Friday, September 4, 2015

Not a Natural

It's Random Journal Link-Up Day. Because I took a personal leave from the blogisphere, I missed the last one (and maybe the one before that). So I reached far to the left on my shelf of journals this time, farther back into my history with journals, and came up with representative one, I think.

My life was very different in those days. I had a 4, 6, and 8 year old and I was busy! Crazy busy. Beve had just had an ACL reconstruction, we were youth group leaders, and Beve and I were teaching summer school together. And discovered a few things I've jettisoned from my mind in the two decades since.

"All the 'stuff' I face each day just empties into each day another load. Another load of laundry, another load in the dishwasher, another load of food to eat, and toys to be put away, another load of discipline. It's hard to get fired up for any of it. Beve gets up each morning and asks, "What do you have planned for the day?" PLANNED? The day is planned before me before I've lifted my head from the pillow. I'd like to burrow in and do nothing, I think. Instead, I have to react to whatever awaits me outside my door. Whatever "He hit me," or "She's being mean," or whatever else they have to offer and ask and need. All the thoughts and half-formed images of my own are too deep for even conscious contemplation. Much is asked of us, but not much is given to the space my mind needs. 
"What shall we have for dinner?" is his next question. And I want to throw a pillow at him because I can't think of dinner while I have toast and Cherrios and and snacks and Top Ramen and more snacks and whatever else comes along to deal with. Dinner? It's beyond the cliff of the next several hours. Let me fall off.
That's it. The real cliff, I mean.
I think this is the edge of depression. Truly. It feels like life is too much work. "But you, Oh Lord, have searched me and know me!" He knows me and that should make a difference. But I'm afraid it doesn't. He may know me but does anyone on earth? And does it matter? Those around me see a funny, outgoing, cheerful optimist...but inside I'm on a cliff.

It was hard being an at-home mom. I wasn't a natural. I remember that. I wasn't a natural with small children. I remember that. But it's a revelation to discover all this.
The encouraging thing is that we've lived beyond it. My children survived and even flourished beyond it. They grew into teenagers and I adore teenagers. Then they grew into these amazing adults that I get to be in a new kind of relationship with. And all the things that used to make me feel empty about my day, now has the rhythm to it.
That's what happens in time. In moving with God in chronology. Children grow up, they outgrow all kinds of things, and we survive them. We endure even what we aren't sure we will.
Just this morning I was thinking about James 1:2 that I memorized in the JB Phillips translation back when I was a teenager:
"When all kinds of trials and temptations come your way, don't resent them as intruders, but welcome them as friends."

Now, check out Dawn's blog, to read some other great journal entries here.


Pamela M. Steiner said...

I remember those days at home with my kids...wouldn't trade that time for any job in the world. It was the best time of my life, and yet, I know I had many days when I felt the same way as you. My husband was a full time pastor, and so add the "joy" of being a pastor's wife with 3 pk's into the mix, and it was often a trial and temptation to just not even try to try. So thankful for God's faithfulness even when I wasn't. We both know that HE is able to carry us through, no matter what the obstacles. So thankful. We have reached the other side of that...and on to new adventures in our faith walk. God is still faithful. Praise God!

quietspirit said...

When our son was small,I got to stay home until he was three. I worked for 10 years. When he was in the seventh grade I started noticing things. I went into depression. I took a 30-day l leave of absence. I stayed home th3 rest of his school years. I don't have any big regrets.

Dawn Paoletta said...

Oh, man. As always, your journal...your insights, and encouragement are so powerful. That you love teenagers. UGH! I know, terrible. I had a rough go of teen years. Turbulent would be putting it way to mild. My daughter? 14 and honestly, she is 30 in many ways. 20 in some, and 12 in others. I can only love teens one at a I know them, as a whole...GAk---it is painful. lol. BUT, I am still a WIP and God can change my heart and mind... now you have me thinking poetically...I might have to write a poem about teens.

By the way I love the Phillips translation. It is so lively. I recall Elisabeth Elliot using when I saw her speak years ago, after that I was all about getting that version for myself.

Thanks for sharing your perspective, you always refresh me!

Miss Kathy said...

I am ashamed to admit that when I remember those kid days I feel an utter failure. I try to stay away from things I wrote in those times. When I was super mom--I was Supermom. When I blew it--boy--did I blow it. And tore myself up about it--usually in stories and devotional writing. I think I'd need to edit myself heavily from some 20 years ago. God is faithful, though, as you note--our kids have made it through the worst of our days. May they thrive in God's good graces for all the teaching and learning we endured together.
Growing up.

Susie - Recovering Church Lady said...

And sometimes the peek into your past makes you give a huge sigh of relief that it is done! I can hear the exhausting and depression in your journal entry and I feel sad that we kind of struggled through that are without the help that so many young moms find now online. Yes, the also have the added pressure of the Pinterest Super Mom thing, but I see an equal number of posts and articles telling them to relax and let stuff go.
Time spent with our grown kids makes it all worth it though right? So fun to be with them now!

Carolyn Wiley said...

You women are so encouraging. We all lived through it, all had different experiences, but all parented wondering if we were doing it right with only our little personal communities (and that often meant a lot of criticism, too). I know my 'people group' is high school kids and beyond, even though I adored my own babies. It got easier. Not every day was as much a 'scream' as this was.
But I am thankful that we have this online community that transparently shares and reminds me that I'm not alone in whatever it is I'm living.

(I was out of technology range for the weekend, so didn't respond earlier nor to any other posts) Happy Labor Day