blog story

 

 

meg marie wallace pink sweater, Free People Dress

Hi there!!!! Let me begin with extending a huge welcome! I’m so excited that you’re here! For those of you who are new here this current blog a spin off from my old blog called One Glass Slipper. I’ve transferred aaaaalmost all of the old content so don’t worry, you haven’t missed much of anything. About a year into blogging I decided to quit and take a break from writing…..

So why’d I end OGS???

Back in college I was dating a guy who broke up with me using the all too infamous “it’s not you it’s me” line. I mean, really, who wants to hear that. So. Lame.

But after closing down One Glass Slipper I found myself thinking of that same line over and over again. On the outside there may not have been anything visibly wrong with it. I’m not sure the little things that drove me nutso about it are things others wouldn’t have been bothered by (like the fact that when you typed in the web address oneglassslipper you have to write a curse word (a$$) in the URL……AND I had to always double and triple check to make sure there were 3 S’s…..silly, I know, but it drove me crazy).

meg marie wallace pink sweater, Free People DressDeep down, though, something more grated on me. And over time I just didn’t want to keep going as I was. I had created a brand I didn’t love.

In the beginning, super early on when I first decided to start blogging, I wanted to give voice to some of the thoughts in my head and create a space where I could just write. As a family we had just come out of a super tough season and I think, looking back, I was sort of a bit depressed. As I read back through some posts I see the sadness and brokenness coming through.

But that depression also affected other areas of blogging too. When I would write I would edit and re-edit and edit four times more…I second guessed almost everything I did, from the smallest decision to the biggest decisions. I continually worried about what people thought and tried to please everyone and everybody. If someone wanted me to write about something, then I would find a way to write about it. If someone didn’t like something, then I’d do away with it.

I’d never blogged before and all of my writings prior to starting blogging had only been for private use in my own journals. However when I began to write publicly I spent ridiculous amounts of time asking for people’s advice. I wanted to know what others thought, but often took their advice so literal and so far that I began to lose sight of my goals. Great people offered their opinions. Lovely people. Some of my favorite people on the planet gave some really great advice. But at the end of the day when all of those people gave different and conflicting advice I was at a loss for what to do. How could I please everyone when no one agreed?

meg marie wallace pink sweater, Free People Dress
My chosen “theme” didn’t help either. I had attempted to create a brand to speak to the imperfection that we all have but try so hard to hide…but I did that in a way that began to feel more forced. In the beginning it made sense to use my old wedding dress and make it look like a Cinderella dress in a creative way, but after awhile I felt more trapped in that “theme” than free to continue writing about all of the various topics I would wish to cover long term.

Mix into there the fact that I also started homeschooling our little flock of munchkins and, well….I was a hot mess trying to hold it all together or find any desire to keep going.

Here’s the thing, at the end of my life I don’t want to be known as a wannabe Disney princess, or a pastor’s wife, or a mom of five kids or a hair fanatic or a fitness guru. When it’s all said and done and I breathe in my last breath I want to be known as a woman who loves Jesus. I want to follow Him, hear Him, run to Him, see Him, enjoy Him, relate with Him, speak of Him and ultimately I want to know Him face to face. And I want to use all I have and everything I am to point others in His direction too.

But what about the rest of me? Is there room to talk about other things in life that don’t carry as much weight?meg marie wallace pink sweater, Free People Dress

Somehow I started believing that if everything I wrote wasn’t all about those deepest parts of life then it was completely meaningless and a waste of my time. Where did that come from? Why would I think that way?

Who told me this lie?

Well, it’s not you. It’s me.

I know, I know. I’m so lame for saying that.

But it’s true.

Truth is I often care far too much about what other people think. It’s like a disease really. And I want to crush it, like cancer, and be cured, but clearly I’m not there yet. Through these past few years and especially these past few months I have really been learning to ask, “Who Am I?” (Did you ever see the movie Runaway Bride with Julia Roberts???)

NOT “who do others want me to be” or “who do others say that I am”…..I’m asking me what it is that makes me….well, me. How am I wired? What do I love? What am I good at? What lights me up? What am I passionate about?meg marie wallace pink sweater, Free People Dress

When I close my eyes tight and drown out all of the noise…here’s what I’ve got so far…I’m a normal girl, that loves to make things beautiful. Anything from pain and sorrow to braids and bows I want to find a way to make it lovely. I love all things girly. I love pink and soft grey, off white and rose gold. I love dressing up, and dressing my family up…but I love my sweat pants and our jammies too. I love eating healthy, fitness and working out and I’m learning every day to keep my motives in check as I pursue those goals. I love finding ways to simplify life and love connecting with others. I love soft rain on the windows, writing hand written letters, short fingernails, and small dainty jewelry. I love making things with wood, painting and creating with my hands. I love clothes and fashion, new styles and watching runway shows and reality TV. I love make up and hair products and I never ever ever leave overnight without my hair drier, because I have some wicked frizzy hair if I don’t. I love my family and my husband so much that sometimes I think my heart will beat out of my chest. I love living in CA and love the ocean….and yes, I love Jesus more than all of that combined.

But that last line doesn’t mean there isn’t a place for all of the things I find lovely prior to that last statement. In fact, the more I ask those questions of myself the more I am realizing that it is Him who is beckoning me to do so.

Life does get serious at times. There is a lot that goes wrong and there’s stuff that gets messy. People are sometimes hard to love….heck, I’m hard to love at times too. And there are more days than I’d like to admit when I am in tears because life is “just not working” and I have to start all over again. But I truly believe, through all of the sorrow, heartaches, troubles and worries…through the mundane, the every day and the routine…that we are meant to live life beautifully. When the Bible talks about Jesus coming to this earth, living perfectly and dying in our place for our sins He says He did so to give us life and life to the fullest!!! He gave us ALL things to enjoy…for our joy, the good of others, and to His glory!meg marie wallace pink sweater, Free People Dress

All of that to say I’m feeling more free than ever! Free to live! Free to enjoy how I’m wired. Free to stop comparing myself to others, and free to stop overthinking it all for cryin’ out loud! I’m free to dream, free to love, free to create, and free to be just plain ‘ole me. And guess what…so are you!!!!

xo MM Meg Marie initials

(And for all you men out there, stop using that lame break up line!)

 

****To celebrate my blog birthday day I’ve partnered with some of my faaaavorite stores and shop owners to do some amazing giveaways!!!! Click HERE for more info! 

 

 

**Edited 1/10/2017: 

A sweet friend of mine, Shirley, owner and curator over at Five Arrows Jewelry, contacted me this week for a collab in regards to this post and my new blog launch! We brainstormed together to come up with the wording and then she went to work with her creative jewelry mind and came up with this amazingly lovely design! I absolutely LOVE supporting small business owners, especially ones that create and craft with intention.  I thought she did such an incredible job capturing in art what my heart longs to communicate.

To get one of these necklaces click on the photos or go to www.fivearrowsjewelry.etsy.com 

Be sure to use code: megmarie17 to get FREE SHIPPING on your order!

create beautiful bronze necklace by FiveArrows Jewelry create beautiful silver, create beautiful bronze necklace by FiveArrows Jewelry

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Sea Legs

Just before my junior year of high school my family took a trip on an Alaskan Cruise. My aunts and uncles, cousins, parents, and siblings were all there. It was my first trip on a cruise ship and I can remember how enormous it felt compared to the little blue boat I grew up waterskiing on. I remember how odd it was to be sitting out by the deck pool wearing my swimsuit on a warm, sunny day watching enormous glaciers and ice capped mountains go by. I loved the restaurants with the all-you-can-eat food and even enjoyed the lame entertainment that was obviously planned for people three times my age. I remember the stops at the quaint, lovely cities and the beautiful scenery I just didn’t appreciate enough as a high school kid.

One thing that also sticks out in my memory is the moments I would briefly forget we were on a boat instead of dry land…which led to some incredibly funny instances of re-learning how to walk. One minute the ground was level and steady and the next moment we were bumping into the sides of the hallway or grabbing at the railing on the stairs. I remember laughing hysterically as we tried to walk ever so carefully taking some steps super fast and others extremely slow so as not to lose our balance. It was like learning a new dance with an unpredictable partner.

