Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Lay Me Down

Snow is slowly falling outside, adding more to the five inches of unexpected snowfall last night. The old, browned stuff has a lovely new blanket on it so the world looks clean again. My dog is snoring gently next to me. The wash is in the dryer. Decaf is perking.

Quiet.

8 hours ago, things were not as quiet. My littlest one woke me up for the day shrieking for food. He had already been up 3 times in the night so Mama wasn't feeling the early wake-up. We snuggled for a little while and as he contentedly ate his breakfast, I wrapped my mind around another day with my husband far away and little sleep to go on. I asked God to give me the strength and humor I needed and have it replace the sleep I wouldn't be getting.

I made lunch and snacks for the older ones and got dressed. While my oldest son ate his breakfast, watching his baby brother, and the toddler slept on, I shoveled the driveway and cleaned off the car so we could make it out of here by 8 am. My neighbors cheerfully waved as they blew snow off their driveways and I broke my back doing it the old-fashioned way. 3 years is too short a time to spend money on a snow-blower so we have stubbornly done this by hand.

This morning, I really wished we had a snow blower.

Now, though, I'm thankful for the exercise a frenzied shoveling of the driveway gave me because there was no chance to make it to the gym today. I am a better person when I have exercised.

Our adventure without dad around has been going on for a week now and things are going better than I expected.

And you know what?

I am so tempted to feel like I have figured something out. Like I have become some kind of capable parent. Like I GET this stay at home parent thing. Finally.

But I know the truth. Just two short weeks ago I was a hot mess. Exhausted, hopeless, angry, frustrated, resentful.

This last week has gone well not because I am have figured something out or am somehow enough but because God is enough. And rather than clinging to my disappointments and rage, I have clung to him. I have laughed at the tantrums(okay, maybe not all of them, but way more than usual). I have stopped looking at the clock in the middle of the night and tried not to care about the actual number of hours of sleep I have gotten. I have thanked God over and over again for coffee. And for friends.

It is no coincidence that I stumbled upon a book called "Mom Enough" just a few days before my husband left for his travels. I normally don't enjoy reading books aimed towards mothers or, really, women for that matter. They usually make me feel "othered", like there are so many more gaping ways I just don't fit the "norm" of womanhood than I even realized.

But this book has been different. Possibly it was my desperation of knowing I could NOT do 3 weeks without my husband in the state I was in. Maybe I opened this book with more hope than skepticism.

Whatever it is, God has used the words to bolster me. To remind me that I cannot do this, this job that is arguably the hardest job in the world. I cannot. And I need to be ok with that.

This past week, I HAVE been ok with it. More than ok, really. And being more than ok with feeling like I can't do this has freed me up to enjoy it in ways I never have before.

This quote in particular has been sitting with me:

"We should run to the cross. To death. So lay down your hopes. Lay down your future. Lay down your petty annoyances. Lay down your desire to be recognized. Lay down your fussiness at your children. Lay down your perfectly clean house. Lay down your grievances about the life you are living. Lay down the imaginary life you could have by yourself. Lay them all down...Stop clinging to yourself and cling to the cross. There is more joy and more life and more laughter on the other side of death than you can possibly carry alone."

So, as my little ones sleep on (at the same time!) and as the snow falls, I am not dreading the long afternoon stretch and the chaos of bedtime. I am asking God to help me see the humor when it is quite possible that everyone will be crying and the dog will be barking and the phone will be ringing at the same time as I am trying to put food on the table. I am asking God to help me see my kids as who they are, beautiful bearers of the image of God, even when they aren't necessarily reflecting that image as well as one would hope.

I am asking God, quite bluntly, to help me lay myself down. Once again. Minute by minute. Hour by hour. Day by day.

And I am letting Him be enough for all of us.

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