fickled expectation

expectations are funny things. fickle things. falling-short things, really.

and boy howdy do we have much too many of them all at once.

i know i do. did. will have again. unfortunately.

yes, i was one of the many who thought marriage would be something i would be good at.

my perception of wife-hood was one of which i totally thought i would rock. like i rocked those wrangler jeans in the barn days of my youth.

being a wife was something i totally thought i had covered. and yes, this is where i pause to laugh because i honestly thought: 

how could it not be?

how could i not have this covered? i paid attention. every compliment. every seeming act of virtuous wife. i studied it. i mimicked it. craved it. grasped for it. fell short of it. and kept on again.

that is, until i got married myself. and realized expectation doesn’t come in terms of “one,” it comes as a whole flock.

it’s not about having an expectation.

it’s about having expectationssssss. times infinity.

because sure there’s the expectation of the condition of the marital relationship. of how fights will go. or not go.

but there’s also the house.

the city.

the lifestyle.

a thousand little expectations all culminating and merging into one whole expectation of what marriage will be like.

you may not have any expectations for your spouse. at least not unrealistic ones. but what about the environment of living it all.

and in the midst of the reality of my fickle little friend, Expectations, i was affronted with the fact that being a mother would be another time of me falling so much shorter than i ever imagined.

motherhood and wifehood. and all the whimsical dreams of youth now brought to light.

how do we turn that stark brightness off? dim it down a little bit… a little less harsh… a little more dream-like.

Halmark-Card-me… there should be an app for that…

or at least an oil.

oh naive, simpleton, me.

children are the mirrors of ourselves. and our spouses. and you thought communicating with another adult was hard. or trying to understand your own self at times was exhausting enough… *laugh* *cough*

and then you try to lead a child version- understand the child, speak with the child. listen to the child. have patience with the child. and don’t lose your-self to your-selfishness along the way.

don’t take the frustrations of the child-learning into the husband-endearing, and don’t take the trials of the husband-loving into the child-growing.

going from tiny humans to grown human, and back again.

the meter running out all the while on that little introvert battery of yours…

for how do you really truly fill an introverted heart in an overflowing house. city all abuzz and never a moment to breath?

the rush of it all collides against and collapses into you, and all the while trying to catch, and rear, teach and love…

it could overwhelm a person entirely.

too entirely.

but all is grace.

all is gift.

i always wanted to be a mother. i just never wanted to be a city-mother. an errand-running-mother. a life lived everywhere but here, mother. 

i am not the mother i wanted to be. 

i wanted that life of sitting on palettes in front of fire place… reading books, snuggled close. pajama day? every day.

play outside on mountain knoll… climb the rocks… explore the untamed woods… do it all with the nose in a book.

you all can have the city… i’ll take the farm… the mountain ranges… the anywhere that herds of people are not. 

oh, the fickled expectations… if only life always fit like the pair of jeans from childhood. the ragamuffin days. the lay on the hillside, watch the clouds play, days. 

the scramble to the woods. the build a fort from fallen Aspen trees. the days of black and white, and everything fell just right. 

but you see what i’ve done, don’t you? equating the circumstance to the occupation of motherhood. that the mothering comes easy when the life comes easy. and when the winds of life blow hard, the air gets knocked right out of me and i lay down not knowing what to do.

expectations locked up in circumstance.

and everything begins to crumbled right dust.

so i name the grace gift of motherhood.

of wifehood.

of Him being All Good.

of chilled days.

and warm teas.

of log piles.

and Christmas trees.

of fort climbing.

and slide racing.

swing giggles.

wild and crazy.

i name the grace and pray that finds the Joy He gave in this life of mine.

to let it go and let it be… and maybe find a peace for me.

to give up on this grating desire for everything to lay perfect. quiet.

to live the upside down motherhood life- of mothering in the life.

and not letting the living control the mother i am going to be.

to name the grace even when everything seems to not be… as it should be.

 

 

 

 

God’s Provisions in Nature… Part 1

and wow, has it been a while? 

Is this what happens? When life crashes rough and things just start to spin? You cling tight and let that whirlwind sweep you right out of Kansas? 

to pursue daily time with Him who has given His all, for all of you, for all of time… and then still.

to have someone who comes along side the wearied you, and helps you cling to that ruggedness of a cross and the gift of emptied tomb.

