Carry On, Warrior: A Review

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As you’ve noticed in in my bullet journal, I’ve been trying to read more books this year. Carry On, Warrior: The Power of Embracing Your Messy, Beautiful Life by Glennon Doyle Melton was the second book I chose to read.

The story of how I found this book is interesting. A couple of months ago, one of the trends on my Facebook page was this author’s name. The tag line said, “Prolific Christian author comes out as gay!” I’m ashamed to admit that the attitude with which I clicked on the link wasn’t a positive one. As I moved my mouse to the link, I felt a sense of smug satisfaction. Ah yes, turns out that another holier-than-thou is just like the rest of us. I wondered if she had ever preached about the evils of homosexuality and if she regretted it now.

I know, not the best attitude.

But I don’t regret clicking on the article because I started researching who this woman was and she wasn’t the person I had expected. She still spoke about the unending grace and mercy of God, how important her children were, and how this new identity fit within faith. She wasn’t defensive at all. So I followed her on Twitter because I wanted to know about this person. And her tweets were often encouragements to other mothers or speaking out for the weak or reminders that God loves us. There was something… different about this woman.

So I asked for any of her books for Christmas and Brian bought me this one. And let me tell you, it was like she had transcribed my own heart and read it back to me. Her past is filled with struggles with drugs, alcohol, sex, and loneliness. She’s unapologetically honest about each thing and then reminds us that she is still a child of God, she is still unequivocally loved. No matter her past, her present, her future, she is loved. And that love is powerful.

There were three passages that I read aloud to Brian because they felt like my own words. She had words for the things I couldn’t describe on my own. It was freeing. She tackles big topics, all through the lens of love. She doesn’t have an ounce of holier-than-thou. It’s refreshing to hear something so real, so authentic.

The wonderful thing about books is that they can give you exactly what you need, exactly when you need it. This book does that. It taught me about celebrating my children, about finding the reflection of God in each person I meet, about building the foundation of my marriage, and about loving others no matter their history. I imagine there are many things that more traditional or conservative Christians would find contrary to some of their beliefs, but I still think they should read it. Not because I want them to change their minds, but because, as Rachel Held Evans said, “Glennon Melton… [gives] her readers a precious gift: permission–permission to doubt, permission to believe, permission to struggle, permission to laugh, permission to tell the truth, and permission to do it all imperfectly.”

So if you’re looking for a book that reminds you how much God loves you and helps you learn how to pass that love onto others, read this book. Borrow it from me, get it online. Whatever you need to do. I hope you find it as inspiring as I do.

Being Thankful

So a couple of weeks ago, I posted a blog with five things I’ve learned after being married for five years and people seemed to really respond to tip #4: having an attitude of gratitude.

Well today I got another lesson in gratitude.

A summary of what’s been going on in our lives: when Brian’s mom passed away a couple of years ago, she blessed us with a lot of help to start our lives as a couple. She thought ahead and while I’m sad she didn’t get to enjoy the money she worked so hard to save, I know that she would have been thrilled to know that she gave us a chance to start a family significantly earlier than we would have otherwise. Anyways, after buying a home and vehicles, there was only a little left. We needed to have some to pay for landscaping and then the rest was meant to be saved for a rainy day.

Moving out of the city and back to my home town meant that I left a job behind. And as much as Becka two years ago won’t believe this, I am dying to get out of the house. Some people are cut out to be stay-at-home parents and I am convinced that I am not one of them. Brian and I both believe that I would serve my boys better as a mother and a role model by at least working part time. But there’s not a whole lot out here in our small town. So we talked about me going back to university to finish my degree. I have three terms left in my bachelor so we thought let’s apply and see.

I re-wrote the entrance exam and was accepted, which was great, but by the time that I was able to choose my classes (students who went to school in the last school year got first choice of classes and I had to wait), all the classes I needed were full. There was a time limit for me to finish my degree and with the classes I needed being full, there was no way it was going to work.

Now, without going too deeply into my spiritual journey, I decided that I had to rely on God. If I was supposed to be going to school, He’d make it happen. If I wasn’t, then I’d have to figure that out. So we left it there and continued on with our lives. I applied to a job, but never heard back. September felt so far away anyways so I just pushed the whole thing to the back of my mind.

Then one day I was just checking the classes, just cause I’d exhausted all my social media entertainment while I waited for Eggs to fall asleep in my arms, and the two classes I needed suddenly had a single seat left. My classes had aligned and I’d be able to take all my classes in 3 days a week so that I could spend the other four with my boys. I was thrilled! It was a time of thankfulness and a little uncertainty. Was this a sign that I should go to school? Or just a coincidence?

Now that I finally had a schedule, I had to figure out childcare. And childcare is expensive (which I completely understand because the workers need to earn a living too). We were living more or less paycheque to paycheque now that my maternity leave had ended and we were officially a single income household. Three days of childcare a week would take up a full third of our monthly income. So again I turned to my beliefs and left the stress with God. While September was getting closer, it still seemed like an eon away.

A friend told me about government subsidies for child care for qualifying families. Yes! This is what I was looking for! But wait, you have to have your children enrolled in a licensed, approved family day home. The one that we were looking at was private and, therefore, not eligible. So I did some calling and emailing and got us on a list. Turns out the waiting lists for these things are insane. I was told not to hold my breath. Thankfully, the lady running the day home we originally wanted to go with told us to keep her updated and that she may still have space for us if we couldn’t get into the other homes.

So I dumped that in God’s lap too. But now I was wondering, is this a sign that I’m not supposed to go to school? Is this just character building? Is it just a coincidence? We kept waiting. And waiting. And we fielded off questions about school because I’d been so excited before and now I was a little less so and people were noticing. But people were also praying.

And now it’s today. School is just over a month away. I’ve been stressing a little more as each day passes, but with the definite feeling like I’m supposed to be going back. Brian was stressing too, I could tell. Not that I blame him. He’s being a saint in his support for me and this plan, knowing that he will be taking a huge amount of work with the boys on the days I have school.

This morning I had a dear friend over to visit while she was in town and I told her about the worries we were having. Told her about how I wasn’t sure that there was going to be the money for school and the house and living and maybe how I was afraid that I’d go back to school only to find that now I didn’t have enough money to feed my family and I wasn’t even enjoying the program. She commiserated and encouraged me. She left and while I was enjoying the boys’ nap time, I thought I’d check on our bank account. And there was a lot more money in our chequing than I expected.

Our child tax benefit has come into effect today and we will be receiving enough money to cover 2/3 of our child care costs every month. I know that our government was revamping the child tax benefit and I’d heard people talking about it pretty negatively so I didn’t look too much into it. So now I had this stress-relieving surprise that let me take a deeper breath than I have in a long while.

This school thing has come together in a way that I wasn’t sure it would. I’ve been afraid, but I trusted that it would work out if that was the plan for me. And I feel like it is. So, come September, I’ll be driving 1.5 hours one way to school three days a week with the assurance that I’m going where I am meant to. It’s going to be so hard on Brian, the boys, and myself, but I haven’t been this sure of our direction in a long time. And for that I am so very grateful.