The Trial of Everyday Life

There hasn’t been much time for posting these days.

I have plenty of thoughts throughout the day that I think would make lovely blog posts, but I usually have them while I’m making peanut butter and jelly for the kids, or taking a walk outside. I hope one day, when things are a little quieter, these thoughts will come back to me and I can get them out in some written form, but until then they just flitter through my mind and disappear.

My 3 year old son has been waking up at 3am every single night for the past week. He goes back to sleep eventually, but I don’t always have the same experience. So, after working on some dangerously critical projects on the computer (computer work is the hardest for me to get done while the kids are awake, some sort of computer demon seems to overtake them once I fire up my imac. Someone either gets critically injured, goes into melt down mode, or dozens of sticky fingers clamor for the mouse and keyboard) I decided, in this rare moment of quiet, to post a little update.

One of the blog posts I was going to write, was on the trial of everyday life. Regular life is tough. Surviving is not easy. Paying the mortgage, getting food on the table, spending time with the Lord, doing dishes, laundry, working, deadlines, making time for family and friends. There was a point, before Christmas break, when it just kept building up until I literally toppled over in despair. And I realized, that I was woefully unprepared to handle the trial of everyday life.

When there is a ‘real trial’ ie. someone looses their job, or can’t get pregnant, or becomes ill, the body of Christ (or at least my local body) is so excellent at providing prayer and support. When I personally go through a ‘real trial’ I tend to spend extended times with the Lord, drown myself in songs that put words I cannot, to feelings and experiences I’m still trying to figure out. I know that without taking these measures, and being supported by my family and friends I won’t make it through.

But I fail to realize that regular life is, in and of itself, a ‘real trial’. My relaxed approach to regular life often makes it suffocating and overwhelming. I feel as if I should be able to, unassisted, handle the demands and workload of a regular life. I don’t reach out for help, I am not on my knees in desperation crying out to the Lord. But as a result, I often end up growing closer to God and being stronger through ‘real trials’ than regular life. In regular life I can become so discouraged, drowsy, apathetic, and lost, and this makes me even more discouraged, because if ‘everyday life’ is leaving me feeling this way, what hope do I have when ‘real trials’ come? I feel ashamed at my lack of faith and joy. However, because I tend to throw myself more deeply into the Lord during ‘real trials’ these tend to be the seasons where I find myself to be strongest, most filled with faith, and even most effective at ministering to others.

I wonder, if I approached everyday life as a true trial, then maybe I would thrive, instead of flounder. Maybe I wouldn’t need the periodic ‘real trials’ to bring me back to focus on God and my need for Him. Because I would truly believe that everyday, normal things are more than I can handle. I can’t wake up, brush my teeth, get dressed, make breakfast for my kids, teach them scripture, do dishes, play with superheros, read books, go on a walk, soothe a crying baby, make lunch, put kids down for naps, do laundry, sweep floors, start dinner, call a friend to see how she is, return a library book, make dinner, give baths, spend time with my husband…without God’s help and power.

Fight for Thanksgiving

Of course I know I have so much to be thankful for.

But what do I FEEL?
Oftentimes I feel dissatisfied. I feel like I want more.

Part of this is just my human nature, and part of this is living in a world and culture that SCREAMS this at me (and whispers it too).

Recently my husband and I have been going back and forth over the decision to take the kids to Disney this Christmas season. We are SUCH big Disney fans, and we always talk about our dream of being Annual Pass holders. My husband will go on You Tube and watch those dreamy ads for Disney vacations over and over, and before you know it, discontent starts to drift in. We deserve Disney Annual Passes.

So, how do we fight for Thanksgiving and thankfulness? Well, I decided to make my own dreamy film, to highlight what we have to be thankful for. Yes, that’s right I am running an ad campaign, not to try to sell something, but to try and remind us of all that we have. Because if we are being convinced day in and day out that we don’t have enough,  then we need to up our game if we want to truly live in a state of thankfulness.

Another thing that I do to try and fight for thankfulness, is battle my constant desire for “productivity”. So many times after a long hard day I can look back at my “To Do” list and see such little progress (if any) and get discouraged.

“How can I be this tired, and yet have accomplished nothing?” I will often think to myself.

So, I’ve started to include a second list on my refrigerator, right next to my “To Do” list, I have a “Today I…” list, to record all the things I HAVE done in the day. And it’s typically filled with things like this:

Read a Bible story to the kids
Comforted my crying newborn
Created a fort in the living room
Baked cookies
Read books
Become a tickle monster
Prayed for my husband
Texted encouragement to a friend

Taking time to record some of the things I really do in a day, helps me to be thankful for what I get to do, and not complain over my lack of significant progress on all of the “important” tasks  that fill my “to do” list.

We have to fight to be thankful, we have to fight to see what we really have, thankfulness doesn’t just come naturally…not even on Turkey Day.

Beauty

As a lover and creator of beauty, this season of motherhood is hard.

It’s hard to maintain my home to the standard of beauty that I crave for my inner peace and freedom. I feel choked when things are dirty, ugly, and cluttered. But, in this season, that seems to be the norm of our home these days.

And then, there’s my body. I’m three weeks postpartum, but a long way from my pre-pregnancy state. I stare longingly at all of my beautiful clothes…still off limits.

How do I fight through the depression and haze that constantly being surrounded by ugliness brings me?

Add in lack of sleep and hormones, and you get some very difficult days.
But there has been grace.

Jesus gave up his body, and the beauty of heaven to love me. 
I can give up my body and the beauty of my little home to love my babies. 
What better way to live my life, than to incarnate a little bit of Christ in this small way.