I have always struggled it seems with one health thing or another. from undiagnosed auto-immune diseases to things that stump my doctors still. and am I among the crazy that believes God will give us all the things we need? possibly. yes. from having four different types of ADD- to a Non-verbal Learning Disorder- taking prescriptions for all of them, and none of them truly helping without causing serious side effects….

now, don’t get me wrong, I believe there is a time for modern medicine- I wouldn’t have some of my favorite people here with me today if modern medicine did not exist.

I vaccinate my children.

But it’s the other drugs that worry me… and I want to find alternative, natural, solutions for better ways to take care of my family… and my home.

From my last post to last week I was having panic attacks every. single. day. (sometimes most of the time more than once.) but I believe that when God created this wondrously intricate world, He created ways for us to care for ourselves. In nature, there are so many wondrous things that can help heal, build your immunity, aid in rest, balance hormones, purify and clean, or just flat out cure.

the lovely and beautiful Abby Perry, a role-model to me in so many ways, a warrior of a woman- yes, her- she reached out to me in the midst of all the “crazy,” and started to give me information on some wonderful little pieces of God-given-earth-gifts called doTerra essential oils. I went back and forth, teetering on the edge, and then, with a package dedicated to “tranquility, calmness, full body relaxation,” I up and plunged right in.

I’ve had “Balance,” “Serenity,” and “Whisper” for one week now. I’ve been experimenting with them daily, and just diffused “Balance” last night while going to sleep…

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And the anxiety attacks have lessened.

And y’all, this last week was THE last week of school! Yeah, I don’t think anxiety goes down one iota on its own accord during the week to end all weeks.

The family physician kit is on the horizon for the next purchase- I mean, oh my goodness these things can do SO much. The Introduction To Essential Oils Kit looks like an amazing starter kit (with SO MANY USES) for those who, like me, are just sitting there teetering. Or even for those who are completely skeptical and rolling their eyes.

So there is my “one week in” update… there will probably be many more intermingled here…

the things that God has placed into this world for us just continues to knock wind out of sails and fill me to overflowing. from the gift of Him in us, His unfailing promise to work all things for good, to provide for our every need. He is so gloriously good, I am in awe of Him. 

just. standing. in. awe.

and oh the adventures are becoming grand…

and this home is abundant in wondrous crazy…

So stay tuned everybody…

I am also planning on becoming a Distributer with Juice Plus+ and there will be more on that later. but for those of you wanting to add FOOD to your every day for your entire family- food that maybe you don’t have regular access to, or just for peace of mind that your family is putting some amazing, wholesome, organic, goodness into their bodies- seriously check it out! 

 

 

IF. & then, what?

I look in the mirror, and it’s there.

Stark. and red. And blaring.

from tens of different spots of imperfectness staring back at me declaring hotly, “not. Good. Enough.”

Ugly.

Unworthy.

the little voice inside, it taunts,

Hide your skin under layers of makeup.

Go ahead and bury your soul right there as well.

Don’t let anyone see the flaws… because then… that’s all they will see.

Wear the mask that best fits in with this world so that you can blend and merge and just right lose yourself in the all of its rush.”

 

Don’t stand out.

Don’t be different.

Don’t stand up.

Don’t speak out.

Don’t feel too deeply.

 

Because when you start to Love as Christ Loved it’s going to right Hurt real.

It’s going to Cost something.

It’s going to cost you…. every. thing.

 

I feel it when people say, “you have enough,” … “enough children,” “You’re busy enough,”

… that what they are really saying is, “you are not enough,” “you don’t have room for another child,” “There are others who can bring an orphan into their homes and be better than you could ever be,” “you don’t have the resources to support any other body outside of those living under your roof already…”

These dreams and desires of yours are too outrageous, too unconventional, too costly.

 

That there’s no way this vision seeded deep within is God-given.

 

And maybe that’s not what they mean?

 

That we have these places and dreams and ideals… and while I am going into the end of my twenty-fifth year of life does it seem ridiculously ludicrous to some?

That a child who is probably yet to be born is growing in my heart so ferociously loved?

That I know her name, and cry over her?

That I yearn for her?

 

And the truth is: the exhaustion of today is. real. 

The tired, and sensitivity, and what is wrong with all these hormones all coursing rampant within me?

And the sickness? The one they draw blood for and can’t give answers to?

And so am I just supposed to up and give in and be done with the desiring and striving?

 

Victor Frankl said, “The root of anxiety is unfulfilled responsibility,”

And is this new surge of anxiety-strained nights the result of just that?

 

If God has seeded us with a vision- we can do it, in Christ. There is nothing we cannot do. Nowhere we cannot go. You just have to play your one note, and I will play mine. And together we will play a song that sounds like FREEDOM to the captives.”

