conviction

You must ask for God’s help. After each failure, ask forgiveness, pick yourself up, and try again. -CS Lewis

In the past few weeks, I’ve hosted 2 hay rides welcoming 150 people to the farm, gone to a huge IEP meeting for Rylie with the public and private schools she attends, dedicated Gus and Abby at church, gone to a teacher/parent conference for Ry, gone to a dentist appointment for me to figure out some serious TMJ issues, organized 1400 pounds of ground beef for friends, gone to a 50th anniversary work-related dinner, and taken Gideon in for ear-tube replacement surgery.

I am, in a word, tired.

Somewhere in all of that was 30 minutes of just me and Curt driving… and I saw a store. I wanted to stop… for just a minute, alone… and grab a thank you present for the saint of a friend who had stayed with the kids overnight. I left Curt in the car, happily browsing on his phone without a child begging for truck or horse videos, and I went inside.  Alone.

I haven’t been alone in a very long time.

I was prepared for a warm welcome.  It was, after all, a slow Sunday morning.  I was the only one shopping. I know it’s part of the job to welcome and inquire and set the tone for the shopping experience, so I expected meet a new best friend.  Yes, hello.  I’m fine, thank you.  Nope, just looking for something small… not sure what yet. Great, thank you so much. I’ll be sure to yell if I have any questions. You bet. I know! Those are super cute! Thanks! I’ll look at the sales. Mmmhmm.  I bet your mom loved that; what a great idea. Ok. Yep. You bet. Thank you.

You would have been so proud of me.

Making conversation.  Smiling like I do this all the time. Like it’s easy.

She was kind and cute and well-dressed, thanks to the employee discount.  She returned to her position behind the counter and next to her manager.  Their combined age was maybe 40.  Maybe.  The manager picked up her Me So Crazy story where she had left off before I arrived, and we all went about our business.

For about 30 seconds.

As I browsed the tables in front of the cashier desk (danger: direct line of vision), the manager decided to work her magic.

Now, Friends, I’m about to go to a place where you will be disappointed in me… and, I just want to set that up in advance.  This is not a pretty story.  But, I had 10 minutes- TEN MINUTES- of free time to look at pretty clothes and pretend my most important decision in life was the color of a pair of socks.  Ten minutes.  I had already fielded a significant conversation with the greeter.  The manager had heard the entire, echo-y conversation… just as I had heard her Saturday Night Crazy Town story.  We were not strangers.

She looked up at me and grinned.  Her shirt was red, her skirt was pink, her tights were fuchsia.  I was still processing the red and pink combination when she leaned my direction and opened her gum-smacking mouth.

Shopping?

(I can do this.)  Yes.

This table has tons of cute stuff… I just LOOOOVE those bags.

(eye contact, a quick nod, and a step away)

(I maybe can still do this.  Just smile.  Smile, Kate.)

GIFT Shopping?

(I’m not sure I’m going to make it.) Yep.

Who for?

(audible, flustered sigh)

(I’m not going to make it.) I don’t think you know her.

And that’s when all the air left the room.  She flipped her perfect hair and looked at me through squinted eyes, “O-KAY THEN!” and clicked her way to the back of the store to fold something.

Or be away from me.

I can’t go out in public a whole lot, Folks.  My filters are faulty.  I paid for the socks and made polite conversation with “my girl” as a penance before leaving.  I started to cry on my way back to the car and had to collect myself.  When I got in, I told Curt to take me back to the farm.  I was grounded for a good, long while.

It was exactly what I wanted to say, and there’s a huge part of me that took great satisfaction in having the right words for how I was feeling in that exact moment.  That part of me was quickly grieved by the realization that I had intentionally hurt another person.  A really annoying, oblivious person… but I had hurt her.

It was not my finest moment.

I haven’t been able to shake it.  So I’m confessing to you:

That I am decent with words, but I struggle with people.  That I sometimes miss the line between funny and mean.  That I have a breaking point.  That I make terrible, terrible first-impressions.  That I’ve cheated on tests before and blamed lots of childhood mischief on my brother.

