Friday, September 12, 2014

In the middle of it all

He never said it would be easy, and I know first hand being a mommy isn't easy. I was recently in a restaurant sitting across from a distraught young child, who was hitting and screaming at his mommy. The child's mother had this quiet and merciful look. Though the child didn't calm quickly, she handled the raging fit with a stern grace.  With glassy eyes she held her emotions in, and held her head up, despite the judgmental glances from those staring at our table.  This was our first mommy lunch date. We both were in need of some big girl time, and here we were sitting at a table exhausted by the demands and expectations of our fast paced society. Marked by weary smiles we were secretly loathing the definition of perfection that burdened each of us.  Everyday I wake up and think: today is the day I will get it all together, instead of acting like I have it all together; so it was easy for me to recognize that I have got it all together , but not really look in my friend's face.  Instead of offering a friendly encouraging story about how I too had a passionate child (true) and how I would super mommy those difficult moments (which was not always true), I opened up and laid my struggles out on the table:  

"I recently accepted a part time job, on top of running a photography studio, and my "homework."  We have had a rough run over the past five years, and my family needs me to work outside of the home in order to close that financial gap.  I have been battling with my emotions and the truth, partly because I am exhausted and overworked and the other hand I am thankful that I have this other job to help make ends meet.  I really do like my jobs, but I haven't found balance with working, the studio, being mom, wife, and friend.  My husband is doing a great job trying to fill the gaps at home, by making dinners, helping with homework, chores...  But he's not mom, I am. And it is really hard for me not being available for mom things.  We have survived some really tough times over these last five years, and no doubt we will survive this season too.  Instead of keeping a balance or even gracefully juggling the roles I am playing, I feel like I am wrestling for control.  Wrestling, that is what I am doing, like Jacob.  I am not going to let go of God until He makes His mark on me. I might walk with a limp when I get out of this season, but I am sure my faith will be stronger because of it. The process isn't easy, I often feel like disconnected and down, sad but not without joy.  I do a lot of crying and crying out to God.  He is doing a great work in me and will not leave it unfinished, but the piercing blows of the chiseling process demand perseverance and strength, that can only come from a great source, God."
Deep Breath, sigh.     I said it.      I mean I have written it secretly in emails asking for prayer and strength, but I said it out loud this time.  .....Silence....  not long enough for my imagination to start roaming on what she must think of me...  just long enough for God to fill the moment with grace.  My friend offered no advice, but rather opened up, and told me about her struggles.  We were two women sitting in a restaurant filled with random people doing the society shuffle, sharing our burdens in a way that didn't make either of us feel ashamed or superior.  It was real, plain, and simple.  The honesty of the moment didn't lead us to pity each other, but encouraged us with the knowledge that we all struggle, and we all fail.  God created us for relationship to share our burdens and encourage each other.  So, why do we feel that we need to display happy shiny faces in order to show others we serve an awesome God.  He offers life abundant to us, without the promise of the material concepts we attach to it.  He offers us a peace, that we sometimes are too busy to enjoy.  We are so busy it is hard to find a moment to even accept His peace.  Take this morning for example: I slept in, and had to shuttle the kids off to school, because we missed the bus.  The kids were groomed, lunches were packed, and we pulled into the parking lot right on time.  I was still in my pajamas, neither hair nor teeth were brushed, but we were on time!  This was a mommy victory, small, but a victory. Until I realized I hadn't fed my children breakfast...the daunting perfectionist voice echoed: failure.  After opening the lunch boxes pulling out grapes and snack bars I shuffled them into school before the tardy bell.  Slightly self conscious as I walk back out next to a woman dressed to impress.  The click of her polished high heels made me even more aware of my unsightly display of disorganization. Thankful that I had plenty of time this morning, to spruce myself up, before the days appointments, I walked into my house and for the first time realized, it was a disaster zone.  

   Feeling a little overwhelmed by the morning's ciaos, I sat down and turned on worship music, hung my head and prayed.  God, I am overwhelmed.  I need you.  Before I could utter any more, and as if it were God saying directly to my heart, You of little faith, I am right here, with you, in the middle of all this ciaos.  My tear filled eyes caught a glimpse of a sweet little devotion book we read at dinner time, right in the middle of the mess around me was Jesus Calling! Later on in the morning I received a phone call from another dear friend who had just been thinking about me.  She had been feeling overwhelmed and distant, not sure of her effectiveness for God's kingdom because of her feelings. The idea that we as women of faith can't be sad or overwhelmed or stressed is a lie.  We all at times will battle internal struggles, hard times, and even depression.  The enemy wants us to pretend it is all fine and dandy, so that the world will get a false perception of the Christian identity.  The Truth says we will go through trails, and through those trials be given hope that comes through faith.  What ideal circumstances inspire faith, other than raw dependence on God.  The idea that our problems are too small or big for God or that we can't be facilitators God's love because of the way we feel during these struggles are a lies too.  God put me on her heart to call, and with a simple act of obedience she showed me God's love. The phone call ended with us praying for each other, and that wouldn't happen if we kept on pretending we didn't have problems.  What sets us apart as believers is that we are not alone and can rely on a source that can overcome even the most desperate struggles.  Mommies we don't have to strive for perfection, trying to get our lives in order; we need to rely on the Creator who made all things and holds them together, the Great I AM. 

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