So this is me. When I look at this picture it quickly time travels me back to the year I took it and all that it enveloped. I was a young mom of several young children. Their ages were 2, 4, 4, and 5. I know crazy, right?! Or was it just His plan for me. I remember feeling lonely, alone, rejected, unwanted but this wasn't the first time in my life I had felt these things. I had experienced these feelings since I was a very small child. This lie in my life did not relent even for a moment. It didn't matter if I was standing in a room full of people, I felt alone. I would put a smile on my face and go about my day as if I had it all together but I was broken inside. Broken into millions of tiny microscopic pieces that in my mind and heart I did not believe I could or would ever recover from.
Being a mom, from the time that my twins grew old enough to crawl, was such a big job and I viewed it as such, a 'job'. There was no level of grace that I walked out this particular season of my life with. I remember calling my sister to beg for help, I was more than overwhelmed. Just writing about this now I feel that grip on my heart that squeezed and squeezed and squeezed and all the pain that I was feeling. I was failing. I was not just a failure to myself, but to my husband and to our little children.
I used to tell my 'friends', "I know where child abuse comes from, although I have never hurt my children. I know where that impulse comes from". I was walking out postpartum and didn't even know it till years later.
When this picture was taken I had just moved to Hillsboro, Oregon with our four small children with Tom staying in Texas with his family for 3 months due to our job. We were living n a small 3 bedroom apartment, upstairs at the back of our apartment complex. There we were, in a State we had never been in before, in a season unfamiliar to us (it was colder than cold), with no idea where anything was, not even the grocery store.
We spent most of our days in this little apartment, Sundays we went to church and then there were days in between there that we would go to Costco, which was the only store I knew how to get to for a while, and grocery shop. This was a difficult time but in a way it was the best time of my life. Celeste would flood the bathroom floor daily, yes daily. After unpacking everything I washed all the linens, folded them and put them away. I was still cleaning and decorating when I walked into the girls bedroom to find Noah standing in the closet door peeing on all the freshly washed linens that I had just folded and put away. Okay when I say "linens" I mean comforters. I just sat down, yep right there were I stood in the doorway I sat down and just started to cry. Exhaustion doesn't even come close to how I was feeling in that moment.
I am sure to some this will all sound trivial but for me it was bigger than a mountain, I was staring impossibility in the eye and it wasn't backing down. Later that week the boys pulled all the lights off the Christmas light strand I had hanging in their room for light. These apartments had no light fixtures so I had to hang Christmas lights in the kids bedrooms. Anyways, Kyra was at an age where she was sticking everything in her mouth. I took the boys into their room and the interrogation began. Where were the lights!?!?! After an hour or so of looking for them and asking the boys we still had not found them. In utter frustration and just exhaustion I went to my bedroom in tears and started to pack a bag. This was that moment when I needed an escape. My plan was just to leave, to leave and never look back. Disappear into the night never to be heard from again. You got it, I was just going to leave the kids there and disappear. Now please understand these stories I am telling you are just some of what got me to this point in my life. So before you judge me, understand this was just a piece of the puzzle and not even the biggest parts. This was just 'the straw that broke the camels back'.
I needed a rescue, an escape hatch, or emergency exit. Something had to give or I was going to go "R U N N O F T". Okay making light of where my heart was at is not going to portray to you the hurt and fear of failure that was pulsing through my veins. My world was at best limping along in immense pain, and turmoil with a smile on her face and playing the part.
Right there in that moment I remember thinking that everything was hopeless. I had fought scratched and clawed to hold on to some version of myself and the idea of what I thought being a wife, mom and woman looked like and nothing, NOT ONE THING in my life even resembled that idea. What was wrong with me? What was I doing wrong? Had I chosen wrong? Was I not meant to ever be a mom? So many questions and inside this little girl who had just given up. I reached to turn the light off in the bedroom and took in a deep breath...and there it was. My "On-Star" program was kicking in. No longer could I just give up, HE was asking me for more, but I didn't have more to give. What "more" did He want? He wanted it all. He wanted all of me, not just the parts of me I didn't know what to do with. You see I had ideas, fantasies, dreams...I had PLANS. I already knew what I wanted my life to look like so I didn't think I needed Him cause I already had it handled, but did I really...
In that moment my heart changed its rhythm. He changed the rhythm of my heart. How? Suddenly there was this peace in me that it was all going to be okay. That He had a plan and it was beyond my comprehension. No, Celeste didn't stop flooding the bathroom, no my circumstances hadn't changed but suddenly I had this overwhelming love for my kids like I had never had before and I knew that it was all going to be okay. This didn't come as a result of my falling on the floor to my knees and crying out to the Lord for His help. This happened when I inhaled as I turned off the light. To this very day I cannot explain in words what took place in my heart but I can say I surrendered it all.
I have found that I do this, I hold on for dear life to things that are not and never were mine to begin with. I have not always relinquished control gracefully but I am learning. I am a work in progress. However that said, in those pivotal moments when I choose to let it go, God picks it up and makes His beautiful workmanship out of something I was just squishing.
There are moments like this in life where we panic. We desire that escape hatch, emergency exit, etc., however as we move towards it something about our survival instinct jerk us back into that place where we choose to either remain panicked and in misery or it requires us to think, to be still and wait on the Lord. The "survival instinct" that urges us to run to the Father is the Holy Spirit. I like to think of the Holy Spirit as a sort of On-Star system. It is amazing how big our circumstances look when we are viewing them through our own eyes but when you view them through God's eyes they become so small, just as significant but no longer impossible or overwhelming.
What obstacle or circumstance in your life has you backed in a corner? Is there something that you are walking through that has you feeling like you NEED air? Trapped is not a feeling that I enjoy for any more seconds than I absolutely am required to, and God's design for my life says I am not required to at all. Now it will happen from time to time that I will find myself in these situation but that is out of my own doing. It is up to me to recognize it and as soon as I identify it in my life, take it straight to the Lord and give it to him.
Don't suffer in silence, but be completely dependent on the Lord for every need you have. When you go rushing for an escape, look to Him for He is where our help comes from.
Lord, thank you for being a constant love in our life. For always being faithful to complete every good work you have started. We are all your good works and you have not finished working on us.Thank you for taking on the cares of this world so that we would not have to. For giving your Son to die on the cross in our place. There is no greater gift. Help us to identify those areas in our lives where we are not depending on you. I pray that we would rush into the shadow of your wing and take refuge in your presence. It is in the name of Jesus that I pray, amen.
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