Monday, March 31, 2014

The Ugly Truth and The Long Winter

I am completely overwhelmed!  I feel like my head is about to explode!  So many things to do, so many things to think about, to plan for, to prepare for.  I think I am ready to have a big ole pity party!  Then again, that is rather pointless!  So instead I will blog. It usually helps me gain perspective. 

I know I'm not the only one feeling like this. So hopefully, if you're feeling like I am, you can be encouraged through this post.  Or if you're not at this place in life, perhaps you could reach out to someone you encourage them, to lend a listening ear, to be a friend. 

 I've had numerous times over the years where I've felt this way, but never to the point where I am at now.  Life seems to be a constant battle to keep our heads above water.

Recently we have been talking about taking a weeks vacation.  We REALLY need to get away to get our heads above water for more than a few hours at a time.  We need a time to relax, soak up some sun and enjoy each others company.  As you may know, being self employed rarely offers the opportunity to take vacations during the summer.  Winter vacations are more expensive.  That results in very little vacation time.  We've outgrown our camper and I have absolutely no desire to squish 7 people into a small space for a week, tripping over each other, trying to cook and keep everyone sort of get the picture.  It's more stress thinking about it than it is to stay home.  Anyhow, we had thought to take a week off in early June seeing as the kids will be done school early this year.  However, I just got a call that means all of our summer vacation plans will be thrown out the window.  And I feel like curling up in bed for a good cry!  But I won't...cause that won't help at all!  Instead, I do what I have done these past few years...I cry out to God...and pray that we will soon see the light at the end of the tunnel.  I know this sounds absurd, but on some level I can relate to Job.  I know I haven't lost my family, and everything I own...but, there is so much going on that I am exhausted...I can relate.  I can't go into great detail.  I respect my kids' privacy too much.  But for those of you who have kids that have faced a lot of trauma, bullying, and know what I'm talking about.

I've decided to go out on a limb and share a post I wrote a few weeks ago.  I know I am making myself incredibly vulnerable.  But I feel compelled to share...perhaps it's time we all get very "real" with each other...

It's been a very long and extremely cold winter out here in Saskatchewan.  I tend to not complain about the weather, cause that's just pointless (but then again, I suppose that's the case with all complaining!).  For the most part I like winter and the cold.  It gives Martin some time off and it allows me to have some down time to rejuvenate and sometime to let the creative juices flow. 
However, this winter, with all it's "indoor" days, homeschooling 3 kids while trying to entertain 2 preschoolers, dealing with sickness on a weekly basis (I think we've had all of 2 weeks without someone being sick since the beginning of October)a new addition, some renos (we found mold behind our tub surround...wonder if that has contributed to us being sick for so long?), an average of 6 medical appointments a month, etc has left me practically crawling up the wall!

 Too many days have been filled with too much anger, not enough grace; too much tiredness, not enough sleep; too much sickness, not enough health; too much loneliness, not enough friendship, too much criticism, not enough compliments, too many harsh words and actions, not enough encouragement. 

As you know, I have struggled with my health in the past 6 months.  I have been to the doctor numerous times.  I have also visited my homeopathic doctor.  Between the 2 professions I have been able to piece together what is happening in my body.  When I was so ill back in October, it was most likely some sort of virus.  Add to that an awful lot of  daily stress, with little to no down time to rejuvenate, has resulted in my bodies' adrenal system suffering.  Combine the two and you have the perfect storm resulting in constant tiredness, which leads to irritability and hopelessness.  To top it off, my blood work showed that I am slightly anemic.  Oh the joy!  Not!!
Needless to say, the "ugly" in me has come out like never before.  I despise this ugliness!  I hate what it does to me...but mostly, I hate what it does to my kids.  I hate how it messes with their lives!
I have spend more than enough time crying, venting (poor Martin!), and beating myself up.  In fact, I'm to the point where I really don't like myself (now that should make some people happy...and that makes me angry!  However, the more I think about it, the more I am embracing this new perception of myself.  When I see myself through God's eyes instead of people's eyes I do like myself!  For some reason the past few years have been filled with too many people voicing their thoughts on everything from how I parent to choices I make...making it difficult to see myself through HIS eyes)  I've always been confident.  Perhaps overly so at times.  And I know, like I've never known before (and trust me I've known this for a VERY long time), that I have absolutely nothing to offer...without HIM!  How can I face the next day, knowing how I failed the previous day?  How can I parent my kids with grace and mercy when I feel so beat up and exhausted myself?  How can I feel worthy when someone thinks it's their business to tell me all the areas where I fail? 
Some would say it's not possible, at least not until I like myself.  But here's the interesting thing...somehow it is working...I do succeed sometimes, but that's not what changes the whole equation.  It's the blood of Jesus that changes everything!  He is the one who has redeemed me.  He is the one who takes my ugly and makes it something good.  And He does it in the most fantastic ways!  All I have to do is take one look at my kids.  I know without a doubt that they love Jesus, that they are kind, gentle, caring, generous and loving.  They are the best kids any parent could ever ask for. 

