Fine, I Won’t Give Up

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I saw this meme on my friend’s FB today, and I was like, YES!! My thoughts exactly!! We’ve had a rough week. The Rotavirus and Adenovirus both came to visit. I have been nursing sick kids for seven days now and been sick for several of those days myself. We’ve been reduced to survival levels. Today, feeling a bit better myself, I determined it was time to catch up with some housework. We had managed to keep the downstairs livable, but the upstairs had completely fallen apart. I set the healthy children to work, thinking they would work on their chore list while I worked on mine. Right. In fact what happened was that I ended up supervising them in their chores, taking over where they completely failed at the job, and generally just stomping around in a bad mood, surrounded by kids who were in an equally bad mood. Lovely.

Of course, not choosing the moral high ground and instead letting myself completely vent my bad attitude, did not make me feel better. It just made me feel guilty. What kind of mom am I anyway? What kind of Christian am I when I am my children’s only exposure to swear words? And then, feeling guilty leads to anger. It’s not my fault! I’m doing my best here and nobody appreciates it! I finally had the common sense to turn on the tv for the kids, go in my room, shut the door and take a nap. I’m still feeling sick and I was kidding myself thinking I had enough energy to tackle a big house-cleaning day.

Post-nap, my emotions have settled down. Time to get another perspective.

Another friend posted on her blog page The Chosen Broken this quote:

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“You have been chosen…” That sounds so Noble. Dignified. Worthy. Purposeful. I have been Chosen. Chosen to be the matriarch of my clan. Chosen to be partner to my husband. Chosen to serve the people in my sphere. It’s a calling.

”…you must therefore use such strength and heart and wits as you have.” When you see the name J.R.R. Tolkien, you immediately think of epic adventures full of danger, excitement, great challenge. In this epic adventure called life I need everything I’ve got to keep pressing on, keep moving, tackle the next mountain, ford the next raging river. I think about all the gifts and talents that God has given me. Stubbornness. Who knew how valuable that characteristic could be? Kid, you might be stubborn, but I can out-stubborn you any day, you will do what I ask you to do if it takes us all day and night to make it happen. Responsibility. This is a heavy one, but it gets things done. I’m laying in bed sick, it’s suppertime, kids are hungry. I get out of bed and make supper. They’re my kids, my responsibility to make sure they get fed. Sense of humor. I couldn’t survive without this one. If you can’t laugh at yourself and your circumstances, seems like life would be rather miserable.

There’s a bible passage in Ephesians 6: 10-20 that talks about the armor of God. Not only does God equip us with natural gifts and talents that help us with our challenges, he also gives us supernatural armor to protect us. I need that today. The helmet of salvation. I need to remember that my sins are forgiven, my future entails eternity with Jesus. I need the belt of truth, God’s word is alive and well and powerful.

I hate this day. Ok, but the Bible says in Psalm 118:24, “This is the day the Lord has made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.” 

Life stinks. Ok, but the Bible says in 1 Thessalonians 5:18 (NIV) “give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”

You get the idea.

Step by step, I read through the armor of God, think about what it means, apply it to my situation.

I have been chosen. This life is a quest and right now we’re going through some rough waters. But I’ve also been equipped with everything I need to battle on through, and one day, I will be victorious. As the old hymn says,

What a day that will be,

When my Jesus I shall see,

And I look upon His face,

The One who saved me by His grace;

When He takes me by the hand,

And leads me through the Promised Land,

What a day, glorious day that will be.

 

Till then, we battle on, using what strength, heart, and wits that we have.

 

Can I have a Time Out?

Today is one of those days where I feel like I have no right to be writing a blog. I contemplated just posting one sentence. “Esther is too grumpy to write today, come back next week.” One of the main reasons I started writing this blog was to set up an accountability that forced me to write regularly. I knew that I enjoyed writing, but I didn’t do it often, and I was looking for an outlet where I not only would have a place to share my writing, but also a bit of pressure to keep writing. Which leads me to today where I would much rather hide under the covers of my bed with a book than attempt to write down my thoughts on anything. But, it’s blog-writing day.  I also wanted this blog to be a place where people could see someone being real. So. I guess I should write.

Have you ever had one of those days where you just needed a good Time Out? Like, listen, honey, you are not playing well, your attitude stinks, and I think you should go to your room for the rest of the day and think about it. How come grownups don’t get Time Outs? Probably cause we would take advantage of it. ME! ME! ME! I need a Time Out! Please, can I have a Time Out???? Maybe that’s one of the worst things about adulthood. There is no Time Out. You have to show up every day or face harsh consequences.

Days like today are the days where I feel like I really don’t deserve the title of Mom. Or wife. Or Christian. Or friend. I am not living up to my own expectations for these roles at all.

Life is also not living up to my expectations. As a teenager, dreaming about my future grown-up-ness, I imagined adventure, romance, excitement, doing things that helped save the world. And here I am. My adventure now entails trying to keep my family warm on a cold day with my little wood stove cause the heater broke down and we can’t get someone to look at it till tomorrow. Romance involves playing Yahtzee together in bed, late at night, and texting silly things to each other during the day. (Ok, I have no problems with the romance in my life, it has evolved from young passion into a solid love and enjoyment of each other, but it doesn’t look anything like the romance books talk about.) Excitement is calling 911 in the middle of the night because someone is shooting off a gun in my neighborhood. Saving the World? Well, I kind of hope that my kids are going to grow up to be solid citizens who will make a difference in the lives around them. And I guess I’m playing a part in that by doing my best to raise them right. But it’s kind of a nebulous achievement. No hard numbers or statistics to point at and say, Look, I have taught 20 illiterate adults to read! Look, I fed 100 orphans today! Look, I just spent a lot of time lobbying and I managed to get this bill passed that is going to help my community! Nope. I can say, hey, I signed my kids homework folder! Everyone in my house ate three meals today! My husband has clean socks in his drawer! All necessary things, but doesn’t feel much like saving the world.

My husband and I both grew up as missionary kids, and as adults we had a hard time settling down. We moved back to Tennessee fifteen years ago and I consider it something of a miracle that we have managed to stay. At least once a year one or both of us get the urge to move. Let’s just sell the house and go overseas. Let’s just move out of the city and find a nice little town to live in. Let’s move out West. Or up North. We call it being “restless”. Really though, it’s probably a good dose of “The grass looks greener over there.” As someone who moved about every two years my whole growing up life, I can tell you that for me, staying in one place is a million times harder than moving around. Staying in one place means you have to go through boring times where everything feels the same every day. Staying in one place means that you have to repair friendships and relationships when they unravel instead of just moving on to a new set of relationships. Staying in one place means you have to constantly adjust your expectations to fit the reality you are living in instead of just not dealing with it and moving on to something better over the horizon. (I am not trying to criticize people who move around a lot. It has its own set of pitfalls and downers and I know people aren’t moving around a lot just so they can avoid permanence. I’m just saying that for me, comparing both, I find permanence a lot harder.)

I am pretty sure that my mood today is a product of discontentment. The grass does look greener in the next yard. I feel like moving. I’m tired of housework. Everything feels blah.

So, I will adopt the cure I always give my children when they are particularly whiny and complaining. Be thankful.

Ok, here goes. I am thankful for my husband. I am thankful for my crazy kids. I am thankful for this old, beat-up house that shelters my children so perfectly. I am thankful for food on the table, a car out in the driveway, my husband’s job. I am thankful for this blog that gives me an outlet for all my personal angst. I’m thankful God still loves me. I’m thankful tomorrow is a new day.

See you all next time. Hopefully I’ll be a in a better mood by then. 🙂