Life right now is sort of like that. In a way I’m learning to walk all over again. Years ago, I heard it said that we experience fundamental change every seven years.  Maybe that’s what I’m going through. Maybe it’s a cycle. Maybe it’s life circumstances of the past few years. Maybe it’s having 5 babies in 6 years time. Maybe it’s feeling like it’s never just raining and instead always “pouring.” Maybe it’s God trying to get a hold of my heart in a new way.

Regardless of the cause, I can tell you with all confidence that a change is taking place. Something is shifting, and has shifted, in my soul. Something is being stretched. Something is growing. For the past few months I’m learning for the first time ever to say no to some very lovely things in order to say yes to the most important things. I’m learning to prioritize. I’m learning to stop rushing. I’m learning to slow life down, to get rid of excess, to lay aside what hinders me. I’m beginning to close off my ears to the people who speak death and discouragement, including my own voice at times, and I’m learning to listen to the ever so soft voice of a loving Father who speaks nothing but Truth. I’m learning to make decisions for myself, like a grown adult should, and I’m learning to celebrate the beauty in that.

I’m in a season of wanting less, of throwing away more, of down sizing. A season of learning and simplifying. I’m on a journey of adjusting my life to the small whisper of what He is calling me to, rather than the loud obnoxious demands of what other people say it should be. I’m comparing my life less and celebrating it more. I’m becoming less and less concerned with competition, disillusioned with comparing and no longer interested in busying myself for the sake of being busy.

I truly desire more than ever a life of beauty, simplicity, and joy. The kind of joy that can only be found in full freedom within His calling and most of all in His presence. I desire to fully embrace who God has made me to be, not shrinking back and not muting it for the fear of what others might say. I desire a sound mind to navigate these new waters, but also presence of mind to not be distracted in the midst of it. I really want to nail down what it is He has created me to be about, not just thinking and day dreaming about it but actually living it. I desire to live a life of celebration (even in the hard things), marked by meaning, passionately enjoyed, with rich connection, care for others, and a rightly prioritized list of what matters most. And I want to crush the fears within me telling me lies along the way.

Deep down I know what is happening is not only a good great thing but that it is entirely necessary and in some ways long overdue.  My high school self is telling today’s self that I should also take in the beautiful scenery on this journey a bit more. But I have to confess…this process feels a lot like having wobbly, shaky sea legs.

What is it that entangles you? What is it you’re afraid to let go of? What is it that you are being called to, but are hesitant to embrace because of what people might say? What is it you’ve stuffed into your backpack that you need to take out and lay aside? Are you enjoying the scenery or are you wearing blinders that keep you from looking to the left or to the right? Are there dinners you want to plan? Or people you want to connect with? Are there things you need to cancel or big changes that need to happen? What is it you need to say no to? And what’s stopping you? What keeps you from making the adjustments you know you need?

 

barefoot motherhood

“He thinks only of what he wants and he does not ask himself whether he ought to want it.”
-Bernard Of Clairvaux

 

There is rich beauty in our mundane, normal, ordinarily insignificant lives.

I recently received a call from a friend who had worked ever so diligently toward a huge goal. She entered her name into a competition and then proceeded to sacrifice her time, sleep, money, effort, energy, marriage, and family in hopes of her winning it all. In the end, when her name wasn’t chosen, she was not only depressed, but angry. At one point in our conversation she voiced the true reason for the anger in her loss. Her response was weighty. After a long pause she said…

“I want to be more than just a mom.”

Being ‘just a mom’ simply isn’t enough for her. The role of motherhood is no longer significant enough for her.

Mom + something significant = happy, meaningful life.

And gosh her words were convicting.

Nowadays it would seem that adding all sorts of roles on top of motherhood is the only appropriate lifestyle. I too have become restless with the mundane. I have allowed my thoughts to wander with desire of making an “epic splash in the sea of ordinary.” Just like my friend, I want to stand out too, to make a difference. To matter.

“I desire to be common, mundane, normal, unexceptional, monotonous, routine, average, usual…” said no one ever.

The ordinary, at times, is unsatisfying.

Often I dream of walking in patent heels on red carpets not hanging out un-showered with bare feet in my unswept kitchen.

Thoughts of doing more, of accomplishing more, of BEING more fill my heart and mind. I am distracted. I race with the desire for new ideas, new plans, new hopes and new dreams…

…but desires are like fireworks…

Handled wisely, they fill the night sky with light, color, beauty, and delight. Handled poorly and they can burn an entire home down.

My home. Your home.

The absence of my consideration to these misfired desires is making me ragged. Why am I bored with the routine? Why do I groan at the mundane? Why am I dissatisfied with the ordinary?

Why do I think my “job” is insignificant?

James 4:1-2 says “Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you? You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel.”

The desires for celebrity, consumption, immediate gratification, and attention have tainted my views of my God-given role in motherhood. 

“I’m made for more,” I mutter under my breath as I sweep up the goldfish crumbs for the 16th time today.

“I shouldn’t be the one to have to clean this mess up,” I say aloud as I pour out the bathwater that has been dumped into the bathroom trash can.

“There’s got to be a better, more meaningful use of my time,” I tell myself as I sit down to fold the 14th load of laundry this week.

Something more eloquent. Something more glamourous. Something more influential. I should be somewhere else, doing something else.

The normal, every day is not enough. And pride is at the root of it.

The focus on something grand “out there” steals the joy
of the ordinary “in here.” 

At times I catch myself daydreaming of my own desires and completely miss the little voices right by my side. Often I am interrupted in the midst of my big, grand daydream of marvelousness by the sound of my name being called to come and wipe my toddler’s rear after he has pooped.

It’s humbling to say the least. But such a great reminder.

I often do not realize how these distracting thoughts of doing something “better” are like a disease that eats away at the joy of my soul.

And that disease doesn’t just affect me. My family suffers for it.

  • My desires are misguided if my idea of greatness involves looking past the eyes of those little ones who look up toward me every day.
  • My desires are off track if my role in motherhood becomes nothing more than a stepping stone toward something better and beyond.
  • I completely miss the mark when those who are most precious to me suffer for the sake of the fulfillment of my “other” desires.

“Shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight, not under compulsion, but willingly” (1 Peter 5:2, emphasis mine). Of course, Peter speaks to pastors here, but I honestly believe the truth is relevant for us mothers as well.

To love, serve, and strive for the sake of our family is a noble and honorable task. It requires a great deal of patience, love, joy, steadfast determination, humbleness, a whole lot of grace, and tunnel vision for what matters most.

“If you want to change the world, go home and love your family.”

-Mother Teresa

Daily I must choose to redefine and reprioritize what I value most and continue to bend my definition of greatness to the one Jesus not only gives for us, but was the perfect example of:

“But it shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Mark 10:43-45 ESV)

barefoot motherhood; meg marie wallace

 

 

Time Away, Family and I Quit

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I’ve been away from my blog for almost an entire month!!!! So I’ve shared a TON of photos! This past month we took some time away to enjoy one another as family. We went to a cabin way up in the mountains, shut off our phones, set aside our computers and played! We climbed rocks, trees and mountains. We swam in beautiful lakes, made fishing poles out of sticks, had picnics, relaxed in a hammock, flew down a mountain on an alpine slide, played in an arcade, rode on a boat, spent time with friends, stayed up late, baked chocolate chip cookies, read stories by a fire, and laughed a lot.

Despite the ever so painful and terrifying story of us all going for a hike and getting attacked by a swarm of hornets like something out of  a horror film….aaaaaaand the car sickness on the way back down from the mountain that ended up with us all on the side of the road with vomit everywhere in our car…we had a wonderful time. 🙂  (Gross I know, but hey, I promised I’d always be real!!!)

Taking time away from the routine was something like a cocoon for me. It felt sort of like a pressure cooker of growth. I had so many questions swirling in my mind and so many topics that needed to be thought through, talked about and prayed over. Matt and I used the time while driving and the quiet late nights with no technology to sort through these things on our minds.

We left the mountains with clarity, direction and an excitement for some big changes…but it doesn’t mean those changes are easy.

The sum of our conversations could be whittled down to two words:  

“I Quit.”

Now, before your mind goes crazy with what it is I am quitting, let me be more specific….

I quit closing off my heart to the things I’m afraid of.
I quit the rat race.
I quit doing things that I’ve always done, simply because I’ve always done them.

