Five Things My Voicemail Would Say if I were Being Honest

I can not think of anything I like less than talking on the phone. Seriously, when the phone rings, I want to play dead. My issues are severe enough that there was a 12-month period in time when I was a telemarketer and it was like working in one of the inner circles of hell. Assuming, of course, that the inner circles of hell come with name badges and assigned parking. I am not even kidding when I tell you that I would log into my computer each day, put on my headset and call exactly zero people. That’s right. I would sit in my little cubicle talking to nobody. Sometimes, in an effort to appear productive, I would leave a message on my own cell phone sternly advising myself to call me back in order to make payment arrangements. I never did call myself back, by the way.

Breakfast table

If you were to call my cell phone, there would be a very polite and friendly message.

You have reached Stacy. I’m sorry that I have missed your call. Please leave your name and number and I will call you back as soon as possible.

It is the kind of message you would expect to hear when calling someone’s phone. Here is the thing, though. It just isn’t true. Here are five things my voicemail would say if it were acceptable for me to be completely honest.

  1. You have reached Stacy. I am really kind of relieved that I missed your call. You are welcome to leave your name and number, but it is not likely that I will call you back.
  2. You have reached Stacy. If you really knew me, you would have known that I hate the telephone and would have texted me instead.
  3. You have reached Stacy. I do not recognize your number and my mother taught me to not talk to strangers.
  4. You have reached Stacy. I recognized your number and, well… 
  5. You have reached Stacy. I am currently changing a diaper, re-washing a load of towels, scooping poop out of the bathtub, hiding in the bathroom or doing a really important quiz on Facebook. 

I guess what I am saying, friends, is that you should just text me.

Also, what I am saying is, whose idea was it to put a little green dot and the word “mobile” next to your name on Facebook so everyone knows that you currently have your phone in your hand?

***

What would your voicemail say (if you were being honest?)

You have gifts. Now, use them!

I was watching a show the other day and one guy said to another, “Good on you.” Now, basically, it’s just the equivalent of “good job” or “congratulations,” but it just has a little something more to it. I’ve decided that I’m going to start using it more in my encounters with other women and moms.

For instance…

You monogrammed your child’s diaper bag, onesies, diaper covers and sippy cup sleeves? Well, good on you.

You just ran ten miles while pushing the toddler in a jogging stroller, nursing the baby and eating homemade granola? Well, good on you. 

breakfast dishes

Women have, somehow, bought into the lie that “good on you” has to mean “bad on me.” The enemy has distorted our view of things until we are unable to acknowledge the gifts in another woman without feeling envious of her or disgusted with ourselves. The reality is that you and I have different gifts. Not better. Not worse. Not the leftover gifts that no one else wanted. Just different.

Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them. – Romans 12:6

Having gifts. You have gifts. I have gifts. All God’s children have gifts. Some women sew. Some women cook. Some women are excellent listeners. Some women {ahem} overshare in an attempt to make other women feel better. Some women can make people laugh. Some women can soothe the weary with a word.

God did not say, “If you happen to have a gift…” or “If I remembered to give you a gift…” or “If you were good enough to receive a gift…” No, God said, {okay, technically this is Paul. but it is totally inspired by God}, “Having gifts…” There is the assumption that you have gifts. It’s easy to be so distracted by other people’s gifts that we fail to see our own.

That differ. We do not have the same gifts, y’all. We just don’t. I have friends that are home birthing, natural birthing, grit-your-teeth-and-push superstars. Do you know what I say to that? I say, “Good on you and pass the epidural” all in the same breath and I don’t even feel guilty. Pain tolerance is not one of my gifts. {In my defense, all of my babes were c-sections so it wasn’t an option. I know, however, that pain medicine was going to be in the picture regardless.}

There is freedom in acknowledging our differences, friends. And freedom feels good.toys in the floor

Use them. Right next to the assumption that you have gifts is the command that you use them. You were given a specific gift {or gifts} for a purpose. Maybe that purpose somehow benefits you. It is more likely, however, that you were given your gifts for the good of those around you.

Look at the gifts Paul lists.

Prophecy.

Service.

Teaching.

Encouragement.

Generosity.

Leadership.

Mercy.

These are all gifts that bless the people who are on the receiving end. To stay in the shadows and pretend that you have no gifts is not humility. It is selfishness.

So, the next time you are tempted to be intimidated by someone else’s gifts, learn to say, “Good on you.”

All together now.

Good. on. you.

Mom Talk Monday: Speaking Truth to Your Children

I am a control freak.

There, I said it.

I like my towels folded a certain way. I like three slightly rounded {but not heaping} tablespoons of coffee in my cup {the one with the cupcakes on it} filled with hot water {from a tea pot and not just warmed in the microwave}. I like the kitchen counters to be clear of clutter. I want clothes hung a certain way on the hanger. Right now, I am packing for vacation and I have stacks of outfits for my kids organized by what I want them to wear on which day.

ABCs

I guess what I’m saying is that I like things the way I like them {usually because it’s the best way.} Oh, I kid. Sort of.

It’s not just little things like whether the toilet paper roll goes over or under {obviously, it’s over} that I try to control. I obsessively try to control situations and outcomes. I analyze a situation and think through all of the options. In my mind, I follow each possible outcome all the way to its conclusion. If I do A and B, then we are going to end up with C. If I choose X and Y instead, then we will find ourselves with Z. 

Something happened, however, that threw all of my controlling tendencies into a tail spin. I became a mom.

No amount of controlling, on my part, can protect my children from broken hearts, disappointments or mean girls. Nothing I do, today, is going to guarantee that my babies won’t deal with financial struggles or job loss or sick children in the future. There is not a magic formula for raising children that promises that they will never make poor decisions and be forced to suffer the consequences.

And it gets harder the older my children become. I nearly have convulsions every Sunday morning when my oldest child says, “Can I just leave my hair down?” In my mind, Sunday mornings are french braids, frilly dresses and cute sandals. Now, I could insist upon a certain look for her. She is an obedient child. But, I have really been convicted regarding my controlling ways and I am trying to be more of a go-with-the-flow kind of gal. {It ain’t easy, y’all.}

Lost River Cave 1

Just this morning, I was reading in Ezekiel. In chapter 2, God gives Ezekiel his ministry assignment and, spoiler alert, it’s not an easy one.

“I send you to a nation of rebels….who also are impudent and stubborn…and you shall say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord God.'”  – Ezekiel 2:3-4

This, my friends, was going to be a difficult task {much like your role as mom.} These were people who had rebelled against God in the past. They were disobedient and stubborn. {Anyone ever have a rebellious child? A disobedient one? A stubborn one?}

Ezekiel’s task, however, was not to control them. He wasn’t told to demand certain changes or force them to dress a certain way. His job, in this particular situation, was to speak truth to them. “Thus says the Lord God.” One of the greatest things we can do, as moms, is to speak truth to our children throughout every stage.

Let’s be honest, ladies. Motherhood is a difficult assignment, but we make it harder than it needs to be. We try to manipulate and control things that, in the grand scheme of things, won’t even matter.

Whatever season you are in, whatever the current drama of the day happens to be – take a step back. Loosen your grip just a little. Develop a laser focus when it comes to your motherhood mission. Your task is to speak truth to them. And, if you can sneak in a french braid on Sunday morning, that’s just icing on the cake.

You are so loved.