finding balance {lesley's story}...

my artistic friend, lesley, is sharing her "finding balance" story today.
lesley blogs at recipe for crazy and can be found on instagram at @lesleyzellers.
lesley and i crossed paths via instagram and it surprised me today when i realized 
that we've actually never met "in real life."
lesley's laid-back approach to life helps me see the possibilities for fun 
in everyday living, especially with my children.


When my girl, Erin, first asked me to write a post on how I balance my life it was probably the most balanced my life had ever been, which is why I said yes. In typical Lesley fashion, I waited until the last minute to get it written.

And then things started getting out of control. In one month's time I was supposed to be leaving for Ghana, then found out I was pregnant, which resulted in not being able to go to Ghana (you can read more about it here), then I lost the baby and later learned it was ectopic and had to have surgery. It was a month of complete unbalance and I questioned whether I should even be sharing my ways of balancing after all!

But she gave me grace and more time so instead of what I anticipated sharing about when she first asked, I'm going to tell you a little story on how God gave me grace in a time of unbalance.

First off, for those that don't know me. Hi, my name is Lesley. I am a believer, wife and mom in that order. After that in any particular order, given the time of year or time of day for that matter, I'm also a stay at home mom, small business owner, gardener, chicken tender (not the kind you eat, one that tends to chickens), pre-k teacher at home, doer of laundry, cooker of meals, lover of good food, daughter, sister, friend and house tidier among other things.

I'm more passionate about some of those roles than others and it's those roles I am most passionate about that cause me the biggest struggle with balance. When I'm not careful and intentional about protecting certain roles, I start giving too much weight some and not enough weight to others which is exactly how I lost my balance.

So here's a little back story. When I first became a mom, I left my job as a senior designer to stay home to raise my daughter. She slept a lot so I had a lot of free time. I opened an etsy shop so I could have a creative outlet. I love designing and it was a way to help a little financially since I no longer had a stable income. As the years went by my little hobby grew into a small business. I was doing custom orders, working on new ideas and making new friends through my shop. I really enjoyed it.

My daughter was getting older which meant I had less time to work since she wasn't napping as much. I still had time for all my responsibilities like laundry, cleaning, cooking while still having plenty of time to play with her and do other things I enjoyed.

Then we had our second girl. Basic math here, two is more than one. Two require more attention than one. Two are also more fun than one.

I started feeling the pull on time spent with my family, time for my responsibilities and time I wanted to work on a new idea I had for the shop. The girls were no longer taking naps which meant I no longer had that time during the day to work on my ideas as I wanted to be present with them. I had quit my job for a reason, I didn't and wasn't about to give up my time with them so I could do a custom order or package orders. So I started working late nights and early mornings.

My shop had grown and required more time than when my girls were nappers. And I was even taking on more work. Yes to this custom order. Yes to this opportunity. Yes. Yes. Yes. All those yeses resulted in getting less sleep, less time with my husband, less focus on my responsibilities, less time to rest. And when I don't get enough sleep I get cranky which meant I was giving my kids less of me. It was exhausting.

It was far from balanced.

Then I felt God gently whisper, take a break. He was asking me to rest in Him. Something I had lost track of. Just resting and loving on those around me and enjoying the everyday.

I started saying no so I could say yes.

No to a custom order meant yes to a little more sleep. No to every appealing opportunity meant yes to a less stressed wife and mom. No to feeling like my house had to be perfect to have people over meant yes to more messy play dates. I wasn't putting the pressure on myself to say yes to everyone or "do it all" - I was able to have fun again and enjoy life less exhausted. It felt good.

Resting felt good.

And you know. It was all in God's perfect timing.

I had no idea the summer I was about to endure. The pain of not going to Ghana. The emotional roller coaster of the pregnancy that didn't end with a new baby in our house. But He knew. And He knew I would need to rest. And He protected me.

God is so, so good.

Even though I get it all messed up, He's still loves me and has shown me what grace looks like.

And because I've experienced His grace, I can give myself grace when it comes to this idea of balance. Because right now my balance may look laundry laid out on the couch for a couple days because I would rather have a picnic in the yard with my girls, or it might be sandwiches for dinner because I wanted to work in the garden a little longer, or a notebook of ideas for my little business than can be put on the self until my girls are in school, or even a sink full of dishes left for the morning so I can work on that new design and even watch a movie on the couch with my husband.

My balance doesn't look perfect and I'm okay with that as long as I always find rest in it.

{the other posts in this series can be found here.}

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