From May 27, 2014
You know that moment when you think, “man…(sigh)…everything is going so well right now,” and then you want to take it back because as soon as it crosses your mind, lighting strikes? You know. A couple of months ago, I kept thinking that, knowing it would be short-lived.
Fast forward to May, when I can’t seem to get along with my husband for even a day, when my three year old acts like a tiny demon everyday, and when I am so self-focused that I have a pity party in all of the in-between times. I’ve missed a lot. Over the last three weeks, I have been an ugly person. I’ve realized that more often than not, my face has been “bitchy resting face”. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, Google it. I have been distant, apathetic, easily irritable, and sincerely complaining about ridiculous things like mosquito bites on my ankles. And for some reason, in the midst of my struggle, I put on a façade, pretending that everything is great. You know what? It’s not great. I have had the hardest month of parenting I’ve experienced thus far, and everyday when the kids go to bed, I just sit and wonder what I’m doing wrong. I’ve spent my coveted alone time reading parenting and marriage books, hoping I can fix it all in a day.
Last week I went for a desperate run. Not a run for exercise, but one to run away from myself. I placed headphones on my ears and turned my beloved rap (the encouraging kind) all the way up. I didn’t think about the splitting pain in my ribs, the hills that I climbed, or the sickeningly sweet scent of honeysuckle that lined my running trail. I spent three little miles thinking about life and its difficulties, and battled with my own self-absorbed mind. At the end of the third mile, I was broken and new- my favorite place. I switched my playlist to worship music and sat next to a stream as I listened to these words by Tenth Avenue North: “I’ll be by your side, wherever you fall, in the dead of night whenever you call, and please don’t fight these hands that are holding you.” I walked home, wondering why I was so discontent. What is so terrible about struggle? There is a verse in James that says this: “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you now that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete…”
When life gets too easy, I get too comfortable. Can I find joy in the face of trials? When my child is shouting that he doesn’t like me anymore, or when I feel like I just want to runaway from the whole lot of them? My brother sent me this beautiful piece of paper he wrote his heart on when he was feeling in the depths of despair. He kept telling me he didn’t know why he sent it to me, but of course it came when I was feeling the same way. God is cool like that. This is my favorite part:
“Even when I have given up on myself and accepted the mud as my place in life, He says ‘no’ and restores my hope. I cannot run from Him. I halt in the middle of the mountain because my soul is tired. When I awaken, He has carried me beyond the place I feared. I look back and can’t believe how far I’ve come.” –Andy Ulferts
And that’s it. If I keep moving forward, and being the best me I can be, and if I can grasp the fact that every human is in process and always should be, then I can attempt to joyfully face my trials. I should always aspire to be growing and moving forward, as a wife, mom, friend, etc. When I reflect on my past, do I see a history of standing still, moving backwards, or growing? I should be able to look back and see how far I’ve come, like my brother so eloquently said. I long to have perseverance so that I can work towards being “mature and complete.”
I’m pretty sure I am struggling too much at this second to give much advice, but I have a tiny snippet that I am learning, and maybe it can be a hope or help to one of you. It is simply this…the weary need restoration. Last week, my marriage was feeling slightly miserable. I spent the better part of Thursday night thinking about taking the boys on a tiny road trip to the beach, but when I woke up, I asked Matt to go instead, before I could change my mind. Though the first hour involved plenty of arguing, the rest of the day was entirely delightful, and we desperately needed to be restored as a couple. Same thing goes for my life as a mom; if I feel especially exhausted by one of my children, I plan a “date” so that we can restore our relationship. I’m sure this concept works in any relationship, including with God. Matthew 11:28 says, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”
Cheers to finding joy in struggle and rest for the weary. Thank you for journeying this messy, beautiful thing called life with me, and for letting me be a part of your own story.
Annnd, here it is.