childhood

On Identity

A friend and I were getting together after not having seen each other for a few years. She told her kids they were coming to see me and Brighton and she scoured my Instagram for a photo to remind them of who I am. When we met up she said she couldn’t find any photos of me. And she said, You know, you’re not just a mom, you have an identity apart from that. I laughed and said "I know, I know", but really ... I've forgotten. 

I had Jon take a photo of me without Brighton and I felt SO awkward. I honestly didn't know what to do without my "accessory". Brighton has become somewhat of a security blanket. She is my way out of places I don't want to be, she is my excuse when I'm feeling introverted at the park and decide it's time to leave, she is my conversation piece when I don't know what to say. 

Last week I stopped by Jon's work and ended up being a part of a Facebook live conversation about social media and I left feeling so excited because I felt like I actually contributed to society and participated in some real "adult" stuff. As soon as I said that out loud to Jon, I heard the Lord reminding me that raising a decent, Christ-loving human being is just about the most important "contribution" to society anyone can give. Ok God, I hear you. 

I've always known I wanted to be a mom and as we came closer to starting our family I had a feeling that I would want to be home, but I also love writing so I knew that my dream world would be to stay at home while working as a writer. And here I am, doing that. What!? But the enemy is so cunning because he has continued to wage war on my sense of worth and identity. In every season it's something new, right? As a teenager, our worth and identity might be coming from the accolades we receive or how many people viewed our LiveJournal post (Xanga? Myspace? No?). In college, it might be our grades, then in marriage, we battle with our identity becoming wrapped up in our husband, and now as a mother, I have to fight to keep my identity from being too closely intertwined with my work and with my daughter. I am a whole woman apart from Jon and apart from Brighton. I love them both, and they have contributed a fullness to my life, but they don't complete or define who I am. 

My identity is in Christ. 

  • I am fearfully and wonderfully made - Psalm 139
  • I am His masterpiece - Ephesians 2:10
  • I am justified and redeemed - Romans 3:24
  • I am accepted - Romans 15:7
  • I am set free - Galatians 5:1
  • I am chosen - Ephesians 1:4
  • I am forgiven - Ephesians 1:7

Do any of these strike a chord with you? As I read these over and over and "masterpiece", "accepted", and "chosen" keep standing out to me. It is SO easy in society today to feel like we are none of these things. Not enough likes, not enough followers, not enough friends, not enough invitations ... but God says I am His masterpiece, I am accepted, and I am chosen. So who CARES if I'm missing out on something? Who cares if that girl is doing something I'd like to be doing? God accepts me as I am and has chosen ME for a purpose. And that purpose is one that no one else was intended to fulfill. That is a serious pill to swallow, people. I need to learn to be faithful with (and grateful for) what is right in front of me so I can walk in that God-given identity and purpose.

My goal for 2018 was to live more simply and a big piece of that involved simply being me. A sort of stripping away of all the junk, the lies, the insecurities, the facades. That's the whole point of this blog: to talk about reality. I'm not a stylist, I'm not some sort of outfit of the day mom maven, food critique, or workshop hostess. I'm just a mom trying to figure it out and remember that it's ok to be "figuring it out". Despite our faults, despite our failures, even despite all of our accomplishments and praiseworthy moments, our identities have big, thick, gnarly, moss-covered roots that stem from an unchanging God.

Sometimes we all just need a little reminder that we a masterpiece, we are accepted, and we are chosen. Let's rest in that cozy bit of truth.

On Grace

It has been a little over a month of living in Orange County, and it's just finally starting to sink in. We have been back and forth between San Diego and then spent a week in Hawaii, so this was really my first week up here without anywhere to be or anything to do. 

A few weeks ago was our first time at church because we've been out of town every weekend and I was teary-eyed from the moment we were parking to the moment I left. (Ok, I've actually been emotional all day.) It hit me that this is real. We were searching for the toddler classroom to drop off Brighton, looking for a new place to sit, not recognizing any faces, and it hit me that this is our new Sunday routine. Then Pastor Rick did an incredibly moving tribute to the Veteran's in the room and that made me even more emotional. I mean seriously, any military tribute can make me cry. After church, we went to lunch at a ramen place (which is legit and amazing), but that made me emotional because Sundays are usually when my family gets together for lunch. In the evening, they face timed us and they were all together and I had major FOMO. #emokid #copeland 

To be honest, this transition is rough. Becoming a stay at home mom, in a new neighborhood is not easy. And plus, 16 month olds are ROUGH. Don't get me wrong, Brighton has seriously been a dream child. She is happy, a great sleeper, eats well ... but this age is just non stop. She is fussier than usual, and constantly wants my attention. Anytime I try to do anything, she is right there, tugging on my legs and whining. Jon has been out of town this week, so by Friday I found myself feeling extremely alone. As I was driving to meet with a friend, I was listening to a podcast and the host was introducing her new cohost who was sharing how she has a 16 month old who is "there all the time." She started to share what an average day for her looks like, and I breathed a sign of relief as I remembered that I'm not alone, and my 16 month old is not the only one who is a little extra needy, testing the boundaries, and makes me feel like I say "no thank you" all day long. 

Man do I need grace for myself in this new season. Grace to say, "I don't need to be and do it all." I have never been a stay at home mom before, and I don't need to have it all figured out in 1 month. I also need to give myself grace if I'm not the crafty mom, or the the homeschooling type mom, or the mom who has every day planned to a T. Every mom is different, every baby is different, and I have to give myself grace to discover who I am as a mom and not who I think I should be. I need to give myself grace to fumble through this new learning curve in motherhood. I need grace to fumble around creating an entirely new community (which, by the way is extremely difficult when you are introverted and your days are determined by your toddler). We all just need more grace. More grace for me, more grace for you ... and you get grace, and you get grace and you get graaaacceee (channel Oprah here). 

While we were in Hawaii, Brighton was watching something on my phone while we were at dinner (something we never allow) because her body clock was off with the time difference and she was losing in at the dinner table. And honestly, we were just trying to enjoy our last meal on the island. Of course, we hardly enjoyed the dinner because iPhone or not, we still had an exhausted and emotional 16 month old and on top of that I was feeling like a terrible parent because she was on my phone. But I had to remind myself, "this is not the norm, she's not on your phone all the time." And I thought of all the parents I silently judge because their kids are on screens and realized I need to give them grace too. 

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Being a mom is really hard work. I spend the entire day trying to entertain and keep a human alive, and then when Jon comes home I just want to shut off, but I need to get a second wind because now, I need to be a good wife to him. I'm not complaining, I honestly love it. I love being a mom and I love being a wife, and I want to be good at both. But it's just reality that it's exhausting! So right now, I'm learning to have grace for myself and learning when to say "no" so I can say "yes" to the right things. And when I think about it, we are ALL trying to figure life out no matter what stage we are in. To the newlywed, you go girl! You figure marriage out and give yourself grace because living with someone isn't easy! To the mom with multiple kids, you go girl! I'm exhausted with 1 so I can't imagine 4, so more grace and more power to ya as you figure out carpools and extra circulars and your own personal sanity. Grace grace grace. 

This is just the beginning of a really exciting adventure. But adventures are still messy. Adventures have twists and turns and ups and downs. They have their grapevine on the I5 going through Bakersfield when you want to turn around and they have their accidental side road discoveries full of deer and orchards. So right now, even though I feel like I'm driving through mud, I just have to keep my eye out for the little bits of magic that are revealed each day, and remember that this is just the beginning, and there is so much in store.