Waiting: When Months Turn Into Years

Every morning that I drop my son off at preschool, I join a procession of moms politely jockeying to be first in line to the classroom. It’s subtle, but I think it’s pretty clear that we are all anxious to leave our tiresome offspring in the hands of other capable adults. Maybe I’m projecting, but I think if we weren’t so hung up on what others thought, you’d see a lot of moms skipping and doing cartwheels on the way back to their cars and then speeding off with Miley Cyrus’ “Party in the USA” blaring and the windows down.  Off in the distance all you’d see is hair blowing wildly out the window like a flag declaring: Hallelujah, let freedom ring!

In this brood of mothers and children, there are a few put together mommies with their cute little hairdos, bright lipstick and shiny heels tapping along the walkway like a sprightly pony.

And then there are the rest of us.

Like a bunch of ashen zombies in yoga pants and fuzzy ponytails, we have tired and glassy eyes that tell of the unspoken horrors of trying to get out the door on time with small children.

I look at myself and other moms and I don’t recall as a kid thinking my mom looked this haggard. But I noticed recently in a professional family portrait, that maybe mom was a lot more frazzled than I remembered.

In this particular portrait, mom isn’t wearing any makeup and her hair is a bumpy mess of curls. But more obvious than the underdone appearance is mom’s bedraggled expression that read like a miserable groan: I have three kids.

I don’t have three, but even having just two children is stressful enough to have me looking like life grabbed me by the hair and jerked me around.

Kids are great and all but raising them is tough on the body and pummels the spirit.

I remember when my son was a baby, every so often I would have these internal panic attacks because it had been months since the last time I wrote, painted or played piano. I would freak out because I was desperately afraid that if I didn’t keep being creative, one day I wouldn’t be, even if I had the time.

I realize now that I wasn’t just anxious about losing my skills, I was afraid that I’d forget how to be “me” and become a faded and fragmented version of my old self.

Child-rearing isn’t the only occupation that can rough up one’s soul. There are many times in life that you might have to set aside normalcy and put off dreams in order to support others you love.

It’s been during these tough seasons that I have attempted to “have it all” and add and add until I felt “normal”. I Knew I couldn’t do everything one hundred percent, but I still wanted to give it a try. When that failed, then I’d opt for a more long-term strategy. Something more akin to what Oprah once said, “You can have it all – you just can’t have it all at once.”

Though this statement offers a positive perspective, it’s missing a source of hope. It’s based on human wisdom and plans. In Jesus I have real hope, and he cares about my soul, loves who I am, and even wants me to dream. Psalm 37:4 says, “Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart.” That’s not just an optimistic mantra it’s a path to true happiness.

Right now raising my kids takes up more of my time than building my dreams. There is a lot of trading, settling, and going without and sometimes it’s gut-wrenching. God knows this and is prepared to take care of me when I’m tired and discouraged. I can look to scriptures like Isaiah 40:31 for encouragement, “But those who wait upon God get fresh strength. They spread their wings and soar like eagles, they run and don’t get tired, they walk and don’t lag behind.”

There are a lot of things that I have been waiting for and will likely keep waiting for a bit longer, like going back to school, writing fulltime and painting a few masterpieces.  Until those desires are fulfilled, I can depend on God to help me thrive during this waiting period and not merely survive.  No matter which approach I take, whether it’s achieving my goals by my own willpower or by God’s direction, it’s going to take time. So while I’m waiting anyway, I’m better off putting my trust in God.

Angie Derrick 9/24/2012 ©

 

 

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The Reason I Write

With the help of my son's antics, I will never run out of stories to tell or lessons to learn.

I was reading some of my past blog entries the other day looking for areas that my writing and website could use improving. Quite unexpectedly, twinges of sadness slowly welled up in me as I read from the softer, more gracious version of myself. The heartache cut deeper as I realized that I have become less observant, less patient, and overall less thankful for the gift that my children are to me.

I’m normally a very calm person. I’m usually pretty patient and not easily overwhelmed. But recently, I’ve had days that I thought I would completely lose my temper and unleash it on my children. There have been moments as of late that I felt like I was completely unraveling.

What changed? Why did teeth-grinding stress take the place of the wonder and awe of motherhood?

Some of it is that my kids are more complicated now and parenting isn’t just managing their basic needs. They are becoming individuals with characters that are much harder to mold than their sleeping and feeding schedules.

But as I read from my past writings and searched my heart, I knew that my son’s times of unrelenting defiance and my daughter’s surly skulking around are not the only sources of my stress. 

The problem is me.

I let my grip on God’s grace loosen over time until I was left grasping at the shreds of my sanity. Instead of focusing on God and choosing to give thanks to him in all circumstances, I’ve been dwelling on my frustrations.

It’s easy to give thanks when praiseworthy things happen. And when life is painful and dark, giving thanks becomes your last hope. But in the peskiness of daily living, it’s harder to remember to give thanks because the challenges seem like something I should be able to manage, not a gift or a trial.

But I need to thank God in all things. I need to thank him when my son’s public tantrums kick my dignity in the head. I need to thank him for his goodness when my daughter’s unreasonableness rubs my last tender nerve utterly raw. I need to praise him until his presence is so thick in the atmosphere of my home that every move I make, every word I say, every thought I have, is coated with it.

I don’t want to forget this ever again. I don’t want to lay this conviction aside and hope that I will remember to act on what I know is true.

I remember the things I write down better than the things I don’t. I write so that I remember what God speaks to my heart. I want to look back at this recorded moment in time and have my memory refreshed and my strength restored.

My sweet beautiful girl. She is the first person I really ever wrote about. She continues to inspire me.


  • I believe in Jesus, loving people, living fully and creating good things. Whether it's art, food or finding solutions, I am always in "creative mode". With this blog I hope to encourage and help others to live in whatever "mode" God has called them to.

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