A few days ago I had my first meltdown since starting this whole “work at home mom” gig.  Five days in.  Not too shabby.

Monday – well, it was the perfect storm.

  • I was overtired – Ellie was up for the day at 5:40 a.m. despite being up multiple  times throughout the night.  Add to that the fact that Topher was also up during the night and you have one exhausted mama.
  • I was stressed about work.
  • I was overwhelmed with trying to keep up with household chores in addition to juggling work and taking care of the littles.
  • I was worried about money.  Am I making enough?  Am I doing enough?
  • Bikr is back up for sale.  Enough said on that topic …
  • And Nathan’s grandma  had a stroke on Monday.   (She had surgery and is alert and doing reasonably well, but we won’t know more until later in the week once the swelling around her brain has gone down …)

Now that I’m thinking a tiny bit more rationally than I was on Monday evening, I’ve realized something.

I was feeling unappreciated.  Being a mom is hard.  It doesn’t matter if you work at home or outside the home or not at all – IT.IS.HARD.  I’ve been feeling like … well, like I’m giving up so much, making so many sacrifices to make this staying home thing work – and nobody seems to notice.  I’m putting my career on hold, my dreams on the back burner, and walking around like a zombie most days (JUST LEARN HOW TO SLEEP, ELLINORE!) – for what?  Between my work and his church commitments, I see my husband one evening a week – and by that point we’re both so tired that we usually spend it zoning out in front of the TV.  My three-year-old is a terror – I know a big part of it this week is the fact that he’s overtired (two kids in the same room is not working out!) – but spitting on me?  Is that really necessary?

I’ve actually spent some time this week looking for a job, thinking at least then I’d have a break.  I’d have a half an hour for lunch that was MY time.  I could actually get things finished!   I could wear nice clothes and have grown up conversations!  I could go to the bathroom without little hands reaching under the door!

But it’s not about me.

It’s not even about them, really …

It’s about being obedient.

I know I’m where I’m supposed to be, doing what I’m supposed to be doing.

I need to remember that the Lord is my strength.

Not checking things off my to-do list.

Not having a clean house.

Not being the perfect mom or the perfect wife.

I’m not enough – but He is.

The Plan

I used to be The Girl Who Didn’t Have a  Plan.

I remember sitting across from my field ed supervisor during one of our monthly development review meetings.

“What’s your plan?” he asked.

“My plan?”

“Your plan.  For your career.  Your future.  Your ministry.”

“I don’t know,” I said, feeling horribly inadequate.  “I guess I don’t really have one.”

“You have to have a plan,” he said.  “A vision.  You have to have a vision.”

Where there is no vision, the people perish.”

* * *

I guess you could say I took those words to heart.

These days, everything in my life is a plan.  It has to be.  If I don’t have a plan, I feel like my world is spiralling out of control.  My Erin Condren Life Planner only serves to feed my addiction, laying out my daily tasks in neat blocks marked “morning”, “day” and “night”.  A good day has lots of pretty checkmarks; a bad day has none.

I have daily goals.

Weekly goals.

Monthly goals.

Quarterly goals.

Annual goals.

Heck, I even have a detailed five year plan!

* * *

A few days ago I stumbled across the Scripture reference my supervisor used all those years ago.  It’s found in Proverbs 29:18, but The Message says it like this:

If people can’t see what God is doing,
they stumble all over themselves;
But when they attend to what he reveals,
they are most blessed.

My life is so scheduled that there’s no room for flexibility – even for God.  I can’t see what He is doing because I spend all of my time focussing on my lists.  My schedules.  My plans.

If God asked me to do something, would I do it?

Of course I would!

After the dishes were done.  And I had taken the dog out.  And the kids were in bed.  And my contract work was done.  And …

There’s always an and. 

* * *

I used to be The Girl Without a Plan – but I was confident that I was where I was supposed to be, doing what I was supposed to be doing.  I felt no need for a plan beyond simple obedience.

And I want to get back to that place.

