Monday, March 4, 2013

for when the only way out is through {Multitudes on Monday}

{An honest glimpse of our reality from several weeks ago, still on the road…}

“The secret of happiness is not in doing what one likes, 
but in liking what one has to do.” 

~James M. Barrie (1860-1937), Scottish novelist and dramatist

I feel crazy. 

No, I feel dry and helpless.

Someone else has my baby, my boys are parked in front of the TV, I’ve just packed up our bags for the umpteenth time, and my heart feels so dry.  I felt like I just couldn’t do one more thing (pack lunches, pack dinners, do something creative with the boys) until I wrote down some of how I’m feeling.

I’m dying to be a good Mom.  I’m dying to not have “stress spikes” that make everyone else in my family miserable.  I’m dying to memorize Ann’s Romans passages, to start exercising again.  My heart feels thin and my tummy feels fat and flabby.  

When my heart runs dry, and there’s no song to sing…
No holy melody, no words of love within
I recall the height from which this fragile heart has slipped
And I remember You
I will turn back and do the things I used to do
For the love of You

I feel like I have to put my life on hold, to live my life.  Like, in order to obediently complete the life God has asked me to live, I have to put all the things I long to do on hold.  I know in my heart that’s not really true, but today, as we contemplate getting on yet another plane, with 11 more days, and then an international journey, 2 more weeks of yet another country, and a grueling all-nighter to get back to our house - which will probably be filled with cobwebs and freezing cold… as I look at that, my heart sinks within me.  I quail.  I can’t do this!  I don’t want to live this day, this life!  How can this possibly be good for us?

What about the healthy rhythms?  How in the world do I maintain those, when my baby is still waking up 2-3 times every night, and I despair of going to sleep because I know I will not feel any more refreshed or rested in the morning.  I lie there with eyes open, aching, frustrated.  

I feel like I have to wait to start exercising again, memorizing Scripture, creating music, cooking creatively, until we get back to our “settled” life.  But that’s another whole month away, and we’ve already been 5 months in transition.  When I think those thoughts I feel like screaming. 

So what’s really going on here?  What’s pushing me?  Ann’s beautiful blog, maybe?  Ok, well, what do I see when I read her blog?  Health.  Contentment.  Peace.  Fulfillment.  Rest.  Intentionality.  Creativity.  Beauty.  All the things I long for and desire.  All the things I’m craving this morning, none of which I feel is true of me right now.  My socks don’t match my shirt.  My muffin-top tummy sticks out over my pants.  My hair is frizzy, boring, pulled half up, exactly the way it always is.  My face is unmade-up and blotchy with tear stains.  I’m sitting on the floor in the guest room with our borrowed bedding piled next to me, our borrowed bed behind me, the carpet still dented with the wheels of our suitcases.  

Sometimes this life just doesn’t make sense.

James read Psalm 30 to me this morning, and it was these words that sang to me:

2 O LORD my God, I cried to you for help,
and you have healed me.
3 O LORD, you have brought up my soul from Sheol;
you restored me to life from among those who go down to the pit.
4 Sing praises to the LORD, O you his saints,
and give thanks to his holy name.
5 For his anger is but for a moment,
and his favor is for a lifetime.
Weeping may tarry for the night,
but joy comes with the morning.

Joy comes with the morning.  

I do not feel like that is true today.  I feel like despair came with this morning.  

But the reality is: It IS true.  Those words ARE true, whether I feel like they are or not.

Joy comes with the morning.  

If the punctuation of the last verse of Psalm 30 were slightly different, it would read like this: 

12 that my glory may sing your praise and not be silent, O LORD my God, 

I will give thanks to you forever!

In order that my glory may sing praise and not be silent (oh, how I feel like being silent!), I need to give thanks.

Thank You that my baby girl has almost doubled her birth weight in four months and is plump and happy, unlike the starving babies I read about this morning in Christianity Today.

Thank You that my boys are happy, healthy and learning how to be holy, despite all my weaknesses and failings.

Thank You that my husband paused to kiss me through my tears and whisper, “We’re doing this together… we need each other… I’ll help you and you help me.”  

And thank You for the words James gave back to me then, the same words I gave to him a few days ago when he was spiraling into frustration: 

“The only way out is through!”

Help me Lord, 

to give thanks and not be silent, 

that my soul might sing praise on every day, 

no matter where in the world I am 

or what lies in front of me to do.


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