Last night I finally got to take a shower at 11pm (I’m always a morning showerer). It had been an exhausting, defeating day, each moment draining me more and more as I failed at just about everything I attempted. I had spent much of the afternoon in front of my computer working – not because of inadvertently misaligned priorities, but because I couldn’t stand the thought of more time with my kids. (It hurts to write that. Please tell me you’ve been there?)
My girls had been testing every possible limit, treating one another with anything but love and treating me with anything but respect. The puppy was on her worst behavior too, which – while I know there’s little of eternal value at stake in her training – is exhausting. The baby wasn’t misbehaving, but he is sick again and was incredibly needy. I’m ok with that, but it too can be draining amidst the chaos.
After a late run and a shower, I took a quick assessment of what I needed to do still for the day; I realized I had miles to go before I slept. My husband is busy with something very important for work so I have little physical support at home and, more discouraging, I am constantly at a loss of how to support him. I retreated downstairs to be alone, even if my alone time looked a lot like cleaning the kitchen. Some of my favorite songs on in the background, I wiped counters and washed dishes with tears streaming down my face.
“Lord, where is this coming from? I know it’s not from you. I’m ambushed in the middle of such momentum, such great things happening, by these same crushing thoughts of worthlessness.” I found myself calling out in desperation as – seemingly out of nowhere – I couldn’t feel him anymore. I couldn’t feel anything anymore except dread. How am I ever going to make anything of my life if the role I’m most called to, that of a wife and mother, I really just can’t do? Why in the world would I think I can work on anything else that might make a difference when I can’t keep my head above water in any aspect at all? Why can’t I even complete the thing I set out to do two weeks ago? I’m already failing that too, and it wasn’t a lofty goal.
I found myself once again in the place I fear the most.
Of course I know the answer to why these things happen at these times, but if you suffer from some of the same problems as I do, you already know that “knowing” alone isn’t a sufficient coping skill. So I cried. Eventually, I felt more exhausted and not even a little bit better – but it was time to move on. I took a little bit of solace knowing that when I had reached out, I had found friends praying for me. That would have to do.
As I finally made my way upstairs for the night I checked on each of the kids. Nolan very clearly needed his diaper changed, so I did so – and held him for a bit afterward; in a rare moment, he didn’t wake up despite being bothered. How quickly my tiny baby boy has grown to fill my lap, I thought.
I usually just peek in on each of them, but tonight I felt the urge to spend more time. In Avery’s room I lay with her and prayed: God, please help keep her from some of the things I’ve struggled with for so long – despite that she’s my spitting image physically and emotionally. Anxiety, embarrassment and self-consciousness, fear, over-analyzing and critical thoughts that no 5-year-old should have. Lord, please protect her little mind and heart. Give me wisdom to guide her even while I’m still learning so much about who you’ve made us to be.
My prayer in Elise’s room was as different as their personalities. I prayed fervently for grace with this one, who lives with reckless abandon and struggles to hear or pay attention to anything or anyone. The one with whom I fought incessantly today… but then snuggled with before bed, where she asked me to tell her a story from the Bible. As I had told her of Jesus welcoming the little children – that they weren’t a burden to him, but that grown ups should be more like them in some ways – I felt overwhelmed with guilt.
I don’t sit nearly enough and just breathe these precious miracles in, thankful for the opportunity to call them mine. I lay in my own bed at last, fearful of the next day. I barely made it through this one and felt the too-familiar downward spiral of depression and distress looming. I can’t do it all again, right?
But I will. And I will do my best to remember what a blessing these long days are because the years are so short – and these kids should never, ever feel like a burden.
[spp-tweet tweet=”I will do my best to remember what a blessing these long days are because the years are so short.”]
As for me? I will seek the encouragement of community, and in case that doesn’t work (and because this always will), I’ll try desperately to combat negative feelings with truth. All day long, if I must.
So… am I alone? Ever feel like you just can’t do it?