 

Very practically, those big themes look something like this….

  • I’ve decided to pull my children out of public school to homeschool instead. (I used to swear I’d NEVER EVER homeschool…more on this later….)
  • I’ve intentionally stopped investing in two very toxic relationships with unnamed individuals.
  • I am throwing many things away that I no longer use even though I’ve held onto them for years.
  • I am opening my ears to listen to others who know more about certain topics than I do in regards to healthcare for my family (more on this later too…)
  • I am asking the question “Why do I do that?” instead of saying “I’ve always done it this way.”
  • I am finding new ways to organize our lives to work FOR us rather than us just living in survival mode.

These things make for huge changes, and are choices that require a great deal of time, money, intentionality, patience, boldness, a sound mind and a relentless determination to not give up…because gosh, can I just say, it’s so easy to give up?! At the same time, though, I am more convinced than ever that this life is short, our days are limited and I refuse to continue on not examining how this could go better.

I’m tired of saying I’m tired…

I cannot imagine a caterpillar feels comfortable in it’s cocoon. I would imagine that a caterpillar feels cramped, tired, overworked, frustrated and hopeless at times. I often wonder if caterpillars have any idea what their life will be like when they get out of that tight space…flying must seem like a fairy tale for a creature who has only known incredibly slow crawling. But oh how worth it the struggle in the cocoon must be in the end when that bug begins to soar!

So, I’ll just put this out there….I have no idea what soaring is like right now either, but I’m making every effort to bust out of this tight space to try and find out….

It’s your turn! Share with me…

Are there things that you do or don’t do because you’ve just “never done it that way” or “always done it this way?”
Is there something that you know is not best for you or your family that you need to eliminate?
Is there something that you should be doing but you are afraid to try?
Is there a time when you’ve just said “no” to something to be able to say “yes” to what matters most?

I can’t wait to hear from you!

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boasting in weakness…

It very well could be that one of the best reasons to start a blog is the constant reminder and accountability that I’ve made it known to the world I am determined to speak about my own imperfection to be a living testament of God’s grace.

My goal is to consistently speak of my own imperfection hidden in Jesus’ perfection with the hope to exude His love and mercy in every aspect of my private and personal life…making much of His name, not mine.

There’s only one problem:

ME.

I don’t always get it right. And that’s just the point isn’t it?!

That’s the point of this whole thing. This whole blogging thing…..AND this whole “life” thing.

Why does it feel so uncomfortable and scary to be vulnerable? Why does it seem easier to stay in hiding behind a beautifully lit smokescreen? Why do I prefer the rose tinted glasses, the coverup of carefully edited pictures and the miraculous cure of dry shampoo for my day #4 unwashed hair?

I’m often scared that if I truly open up it will hinder relationships, push away friendships, welcome criticism and invite condemnation. Sometimes the hidden is more beautiful, right? Ignorance is bliss.

No one wants to air dirty laundry.

 

But why not? What’s wrong with that? We all have laundry….and if we are moms most of it is on our living room floors or on top of our kitchen tables right now. Why not just admit we all have clothes that aren’t clean? Why not share what we are weak in? Why not be open about how we fail?

Staying hidden doesn’t help anyone.
No one truly benefits from a private, curated, unknown life.

By no means is this a complete list, but I don’t want to just talk about being open and never actually BE OPEN…so let’s just get this started… (deep inhale….)

  • I have gotten into heated, uncontrolled, harsh arguments with Matt and have been indignant, indifferent and hateful with my responses, thoughts and words toward him.
  • I have yelled at my kids and snapped at them for simply saying my name too many times during dinner.

 

  • Just last week, during our “fun” family day at the fair, I spent most of the entire day absolutely crabby and griping at all kinds of various things, most of which was completely minuscule and unfounded.
  • My default mode is to think that every single thing that is bad that happens in the life of our family is somehow my fault. It can be totally unrelated but I will take it and somehow find a way to believe that I caused that thing to happen…as if I’m that important. I then look for affirmation and encouragement that I’ve done my part and that the real problem is “out there” rather than in me.
  • I greatly struggle with mom guilt…to the point that I am sometimes frozen in a decision because of a fear that no matter what choice I make I will ruin my kids. This leads to endless sleepless nights and a restless heart, which makes for an overly tired mom that lacks presence and joy the next day.
  • I can be surrounded by a sea of people that truly know and love me and still feel like I’m alone. And what I’m saying is that my focus is far too often on me. I am self-centered as I put my feelings before loving others.

 

  • Sometimes, okay fine…often lately, I struggle with the “grass is greener” mentality and wonder if somehow I missed another life I am supposed to be living. I waste time envisioning what that “other” life could be and allow seeds of ungratefulness for one I’ve been given to take root.
  • When I am tired, or hungry, or un-showered, or God forbid, a combination of them all I am seriously not fun to be around. I get nit picky and short tempered and begin to treat my family as though they are in my way.
  • I struggle with envy and jealousy over other bloggers who have had great success and I wrongly envision that their journey to get “there” was much simpler than mine. I view success by numbers and page views and often have thoughts about giving up…which shows me how greatly I value man’s opinion more that God’s.

 

  • I struggle with thoughts that it’s never enough and that I’m always behind and wonder when I’ll ever get it together…whatever “it” is.
  • I often look at the lives of women I admire on social media and choose to wrongly believe they sure do have it all together….and then I compare what is imperfect about me to what I feel is perfect about them and I become discouraged.

Should I keep going?!?! Because I totally could….I could do this all day….

 

But, the bottom line is this:

Honesty and airing dirty laundry isn’t the problem. My own heart is the problem. Sharing it simply gives glory to the correct Person, which isn’t ME.

These are the times I’m so thankful for the words of the apostle Paul: “For what I am doing, I do not understand; for I am not practicing what I would like to do, but I am doing the very thing I hate.” (Romans 7:15)

I am unbelievably thankful that Paul’s struggle with his flesh has been included in the Bible for me to relate to.

 

Yet, the story of his struggle doesn’t end there. Only ten verses later Paul offers this encouragement: “Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death.” “For you were called to freedom…

(insert Braveheart movie clip here)

brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another…But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh…the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control…If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit.” (Galatians 5:13, 16, 22-23, 25

 

It would be certifiably insane to think that our marriage is the only one that has hit rough patches. I’d be crazy if I chose to believe I was the only one who struggles with fears that are sometimes paralyzing, with having spoken hurtful words that crush those I love most, with temptations that have the potential to bring utter ruin or with thoughts that bring destruction. There’s not a chance on God’s green earth that I’m the only one who feels alone, struggles with comparison and envy or carries the weight of some massive regrets.

So why air the dirty laundry?

Because it is a far weightier thing for my identity to be rooted solely in the finished work of Jesus Christ, dying on the cross, in my place for my sin, than it is for me to uphold a false, curated, neatly folded, manicured image that smells fresh but is dying on the inside.

Choosing daily to lose my life and walk by the Spirit leads to spiritual fruit, which then leads to a life that is God-honoring.  It all starts with an honest confession that there is nothing good in me apart from Christ. He alone can make me the wife, mother, friend, woman I desire to be: “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things have passed away; behold new things have come.” (2 Corinthians 5:17)

 

My hope is for this to give you comfort too. Do you struggle with the thought that you know you don’t have it all together, but are terrified of people finding that out? Do you wish you could open up your real self to those around you and have a desire to be truly known by those you love most?

If you find yourself frozen in discouragement, afraid of being “found out” I want to encourage you that there doesn’t need to be any fear in boasting in our weaknesses. In fact our measly attempts at pretending we are perfect actually cheapens the Gospel. Jesus came to save sinners, not perfect people…and my hope is to encourage you to boast in His grace not your (or my) accomplishments in order that He get the full credit.  This truth gives us encouragement because we are reminded once more that life isn’t at all about us. This gives us hope that being known is far better than hiding alone. This gives us joy to wake up each morning knowing that HIS mercies are new every day, and this gives us peace that His grace is more than sufficient for today.

To HIM be the glory!

“The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in him.” (Lamentations 3:22-24)

 

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the best gift: awake again at 3 a.m.

Why Am I Awake?

Last night, like so many nights of late, I woke up while it was still dark. I quickly ran through the mental checklist. What’s wrong with me? Am I sick? Is it too hot? Too cold? Did I hear something? Is it too bright? Are the kids okay?

