Wednesday, July 14, 2021

my head is full of longing for what it could be

Sometimes I think I am not going to make it. After a hard day. A day where everyone cries, no one likes my food, nothing is clean and exhaustion tethers me to the earth like a kite in a thunderstorm. Is this all it is? This, day after day after day until I die? Laundry, cooking, cleaning the kitchen table with the same rag I washed yesterday, sweeping the same floor clear of crumbs, saying the same things without end.

Don't do that, don't touch that, why won't you listen. 

A inner voice tells me, stop nagging, don't gripe, talk to your children. But sometimes I can't hear it because my head is full of longing for what it could be but what it is not. Why do I think so much about my life, that life I had before children? It isn't coming back. It died the night my baby was born, and something new arrived. And even while I love my life-after-kids, I also battle negative thoughts. Thoughts that churn my mind with impossible dreams. Dreams of writing, dreams of knitting, dreams of devoting myself to creating and dreams of evenings with tea by the fire and comradeship and study. 

Dreams are fine, I suppose, if only I didn't want them so much. It's like I was offered a field, a field peppered with marigolds and buttercups, windswept and lovely, but I can't ever be happy there because I keep looking behind myself at the lake I just swam through, between the lovely green hills. Instead of being grateful for the field, I want the lake back. 

I'm a mother adrift with loathing, trudging through the flowers like a weary traveler twice her age, carrying my rocks of insolence and boulders of antipathy high on my back, my neck sore from looking over my shoulder. 

Every night I count my rocks, whisper their names in the darkness, cling to them like they mean something. I could be free, but who would carry the rocks? I must have some purpose, and thus I make my own, because I am good at doing things by myself.

They seem to grow over time, the rocks. From pebbles to cliffs that crush me. I always did make mountains out of molehills. 

I love my babies to pieces. But it is so hard. And there is no breaks. I am alone. My heart is breaking. I work so hard and no one notices. I am exhausted, I am not enough. I can't do this. These and more are the thoughts that fill my head on the bad days.

What a bleak picture of motherhood I paint. 

Above all, I ask, why can I not be happy? Where is the joy of the Lord that I firmly and deeply believe in? What lies I must be believing, what blackness I shroud myself in. Where is my freedom in Christ? It seems I find it for a bit but that never lasts. Suddenly and inexplicably I'm lost again, buried under the rocks and yearning for a light at the end of the tunnel.

I want God to rescue me from dishes, sweep me off my feet Disney-princess style, save me from drudgery and housework. But God did not die to free me from sweeping and dusting, cooking and working. He sent his son to die so I may enter into heaven, and commune with him there in the holy of holies. 

Matthew 9 "And getting into a boat he crossed over and came to his own city. And behold, some people brought to him a paralytic, lying on a bed. And when Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Take heart, my son; your sins are forgiven.” And behold, some of the scribes said to themselves, “This man is blaspheming.” But Jesus, knowing their thoughts, said, “Why do you think evil in your hearts? For which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Rise and walk’? But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—he then said to the paralytic—“Rise, pick up your bed and go home.” And he rose and went home. When the crowds saw it, they were afraid, and they glorified God, who had given such authority to men.

What is easier for God to do--to save me from my work and my hardships or to save me from my sin? I stand corrected. I stand in awe.

The Bible says very little about the heroes. And even less about those who are caught between the great names. We all want to be the heroes -- the Ruths, the Davids, a Moses or a Nehemiah. But I know I'm not even one who would be listed in the long rambling genealogy of name after name. I won't even be a jot in the Bible after my death. It will be like I never was. No one will remember me. And that is okay. I'll be in heaven, in the great rest, with Jesus and hopefully my family, doing the Lord's will and bringing glory to him. I'm not a hero. Yet I'm here, on this earth, for a reason. And the best I can hope for is to grasp enlightenment before I die. 

I often struggle to see how washing dishes for the 10th time this week or cleaning up pee or folding laundry day after day brings glory to God. But it must, it must because God made me a mother, he makes life and death and his hands turn the great clock that runs Time and all its dimensions. He hung the stars in the sky for us to see and wonder at, and he made me, this thinking feeling creature who cries bitter tears over her own misgivings and wallows in her own wretchedness and sin. He made me and I am here, and I must not rage against the machine but take my place with his strength and plod the paths he laid for me.

Romans 5 "Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.  Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us."

What truths I have to cling to when I am at the end of my rope. I should turn to the Bible, not give up. 

I am not enough, I never will be. A pampered existence is not what I was made for. I was not crafted by the hands of a loving and omnipresent God for ease and entertainment, but I was made for a work that glorifies God. In motherhood, or out of motherhood, I am made for the glory of God. Not for my own idea of fame or comfort.

If I do not go and purchase oil for my lamp or trim the wick, I will not have a light when the bridegroom comes for me. 

And thus I have to ask myself. Am I living for God, or am I burying my talent in the dirt and living in fear? Am I repeating his promises to myself when days are hard, or am I letting bitterness and sorrow be my pillars? A house built on the sand will not stand, but lo-- a house built on the foundations of stone, on solid Word, that would be a house worth building.

“Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you” (Deuteronomy 31:6)" 

"Gracious is the LORD, and righteous; our God is merciful. The LORD preserves the simple;
when I was brought low, he saved me. Return, O my soul, to your rest; for the LORD has dealt bountifully with you. (Psalm 116:5)

Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, 7 casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. To him be the dominion forever and ever. Amen. (1 Peter 5:7)

"Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid” (John 14:27)

Now if only this was easier said than done. It is one thing to know it, to read it--and quite another to live it. May I be faithful, may I be wise, may I be meek. 

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