Tauren Wells sings this song titled “Known”
“It’s hard truth and ridiculous grace to be known, fully known, and loved by you.”
I have to be honest and admit, there have been times in my life where I allowed insecurity to get the best of me. My own self doubts and my own negative self talk can be my worst enemy.
I have felt invisible and unknown at times in my life.
I have been a stay at home mom for 13 years, since leaving as the Event Sales Director at Arrowhead Club. It was truly one of the hardest, yet easiest, decisions I have ever made to leave such an amazing place of employment. It was there I felt useful and fully known. I thought it would be easy to recreate the same environment for myself at home. I was highly mistaken, but I’ll save that for later and tell you what seemed to fill my bucket up at the time.
What I loved about my career was feeling noticed, accolades, evaluations and crushing sales goals. I loved the challenge of growing the Arrowhead Club sales business because I, myself, believed in it, thus it was an easy place to sell. In fact, that’s where my own wedding reception was. There was little I didn’t love about what I did because it was truly fulfilling.
My position was unusual in that I needed to make sure there were no problems during events, at least from the clients perspective. I was the problem solver; there was never time to blame anyone but rather fix it before the client noticed. Most of the time, these were small issues; other times they were big challenges, but as a team we always seemed to get through whatever opportunity came our way. Naturally, it was without question the compliments we received after the events made each one of us feel good. It was that “pat on the back” we all need from time to time.
When Tyler was born, my husband and I decided we needed to make some changes. We both happily agreed that me staying home was best for our growing family, so in 2006 I said good bye to that part of my life and welcomed my new calling which was a stay at home mom to my growing family.
Change can be hard for some people and for others, not so much. I can say, with complete certainty, that change is very tricky for me. I have never enjoyed feeling uncomfortable, but as I have said earlier in my posts, it is through being uncomfortable that I have seen myself grow the most. I didn’t really understand, until my children have gotten older, how leaving my position at Arrowhead was a bigger change than I ever realized to my identity and feeling invisible at times.
I went from being a confident, working woman to a more insecure version of myself as I navigated my way through being a mom to my growing family. There was never any manual that showed up on my door step that I could read to tell me how to parent each and every one of my kids. My husband and I just figured it out and most days, we did pretty well.
I loved being at home with our four little ones. I can admit sometimes, when my husband and I would get out for the evening, I would come home and have the urge to wake the baby up “just because” I needed to hold him or her. When I think about or hear the song “The Prayer” the version sung by Andrea Bocelli and Celine Dion, I can pull myself right back to that place of rocking them to sleep.
I fell in love with the lyric of…
“Lead us to our place, guide us with your grace, to a place where we’ll be saved.”
With this came other days, times where a personal or sick day would have been welcomed. It seemed the days were so long but the seasons were just a blur. When we welcomed our 4th child, my little peanut, Ava, she just went with the flow. I was always so worried I might forget someone, and I did a couple of times. It’s a good thing the preschool teachers were forgiving!
There was one morning I left to take the three older ones to school and after we were all loaded up, I pulled out of the drive way and my daughter Emma said, “Mom, you forgot someone”….I looked at her rather perplexed, then looked at the empty car seat and realized it was Ava. I left my 2 year old in her high chair. Of course, I made up some silly excuse and charged my mini van back up the drive way to run inside and see her just sitting their patiently in her high chair looking at me like…”come on lady, get it together!” It seemed like the only things I noticed were my mistakes, and boy, did I make a few of those each day and still do.
I found a new calling, which was passing along my Christian Awareness to my children. I got involved with their school and church, and tried to keep our home in order with laundry, meals, grocery shopping, cleaning, homework, play groups, prayers etc… and felt so overlooked at times that it would get me down, and then I would feel so guilty for even thinking these thoughts.
Can we say…pity party!
It wasn’t anyone else but myself making me feel this way. However, going from a position that was so fulfilling and completely known to a place where these little children took all of the energy out of me sometimes was tough. Then, there were the days where I realized I no longer had a vocabulary. My sentences were toddler like and at times, I would be arguing with a 10 year old only to find myself acting like a 5 year old.