For the love………….what time is it?

No, I do not enjoy being awake at 3 am. The days are long and fast paced and sleep is a precious commodity.

Yet, there I was, fully awake. Again.

As I laid there totaling up the hours on one hand that remain until the little people jump into my bed, I found myself super frustrated.

I need rest.

I shouldn’t be conscious right now. Tomorrow is going to be another long day…

And just like all of the recent nights lately my mind began to race. Before I know it I’m consumed with the overwhelming thoughts of all of the lists of every task I haven’t yet accomplished and every thing I feel isn’t going right in my life.

The recent surgery and cancer scare.

The two massively large ugly scars from ‘said surgery’. 

The rental house we live in and the mold we found in it.

The large hole that is now in my wall because of ‘said mold’.

The last 30 workouts I’ve missed.

The horrifically messy garage and how desperately it needs to be cleaned out.

The house 2 states away we need to sell.

The ever pressing decision of whether or not to homeschool.

That one child whose fits might literally send me to the crazy house.

The emails and phone calls I’ve fallen behind on.

The 10 yr. old birthday party I haven’t yet sent invitations out for.

That thing he said that really hurt and the “should have said” self-talk-conversation that I push repeat on again and again. 

The never ending extended family difficulties.

The toilets that needs to be cleaned.

The eight loads of laundry that needs to be folded.

The summer plan I have yet to put in place.

The child I KNOW needed some extra attention earlier today.

Did I remember to lock the front door?

I can feel my heart beating faster as my thoughts seem to pile on top of another. My hands become clenched and my stomach begins to hurt. My mind plays out the worst of every scenario as I fret and worry and wonder about all the what-if’s and coulda-beens and should-haves.

Truth is, in those moments, I fear it’s not enough. What I’m doing just isn’t enough. And there will never come a time when it is enough.

I’m not making the cut.

I’m a failure.

I’m awake enough to feel the condemnation yet tired enough to know I’m not thinking clearly. And then, as gentle as the softest whisper, yet as clear as a freight train that hits me like a ton of bricks…..

I close my eyes tightly and rehearse once more the truths in my soul than run far deeper than the fears in my mind….

“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7)

“Trust in the LORD with all your heart And do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight.…” (Proverbs 3:5-6)

“Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me;
your rod and your staff, they comfort me…” (Psalm 23:4)

“When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.” (Psalm 56:3)

“But you, LORD, are a shield around me, my glory,
the One who lifts my head high.” (Psalm 3:3)

Slowly, assuredly, my feet are set once more on the firm foundation. My heart begins to move out of the darkness. My fears begin to subside. My emotions are in order and my heartbeat slows to normal once more.

There is no amount of worrying, fear, or fretting that will remedy the sickness of unrest in my heart.

It is not enough to empty myself of the laundry lists of regrets, to-do’s, need to’s and should have’s…I must direct my heart to be filled with worship, thankfulness, praise and adoration.

Jesus says He is my rest. He is my peace. In Him alone there is fullness of joy and pleasures forevermore. And if that’s true, then why do I continue to wake each night at 3am????

Could it be that my restless nights are not a curse, but rather, a gift?

huh?

Just hang on…stay with me….

In the stillness, in the quiet, in the darkness, in the solitude….could it be that a loving Father has whispered to wake his overwhelmed daughter to let her know He’s near?

“I see you.

I am here.

I’m speaking Truth over you and my Word straight to you.

I know your days are busy, so let me meet with you here.

Now.

While I can get your attention.

Don’t be distracted anymore by all of those things that weigh you down. 

I’ll give you the grace, the ability, and the strength to handle tomorrow.

So don’t worry about tomorrow.

Today has enough worries of it’s own.

I AM what you need more than sleep.

I AM what your heart desires more than that cleaned out garage.

What is it that troubles you, daughter?

What is it you’d like to let go of?

What is it you’re fearful of.

I’m right here.

I’m listening.”

Without a spoken word I begin to share, to open up and to release my worry. I begin to hear the Truth more clearly than the lies.

For it is His kindness that brings me near.

It is His steadfast love that gives me hope for tomorrow.

It is His compassion and faithfulness that fails not.

It is His relentless pursuit of me even when I refuse slow down that breaks down the walls I put up around my heart.

It is His perfect life, death on the cross and resurrection from the dead that gives me the freedom to not have to perform.

And it is His mercies that are new each morning which gently lead me to celebrate as I watch, once more, the first sun rays pour through my window.

——

I wash my tired face and I begin to go about my day…but it’s different. Rather than anger filling my heart at the sleep I was robbed of, I instead think through the sweetness of those quiet moments in solitude treasuring them away in my soul as I busy myself with the mundane daily routines.

My heart feels lighter, my head is more clear…and although my body is tired, I am fully alert as I am reminded once more the joy of being loved without having to earn it. He has given me a new identity. One not found in accomplishments or failures, in appearances of having it all together, or the desperateness of realizing I surely don’t.

I am loved regardless of whether or not I hold up any end of the deal.

“Dear one, I’m here. Why are you awake? What is it that troubles you? Why are you downcast? What is it you fear?  How are you distracted? What is it that angers you?

I know it’s dark, but will you talk with me? May I meet with you?”

“My soul will be satisfied as with fat and rich food,
and my mouth will praise you with joyful lips,
when I remember you upon my bed,
and meditate on you in the watches of the night;
for you have been my help,
and in the shadow of your wings
I will sing for joy.”
 (Psalm 63:5-7)

 the best gift; awake again at 3am | meg marie wallace

15 confessions from a pastor's wife

I’m only one wife to one pastor. And since it’s safe to assume that every single pastor’s wife is different from the next, it is clear I cannot in any way write this for the whole lot of us out there.

I honestly believe there could be way more we pastor wives have in common than some might guess, but the goal in this post is for me to be as open and honest as I can be about myself, not any other woman.

So, here are my 15 “confessions” pertaining to my role as “pastor’s wife”…and feel free to comment below if you have some of your own confessions or feedback to share as well.15 confessions from a pastor's wife

1. my husband and i are not gifted in the same way. 

We are so different from one another. He’s the one on stage, not me…and that is on purpose. Yes, we are married. And, yes, two have become one. But we are in no way whatsoever the exact same person. The things he is good at are not things I am good at. And vice versa. I have different talents, different giftings, different preferences, different skills, different strengths, and different weaknesses.

15 confessions from a pastor's wife

2. i’m human. 

I have fears, weaknesses, shortcomings, insecurities and struggles just like everyone else. At times I get sick, I get hungry, I get scared, I get tired, I get stressed out and I get overwhelmed. I don’t have it all together and I battle many of the same issues every other woman battles: marriage issues, extended family difficulties, finances, motherhood issues

3. i’m not unapproachable

I can’t speak for every pastor’s wife because we are certainly not cut from the same mold…but I am an introvert.

There I said it. Deep exhale.

I enjoy being in the background. I get a little nervous to talk to strangers and I have a very difficult time remembering names…which I feel just horrible about. I dislike small chit chat and would rather sit down to really get to know you instead of bouncing around from one person to the next.

But I’m not mean. I promise.

Don’t ever be afraid to come talk to me. And please let me ask for your name again without getting mad at me.

15 confessions from a pastor's wife

4. i guard family time like hidden treasure

Many pastor families speak often of having to cut vacations short or rearrange family evenings, or give up their days off for the various crises of church members, middle of the night emergencies and regular interruptions. My husband is essentially on call 24/7. So if there comes an evening or a day when he is unable to be reached, it is most likely because I have purposely left his phone in the car…or I have “accidentally” thrown it into the ocean. I’ll let him come back, I promise, but for his sake and mine sometimes I need to just shut it all off.

5. some seasons are harder than others. 

You know that saying: when it rains, it pours? Yeah, well ministry is seemingly always like that. There are times when I have a lot to offer others. I am able to reach out and I have the capacity to pursue, to counsel, to be present and to make time.

But there are other times when I just don’t. Whether it be the needs of my own home, struggles I am going through, or the demands on my schedule there are most certainly seasons when I am spread far too thin. A longstanding prayer I have is that I could do a better job in the midst of those seasons to communicate that with others. I desire to do all I can to help the people I love so dearly not be confused, offended or hurt by these seasons.

