Friday Five: Transformation

Sculpture is called “Expansion” by Paige Bradley.
You can read more about it and its creation here.

Here is the prompt from over at Revgals for today’s Friday Five:

“For today’s Friday Five, share five occasions or events in your life that have been turning points…when you have felt like a new thing was being born. You can refer to the birth of children, career, your kitchen garden, or whatever moves you.”

I’ve been thinking about transformation quite a bit this past year. Blogged about it here.

But here are 5 different facets of it for me right now, in no particular order.

1. Enneagram

I took a workshop with Suzanne Stabile last year on the Enneagram. I had some knowledge of the Enneagram before the workshop, but after her presentation, I understood myself in a way I had not before. And, for the first time in my entire life, I felt someone else understood me as well. Don’t get me wrong. I’ve felt loved, wanted, appreciated, and accepted my whole life. But I’ve never felt understood. It was a profound moment for me and has set a number of other things in motion.

2. Children

I have given birth to 3 remarkable young men. And while each of their arrivals was transformative in a different way, I am certainly a different woman because of the gift of them in my life.

Eric is about to turn 24. The experience of placing him for adoption is still transforming my life. You can read more about that here. But the gift he and his family have given my, by letting me be a part of his life has consistently modeled the transformative power of grace for me.

At Eric's graduation from college in 2012

At Eric’s graduation from college in 2012

And today is the last day of 11th and 8th grade for Alden and Elliott. It is a humbling privilege for Justin and I to be their parents. They have taught me so much about myself and I am thankful for their forbearance and love as I have figured out this whole mothering thing. And they don’t like me to share publicly about the details, but let me just say I am so proud of both of them. If I had buttons, they’d be bursting.

Christmas morning run with Elliott and Alden

Christmas morning run with Elliott and Alden

Realizing you raise kids so they will become independent adults means that you have to figure out how to let go of them enough so they can actually be independent. Navigating this path has been full of missteps, but each one has hopefully made me a better mom. My parenting journey might be summed up in the words of 38 Special, “Hold on loosely, but don’t let go. If you cling too tightly, you’re going to lose control”.

While I seek that balance of holding on to them just the right amount, I see how that lesson plays out in my marriage, my job, and for myself.

3. Marriage

Justin and I will celebrate our 21st wedding anniversary this summer. And I am thankful for him every day. And thankful for the way working on our marriage has been transformative for me. (For him too, I’m sure, but that’s his blog post to never write).

Ben Affleck famously caught flack for his comments on marriage in his Academy Award acceptance speech this year for Argo. “It is work, but it’s the best kind of work, and there’s no one I’d rather work with,” he said to his wife.

Zambezi River 1999

Zambezi River 1999

In that vein, I’d like to thank Justin in a similar way. The process of living with someone, day in, day out, forces you to be aware of yourself and how your behavior affects the other. Justin has shown me my best self and has loved me through my worst self too.

Thankful to have a partner who is willing to transform our relationship, as the situations of our lives have changed. Blessings everywhere I look. Thank you, Justin.

4. Writing

I always did well in my English classes. I edited my high school newspaper. Writing has always just been something that was there for me. As a pastor, I write a new sermon almost every week, along with newsletter articles, letters, and other tasks of my profession.

But in the past few years, I’ve been writing more. For myself and other people. It started with sermons being re-printed in preaching journals and has turned in to actual assignments–not assignments that pay the bills or anything–but assignments with actual deadlines.

A few years back, I sent a first draft of a book chapter off to the editor. And it was a scary venture. I was convinced I would hear back from her with “thanks for your submission, but it is incoherent and not worth the paper it would be printed on, and I don’t think we’ll use it. Have a nice day.

She did not reply like that. She replied with “I love it!“.

So the writing process for me has involved me learning to have faith in my own abilities.  Each time people read my blog (thank you, readers!), I am grateful, humbled, and challenged.

Writing is helping me find my voice, which is transformative in other areas of my life as well.

Writing is starting to become a part of my identity too. I meet people in all sorts of places who are familiar with my sermons, or blog, or have read something in another publication, so writing is connecting me to people I otherwise wouldn’t have a chance to meet.

This may not seem like something that should surprise me, since one could assume I intend my writing to be read since I publish it on the World Wide Web for anyone to see. But blogging started out for me as primarily a place to store sermons online. It never really occurred to me that anyone would read it.

5. Belly Dancing

As I mentioned a few months back, I started a belly dance class. This week I finished my first 3 month class and I have signed up for two classes in the next session that starts next week.

While this started out as something that had always been on my list to try, and while I hoped it would help me with my body image issues,  it has become much more than that. Each week, I push up against a new wall that must be dealt with. Each week, I make some progress. Each week, I learn something new about myself, my body, how I take (or don’t take) instruction, and how I interact with others.

Dance class is something I look forward to each week. It is fun. The other women are very nice.  But is also emotionally exhausting for a girl like me to make it through an hour of class. It takes its own kind of courage to learn to do something difficult in public.

So, there are my five areas of transforming, corner turning, new beginnings. What are your areas of new life?

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6 thoughts on “Friday Five: Transformation

  1. Love this, Marci. The Enneagram has been transformational for me, too, and is most every day. I’m really looking forward to our work with Suzanne on this next spring.

    Very, very excited for you on the book project!!!

    • Thanks Mary Beth!

      That book project is all done and published. Not quite sure what direction the next project will take.

      And very excited for the next cruise and the Enneagram with Suzanne!

  2. You mentioned writing. Coming from a predominantly LDS background, i’ve got the genealogy thing down, knowing from whence I came all the way back to the 1600’s. But I always wondered what my mother’s deepest thoughts and desires were. She and I were always distant, and she died when I was relatively young. So when a writing class was offered at 1st press, I jumped in with all fours. Wanting my children to know of my life. It went from my life, to their birth stories, to my parents lives, my grand parents lives, Jim’s life as well as as much of his parenting as I could garner. I figure someday when my kids are going through my “junk”, they might appreciate this. I also made copies of my dad’s life story for all my step sisters and brother, so that when the time is right, they might understand who he really was and why he acted the way he did. I think these things are more priceless for our children than many physical hand me down trinkets.

  3. Will the publicity for the book reach as far as Atlanta? If not, will you let us know when copies are available?

    Was the first word in the next to last sentence intentional?

    I finally figured out what makes your writing so good. It’s because you speak with a true voice and you tell of things to which we all can relate. Maybe not directly but I for one hope that if in a similar situation I would react in a similar fashion.

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