Welcome to Grace and Space, a weekly newsletter from the Deconstructing Mamas Podcast! GRACE for who you have been, are now and SPACE for who you are becoming and will be!
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“Advent is for the ones who know longing.”
“Tis the Season.”
(Mom utters with eyes rolling while corralling child hyped up on the latest candy cane-induced sugar high)
“Tis the Season.”
(Dad pronounces with pride brimming watching high schooler dance in holiday pageant)
“Tis the Season.”
(Parents cry waiting for any hopeful news of their adult child living on the streets with addiction)
“Tis the Season” is right!
A season filled with wonder, joy, hope and generosity.
A season also filled with waiting, anticipating, yearning, the pleading question “is it all going to be okay?”
This is the howl of Advent.
Christmas Morning is the answer to that question.
The entire journey of parenting feels a lot like Advent.
In fact, it starts with the womb, nine months of waiting, anticipating, yearning, the Question, “WILL THEY BE OKAY?”
Our precious baby is born and for a moment when the doctor says, “All is well,” we burst with joy and wonder, waves of relief flooding our hearts as the question is answered.
“Yes, they are going to be okay.”
Advent quiets. Christmas Morning arrives.
We arrive home, alone with this human we are responsible to feed and care for, keep alive and healthy. We wake in the dark, tiptoe over to the bassinet and put our hands on their backs or our fingers under their teeny noses to see if they are breathing.
The Question arises again, “are they going to be okay?”
This constant returning to Advent, to the Question, permeates parenthood.
WILL THEY BE OKAY???
Will they choke on that bagel?
Will they make friends in their class?
Will they learn to read?
Will they score a goal?
Will they have a seat in the lunchroom?
Will they tell us the truth about that party?
Will they drink and drive?
Will they get into a good college?
Will they struggle with loneliness?
Will they meet someone who loves them?
Will they make enough money?
Will they be a good mom or dad?
Will they have a happy marriage?
WILL THEY BE OKAY???
Advent grieves broken places that are yet to be healed, questions that have no answer today and yearning that is unfulfilled.
BUT (and it’s a big BUT), Advent also speaks the hope of an answer at the end of a long season of waiting, a Christmas Morning to come.
But as parents (whether our child is 2, 22 or 42), we wait, always returning to the Question. Wondering if there is an answer to the burning doubt inside.
WILL THEY BE OKAY? Really OKAY?
Is there a Christmas Morning for us, for our children who we love so tenderly and so dearly?
Not too long ago, I was in the middle of a long period of Advent with one of my kids, asking and asking the Question. It was nearly impossible to see any glimmer of hope on the horizon, near or distant.
The waiting was long. I fell into a bleak and dreary place.
The Question engulfed me until I asked an ever scarier one:
WHAT IF THEY ARE NOT OKAY? What then?
Just when I needed it (or more likely, when I was able to hear it), a gentle Voice spoke into my heart, clear as the air on a crisp Spring day.
“Even if the unspeakable happens, even if their treasured life comes to an end, they will be with Me, enveloped in My unfathomable love. They will be perfectly safe.”
Further words came after that I had so longed for:
“THEY WILL BE OKAY! REALLY OKAY!”
And then, when I thought it was over, the same kind Voice gave the answer to an even deeper question I had not even asked:
“AND SO WILL YOU, MAMA.”
The sigh of my soul was almost audible, as I collapsed into the knowing place that no matter what, even if all questions are answered with a NO, the Question is answered always with a YES.
The Podcast Roundup: We can't believe that Season Two has come to a close, just in time for us to take a bit of a break to actually be present with our families for the holidays. What an incredible season it was and if you are behind, this is the perfect time to catch up with the ones you missed RIGHT HERE!!
TOP 13 MOMENTS: 1. Listening to each other's stories of loss and hope during this process of evolving faith and sharing that with those of you who can relate (probably all of you).
2. Finding out that Brian McLaren loves and helps turtles. Oh yeah, he's pretty smart about parenting kids with wisdom too.
3. Discovering that there's hope after being entrenched and harmed in the purest form of purity culture with Brittany Meng.
4. Lizz and her dad, Pete Enns, sarcastically bantering back-and-forth and getting off topic and finding out how futile it is for Esther to try to reign them in.
5. Playing Jenga with faith blocks...thanks Cassie Shaw.
6. These two questions from Angela Herrington that happily haunt us: Who taught you that? Who benefits? 7. Basically having a free therapy session with Molly LaCroix. 8. Finding out about the book, Dear Mama God, that's coming out in just a few months, written mostly by Daneen Aker's six-year-old daughter!! 9. Laughing with Torri Williams and learning from her bright inside light. Plus, WOAH, her telling us about Cole Arthur Riley and Black Liturgies. 10. Mic drop moments with Joy Vetterlein and wishing we lived in Huntington Beach, California (maybe).
11. Ben Cremer is the bomb. Wishing he could be our pastor even if we had to move to Idaho which might be more than just potatoes.
12. Talking about working out and pre-peeing with Danielle Shroyer while also chatting about original blessing. Yup. We did that.
13. Wanting to be Shelly Robinson when we grow up or, at least, be on a playdate or make cookies with her every day. Thanks for listening to the podcast! Next week, we will give you a SNEAK PEEK at Season Three before we take a two-week break from the newsletter for the Holidays!
Support Us PLEASE and Join Our Private Facebook Community Don't forget to sign up for our private and exclusive Deconstructing Mamas community on Facebook for those of you who want to move to the next level with us via our PATREON platform.
At this level, for as little as $3, you can ask questions, experience a safe and welcoming community with others who are deconstructing and receive special surprises along the way from Lizz and Esther.
We've been doing this for a couple of months now and it's been more than we could have imagined. It just keeps getting better and better! We love it there and think you will too! Head to this LINK to sign up!!
We know that this time of year probably feels super weird with deconstructing and Christmas. What do you toss? What do you keep?
What do you say to your kids?
What do you do about your family who are still stuck inside the religious systems that you are breaking away from?
What do you even believe anymore about any of it?
We will be chatting about lots of that stuff in our private, SUPER SAFE, Patreon-member, Facebook group over the next few weeks if you want to join in on the conversation! Check out how to do so HERE. We don't want you to ever feel like you are alone because you are NOT.
If you can't wait another minute to listen to Lizz's goodness (since we are on a little bit of a break), check her out on the What If Project podcast.
In this episode, Lizz talks with our new friend, Glenn Siepert, about deconstructing, finding your own voice and the relationship between faith and anxiety. It's powerful and Lizz nails it. LISTEN HERE!
One last thing. We want to remind you that we are so glad you are here. We wouldn't be the same without you. You will always find GRACE for where you've been and who you are now, and SPACE for who you are becoming and will be.
Carry on, our new-found friends. Welcome to the twisty-windy, full -of-adventure faith path that's laid out before us all. Love,
Lizz & Esther P.S. SIGN UP FOR OUR NEWSLETTER HERE!