 

6. i often struggle with trying to be all things to all people

I truly enjoy making people happy, but sometimes I take that too far and say “yes” way too often. I worry at times about offending others. But, at the end of the day, I cannot sacrifice my main priorities to always include the preferences of everyone else and am deeply convicted for the times I have done so.

I am learning more and more to say “no.” I must be content with those times, and even the consequences, when I have to kindly decline. Please know it’s not easy and it’s certainly not a personal offense toward any specific person.

My husband, my children and my sanity must come first.

15 confessions from a pastor's wife

7. my life isn’t perfect. 

I’m not perfect, my husband isn’t perfect, and my kids aren’t perfect. I know this, but I really, really need others to know this. If there is a misconception that I have it all together, then others will likely either silently judge, quietly gossip or remain far off.

I’m so normal. Like really normal.

And my kids are too. They fight, disobey, and get messy just like normal kids do…because…drumroll please…they’re normal kids. We have to learn to walk by faith just like everyone else and we won’t turn away any encouragement, compassion and love to do so.

15 confessions from a pastor's wife8. ministry is different than friendship

Ministry is a lot of listening and a lot of question asking. It’s a lot of pouring out, pouring into and praying for. Ministry is service and care, concern and empathy.

Ministry can also feel very lonely at times.

I absolutely love getting to know you, but I deeply long to be known too. I desire friendship just like the next gal. I promise I won’t be offended if you ask me things, in fact, I’ll love it. I give you permission to jump right in anytime.

9. no church is perfect

I believe this goes without saying but, just in case, I’ll say it again: NO church is perfect.

Sometimes I think through what a public apology on behalf of ALL churches could look like. (Maybe some day I’ll actually create one and post it on this blog.)

We have messed up people leading messed up people…and it’s bound to be messed up in some places. Yet if it’s a good church, then your pastor, your pastor’s wife and the people beside you will constantly be pointing you to the only One that isn’t messed up…and that is Jesus.

15 confessions from a pastor's wife

10. we do not share the same pair of ears

His ears aren’t mine. What I mean by this is there are many, many people who have shared a story, experience, or hardship with my husband and then are later surprised when I am not familiar with the same story. Again, I cannot speak for every pastor’s wife, but my husband does not come home and tell me every single thing about every single one of you. He guards your stories and protects your information…even from me. If you’re going through something you’d like for me to know about then please ask him to share with me or come talk to me as well.

My ears aren’t his. What you say to me doesn’t always make it to his ears either. If there are things that you dislike, preferences you have, or issues you feel need to be addressed, going through me is not the answer. I have seen this many, many times when an individual will speak to the pastor wife in hopes of being heard, and then the wife becomes a megaphone to get her husband to do something about it…and it’s almost always a huge, huge, huge mess.

My job is to keep my husband sane, alive, fed, ministered to and cared for…it is not to get in the middle of all the inner workings of the church.

15 confessions from a pastor's wife

11. not everything has to be about church

Gasp! Wait, what?!

Nothing beats a heartfelt, meaningful conversation about good doctrine, sound theology or the work Jesus is doing in someone’s life, but I also love to let my hair down sometimes and relate with people about not-so-spiritual things too.

Yes, I enjoy normal things, not just churchy things, and would love to talk about culture, fashion, art, music, fitness, politics (okay not really so much that one) or food every once in awhile.

I like to have fun and I really, really like to laugh.15 confessions from a pastor's wife

12. i’m not your mom — this one’s for you D.O.!! 🙂 

Look, I get it. I’m the pastor’s wife…but I’m not your mother. There’s a big difference here. Yes, I care deeply about what is going on in your life and whether or not you’re walking by faith, but you’re not going to get “in trouble” if I find out that you didn’t buckle your seatbelt, said a bad word when you stubbed your toe or discover you’ve not cleaned your room. I’m not the principal just waiting to find a reason to send you to after school detention. So please, oh please, don’t respond to me that way.

Be real with me. Be yourself.

I’d love to truly get to know you and I’d love for you to feel free enough to tell me how you’re really doing, and feel free to throw in a joke, a story, and please care enough to let me know if I have something stuck in my teeth for cryin’ out loud! 😉

13. sunday’s are so hard. 

Like really hard. Although I may have showered and my kids clothes match, I have to be honest that some of my all time worst mom moments have been on Sunday mornings. Trying to get five little people with very different wills out the door on time is like trying to find the end of a rainbow blindfolded.

Sometimes I wish we could just skip Sundays (double gasp).

It’s hard work to juggle the needs of my husband, the cares of my children and balance that with being fully present and available to everyone that walks through the door. I often feel like my head is spinning to keep it all in check and it’s not uncommon for me to leave our gatherings entirely exhausted…and that’s only just the beginning of the week.

15 confessions from a pastor's wife

14. the “mama bear” in me is fierce 

When it comes to my family there is nothing…let me repeat…NOTHING that can make me more fiery than when I hear of someone using my husband’s name in a negative way or speaking ill of him behind his back. If I hear of unnecessary gossip, slander, or someone raising undue suspicion about him, it’s all I can do to keep myself in check.

I literally cannot handle it. It makes me incredibly sad, and nauseous and oh so very angry.

I’ll refrain from writing what I really want to here because I think it would scare you. So please if you have an issue with my husband, go directly to him to speak of your concern or by all means close your ever loving mouth.

(insert LOUD roar here)

And don’t get me started about my kids. I love girly and I’m all about classy. But if you have something negative to say about them or to them behind my back, what you will see from me might be less than refined. My husband just laughed at me for writing that, but seriously, please just come talk TO me instead of about me (or my kids).

15 confessions from a pastor's wife

15. i love you dearly

Being a pastor’s wife is hard. Ministry is hard. Church planting is hard. Church is hard. But the reason I do what I do is because I LOVE Jesus and LOVE His people. My husbands’ calling has become my calling. I’ve taken it on as my own.

And you are worth every.tiny.last.bit.of.it. No seriously. I love each one of you.

On the days I feel like giving up, throwing in the towel, signing off and moving far out to the country where no humans exist, it is all of your faces and your stories that get me up off the floor and back in the ring. There is no other aim than the proclamation of the gospel of Jesus and the edification of the church community that I want to pour myself out for.

Thank you, from every ounce of my being, for sharing your lives with me and letting me have the undeserved honor of loving and serving you. I am forever thankful and oh so very humbled.

 

oh, magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt his name together! psalm 34:3

15 confessions from a pastor's wife

 

Can We Still Be Friends Even If I Don't Join Your Team?

An Open Letter To My Sales Friends/Family:

To: My dearest friends and and family who sell for any company that is set up where one individual sells to another who then sells to another and so on….I know you call it really crafty things nowadays, but for the sake of simplicity I am fairly certain you still know who you are…

I know you just wanna educate me and you want to make a little extra income for your family too. I know you’re working hard at what you do. I trust your desire is for the good of those around you to share the great new knowledge you “have” with the rest of us that “have not.”

I see you.

Not like “Hey I’m a creeper and I’m watching you”…but as in “I truly do SEE you and love you.” I know you’re not intentionally trying to push me away, but I think it’s time I’m honest with you.

We need to start this conversation.

It’s so clear you love your “stuff.” And it’s super easy for me to see why. You and I both know it’s great stuff.

I see the before/after shots of that incredible mascara and am amazed by the convenience of a little tote bag that has compartments for all of my family’s snacks. I love the all-natural organic sunscreen that’s uber safe for my kids, the smell of those fancy candles, and I think using oils instead of medicines for all of my family’s emotional, physical, and spiritual needs sounds quite lovely. I love that potion you drink that will help me lose weight in half the time and I think the most amazing pizza cutter that cuts through crust like melted butter would definitely make my life a lot simpler…

And I get it. I am the perfect target sales person to add to your “team.” So you give me a call, shoot me an email, or reach out in a text…

…and you’re super bummed when I say no.

And I feel as if I’ve just killed your favorite cat.

It’s not that I just hate sales…though I do…but it’s more than that.

