Stay In The Moment

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On Christmas Eve our schedule was rushed. On Sundays, especially, our schedule is always rushed. It’s ministry life and as much as I have tried so hard to balance life so my girls will love Jesus and love the church, there are times where I fail miserably. But, most of the time, I do pretty good because I’ve made a promise to them. I attend only one service on Sunday morning and will keep it that way until they can drive themselves. I don’t worry about what others think of that. It’s pretty freeing to live life and answer to Jesus only. Do you, Boo. 

When we finally arrived at our family Christmas, I was feeling stressed and afraid everyone would be upset with us. I even dropped off my dog and my husband (and his bad back) with my parents because that would make them happier, or at least more comfortable. And, after all, it’s just like me to make sure everyone is happy. Or at least happy-ish. He could watch football and sit in a comfortable chair and I would be with my family. Winning.

When it was just the three of us, I explained to the girls that I would relax and we would just get there when we got there. I told them I wanted them to love Christmas and love our family time. I knew that how frazzled I became could ruin all of that and that’s the last thing I want to do.

Thankfully, no one was upset with us, they were just glad we were there and that we came. We were so glad we were there. My Dad’s side of the family is special to me and being with them makes me feel closer to my Grandma and my Dad. Sure, it makes me sad, but I feel better knowing I’m with my family with the same shade of brown eyes as mine.

After everything was over, I was walking things out to my car and my Elise asked for a hug. I love hugs. I will always break for hugs.

I squeezed her tightly and we whispered, “I love you.”

As I began to let go of my tiny teenager, standing on the small town sidewalk, with icy cold air pressing in around us. I could feel myself switch to rush mode again. Rush home to be with my mom, husband, and my dog. Rush. Rush. Rush.

Elise held me tighter, refusing to let go, and said, “Stay in the moment, Mom.”

She said it twice. Twice.

“Stay in the moment.”

Everything else could wait. I didn’t have any fires to put out. Nothing to clean up, just off to the next place.

I squeezed her tighter. I relaxed as her tiny frame melted into mine. I didn’t feel cold anymore or rushed. I felt peace. I felt steady. I wasn’t sad anymore about missing my loved ones in heaven. I was loving the one in front of me well.

“Oh baby, I will stay in the moment because there is nothing that I love more than this. Nothing more important than you and me together.”

What thirteen-year-old can tell you what they are missing from you?

Mine did.

She wanted me all in, there in body and heart. She wanted me to stay in the moment, whatever it was or looked like and feeling all of it instead of rushing off to the next one.

She wanted me.

And, I wanted to be wanted.

Confession: I’m not doing everything right. I rarely do. But, I try and that’s enough for me. I’m trying so hard to keep up and keep everyone happy, which is my jam, but usually means I’m last on my list…and unfortunately means I’m the last on other lists as well. I’ve fought with my husband. We haven’t fought in a year in a half. Oopsies, it happens.

I have stayed in the moment, even when it’s a frustrated one. That’s super fun…and dang hard.

If I’m honest, I will tell you being fully present is work especially when you are “easier to deal with when you are nicer.”

But, a real breakthrough in your life means you know that you are worth it, even when you are less than perfect and might be ticked off…and harder to deal with. Whateves.

Say you’re sorry. I’ve said it multiple times to my girls- the funny thing is that they get it because they get me and they love me anyway because they know they are the most important thing in my little world. I prove that by the life I give them, year-after-year as they have flown by, I have proved that to them.

They will always be the most important thing in my little world. More important than writing books and doing ministry. They are my ministry.

This is the first Christmas in years that I feel awake. The first Christmas that I’ve had the energy to make Christmas freakin’ Merry because I’m awake and feeling better than ever after having genetic testing for my depression and anxiety. Being on the RIGHT medication for three months has really shown me a few things, like how life can be more than simply checking off the days and trying to remember everything. Three years I was living, even surviving, but I wasn’t thriving. I was coping and that’s okay. But, what’s strange and wonderful and a tiny bit sad was all the Christmases I barely remember because I was in a fog of depression. Seasonal depression is horrible for me, but not this year. All the praise goes to Jesus for this healing and I’m grateful for a doctor that told me I was worth it and that there were too many options for me to just “manage” my depression and get by.

Now I’m awake. I’m present. And, I’m worth it. My people are worth it.

I’m also ready to break up with doing things the same. Doing all the things, marking off all the boxes. To be present means removing some of my boxes because I chose this. I chose to be awake. To be present. And, to know that my mental health and my well being needs fewer boxes and needs my significant others to be awake, too, and ready to hear me when I ask for help and admit that I’m not Wonder Woman, but I’m pretty dang close.

Stay in the moment.

Figure out what moments are worth staying in.

Figure out what moments are worth fighting for and fight for them.

Don’t place blame, own your part of whatever makes the holidays jacked up for you.

Figure out why you’re sad, why you feel unheard. Maybe realize you might be saying it wrong or asking for help in a way that your people don’t understand.

If history repeats itself, and it often does, what part of your future would you like to change?

What is inside of you that needs to change? Or be surrendered at the feet of Jesus.

But, whatever you do…don’t go numb. That’s the easy way out, stay awake. Stay in the moment.

Stay present.

Don’t settle for anything less than awake, even when it hurts.

Don’t look to others and expect them to be your Jesus or fix you. Only Jesus satisfies. He is what you need. 

Be you. That’s enough. I always tell people that what I lack in talent I make up for it with passion. When I’ve lost my spark, I know something is wrong and that my health is suffering. Most of the time, it just means I’m exhausted to the core.

So, if you are tired…take a nap. Don’t just complain about it, do something to fix it. 

Jesus said, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28 NIV)

He gives us rest, not lists.

“Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” (vs. 29)

He lightens our load as we spend time in His presence and listen, really listen to him and what He tells us in His word.

Throw away your list, if only for a day. Take care of your heart, you’re the only one in charge of that.

Stay in the moment. Feel everything. 

So much love to you,

Jennifer Renee

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