There was, of course, never a dull moment, not with four children. I wouldn’t change one thing about the choice to stay at home and pass along my Christian Awareness to my children. At the time I thought being fully known by what my career was could fill my bucket with the ultimate happiness. However, happiness, as we all know, is fleeting and filling my bucket with accolades wasn’t going to do the trick. Especially as my kids have gotten older, I am reminded and truly joyful in who they are becoming. This has made me feel truly fulfilled in my calling and purpose. Sure, I have to be the one to “pat myself on my back,” and you better bet I do, but they are what brings me joy. I know I am not invisible to them and I am fully known by them. I believe, with this cancer diagnosis, my children are not only seeing what suffering can be, but also what a loving community and true fulfilling joy can be.
That doesn’t mean life as a stay at home mom isn’t without me wearing many hats. I am a referee, psychologist, culinary chef, cleaning service, spiritual advisor, doctor, personal shopper, Uber driver, and the list goes on. While I know working at Arrowhead for 10 years was my purpose then, I know I am fulfilling my purpose now. If you let God lead you, He will lead you to your next purpose, but you have to stop and listen, and sometimes it’s not a sprint, but a marathon.
The point I am trying to make is we all have felt, at times, we were invisible and unknown.
I am here to tell you that everything you do with grace, love, integrity and kindness is always noticed. I may not know who dropped off that meal or sent that card, message or arrow prayer, but it was fully felt by me and you were noticed and known to HIM.
God is well aware of what you are doing in this life, and we are fully known to him. We aren’t invisible, so we have to remind ourselves that self pity and resentment serves no purpose and aren’t our only options. We can choose to do something for others, little acts of kindness, not so we can be noticed, but to feel the gift of fullness and purposeful living. We will find our own serenity.
I leave you with this funny, but pathetic, story about myself…
My children love to hear stories about things I did as a child or adolescent. As they have gotten older, I feel a little more inclined to share my more embarrassing moments with them because I think it serves them a purpose to be reminded we all share in weakness and insecurities and sometimes do silly, unnecessary things.
I shared with them a story about Valentines Day as a 9th grader in high school. The story went like this…
I had heard how on Valentines Day the school office would be filled with floral deliveries. Everyone was looking forward to what their boyfriends were sending them to school for sweetheart day. Well, I didn’t have a boyfriend to send me flowers. I didn’t want to feel invisible and unknown, so I fixed my problem. However, my solution was completely pathetic! I actually sent myself a dozen red roses to be delivered to the school office, and just like the other deliveries mine totally fit in. The difference was that my flowers were sent to me, from me.
My card read…”To Angela, From your secret admirer.”
I am sure other girls did the same thing…I mean come on, I couldn’t have been the only pathetic, strategic, and insecure 9th grader out there in 1990.
Let’s just say, my children thought it was the funniest thing ever. They didn’t even believe I would do such a silly thing. I, of course, completely agreed as it cost me three babysitting jobs to send flowers to myself just so I appeared to others as being known and probably, in some strange way, convinced myself I wasn’t invisible.
Thankfully, I don’t go to such extremes anymore to be noticed! In fact, once I became a stay at home mom, not only did I become “all” about my family, but I also got used to not needing to hear the accolades I used to get at work. However, I still needed them. We all want to feel fully known, visible, and have a purpose.
Yesterday, I received a call from my oncologist, Dr. O’Dea. The oncotype test results are in, but there is a lot to discuss, so I have an appointment on Monday, January 14, to learn about my treatment plan. I will definitely let you know what the future holds for me as soon as I know the plan.
Today marks one month since my bilateral mastectomy, but I can honestly say the month has flown by. I still sleep in “The Healing Chair” and have many appointments, but the last month has been fulfilling and fast because of the unbelievable support system around me and my desire to start this new purpose of the “Abundant Pocket Hoodie” through the nonprofit, Living in Abundance, Ltd.
I can tell you that I am finding joy, not fleeting happiness, but true joy. My family feels so loved, visible, and fully known by all of you. I still have days that seem long and unbearable due to the cancer diagnosis and year that is ahead, but I am not in any sprint and I know all I really have is today.