I have some concerns as I hear you share about your company. But really, though, if I’m honest, all four concerns flow out of the first for me…

Concern #1: Ruined Friendships

I cannot tell you how excited I am to see your name in my inbox or pop up on my phone! My heart skips a beat as I think of the memories we had together and how much time has passed since we’ve caught up. We chat, we visit, we reconnect…and then the bomb is dropped…”why I’m really calling is, you see, I’ve joined this new company and I really think you’d love it…”

I cannot tell you how big of a downer that is for me. I awkwardly fumble through how I can kindly decline knowing that I just cannot add one more single thing to my plate right now.  And you’re awkward but so desperately trying to hide it because I totally know you thought you had a for sure sale in me. But deep down as we are saying our goodbye’s I grieve that most likely I’ll never hear from you again. It wasn’t just about reconnecting after all this time…it was about me joining your team.

The truth is I miss you.

It’s not that I don’t care about what you’re doing, I just really wish we could connect and it not be about what you can get out of me.

Concern #2: Produces Surface Level Community

Honestly, your parties seem fun. But it’s extremely difficult to attend one of your parties and feel like it’s acceptable to just attend and not buy something. I know you say you just want me to come and have a good time, but I also know that the reason you are having the party in the first place is to either sell me a product or tell me about the amazing “business side” that has given you so much financial freedom.

So we tiptoe around surface level topics and dance around the huge pink elephant in the room, but in reality I feel trapped when I’m there. I love you as a person, but I need you to know I avoid your parties like the plague. Maybe if I don’t show at all you won’t be so upset when I haven’t purchased something.

Concern #3: Financial Gain At Great Expense

Yes, I know that your company can bring more financial freedom, but at what cost? My family? My sanity? My friends? Not only is there often a steep buy-in and/or a monthly minimum, but you are encouraged to start with those closest to you in your sales journey. So you ask your family, your co-workers, your friends, your classmates, and then branch out from there.

You request for me to get on a call so you can “get your feet wet” as your advisor above you teaches you the ropes.

But you and I both know it’s not just learning, yet because I love you I play the part anyway.

Your advisor is going to try to sell to me to show you “how it’s done” and to get you off to a good start in your own business.  I try to ask questions to sound like I’m interested, but in reality all I can think about is how to get off that call with our friendship in tact…and without losing my mind….or my husband who will totally kill me if I cave in and buy. You see, he also knows me better than anybody and he just has to give me “that look” and I know that without one word that he’s gently reminding me is there’s no way I have the time, energy or mental capability to add on anything else right now.

I struggle with knowing there is no part of me that wants to join at this time, but your advisor will most likely push to make the sale and deep down I really kinda feel used. I know it’s just how the system works, but I really, really hate that system and I really wish I didn’t have to play along for fear of losing you. My own fear-of-man comes out in a fierce way in these settings…

Concern #4: Time Killer

I don’t spend much time away from my family, but if I do I want it to be for a reason that’s worth it. If I am going to take the time to wash my hair, get dressed in something other than yoga pants, and leave my family for a night then I want to connect with you as a person, not as a salesperson. A party, group phone call or one-on-one girls night that is only about selling me items I never before felt I needed feels a little bit…or lotta bit…like a bait and switch, which reminds me again of reason #1.

I truly do wish you well in all you are doing. I think your “stuff” is great. Really. I do! And yes I see the difference when I use your miracle anti-aging serum and sure, you can totally send me a sample of your crazy awesome nail stickers because I’d love to know what you’re into these days.

The bottom line is this: I want you, not what you market, and there is no product, no matter how amazing, that is worth giving up our friendship for.

I honestly don’t mind if you share some info with me from time to time and who knows maybe one day I’ll find a company I can’t help but be a part of. But here’s the thing, I really would love to reconnect with you just to connect with you too.

And I’m wondering if we can still be friends even if I don’t join your team?

 

With much love,

Your friend, The Lone Ranger

 

*P.S. There are some of you who do direct sales and are wicked crazy awesome about it and I love you for it. Some of you are the absolute most lovely people and I know without a doubt you desire friendship and relationship far more than making a sale. So for all of you who love people AND are good at what you do…I ecstatically and enthusiastically applaud you…and want to hug you right now too.

The Blue Boat and a BIG Secret

My granddad and my aunt (after he passed away) used to own a little blue boat, named Poseidon. The boat was originally purchased in the aftermath of a painful divorce and the desire was to let loose and have some fun together as a family. Every summer as kids, my mom and her siblings would be out on the water making memories and enjoying one another.

I also remember every summer my family would make the long road trip to Oklahoma from wherever we were living at the time to spend a couple of weeks with my aunt. The long days out on the boat were my absolute favorite. We would all be sunburned, exhausted, and sore but those were some of the most exhilarating and enjoyable days of my entire childhood.

We all LOVED that boat and have hoards upon hoards of memories and hilarious stories from spending countless hours out on the water together as a family.

meg wallace|one glass slipper|blue boat and big surprise

But the point came when my aunt had to sell that beloved boat. It was very old and it wasn’t being used as often. It sold within one day to another family, which made for a quick release to something that had been held so dear. Because of the history and the decades of many memories, to get rid of it was like losing a family member.
meg wallace|one glass slipper|blue boat and big surprise My aunt, and a handful of her friends, came up with an idea to go back out to the lake one more time. On a Sunday evening in early September, these friends with picnics in hand met at the same familiar spot. One friend made a cake, and another brought little origami boats (blue of course) that had a small candle in each one.

meg wallace|one glass slipper|aunt di

As the sun began to set they went down close to the water, sat on the rocks nearby, and shared stories about the blue boat. Their stories included memories of the boat filling up with water from forgetting to put the plug in, the joy and excitement of having three skiers up and going simultaneously, and watching the stars late at night.

Had I been there that night I would have included my own: the time the battery went dead and we were stuck out on the water for hours and hours, the time my sister took a handful of chicken wings and jumped in the lake holding them high above her head so they wouldn’t get wet and somehow managed to get up on skis using only one hand and ate her wings while being pulled behind the boat, and the time when my brother and I got onto a huge blow up bird together and almost swallowed half the lake from laughing so hard.

While the sun went down my aunt and her friends released those little glowing boats onto the water, a moment my aunt describes as “magical.” The boats spread out across the water as they continued sharing their stories and memories through tears and laughter as each person said goodbye to Poseidon in their own special way.

Aunt Di

I’d like to tell you a little bit more about my aunt. Her name is Mary Diane, but we, and everyone that knows her calls her Aunt Di. Literally, the post man even knows that’s her name. So if you ever have the pleasure of meeting her in person, please just go ahead and call her Aunt Di. 🙂 She’s never met a stranger.

meg wallace|one glass slipper|blue boat and big surprise

She absolutely spoiled us rotten as kids, treating my brother, sister and me to waterparks, amusement parks, museums, campgrounds, and lots and lots…and lots…of pizza every summer. She loves people better than just about anyone I’ve ever known. So let me take just a moment to publicly say, I love you dearly Aunt Di.

Aunt Di is a Parish Nurse for the Catholic Church in Oklahoma. What is a Parish Nurse you might ask? I’m so glad you did. Parish means “to walk with” and nursing means “to nurture the soul.” Put simply, she literally has a job with a description to “promote health with intentional care of the spirit.” (If I’m honest, that sure sounds a lot like motherhood, doesn’t it?!)

Aunt Di recently wrote a book called “The Blue Boat” where she shares this same story of the Blue Boat as the introduction. The remainder of the book is about the benefit of rituals in our lives.meg wallace|one glass slipper|aunt di

Wait what??? Hold on…Rituals???

Just stay with me…I’m going somewhere with this…

Rituals can be defined as “actions that have symbolic meaning” or something that we do which has meaning for us. They are a set of actions. It may be how we open Christmas gifts in a certain order or how we choose to celebrate Valentine’s Day as the biggest holiday of the year with all of the family and a huge feast. It might be having family over for birthdays or any kind other kind of special occasion, a special time of prayer or reminiscing, or eating dinner together with friends or family. Rituals can be used to say goodbye, to include, to support, to cope, to heal, to move on…honestly, the list could go on and on.

My aunt writes,

“In using them (rituals), I noticed life transitions seemed to occur more gracefully, and seeds of hope and caring were planted for those confronting difficult or painful situations. Rituals bring meaning within the mystery of life…unite people, form community, and are essential in the process of healing.”

The Need For Rituals In My Own Life

I have vivid memories struggling as a child if I didn’t know what was next…especially if I perceived that whatever was next could possibly be scary, uncomfortable or difficult. We moved a lot as I was growing up and every new school and every new neighborhood was frightening to me.