I am, simply, not perfect.

I assume that’s obvious.  Then I realize I read other women, I look at other families… and I feel the grit of comparison, the thoughts that I am not enough, the lie that someone else has got it all together all the time.  And, if I think it, maybe you do, too.

Let me say this to you… you who feel that you pale in comparison to me or anyone else: YOU are beautiful, and you are doing just fine.  You do not want my life.  And I, I do not want yours.  Well, not all of it.

But I am blessed, honored, giddy to walk alongside you, if you’ll have me.

I promise to keep my mouth shut.

Most of the time.

Ephesians 4:29

Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them.

Monday: Grace

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About texasnorth

TexasNorth is a little farm in Western Michigan. It's home to 5 chickens, 25 longhorn cattle, a coonhound (Banjo), 1 barn cat, a husband, and 3 ridiculously funny children. The mom of this zoo has been known to mow the lawn in a skirt and roast marshmallows after dark. View all posts by texasnorth

13 responses to “conviction

  • catherine

    so glad to be walking alongside you, Katie Kate.

  • aligryder

    Hugs…. and thank you. For being you.

    ________________________________

  • Mark Muller

    This is why people like you! You speak for all of us socially-challenged lunatics who regret almost every word that comes out of our mouths. (99% of the world’s population!) Please don’t stop! 🙂

  • Alisha

    I really, REALLY like you Kate. Thank you for sharing what all of us go through and feel, daily. xoxo

  • Margie

    Katie, I’ve so been there, and so get this. But, mostly, thanks for your honesty. You’re speaking my language. (And mirroring my actions.)

  • Mandi

    “That I am decent with words, but I struggle with people. That I sometimes miss the line between funny and mean. That I have a breaking point. That I make terrible, terrible first-impressions.”

    Um, yes. That is me! Thank you for being so transparent and real. And for making it o.k. for me to be real, too! Love you, girl!

  • Tricia

    “the lie that someone else has got it all together all the time.”

    Oh, Katie. I fall for that lie every single day. I lay awake some nights staring at the ceiling and thinking about how much better/more nurturing/more crafty/more patient/ just MORE all those other moms probably were than I was today, and I cry. It’s true, comparison is the thief of joy. It’s also a waste of time!

    You are beautiful, Katie. And you are doing just fine. 🙂

  • Abbie

    It’s 8:56 in the morning and so far I’ve yelled at my kids (more than once), sent them out the door with a bag of dry cereal for breakfast, drove them to the bus stop, yelling all the way because we were SOOOOOO late (and of course, it wasn’t my fault) only to see the bus waiting for my car load of rag-tag kids with unbrushed hair and unbrushed teeth (the morning after Halloween, no less). I have since returned home to a completely trashed home and a son wailing on my lap that he wants to watch TV… and that he wants daddy because daddy will for sure let him watch TV.
    I hear you girl. This side of heaven we just weren’t meant for perfection, all He asks is that we keep on tryin’!
    Love you friend!
    Abbie
    P.S. You made a GREAT first impression on me!

  • zoe

    Great post!
    Cheers to bad first impressions, me for sure and not comparing ourselves!

  • Faith

    Love you Kate. And that is exactly why you should continue to hang with me. You know, we both sometimes lack a mental filter…and honestly have blessed but far from perfect lives. Thanks for the post. 🙂

  • Missindeedy

    I heart your words. And you. And how you just lay it all out there. You are not alone in this. May God keep one hand on our shoulder and the other over our mouths. Indeed.

  • Vikki de los Reyes (@akindredspirit)

    Dear Katie,Thank you for this! I am convicted to pick myself up and try again by God’s help… Bless you and the farmer and the kids. Love, V 🙂

  • tif

    yep…. you and I are a lot alike…. although I have to commend you on feeling bad right away, it may have taken me a while before I actually saw my faulty filter wire…. my husband and I call them “pie in face” moments~ and… well…. sometimes I never get the first pie off my face before the second one hits me dead on.

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