Sunday, May 10, 2009

for all the Supergirls (moms) out there

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my friend, lisa, recommended this book to me a few weeks ago because she thought i would love it. she was right! i love it so much that i'm sharing it with you, readers of the blog.

i identify with every chapter of the book so far, but on the celebration of mother's day, i thought i would post from chapter 1, i am oh so tired.

for all the tired women & mothers out there that "struggle but long to be more".

All I Need is Jesus and a Good Pair of Jeans:
the tired supergirl's search for grace

susana foth aughtmon

there is this tension between who i want to be and who i really am.

i called my mom the other day. "i've got to get myself together," i told her.
"are you still trying that?" she asked.
I really am trying to gather up the pieces of my scattered self...on a daily basis. i start out my mornings shooting prayers at the four corners of my bedroom.

"God, i need you."
"God, help me be more like you."
"Please help me get more done."
"Where are my sweats?"
that's not so much a prayer as a request. which i think God honors. because of all the prayers, that one usually gets answered the quickest.

but the wildness ensues. it is the mayhem of everyday living that wears me down. i'm a pastors wife. a mom of three. a housekeeper/ organizer/ errand runner/ etc. a sunday school teacher. a worship leader. a volunteer at the elementary school. on a good day i may squeeze in some exercise or a smattering of writing. and lo and behold, the heavy breathing begins. the chasing after life like a crazy-gaited chicken. and this craziness releases the screaming meemie within when life presses in too hard.

i bark at my children. "hurry up!"
i nag my husband. "in some countries, people put away clean clothes instead of decorating with them."
i berate myself. "i cannot believe i forgot that appointment ...again."

i am just a woman. one woman freaking out on a planet full of a lot of other women who, i think, are also freaking out. it's not just the ones with kids. those of us who have kids are just laid bare more easily because our children know us for who we really are and they tell on us.

my friend melissa gave me a pair of underwear that say "supergirl" on the back, as a gag gift. i, however, wear them because new underwear is a novelty, and i'll never turn down a good pair of panties. one morning, my son jack burst into my room as i was changing clothes and spied the back of my underwear. as i hurriedly hiked up my pants, he gave me a knowing look and said, "mom, your secret identity has been revealed."

too late. he knows who i long to be. i really would like to be supergirl. i would love to leap tall laundry piles in a single bound. to see through the conundrums of life with x-ray vision or maneuver through the week with energy, compassion, and the extraterrestrial ability to finish my to-do list. but my super life has gotten the kryptonite smackdown. i have run headlong into my nemesis. she is Tired Lady. she is loathsome and cruel, leaving those in her path lonely and full of self-pity. she zaps me with her Lazy Ray and trips me with her Rope of Depression, leaving chaos in her wake. i know her well.

my friend claims that she appears right around 8:30. the children are in bed. a good two or three hours of free time loom before you. time to clean. time to think deep thoughts. time to paint your toenails. time to snuggle your husband. but Tired Lady sneaks in, crazy gluing your rear to the sofa, leaving your dishes unwashed, your man unsnuggled, your Bible unread. it is by no small act of God that you are able to drag yourself off to bed, promising that tomorrow will be a different day. you will vanquish Tired Lady to her Hole of Doom. you'll be the woman God designed you to be. or at least knock out a load of laundry so your husband doesn't have to turn his underwear inside out anymore. you've got great plans....for tomorrow.

i walk the fine line of living between two identities. i live in the tension of who i want to be and who i really am.

it reminds me of peter. he runs willy-nilly through the Gospels, trying to figure out who and where he is suppose to be. despite peter's inconsistencies, Jesus sees the space in between who he is and who he could be. he changes his name from Simon to Peter, "the Rock". he is going to be solid.

on the night of the Last Supper, Jesus asks Peter, James and John to hang out with him. he just wants them to pray with him. peter is ready to live up to his name. to hunker down and pray like crazy for this man who radically changed his life.
that's when Tired Lady, or maybe in this case, Sleepy Man, creeps in between the fig trees and fern, filling peter's head with swirly dreams and the inability to process just one tiny prayer. he barely bows his head to pray before the crumbles of wine-dipped bread begin settling in his tummy.

earlier, peter had sworn he would never desert the Lord. Jesus tells him that before the rooster crows twice that he will deny him 3 times. peter is serious about dying for Jesus. he really believes he is that committed. or maybe he'll have a nap first and then die for him; it is better to die for someone when you are really well rested. peter's betrayal begins long before the crowing of the bird. it begins with the whiffling snores of deep sleep that break the stillness of Gethsemane. Jesus finds peter snoozing instead of interceding.

then he returned and found the disciples asleep. "Simon!" he said to peter. "are you asleep? couldn't you stay awake and watch with me even one hour? keep alert and pray. otherwise temptation will overpower you. for though the spirit is willing enough, the body is weak." mark 14:37-38

i wonder if Jesus calls him "Simon" because he just isn't cutting it as "the Rock". Jesus returns to his prayers and Simon goes back to sleep. in all, Jesus wakes him up three times that night. poor Peter. i have to say that i love love love peter. like me, he just can't pull it together.

he had visions of being the Rock... which i imagine to be a fairly impressive Jewish superhero, comparable to my Supergirl. the Rock was going to rock Israel with his Jesus style, catch a ton of fish, lead a Torah study, bring a few pals to repentance, and squeeze in family time on the weekends, not to mention support Jesus, who simply asked him to stay awake, pray for him, and just be a good buddy the night before he dies a horrible death. and he couldn't do it. and it gets worse after the nap.

when Jesus returned to them the third time, he said, "Still sleeping? Still resting? enough! the time has come. I, the Son of Man, am betrayed into the hands of sinners. up, let's be going. see, my betrayer is here!" mark 14:41-42

any why is it that during this whole sleepy ordeal, Judas, the betrayer, was wide awake?

peter goes on to cut off a guards ear, denies knowing Jesus 3 times, and deserts him as he hangs on the cross. that is a rough 48 hour ride, from the euphoric heights of the triumphal entry to the crash and burn of Christ's crucifixion. yep, it definitely gets worse after the nap.

so where does that leave us supergirls? because we, too, in our heart of hearts long to be all that God created us to be. we are just so darn tired. we are kicked sideways by life, grounded by our expectations, and haunted by our dreams. will we ever be who we were meant to be?

well, by the time Acts rolls around, peter is doing it. he is preaching to multitudes with authority. he has gotten it together. or maybe, just maybe, he has gotten over himself. peter could be the Rock because he let God be God.

so, here i am in this space. i am not rocking it. i am barely breathing after kids, work, church, disappointment, and weaknesses cloud my vision. but i have the hope that peter has. that God knows who i am and who i am suppose to be, and even though i am frequently caught napping, Christ is not done with me.

me again...
so, you've already read chapter 1. now you can get your own book to enjoy. you'll laugh your way through it...and learn along the way. maybe by the end we'll look a little more like Supergirl...or just finally accept that she doesn't really exist!

happy mother's day!!!!


  1. i think i will order this one today. thanks for the recommendation!!

  2. Been looking for a new book to read....where did you get it?

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. got mine at barnes and noble but you can order off amazon or

    it's a quick/ fun read. also has discussion questions in the back for a book club or study. enjoy! and happy happy birthday to big boy, preston!!! what happened to our itty bitties, kris???


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