I have no real vision for this post other than to write what's on my heart and push publish.
I feel weary. So much so that lately it seems like the smallest thing-- bickering between the kids, a child talking back to me, a meal to be made, a task to do... any of those just normal, daily things make me want to run and hide. And cry. This past week I ended up on my bed, in tears, several times, just saying, "I can't do this." To myself, to God, to Mark.
It all feels like so much sometimes, doesn't it? I'm wondering why I'm so weary; why do I feel so exhausted? Maybe it's the fact that this parenting gig is a marathon. And I'm tired. Sometimes the constancy of it all makes me feel a little crazy.
And this homeschooling gig? Also, a marathon. I'm tired. I want to be all done for the year. Normally we would be but I'm looking ahead at the calendar for the next six weeks thinking, "How can we wrap this up sooner?" (I think we will.)
And there's marriage. (Also a marathon, right?) There's this man who I love dearly and who is so good to me and works so hard and serves tirelessly when he is home. But marriage is hard work. A good marriage requires a lot of intentionality and communication and service and love. We normally do this pretty well. (That's because I'm married to pretty much the most patient, kindest man ever.) But it's hard work when there's just two of you. Add five kids and communication is scarce and we're feeling disconnected and things can go straight downhill. So that happened this week (not the five kids. We've had them. But the scarce(r) communication and the disconnectedness, combined with everything else you'll read in this post) and it brought with it all sorts of emotion and hurtful words (me to him) and all is well, but thank God for His word and His authority in my life because, well, I need Him so desperately.
We have also been involved in an ongoing issue with some extended family that has caused great strain on both of us. A simple conversation, months ago, turned into an uproar and so much anger towards us. We left befuddled and wounded and have been seeking God and asking Him, "What do we do?" Every attempt of ours-- and there have been many-- to reconcile has been shut down, and this is hurtful. These family members are believers, and we see them frequently. We have been wronged, and it is so difficult for me to find mercy in my hard heart to someone who has hurt me. I keep asking God to grow me in humility and in mercy. I am praying these verses:
Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. (Ephesians 4:2)
But the wisdom that comes from God is first of all pure, then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness. (James 3: 17-18)
And I keep having these conversations with the Lord-- or questions, really-- Can I accept never getting the apology I think we deserve? Can I accept never getting the answers I think we're owed? Can I-- no, will I-- forgive, show mercy, let go of my record of the wrongs they committed for the sake of peace and unity? Can I leave it to God to be the judge; to deal with their hearts? Can I surrender what I think is best? I must. But the reality is that it is difficult to be with them in light of the words they spoke and the anger directed at us. So what does it look like to forgive, to show mercy, to continue on in relationship with someone when they have hurt you? (Honestly, I generally run the other direction and avoid such people at all costs. I really do.) Can I be gracious, can I be kind, can I be pleasant? I am asking God what that looks like, asking Him to soften our hearts, and to help us surrender to His ways and for us walk righteously in this.
All that and I realized yesterday that it's been nearly three months since Isaac's symptoms began, and one month since Isaac's scopes and the biopsy results that were clear, and the "All is well!" from the gastroenterologist. But he is still not well. He is ending his third month of diarrhea, 4-5 times a day. I am thanking God that his joint pain is gone, the hives are gone, his appetite seems to be back, and his strength is up, but what remains are his stomach issues, continued mucous in his stools and a sore "snotty" throat. He is discouraged.
So that weighs on us. We've seen the specialists. Now what? We don't know what to do other than to pray for his healing and pray that God will make it clear to us what we are to do next. Or perhaps this is due to the viral infection still making its way out of his body?
So there's that. We ate gluten-free for a week until Mark stepped in and lovingly, gently, carefully said that it was an awful lot of extra work for me to continue doing this when we don't know if it's helping, we don't know if it's what Isaac needs. So he took that off my plate. And I was so relieved. I hadn't realized how much anxiety that was adding; and how much work it was adding for me, but it really was. So we're back to somewhat normal-ish eating (though I am trying to be conscientious about lowering our gluten intake.) But I struggled with that-- both ways. It was difficult to do it but at least I felt like I was doing something; and while I am relieved not to have to come up with gluten-free menus for all seven of us, I feel like a quitter and suddenly I feel like we're the unhealthiest eaters on the planet. ;) Nonetheless, I trust my man.
So there we are. Tonight I'm headed on a date with my Ella-girl, who always wants to spend one-on-one, heartfelt-conversation time with me and I love that and I adore her but I am sort of feeling like I don't have it in me. I am praying that God will strengthen me to pour out and into her. She is a gem. A beautiful young woman who loves God so much. I am so thankful. She's so sweet, too. Here's an example of a note from my girl, left for us last week:
Daddy and mommy: I just wanted to tell you guys that I love you SO, so much. I was just thinking about how dear you are to me. Thank you SO much for being the most sweet, kind, generous, wonderful, fun, great, loving, funny and most amazing parents ever. I am SO thankful for you.See? She gives notes like this all the time. What grace.
Blessings to you all,