Children are a gift from the Lord; the fruit of the womb, a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children born in one's youth. Blessed are they whose quivers are full. They will never be shamed contending with foes at the gate. ~Psalm 127:3-5

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

The Little Things

Lately, it's been quite difficult to have a handle on things. I have been immersed in a depression which snuck up on me over the past few months. My main concern is the way I handle my kids. Handle seems like such a harsh word when delivering it with the words 'my kids' but handling is exactly what I have been doing...or not doing, I should say.

I guess it's just the little things. They set me off into a spin of chaos and I find myself unable to listen to their crying, unable to muscle through their demands with ease and patience as I am used to doing. It's the little things that make me want to shut my bedroom door and hide beneath the sheets, wishing there was someone else to swoop in and take over for awhile. When Hubby is here, he tries but when he is not, I'm alone. And that doesn't sit well with me lately either.

For seven years all I tried to do was be the best mama ever. I wanted to make sure I was attentive and kind, patient and loving and affectionate. I wanted to be able to discipline without screaming and spanking and I wanted to play with my kids until they got tired. I wanted to spend a lot of time with them baking and coloring and running through the house. The other little things.

For awhile, I was so good at that. But not right away. When my first daughter was born, I had a really hard time letting go of my selfish tendencies. I was 22 and newly married and had no idea how to sit still and be content staring at my baby on the floor, coaxing her to crawl to me, or waiting for her to finish eating a jar of peas. I grew into the patience, more-so with each child and I found by my fourth child I was pretty darn good at it. Of course, I had my days. Don't we all? But I found myself unfolding layers of me I didn't know existed and opening myself up more and more to make room for my babies' lives to not just tiptoe through but boldly step. To create a mark so deep as they crawled and ran and leaped across my heart, making me stretch myself and learn ways to be more giving and caring.

But right now I'm in a funk. And I try to let those little things, the ones that bother me so much be drowned out by the other little things which I have loved to do for so long. It's hard. It's hard to dig up the energy when I didn't sleep all night. It's hard to come out from inside my mind to answer a question that was asked of me 50 times which I did not hear. I want to get back to the time I loved these little things, loved the constant stimulation, the responsibility, the dependence on me. The time I loved spending time with my babies, content in their presence however exuberant, basking in the joy we gave each other, and living in each little moment because it was what we had. We had each other. And the little things. And that was enough.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Restless

I am in a state of despair. I'm not quite sure how I got here but here I am anyway. It's too familiar.

I wake up in the mornings not wanting to get out of bed. I feel like I don't sleep all night. I drag myself out of bed because I have 4 kids and a puppy to take care of. I survive my days.

Survive. Not live.

What does that look like?

It looks like often doing the bare minimum to keep the house from getting out of control with messiness. It means feeding my kids and often not really myself because I just don't care. It means crying. A lot. It means watching the hours tick by, waiting for the time when I can put everyone to bed and sit and drown in my thoughts, contemplating my situation.

I am frustrated with myself. It's not like I don't know God is here. I know He is. Somewhere. I think I just saw this dark tunnel and thought "oh, what's in there?" and before I knew it, I was trapped. The thick darkness drew me in, grabbing me with tendrils creeping out behind me, pulling me in with a familiar feeling masking itself as nostalgia or some other comforting thing.

I can't believe I fell for it.

And through the darkness, I pray to God to help me find my way through, to strengthen me and protect me as I wander around in this dark place trying to figure out what I can take away from it. What can I throw in my bag of collected lessons and pains I've endured and everything else that has made me who I am? What can I give to Him to show Him I have faith? That I believe. That I will need Him for the rest of my life whether I'm in despair or not?

I look around through the darkness, gathering items for my collection. Trying to create something from them that I know I can be proud of; something I know He wants me to make from all of this. I stare at the vast expanse of black before me, sensing I am not alone but knowing there is much more in here than me and God. It's a difficult task to decipher the good and bad in the dark. I have to rely on my faith to find the light..... And on my strength which only comes from the One who loves me and will guide me through the darkness.

I am scared.

I have no idea when the darkness will end. It seems I've been in and out of it my whole life. I run ahead of it sometimes, thinking I'm far enough away but then it finds me; in the distance it is there somehow, waiting for me.

I am restless.

I work so hard to create what I can from my collection. I try so hard to do what I think I'm supposed to do. But sometimes it does not help me get out of this darkness any faster. And sometimes I can do nothing but sit and wait for Him to guide me. There is so much I want to do but sometimes, I just have to rely on Him to do it for me. There is so much that I think I need but I can't seem to understand, or rather I often forget, that He is the only thing I need. I often put my sights on other things- more immediate things- to fill this void I feel growing each day, to envelope the despair as it has enveloped me and destroy it as it has destroyed me at times. But they will always fall short.

What are these things?

They are my husband, my children, my family, my friends. My dreams and my wants. My past mistakes, my future plans. The pain I've endured and the joy I've felt.

They are my collection.

And I realize that I am in this darkness because I enter into it to find my collection after having dumped it out to give to God to do what He wants with it. I have left it to Him and in His control through my trust and faith in Him. But in my weakness and in my moments of doubt, I am frantic, trying to collect it again to do what I want with it; to get what I need out of it; to make it what I want it to be for myself.

The one thing I would like to find as I wander around in this darkness is the strength to dump my collection out one final time and give it to God completely, without taking it back. To let Him use it for His purposes in my life and to let Him be the only thing I look to for fulfillment of all my needs and desires.

Until then, I will just be restless.

"My heart is restless, O God, until it rests in Thee." ~St. Augustine