Still in Business

I believe in God and I believe in miracles, but I have to admit that I don’t often allow myself to entertain the thought of miracles in my own world.

Then this happened:

Screen Shot 2013-12-17 at 12.45.49 PM

I know I shouldn’t be so shocked.  So speechless.  The God I serve is the same God who parted the Red Sea, after all.

He is the same yesterday, today, and forever.  

And my mother-in-law is proof that He’s still in the business of miracles.

Marking the Day …

I feel like an ungrateful brat.

I’ve spent most of the past two weeks celebrating the holidays with family and friends. We had a fantastic Christmas – Topher was ecstatic to see his drums under the tree Christmas morning! – but despite all the blessings we’ve been showered with – I can’t help feeling sad.

Today was my due date for the baby we lost in May.

I should be happy.

I have a healthy two-year-old who makes me laugh at least a hundred times a day, and I have approximately ten weeks left until I can hold our daughter in my arms. She’s active and – as far as the doctors can tell at this point – completely healthy.

But I still feel like a part of me is missing.

Like a part of our family is missing.

My goal for the weekend is to shake the blues by working on Topher’s big boy room – and hopefully be back with a more positive post or two next week!

Birthday Reflections

Yesterday was my birthday. I spent a good chunk of the day sitting in a lab for a second glucose screen (I failed the first one. Darn you, Christmas sweets!) – and although it’s not exactly the way I wanted to spend my day (catching up on sleep would have been much better!) – it gave me a lot of time to reflect on events of the past year.

Last year I wrote this on my birthday:

    Today is my birthday.

    I had a completely different post planned – a 10 Year Vision post, like this one by Amber – but my mind has been stuck in the past lately. Instead of picturing myself ten years in the future, I can’t seem to shake the image of the girl that I was ten years ago – lost, but desperately searching – and comparing that image with who I am today. It’s funny … I have everything that girl thought she wanted: a life far outside the borders of the small town I grew up in, a husband who loves me, a happy, healthy little boy, a good career … but somehow, I feel as if the girl version of me had it a lot more together than the current version does. That girl was lost, but searching – this girl may no longer be lost (or at least, that’s the appearance she tries to portray …) but has become jaded.

    So very, very jaded.

    But I’ve (finally!) come to realize that I can only blame other people for so long.

    I can only blame Church for so long.

    The truth is that it’s nobody’s fault but my own …

    A lot of the time, we don’t have any control over what happens to us – but we DO have control over how we react to it.

    I didn’t react very well four years ago – and that has led to four years of distrust. Anger. Bitterness.

    And a whole host of other ugly, ugly things …

    But it stops now.

    Here’s to a new year – and a new beginning.

I feel like writing that post – even though I never shared it publicly – was a turning point. It was as if putting those thoughts into words made me actually aware of them – so I could work to change them. I’m still not where I want to be – I still feel far away from God. I still feel like a frightened, insecure shell of the passionate and confident girl who moved to Alberta to work at a youth ranch and eventually complete a degree in youth ministry.

But maybe that’s just life. Maybe we all go through ups and downs like that in our faith journey.

I’ve been reminded of a few things this year:

I’ve been reminded that getting close to God takes effort and discipline on my part, but how it’s so completely worth it. How much more grateful and worshipful I am when I spend time in the Word.

I’ve been reminded how small I am and how big God is – and how He is in control. Even when I don’t understand, and even when it hurts – He’s still God. He’s still on His throne. That’s a lesson I seem to learn over and over again – but it’s always true. Maybe someday I’ll remember it when I”m “in the thick of things” so I actually run TOWARD God instead of away from Him …

I’ve been reminded how blessed I am. Even if I never receive anything else – I’ve already been abundantly blessed. Especially with my little family. Topher can be a challenge some days but even then my love for him is nowhere near God’s love for me. For all of us. And I can be a lot more stubborn and rebellious than my little man! (Hey, he had to get that attitude from somewhere, right?)

I can only wait and see what faith (and life!) lessons the next year holds …