly really because in my work as a chaplain and campus minister, and especially a parent, my number one goal is to help other people realize that they are more than enough-just as they are. I struggle to claim that for myself.

    I love Brene Brown but I've never seen that quote. The message was powerful alone, but as I read it, something shouted to me, "worthy of love". That's the meaning of my name, Amanda. A name my mom said she always wanted for her daughter and a name I've never cared for. Then something else called out to me, "I have called you by name. You are mine."

    Thank you for posting this. I feel like I was meant to find this today-my birthday. I pray that I spend the next year living into this truth-and that you do too. :)