Redemption is here.

As we wrapped up dinner, deciding who was going to help clear the table and who was going to jet out early and who needed to finish the seconds for which they had begged, Ames quietly slipped way from his spot. He stepped back a few steps and said, “Look, Momma. I can do crow pose.” And the boy popped right into it, like he’d been doing it his whole life.

At the moment, I didn’t realize what it meant to me. Later I asked him to do it again, with me, so Chris could snap a photo and I could keep it forever. Because it meant something.

This boy was the first child I ever carried in my womb. His was the first labor, and subsequently the first postpartum season of darkness I ever experienced. While it was the twin pregnancy that eventually damaged my stomach muscles, that boy gave me a hernia. It wasn’t his fault, of course. But that boy made me wonder if I’d ever have strength to do a sit-up again, let alone a strength exercise like a handstand.

And yet here we were, moving together, into a pose that speaks of strength and balance and commitment. It took me a year to get into crow pose. He must have watched me, all of those times, silently observing and learning as I huffed and puffed and trembled my way upside down into the wild world of yoga inversions.

The boy who wiggled around inside of me all of those months, had wiggled his way out over the course of an entire day, had now wiggled his way to six years old and right into his own crow pose alongside mine. I felt whole. And I heard God whisper, redemption is here.

Five things on a Friday.

Skincare items to consider if you hope to avoid aging like a leather bag:

  1. Sunscreen. You knew it was coming, right? I live in the South and grew up in the land of baby oil in the summer, but even I learned early on that sunscreen didn’t stop me from getting tan. Now I wear it every day on my face, neck, and chest… even when I have no intention of spending time outside. This one has replaced my morning moisturizer, but there are also some fun powder ones out there, like this and this, that I’d love to try!

2. Vitamin C serum. This sweet little ingredient is famous for fighting wrinkles and aging by tightening and brightening the skin. It also helps turn over new cells and repair what has been damaged. I’m saving up for this one because I love the brand so much, but this one from Trader Joe’s works great in the meantime! I use it first thing in the morning.

3. The right cleanser. You don’t have to wash your face twice a day. You don’t have to buy the same thing everyone else buys, either. But you certainly cannot use soap. After many failed attempts at finding the right product, I went to a professional who matched me up with the best thing I’ve ever tried. I saw results in less than a week!

4. A spin brush. I didn’t believe the hype until I tried it, but it’s for real. You’ve got to do more than just slap some soap on your face. I use this brush two or three nights per week, and it both exfoliates my skin and cleans out my pores. I’ve read the reviews, and this little gal holds her own against a Clairsonic, which is about four times the price!

5. Sheet masks. Here’s the thing. I really don’t care if they work, and I don’t think anyone else does either. These guys are all the rage from Korea, and I can see why. They’re a fun, affordable way for me to spend a Friday night. I feel pampered and fancy and my skin feels amazing after using them.

 

Pick your spheres.

There are only so many hours, lunches, hard conversations, pep talks, social media follows, and text messages to go around. There’s only so much of my heart left after pouring into a vibrant life with my family and a best friend or two. How do you fit it all in? The answer is, I don’t.

I do absolutely pick and choose, though. I weigh the cost. I try to get the best bang for my buck when it comes to relationships, prioritizing the ones that bring God the most glory and me the most good. What’s the point in spinning your wheels to impress a random coworker about whom you know nothing, or maintain a superficial (potentially unhealthy) friendship with someone who sits near you in class? If it’s worth it, by all means, go for it. If you feel called to those people, do the work for those people. But I’ve lived to see the beauty of spheres, and I’m not going back.

You see, God gives us these spheres of influence, these circles of people with whom we share orbits and routines and life events. When we bump up against these people, we make an impact. And the best part is, we get to listen to the Lord’s voice and then choose our spheres based on his leading.

So although I spend time with a certain group of people at work and certainly have an opportunity to leverage my influence for their good, they shouldn’t be getting the bulk of my time and energy right now. While I work to keep peace with them and share Jesus and a laugh with them when I can, God hasn’t asked me to give those folks a minute more than the time we spend working together. And I know because I asked him. And he spoke very clearly to me about where to leave it on the field this season.

These days, I throw everything I’ve got towards the students I lead – specifically, 11th grade girls. And by extension, that sphere includes their parents, their siblings and friends and boyfriends, and the beautiful adults I serve alongside. This group holds the souls I cherish and pray for daily. These are the ring tones that can get me to pick up my phone at any hour of the day or night. These tender hearts take up the blocks of time I could be spending at happy hour with coworkers or just laying around with my husband and teenagers watching Netflix. These girls are the ones who make my heart ache, the ones for whom I carry a simple but heavy burden… to make sure they know that they are seen, known, and loved.

You’re right. There are only so many hours in the day. We all carry full plates. The question is, though, are we filling them up with the right stuff? Because I’ve done the math. There’s actually quite a bit of free time and heart space up for grabs. You just gotta pick your spheres. The next daughter of the King who asks me how I do it all might get a little too much eye contact and a little much pep talk.

Because the answer is simple. I hold it all up to the Lord. And then I ask him what he wants me to do with it all. And then I ask him to help me fit it in. And he does, every single time.