If I’m honest I STILL struggle sometimes. I strongly dislike walking into a room where I don’t know anyone. I am sometimes still hesitant to try new things. I hate having so say goodbye to friends and loved ones.

meg wallace|one glass slipper|blue boat and big surprise

When we left our home in Albuquerque before moving to CA, I literally had a tiny ceremony in our old home before we left it for the last time. I like (okay I’ll stick with the full honesty thing) NEED to create memories, mile markers, keepsakes, or even little monuments for moments that are special, meaningful or difficult…otherwise there’s a deep struggle in my soul.

It’s hard for me to move beyond one thing without fully letting go of the other. Although I can say that there is more growth in understanding how I deal with transitions, I still wouldn’t consider myself an expert…or much of a fan.

meg wallace|one glass slipper|blue boat and big surprise

Sometimes my “ritual” is through writing, sometimes it is through talking with others, sometimes it is taking pictures or having a small “ceremony.” It’s different for every circumstance. After our miscarriage the need for closure was critical. My heart begged to find peace and rest after such a loss.

After the loss of our church, the need to say goodbye was crucial to be abel to move ahead. I needed some way to deal with the great loss and grief from that experience in order to even consider that there might be another thing next.

meg wallace|one glass slipper|blue boat and big surprise

But not all rituals have to do with grief or lament. Having rituals, whether small or large, is a way to cope with or even celebrate one particular moment or season, then with intention, hope and anticipation move toward the future.

meg wallace | one glass slipper | blue boat

The BIG Secret

So here we go…what is this BIG secret?!?!?! It has to do with motherhood and it’s HUGE. A secret to help understand quite possibly 70-80% of the problems you might have with your young ones. It is for just about ANY area in our kids lives. No really. It’s that big. It’s true for bigger issues like moving to a new state, starting a brand new school, making new friends and even potty training. It is also for all of the small issues too, like getting into the car, putting shoes on, turning the favorite movie off, calling for dinner, leaving a birthday party, or getting out of the bath…and a plethora of other situations.

The BIG secret: Children struggle with transitions.

As a new mom it didn’t take me long to realize that my children are a lot like me. They need help in transitions too. Let me define what I mean by transitions: Transitions are moving your child from ANY activity (or location) to another. And believe me, I mean any.

Regional Park-Wallace Family-One Glass Slipper-Meg Wallace

Our kids are people. They’re small people, but they are still people. Our children have feelings and emotions and preferences. They have fears and hesitations and quirks. And, for little people who haven’t even learned how to keep the toilet seat down, their hands clean, say the word “encyclopedia,” or tie their shoelaces, I’m pretty sure its safe to assume that dealing with more complex issues like transition would be a major struggle.

meg wallace|one glass slipper|blue boat and big surprise

Rituals and Transitions

What would it look like to use this idea of rituals as a framework to help not only ourselves but those who have been entrusted to us move from one thing to another? What would it look like to help our kids, no matter how small, how young or how immature learn to cope with, deal with, and excel in times of transition? Raising children who can handle the stresses and transitions of life as well as teaching our kids to deal with their emotions is our responsibility as parents. And it starts with the very, very simplest of transitions.

meg wallace|one glass slipper|blue boat and big surprise

In no way am I suggesting that we create a ritual for every single thing our kids struggle with. Sometimes kids are simply being disobedient. But I am suggesting that we use this idea of rituals as simply a back drop or framework for us to parent in a way that is most helpful to our young ones.

meg wallace|one glass slipper|blue boat and big surprise

Rituals can be viewed as one tool in an entire tool box. There are sometimes many different tools to be able to complete a project, and it is no different with raising children. It will take discernment to know which tool to use and when to use it. Nobody knows your kids like you do, which means no one will do a better job than you in learning what matters and what has the most meaning to your kids. Each family and each child is unique.

meg wallace|one glass slipper|blue boat and big surprise

This post is the first in what has kind of turned into a series. For the sake of keeping things as brief as possible I’ve chosen to save the second half for later this week. My next post will be about some practical ideas of how to implement the concept of rituals and ideas to get you started in thinking of how to equip your children to handle life through transitions.

Stay tuned….

 

Genesis 35:7 “He built an altar there…because there God had revealed Himself…”

Exodus 17:15″ Moses built an altar and named it The LORD is My Banner.”

Genesis 26:25 “So he built an altar there and called upon the name of the LORD…”

Joshua 8:30 “Then Joshua built an altar to the LORD, the God of Israel…”


 

why i will always buy gifts for my daughter's ballet recital

There’s an article being passed around lately about a mother who has decided to openly share her reasons as to why she does not save seats or buy her daughter any gifts for her ballet dance recitals. After reading the article I can completely understand (and quite honestly would agree with) some of her motives in refraining to save seats or give gifts. However, I am saddened because I felt the method in sharing those convictions may have missed the heart of Jesus.

I’ve purposely chosen to not link the article because my desire is simply to share my own experiences. Whether you’ve read the article or not, or whether you’re a mom or not, the issue isn’t whether or not we choose to lavish good gifts on others or on our children.

The bottom line is this: The solution to making sense of our differences should never be to look at others who do things differently as opportunities to mock, put down, or gossip in order to make our personal convictions known.

So, I offer up this story as simply another perspective in motherhood.  My hope is that my words would not be focused on any other mother, woman, or person rather they would be open about my own life and honest about my own heart.

The Backstory

In 2009 my husband felt God’s calling to leave his job as a pastor at the church that had been our “home.” He was on staff there for over a decade, I had been a member since middle school, we were married there, and we had our first 3 babies while there.

Yet we knew, without a doubt, the Lord was moving us somewhere else.

Matt accepted another position as a pastor across town that was one branch of a much larger, very public, very popular (at the time), very fast growing church. However, with that job came an office that was literally like a small dungeon, a massive pay-cut, a much longer commute, and a very fast-paced demanding schedule.

In the beginning we simply thought it an honor to get to be a part of the work God was doing in and among that church. We endured and ignored the frustrations and inconveniences, choosing instead to delight in the wonder of all He was doing in our midst. Figuratively, we sat in the front row seat as we saw God restore marriages, heal relationships, change lives and save people.

But it was very busy too.

Meg Wallace|One Glass Slipper|Mom of 5 kids
four kids, three under three, all three in diapers and pregnant again

The church family grew rapidly, which was amazing to see! But simultaneously so did our immediate family. I had four kids ages 5 and under when I found out I was expecting my fifth. I didn’t get to be a part of the happenings at the church as much as I would have liked because my focus was at home with a bunch of little toddlers and infants.
However, every night after the house was finally quiet I would sit on the couch and listen eagerly to the stories of my husbands “work” from the day. Every night there were more stories of people’s lives being radically changed and it was astounding! If we were to use one word to describe our time at that church it would be “fruitful.”

Meg Wallace|One Glass Slipper|Moving to CA|1
The Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta view from our backyard

The Move

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Driving into CA for the first time

In 2011 we were asked to move to CA to be a part of another church within the same network. The CA church was also growing rapidly but there was not enough staff to be able to handle the load. We were excited to move and even more so to help out. We anticipated great things to come!

The move itself should be made into a movie someday. It would have to be categorized as a tragic-comedy because it was so terrible it is now funny. But worse than the actual move was what happened when we got here.

If we were to use one word to describe our time at the church in CA, then we would say it was “chaos.”

Plans did not, in any way whatsoever, go how we imagined they would. I’ll try to sum it up as simply as I can for the sake of brevity: From the first day we arrived in CA, I became a single mom. Not in the sense that Matt and I were separated…but in the sense that the demands on my husband, his time, his emotions, and his soul were far greater than anything we had ever experienced before.

Ultimately through many, many tragic and devastating events (which is again another very, very long story) the church fell apart altogether. December 31, 2014 marks the day we walked the last person out and for the last time closed the doors to the church my husband (in a very literal way) gave up his life for.

Meg Wallace|One Glass Slipper|Mars Hill Church|1
Mars Hill Church|Huntington Beach|2014|Final Service

It was absolutely devastating to say the least.