I see it in myself.  Without Him, I couldn't bear to go on for another day...but, somehow I can NOT give up!  I keep getting up each time I'm sent flying onto my backside!  Now that is what He does!  Cause on my own, I sure couldn't do it!  I see how He is changing me.  How me perspective on what's important and worth fighting for, talking about, and doing, is changing.
I'm NOT sharing this so you can pity me.  I'm sharing this for 2 that you can glorify God for His redemption, mercy and grace...and so that perhaps you can learn from it as I have.
Here's what I have learned:
Don't write a note or send an email telling someone where they fail.  Truth is, if God really wants you to approach someone about there sin...make sure it's sin first. Then make sure it's actually an issue that will benefit from your words.  Most often they only show one's own shortcomings.  Not only that, it destroys friendships that are difficult to rebuild.  Instead, write a letter of encouragement.
Acknowledge the life changes happening in the lives of those you know.  It is not acceptable to not acknowledge the arrival of a child...whether it is by birth or adoption.  It is no more acceptable to justify the actions of the above mentioned people.  All it does is make one look like you feel the same way.  The hardest part is protecting my children from this mentality....still not sure what to do.
Never underestimate the power of a listening ear and an encouraging word.  A few days ago I ran into a gal I know on a surface level.  Within seconds she had touched on several things that had contributed to the ugly in my day.  I walked away feeling understood and uplifted.  It was that extra boost I needed to go on.
Don't tell someone what should/should not bother them.  Sometimes the feeling is legit...sometimes not.  What ever the case...feelings are real.  And it's ok to listen and even agree that something may be hurtful, annoying or frustrating.  By doing so, you are very likely helping the person deal with the feeling appropriately, instead of adding more frustration, hurt and annoyance.

Help out even when you think the need is very little.  The need is probably a lot greater than you think.  I am so grateful for the people that have brought us meals, babysat our kids, and taken the time to call.  Sometimes it is these things that give us strength to make it through another week.  Trust me!  Those acts have a long lasting impact!

Pray!  Pray like you've never prayed before!  Pray for those in your family, those in your community, those you run into in your daily life.  We could all use a little more prayer.
Most importantly...LOVE...even when you think the other person doesn't deserve it.  Truth have "ugly" in your life too and are no more "lovable" than the next person.
I keep telling myself, over and over and over again...that "ALL things work together for good to those that love God!"  And we do love God!  I hang onto that promise like never before!

I recently read a quote that really sums up where I am at.  Lisa Qualls over at "One Thankful Mom" blog said, "loving the broken hearted has broken my heart, loving the wounded has wounded me, and loving orphans in their distress has brought distress to me."  It's not a bad thing to have this happen to me.  It's just difficult.  And sometimes those of us dealing with broken hearts, the wounded, and loving orphans in their distress simply need a little more understanding, a little more patience, a little more prayer, and lot more kindness.

1 comment:

Kathy said...

Thanks Marie for sharing...wish we could do something for summer vacation, but if it works for you guys our kids might be coming out to sk this summer, and spend a couple of days with you...unless that is just more overwhelming?
i feel the same thing about keeping my head above water (not for all the same reasons as you, but some are the same) and let me tell you, there are days where i am not sure i can keep on hang on together with God as our King we will survive.
Love you! are a good mom, don't let satan tell you anything different.