“I just…Nobody ever. My house. I don’t even know.”

That’s about the summation of my thoughts when I walked into my house today after a breakfast date with my husband, courtesy of a family from church.

Apparently the breakfast date was part of a plan to bless me by cleaning my entire house as a surprise.

How do you feel about your house? Do you hold secret shame about your pack-rat tendencies, handed down for 3 generations? Do you always hear yourself saying, “If I could just declutter, this place wouldn’t be such a wreck”? Do you feel overwhelmed by the state of your house as you just try to survive daily life? Do you say, “If I could just stop hanging onto the past, I could get rid of all these things”? Do you remember the panic in your house growing up, rushing around trying to make a place look presentable, whenever someone was going to come over, which as almost never, because letting anyone come over was too guilt-inducing?

Imagine you are all of those things, you are a young adult woman trying very hard to break the hold of All That Stuff, you are starting to get on top of it, and then you are slammed with postpartum anxiety and depression and a baby who doesn’t sleep well. You’re just barely scraping by, but every day you look at the growing chaos in your home and face your actual inability to do anything about it. Then imagine a group of people, out of the sheer spirit of Christ-given generosity within them, and completely unbeknownst to you, comes and cleans your house while you’re out on a date. And you come home to that.

I was so shocked that I just walked around my house speechless for a good 10 minutes, and then I just sat in the rocking chair in my baby’s freshly picked-up room and took it all in. There just aren’t words to describe. I’m going to be processing this deep, deep down for a long time. I’ll get back to you in a year about it…

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Filed under journaling, Nonfiction

4 AM Thoughts: Light against Darkness

Soaking myself in gospel-centered books (like “Treasuring Christ When Your Hands Are Full” that I have been reading lately) is helping teach me to look at my life through a gospel lens.

Last night around 4 AM, as I was trying to get back to sleep, letting thoughts spin around in my head, this thought occurred to me–really, a perspective change, a rearranging of ideas that I needed: How can my particular kind of suffering act as vessel for God’s redemptive work to shine through?

It really stopped me in my tracks. I obviously haven’t been doing a good job of shining lately in my particular circumstances.

But then again, that’s the point.

Where does God OUTshine me in this? That is really the question I should be asking–for ALL of life that goes wrong. How does God outshine this? How does the person of God shine out against the background of our circumstances? How or why or where can we place our hope in Him instead of in our circumstances?


 

Trying out some of my 4 AM thinking–this is going to take some practice.

Tonight as I listen to the sound of my overtired, refluxy baby as my husband holds him, I remember that God holds us in our storms, too.

That’s the best I got.


 
There are two struggles that I have related to BJ’s hard times at night. One, I have always struggled to believe God cares about little details in life. That struggle comes straight up to front and center when BJ can’t get to sleep.
 
Two, I struggle to believe God will take care of M for me when I am too sleep deprived to take care of him. This is very hard to say and leaves me very broken. One of my other lifelong fears has been that if I ever became a mother, I would absolutely screw up my kids. When I got pregnant with M, that struggle came to front and center and since he was born

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Careers

Careers I Could’ve Pursued If I’d Only Known:

-Counseling

-Home decorating

-Scientific research

-Preschool teacher

I was a florist before I was a stay-at-home mom. I’m so glad I got a chance to do something creative like that.  Maybe one day I’ll go back.

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In Memory of Mama Kitty

We found her in the backseat of our car when I was about 5 or 6, nursing three newborn kittens.  Our landlord didn’t allow have pets, but my mom just couldn’t turn away.  So we hid the kitties and named them all.  Mama Kitty was soft, medium-haired, and gray, with a white bib and white paws and occasional patches of tan.  We named the kittens Fluffy, Buffy and Muffy.  My mom never got them fixed, and Muffy had herself a litter of kittens after about a year, and then shortly after that, Mama Kitty had another litter, bringing our cat total to 14!  We named them, too, although we obviously could not keep that many cats at our place.  The two I remember were Curious George, who was always getting out of the box to explore, and Butterscotch, my personal favorite.

One summery Saturday afternoon when the kittens were old enough, we had a yard sale and put all the kitties in a box marked “FREE.”  Well, all the kitties minus one… My mom couldn’t give up sweet Mama Kitty.  Not long afterward, we moved to a house where the landlord didn’t mind us having pets.

Mama Kitty loved to sit on our laps, or perch herself on the couch next to us, or sleep on our beds.  She crept in so quietly that for months, I nearly had a heart attack when she jumped up into the bed with me.  Eventually, I got tuned in enough to her almost-silent footsteps that I was semi-prepared for when she leaped up.

She liked to sleep on our pillows, and if I had freshly showered, she would sniff my hair forever and try to chew it.  It drove her kitty ears crazy when we whistled.  She would poke her fuzzy face right up against our lips, like a kitty kiss.

When she was early into her double-digits, she got really sick.  I remember watching her bend her head down toward the water really really slowly, but she would never drink any.  She got skinnier and skinnier and we got really worried about her.  We finally took her to the vet, but it was too late.  She died of kidney failure in my sister’s arms on the way there.

Mama Kitty was a great family cat and we all loved her.  Miss you, kitty.

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Sometimes Wounds Heal

Sometimes wounds heal.  And you don’t realize it until one day you remember two songs that used to make you cry, but don’t anymore, because instead of being in the midst of grief over what you didn’t have, you are finally thankful for the gifts you have been given that fill the holes. Namely your husband, your son, and your son-on-the-way.

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Filed under Nonfiction, Reflective Writing

Ashes and Gold Statues

(Things to note down and elaborate on later.)

Flowers between the cracks

Broken vessels

Life from the ashes

Stained glass windows

Jars of clay

Seedling

Flower in rain

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Filed under Nonfiction, Writing Prompt

Why Am I A Stay-At-Home Mom?

Why did you decide to become a stay-at-home mom?

Sometimes that question comes at just the right moment. A gal asked this on a moms chat group I’m part of on Facebook.  I’ve never been able to answer it before, but this time the answer came right to me as I typed.  I’m so glad I finally have this in writing now.  It’s what I have been trying to straighten out for 2 years.

Lots and lots of reasons… The first one that comes to mind is: it’s hard for me personally to handle two demanding jobs at one time. I suspected this would be the case when I got pregnant, although I wasn’t sure, because who knows exactly what motherhood is really going to demand of you right out of the gates??? Besides that, the small business I was working for didn’t have a paid maternity leave option. So when I had my son, I went ahead and quit my job, knowing if I wanted to go back they would rehire me in a heartbeat. But–here come my reasons: 1) in those first few months with my son, it became very obvious to me that I would not cope well with working and trying to be a good mommy at the same time. I wouldn’t be able to give 100% at both jobs and so I would always feel like a failure at both. That wasn’t okay with me. 2) As I was realizing this, I was also realizing that it was much, much more important to me for my children to have one of their parents at home, being a parent 24/7, than for me to bring home a sliver of a paycheck that would basically just cover childcare anyway (and that’s a maybe! childcare is ridiculously expensive).

Those were the big reasons that clinched it for me. In addition to those: 3) My husband’s salary was enough to let me stay home. 4) That’s what he had hoped for anyway. And finally– 5) eventually I figured out that I way preferred being a mom to working out in the world anyway. I’m just better suited to it somehow. I didn’t know that before I became one, though.

🙂

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Filed under journaling, Nonfiction