Jen Hatmaker, IF:Gathering

 

And everyone says that I have enough… so then why do I feel this immense tugging on my heart for more?

To do more. To love more. To serve more. To empty myself utterly and completely? To just up and right SACRIFICE?

 

To redefine “comfort zone” to being in the presence of the Comforter.

To Love as Passionately as Christ, for the people of this world– and, as Ann Voskamp pointed out this weekend, the original meaning of “Passion” is “To suffer. (i.e.)- being willing to suffer for who you love.”

 

So what then should I give, do, relinquish, become a part of? … if it means even one person is saved? One person is no longer hungry? One person is no longer in sex trafficking? One person is no longer orphaned?

 

And you may think that’s hormones, but I’ve cried out the very depths of my dried up self over the orphaned and the gendercide and the evil of the selling of flesh as a commodity.

 

So if,

Calling is nothing more than when your talents and burdens collide.”

and if,

burden is informed by the life you’ve lived- by what has broken your heart,”

(Rebekah Lyons, IF:Gathering)

why then, when a person has clarity in this, do we not Champion them on?

Why do we not encourage, and run with, and lift up hands on their behalf?

Why not revive each other?

Why not empower one another?

To intercede for, and dream with, and just get completely ecstatically amazed over the work that God is building up for them to do…

In order for His Name to be made known… And His love to be shown

Across. The. Nations.

 

I have this pressing sense of urgent desire

An overwhelming, anxiety inducing, urgency deep within the marrow of me

To. Do. More.

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… what IF we became a generation of women who live like our God really is really REAL?

entry twenty seven

every. single. thing. in this house needs to be put back in its place. and it is all chaos. for all time. For even if it gets cleaned today, by sunup tomorrow it will need to all be done again.

and this time is this gift wasted on cleaning only what has been undone. to redo.

the monotony of motherhood.

and each day it is  bountifully full of wonders.

the girl child of mine seems to learn five new words every day, as she dwells in her world of blissful beauty and incandescent laughter. this bubble life of hers is glorious. and joy.

and boy-child-growing-to-school-age? well, he’s just right racket-balled-smacking against anything solid. all disheveled merriment. and who can keep up with a boy turned wild where those things are?

In this midst of all of this… and I feel weight-of-solid-too-heavy-to-take-full-breath   b e a r i n g   down and   c r u s h i n g   bone. into. dust.

choking on dust.

drowning in the dust.

and the dry of the soul.

The dawn breaks.

It whispers into sleeping child heads of tasseled blondness.

And then hear them come, together, hand in hand, beaming the brightest –  before the daylight even has a chance to break the horizon of this fast in slumber world.

a n d   t h e   w e i g h t   p r e s s e s .

the whole body drags and drops down stairs, one still-half-asleep foot after the other, to nurse a babe. and the mental fortress behind the drooped lids gird up for the fresh brutality of toddler forces. and the day.

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and, most every day, I have left Him waiting.

And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever,”  (John 14:16) emphasis added

And Jesus, the Son, said that God, the Father, would send another– “another that is just. like. the. FIRST.”

Here He is, the Holy Spirit– one in the same as the Father and the Son- and what do I do?

I quench Him.

The very thing God commands not to do, and I do it.

I find myself drowning in the dust of my own efforts as I refuse to fully submit my life to the Spirit of the Living God.

I am child holding tightened fist and refusing to let my Father fill me up with all the good and the help He has for me. As I cry like the overgrown tiny human I am.

Atheist, Spirit-quenching, child.

oh how blind can you possibly get before you will finally. be. able. to. see ?

To unclench that child-like hand of yours.

to relinquish.

to cup hands closely open

 to drink deeply of the grace gift so. inordinately. good. 

entry twenty four

it’s the black and the white of the world and the do’s and don’t’s and should’s and shouldn’t’s all begin to stop making perfect sense all of a sudden. and how and why the stress of something fleeting can fill up the mind and burst from the mouth?

why the tired of the day yields to the exhaustion of the constant and comes out all anger and ugly? why women need more sleep than men? or we’ll get mean. when the hunger sneaks up through the midst of perfect child chaotic mess of a day,

and the ugly

it.  just.  retches.  itself.  all.  out.

before it can be swallowed back?

when there’s so much love and yet none at all– and the thought of no longer hearing the tantrums and the tired sits okay enough within that the thought of leaving it all behind doesn’t seem horrid but pulls pleasant?

and you, you thought you were made for motherhood but all that fills you is resounding failure. that at the end of the day, what was it that was accomplished that won’t need repetition the very next day?