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Mars Hill Church|Huntington Beach|2014

We wept. We mourned. We painfully and begrudgingly sought wise Biblical counsel. We had hit an all time low. We were utterly exhausted and spent in every way you can possibly imagine.

Meg Wallace|One Glass Slipper|bed rest
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Dance Recital?!

What in the world does this have to do with saving seats and buying gifts at my daughter’s  ballet recital???

During the time in Albuquerque, as well as the time in CA, my daughter would often,  regularly and repeatedly beg us to take ballet classes. But the answer was always no…

Meg Wallace|One Glass Slipper
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At first we had to tell her no because I was so incredibly sick with my pregnancies that I physically could not get her there. Then I had to tell her no because there was no way we could afford it. Then I had to tell her no because I was put on bed rest due to that horrific move to CA that I mentioned earlier.

Meg Wallace|One Glass Slipper
Bedrest with Baby #5

Then I had to tell her no because, if I’m brutally honest, we were too busy and I didn’t want her to be “that kid” whose dad didn’t have time to show up to watch her.

Yet in those early months of 2015 we found ourselves examining every area of our lives as we attempted to pick up what was left of the wreckage. My freshly unemployed husband and I certainly had the time available and, although the money we had in savings could have been used for a laundry list of other things, we stretched out every bit of it to finally sign our sweet daughter up for ballet.

Meg Wallace|One Glass Slipper
First ballet class

It was a dream. come. true. For her AND for me.

The weeks and months passed and finally the day came for her first ever recital. I couldn’t sleep the night before. It was more exciting to me than Christmas morning! To watch her get into her costume and slip on her ballet slippers took my breath away.

Meg Wallace|One Glass Slipper
Getting ready for the first show!

My fingers were shaking with excitement as I put her hair up in her ballet bun.

Meg Wallace|One Glass Slipper
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Meg Wallace|One Glass Slipper
She LOVED the makeup part!

That morning I felt a surreal soberness about it. As the day went on, I felt jittery and nervous. It makes me laugh now, but I can vividly recall catching myself speaking to someone and realizing I was talking much faster than I normally would!

Family members drove and flew in from all over the country to get to watch her dance.

Saving Seats and Buying Flowers for my Daughters Ballet Recital|Meg Wallace|One Glass Slipper
The whole family came!

Friends from our church and neighbors and classmates from her school were there too.

Meg Wallace|One Glass Slipper
friends from church
Meg Wallace|One Glass Slipper
We love Natalie!
Meg Wallace|One Glass Slipper
Uncle Matt and Auntie Ash!
Saving Seats and Buying Flowers for my Daughters Ballet Recital|Meg Wallace|One Glass Slipper
One of Kate’s best friends, Avery!
Saving Seats and Buying Flowers for my Daughters Ballet Recital|Meg Wallace|One Glass Slipper
Gramma and Grampa

We brought balloons and flowers, and I made her a jar decorated with ribbons and bows and filled it to the top with her favorite candy!

Saving Seats and Buying Flowers for my Daughters Ballet Recital|Meg Wallace|One Glass Slipper
She LOVED LOVED LOVED her candy jar!

The time came for the show to begin.

Saving Seats and Buying Flowers for my Daughters Ballet Recital|Meg Wallace|One Glass Slipper
Just before going out on the stage for the first time

As the lights dimmed, my heart began to race. As I heard her music number, my throat started to close up. My eyes quickly scanned the stage for my little girl.

Meg Wallace|One Glass Slipper
front row

As I saw her body in her beautiful costume coming onto the stage, I could feel the pounding in my chest increase by the second.

Then I saw it.

I saw her face.

And what I saw on her sweet face was nothing short of sheer elation.

I absolutely lost it.

I mean completely, utterly, unashamedly lost it.

Tears of joy were streaming down my cheeks.

Meg Wallace|One Glass Slipper
I couldn’t even get a clear picture! She was on cloud 9!

Seeing her step out onto that stage, and seeing her little dream finally come true and watching as she delighted with all joy in the opportunity to dance made my heart crack in half with thankfulness. That dance in so many ways, was the culmination of things that had been “undone” coming together by His care, under His guidance and by His provision. In that one moment I saw as clearly as I ever have His mercy and His grace and His love. And OH how incredibly thankful, so very, very, very thankful I was…and still am for His goodness, His wisdom, His leading, His care, His provision and His outpouring of mercy.

Meg Wallace|One Glass Slipper
Can’t stop smiling! Her first words after coming off the stage was, “I wanna do it again!!!”

We didn’t deserve any of it. Every bit of it was a gift. And I was overwhelmed with thankfulness.

Perspective on Thankfulness

Was I thankful in that moment that my husband had no job? No. But kind of ya, maybe I am now. Had he not walked away from the job to prioritize us as his family, we would not have so tangibly learned what it means to wait on the Father. Our God sustained us, grew us, changed us, shaped us and reset us. He is our Provider and He cares for us. We learned in very real ways that we cannot find our hope in an income or a job or a corporation or even in a plan.

Saving Seats and Buying Flowers for my Daughters Ballet Recital|Meg Wallace|One Glass Slipper
Kate is watching as the older girls warm up

Was I thankful that our beloved church had been closed? No. But kind of…ya…looking back maybe now I am. Had it not closed, we might still be living at a pace and sprinting through life in a way that was unsustainable. Ultimately, living that way would have ruined our family in the long run. As we slowed down and learned once more to listen to His still small voice, we began to prioritize again the things He would have us prioritize. He used our trials to show us over and over how much we need Him. He used the suffering we endured to show us that He alone is the fount of living waters. He used our failures to show us that Jesus is our only true satisfaction and His grace is more than sufficient.

Meg Wallace|One Glass Slipper
At her professional shoot

The goodness of the Father in the midst of those hardships and heart wrenching trials completely and utterly overwhelms me…and it all came together in that moment of watching my daughter finally get to participate in something she had waited her whole 9 years of life to do.

Meg Wallace|One Glass Slipper
someone pinch me, she can’t be 9 already!

I saw that day a small glimpse of the Father’s heart toward me, his child. He gives to me, not because I deserve anything, but because HE is the one that is good. And when He takes from me, it is because He wants to show me once more that what my heart cries out for at it’s deepest level is Him, not whatever I hold clenched in my fist.

Saving Seats and Buying Flowers for my Daughters Ballet Recital|Meg Wallace|One Glass Slipper
She had a hard time going to sleep that night. She said the day was one of the best she’s ever had.

I showered my little girl with gifts that day not because she deserved them, but because I love her. I gave because He first gave. I give because He gives. And I have every intention to continue to give because He is the perfect giver. Whether I have much or whether I have little, whether there is plenty or whether there is nothing, I desire more than anything that I might know the quiet peace of being satisfied in HIS grace alone and then extending that grace and all I have to others.

Saving Seats and Buying Flowers for my Daughters Ballet Recital|Meg Wallace|One Glass Slipper
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Saving Seats and Buying Flowers for my Daughters Ballet Recital|Meg Wallace|One Glass Slipper
We love you Kate!

An Open Letter To My Daughter

My princess, one day you will read this…and I want you to know that I celebrate you, my daughter, and I thoroughly delight in you because you are a precious, priceless far-from-perfect gift from a perfect, loving and over-the-top gracious Father. There is great value in you because you are made in the image of God and I relish the fact that for right now, for this season of my life, for just this short window of time I get to call you mine. I have every intention to lavish upon you, to the best of my ability, whether we have nothing or whether we have much, whatever affections or gifts that I have in order to show you what grace looks like. I pray that you will know that His heart is for you, that He gave the ultimate gift, His son, in your place for your sin and that your deepest joy will only be found in right relationship with Him.

My sweet child, do not make the tragic mistake of thinking that you deserve anything in life. Yet, instead humbly receive His unparalleled, undeserved, inexplainable, magnificent grace and rejoice knowing that it has been given without any earning of your own. What you have been given is from the Perfect Giver who does not hold back and knows exactly what you need even before you ask. Keep those gifts held loosely in your fingers and intentionally look for opportunities for you to pass them along to others.

My greatest desire is for you to worship Him with your entire heart and that in some small way you might know His abundant grace from having spent your childhood in our home. And yes, you can rest assured, sweet daughter, that I will most certainly be bringing you some balloons, some candy and some flowers to your next ballet recital!

Meg Wallace|One Glass Slipper
G’nite my Princess