Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Role Swap 2014

Some people take a blogging break on purpose. Like, after much thought and prayer and a candlelight vigil, they elegantly and peacefully step back, gracefully bowing out of their writing for an intentional amount of time for an intentional reason. So sweet. So thoughtful.


No, mine has looked more like a kid who missteps during the dancing portion of the school presentation of "The Nutcracker" and goes tumbling off the back of the stage, landing on her but, where she sits for a while just regaining her composure.
But hey, tomaTOE toMAToe.
Both gals took a blogging break.

Mine just meant that I wrote long, unedited, unfinished blog posts time after time and never posted them.

Life is full.
And I am a blessed woman with her hands oh so full.
Like someone who won "The Price is Right" and then is told to gather her winnings (which include……………..A NEW CAR!!) into her arms and carry them home.
I'm a woman who has been given gifts so grand and yet so weighty that I struggle under the weight of them in many ways.
And so I find myself tripping and stumbling and falling off stages right and left. This is uncomfortable and can be quite humbling. But it can also be a revealing and liberating journey at the same time.

I am who I am.

I am  in progress.

And between these worlds, I learn to dance and laugh and cry and worship.

Much has filled my heart and my life and my mind over these past months that I have ceased to write. Perhaps I will find a clarity to share these things, for they matter greatly in the story of my life. Just as all of our stories and all of the seemingly small and meaningless details matter. Because God is there. He is there. He can be found hidden amongst the mundane and the struggle and the confusion.
But perhaps, also,  these words, or the jumble of thoughts in process  will remain to be shared skin to skin with those who I live and breathe with so closely. I still struggle to find the words sometimes. And though I think there is much value to be had in "being in process" together. What we may have too many of in this digital age is thoughts. Our minds bustle so with the words of the crowd, that I venture to think that the last thing you need is the weight of my experiences which still struggle to find shape to add into the jumble.So, for know, let's just walk forward together.
Shall we?

What really motivated me to break this unintentional blogging break is to invite you to walk through a marital experiment with Noah and I.

This week, which began yesterday, Noah and I are swapping roles in our family.
We will affectionally call it "Joyner Role Swap 2014."
Not WIFE swap. ROLE swap.
I can't honestly remember what exactly motivated this experiment. But here we find ourselves.
The goal is to walk a week in each others shoes the best we can. With that being said, Noah and I wear very different shoes. Well, technically we don't. We wear the exact same size. He's a mens 8.5 and I am a womens 9.5 and we can generally swap slippers whenever we want- which we don't. But I digress.
That's right, a mile in each others shoes.
For a week, I will try to take over the majority of his responsibilities in our family and he will take over mine. I'm not expecting much on the breast-feeding end but he will be homeschooling, cooking,cleaning, grocery shopping (with all 5 kids) and managing the domestic side of our family homemaking. I, on the other hand will try to make some progress in support raising for the work of HaitiLove and The Hispaniola Institute of Theology along with some other things that he would have had on his plate this week (and perhaps some items on a  "honey-do" list).

We have successfully completed one full day.

From this day, I have experienced some new perspectives from our role swap.

1.  Working on a project with not much but yourself to interrupt you is both easier and harder than I would have imagined. And yes, that has only actually happened in my imagination, not ever in reality.  To do the work that Noah does, he has to be highly self motivated.
2. It's a pretty big bummer to see your spouse doing the hard and often stressful work of raising and educating your children and know it would be easier if you stepped in and also know that you really shouldn't. You have to get to work to provide for them and fulfill your responsibilities there. Also, it wouldn't ultimately help much because though you may help them get through that moment, there will be hundreds of other moments today that she won't have enough hands or patience for and she will need you... but you won't be there…
 so just rip the band aid off and go, dude.
3. Also, I think Noah is a fantastic mom. He is focused and intentional. And no one is wondering who's in charge. He is a strong and authoritative and when this is paired with gentleness and self control, it makes for a solid and comforting parent who is easy to follow. The expectations are set high and the boys find a sense of accomplishment meeting them and like knowing what is expected of them.
4. This can also be hard for the kids because I am much less this way. "Running a tight ship" is very much against my natural nature and takes a lot of effort on my part. I mean I run a tight ship if by "ship" you mean  a row boat on a peaceful lake and my crew is me gathering my favorite people around me to enjoy the breeze. So, I see them both thriving and struggling under the higher expectations. It's an adjustment but I think it is good for them.
5. Lastly, I am so grateful that I married my opposite. I've always said that. Or not. But anyway. I am truly grateful in this moment, in this season of life. I can finally appreciate that we are very different people who have unique strengths to give our children. And for this week, they will have the blessings of one strong and loving Father who is doing a fantastic job of being Mr. Mom.

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