And tens of thousands of times after

and it all wears thin.

and naming the grace gifts have been far from me. held off at arms length.

the race pulls at me and all i look for is the ending and the gentle soothe of knowing it is all over and i am all done. and the wanting that it won’t come fast enough.

and i am at loss.

for the desire may be good, the looking for the eternal, but it’s in such a desperation that it leaves all loathe for the place i find myself in … the here. and the now.

and how is that glorifying? and do i even care?

i want to whisper the thought – has my heart become so tired that it too has turned to all ugly? 

can i not wake long enough to name the grace that surrounds and abounds.

infant child “nu nu” sounds

young son’s desires to be as big brother

big brother desires to be baby once more

and the thought process there… oh son… you too will grow… and growth is an awfully big adventure. and sometimes it may feel all awful, that’s true. but the grace, it’s here, son. and the joy that comes from fully giving of a thanks that fully fills… to experience that, son. I pray you will live the majority of your life experiencing such a joy.

but that means you have to continue to grow. and the growth will be good. it will be hard. and it will end good.

our flesh is incredibly weak, child. and the pull of this world is wickedly sweet. but bypass the happiness to find the joy, you will find no regret there.

and here, when the desire for sleep leads to the demanding for rest and when respite is refused… to name grace. and when this feels like the hardest thing, to give thanks for the exhaustion. to give thanks for the crying. to give thanks for the never ceasing constant serving cycle of the day.

and maybe it’s time to rewrite the black and the white according to the serving of Christ that does not make the perfect of sense to the outside looking in.

-and to be okay when it’s met with the backhanded whispers and the shaking of Miss Manner’s head.

-when entertaining people may be bringing them into the realness of what is instead of a facade of something that’s all together perfect tidy.

-to fully relinquish that which causes stress and to realign priorities.

for the   eternal.   to.   matter.   more.  than the clutter that will burn and fade to nothing. 

 

entry twenty three

And the eyes ache. And the human patience has its limitations. And when eyes are pushed, and patience trembles, and all inside wants to shout out and curl into tiny quiet places- because does a woman ever have just one emotion?

and it’s all right about to be ruined.

It feels like dropping a ball over and over and over and over again… and the ferocity of it all makes me want to pick up each of these orbs and instead of catching them one. more. time. … just throw them like hot potatoes as far and fast away from my nervous system as is humanly possible.

because it hurts.

there is ache and exhaustion and a constant state of servanthood is not an easy supplication.

and the cry of my heart is to be as Christ like as possible… and with the opportunity to give all of myself on a daily basis, here I am wanting to run for the hills.

To be Maria on the mountain top once more- and to think she never would have come down if she had only known she would end up being a mother to seven.

And children are blessings? And everything for good?

And the baby screams instead of accepting sleep, and screams for days. and weeks follow slow. and this is blessed?

I sit mother over child. I stand and sway the unable-to-be-soothed-babe against my chest, and hold tight when it hits hard. For my mother heart knows the eyes need rest, and the body is weak and it is weary, but the boy-full-of-sobs doesn’t understand and he builds up defiance deep within his lung fibers, releasing bellows of indignation right to my face.

And how often do I scream at God? I am pleading for something I am not receiving, and does He not hear? And how as Father does He not just silence it all right then and there? For we are but children, and are unaware of what it is He is preparing us for, of how He is trying to give us exactly what we need in this present time… And in that black pit of the depth of my heart, am I sitting here thinking i know better?

“Shhhh” is the sound I give to my child. Eyes red and swollen, circles formed deep underneath. And more often than not I believe are faces bear similar markings of just right exhaustion. Or maybe we are fighting against the thing we need most. When we cocoon within our own commiserating and refuse to let in the light which might just warm us through to the very tips of our being…

the holding of grudges, the withholding of grace. forgiveness. thanks. we deny joy, and cling to the rot of our own misery. And we stand against the Father and declare we know better. And it all, all of defiance, may in fact sound like a tired defiant infant child.

And then thankfulness may fill up the heart and overflow out the mouth for the realization that the perfect Father is the one standing over this time- this life- and He. is. Patience.

Just as we want to give our children every good and beautiful thing- He gives us all good- all of Him– for all of us, and of that good there will always be enough.

And the baby quiets, the sleep-suckling takes over, and there is grace. and He is here. And we can rest in Him.

fifteen

It’s happened two times; two times since I became an adult, since I reached this age of independence and self-sufficiency… it has happened twice. When the phone rings and knocks the breath clean out of my lungs. And to breathe feels like drowning. And to communicate the shock is near impossible for the words are thick and weighted deep in the heart and the blood rushes faster than ever, but thought becomes sluggish and is never birthed forth into spoken word.

And it’s a feeling of helplessness.

Of out of my hands and out of my control.

And I cannot even be there to bear witness.

Or to comfort my own selfish heart.

To hold his hands or to see him hold is second grandson for the first time… because that hasn’t happened yet. My son is one month old, and has never been held by his grandfather. And that makes the tears pile behind closed lids. The water gathers and I swallow it back. Because crying won’t help anything. It’ll just wake the reflux filled infant sleeping in a basket at my feet. And tears don’t cure cancer.

I wish they did though. Because I can do that. I can cry.

I can pray. But I think I can cry better. And I can be desperate and sleep deprived and unable to put thought into words.

But oh, I could cry. And if tears could heal we’d all be well.

Now I crave to know every medical term in the books, and even the ones that haven’t made it to text yet. To fully understand and comprehend just how bad everything is. Because the internet makes everything appear death, and the doctors make everything appear controllable, and I won’t know the difference. I wish I could understand. but I don’t. I just don’t. My mind is fuzzy and my words empty. (And only partly because I am a mother of three children three years of age and under.)

The other part, the main part, is that in the midst of crisis I process slow.

Looking back to the first time I had gotten a phone call that shook me to the core- to when my little brother had been diagnosed with two brain aneurysms- one as large as a golfball– and I was in this same city, hours away from my family. I wish I had been there more but honestly I feel like my time in that hospital was a blur of pointless – I let things  happen around me and didn’t even try to understand. It’s what helpless looks like. But at least I could be there.

Seated. hands open. desperate to grab hold of anything and everything, unable to touch a single thing. and the rush of the ones in the coats with the knowledge who God has placed in the situation are so busy acting that they cannot fully explain to my confused and chaotic brain.

And here I sit again. Helpless. As my father walks into the unknown with the rest of my family beside him- I sit in this other city. Aware of what is happening by what I receive over a telephone.

And here it is. It’s come. The hard eucharisteo. And do I thank Him? And can I name it? And how does anyone find the joy in the times such as these?

My elocution is lacking. My words are far from beautiful.

So here it is. Written down in black and white. And I am in the midst of walking through it. And God is in the midst of it all.

Eucharisteo.

entry one

I sit. The soothing music from Ann’s blog, “A Holy Experience,” washes over me and soothes. I love reading her posts, her words have a warming feel- like the reading of a letter from one’s dearest friend.

Pain shoots through my ever-growing abdomen, and the life inside me adds to the discomfort by kicking out against the walls of flesh and blood that confine and protect and nourish him. My three year old son sniffles and coughs from the adjacent room as his tininess fights a viral infection- and I feel complete and utter helplessness wash over my worn body. The knowledge that his life is not in my hands- his comfort- I cannot provide his every need. This truth wears at me.

My nerves grind and blood pulses fast. The crying won’t stop. The pains. The exhaustion. The stress of debt constantly calling. Finances get lost in the mommy, pregnancy, sleep-deprived head on these shoulders. Conversations never happen that should. Expectations and disappointments. Surgeries and uncertainties.

A car to fit our constant growing family. Paint to freshen bedroom walls.

Loud Footsteps.

And I want to scream. To release something pent up inside. I envy the balloon that is able to shoot through the room as it releases the air that makes it bulge to just before breaking. I raise my voice at the kids or make angry on my face, and then feel as though I have failed. Everything I am doing wrong- the culmination. But I’m tired and they’re sick. I’m sick and they’re tired.

I take pictures to capture, to freeze in space for all time, those moments in which I find traces of perfection. And I realize I expect a picture perfect life. Looking through others’ life catalogues, their frozen perfects, I feel as though they are accomplishing this life. And I have failed.

To put up framed glimpses of

Calm. Happy. Peace. Joy. Love. Simplicity. Beauty.

All together in a never ending flipbook. And I am so ridiculous as to think that’s what everyone has but me.

And when I just want to cry or escape I feel shallow- that what grates at me and forces my jaws to grind bone against bone, is, in all actuality, a fleeting moment in this life. And it’s not worth the stress.

But how to handle responsibility without stress? To hold to Truth, and live each day to its fullest? To live out an example for my children to follow, and not get caught up in the things of this life and their fleetingness.

To trust. And follow.

To yield.

To break. And to be mended.