Wednesday, November 9, 2011

In the midst

Sometimes I think the kiddos only have two volumes: loud and louder. Even as I retreat to my room and draw the shades down to nurse Caden, I hear the cacophony of their voices on our front porch. I breathe deeply and close my eyes as they fight over the UNO game they're intent on and shout to their friends passing by. My retreat is short-lived, as Jayci inevitably bursts through the door. I have to remind her for the 100th time that I need privacy while I'm nursing, and to close the door behind her. I cuddle with both of my own children for a few minutes before we head back out into the chaos. We join the UNO game, with Caden in the Moby and Jayci sitting next to me so she can be "on my team." I explain, over and over again, that the card you play needs to match the color or number. So you need a blue or a seven, I say, as the little girl across from me throws down a green five triumphantly. . . . The street lights blink on and the children scatter to get home before dark, leaving cards and cups and trash strewn across our porch and home. Sighing, I bend to pick them up while Caden cries because it's time to eat again, and Jayci screams that she wants her friends to come back.

It's not that my heart isn't full and thankful, because it most definitely is. We hang leaves on our "thankful tree" every day, Jayci is thankful for ice cream, and I'm thankful for our home, our family, our children  . .  I hug Caden close and whisper thankful prayers that he is home with us. I smile as I watch the kiddos throw a ball with Jayci, and I can feel love swell as we hold hands around our dinner table to pray for the food and for our new friends who are sharing it with us.

Yet, I am exhausted from the effort. The edges of motherhood and ministry seem messy and blurry. I don't know how to do both, how to keep them, not exactly separate, but both with equal importance. There is no balancing, no sleeping, no maintaining order of any sort. And I can hear it in my voice, the constant edge of exasperation with my stubborn three year old. The grouchy heart towards my husband for not helping enough, despite the fact that he just made us all dinner and played frisbee in the park with kids for hours on end.  My voice carries an undertone of irritation that I swore I'd never use. And no matter how hard I try to be gracious and loving, I simply don't WANT to paint with Jayci for three and a half seconds before she inevitably gives up and leaves me more to clean up. Add in Jayci's stomach bug and fever, lack of sleep, and today Adam wakes up thinking he caught whatever Jayci had. I can feel myself fray around the edges a little more.

When Jayci is finally asleep for the night (well, at least for now), and Caden is babbling happily next to me on the bed, I curl up and shut my eyes and I hear it. A still, small voice. Reminding me that I can't do it all. And I feel heavy with the knowledge that I have been trying to do everything on my own strength. Trying to carry my burdens and my children's burdens and the kiddo's burdens . . . And God calls me: "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest."

In the midst of it all, the Lord, in His infinite kindness, beckons me to drink deeply from the Living Water. He offers me water from a well that doesn't run dry. Water that wont leave me thirsting again. He promises that I will be like a well-watered garden, that He "will refresh the weary and satisfy the faint." And I know if I would just draw my strength from Him rather than myself, those around me would see the fruit of His Spirit in my life. They would see kindness and patience rather than frustration and irritation. Love and gentleness rather than harsh words and anger. He whispers in the dark quiet of my room that if I wait upon Him, my strength will be renewed. I wont feel drained and empty, but full and refreshed. Because He has called us, and He will also equip us.

I recognize that our lives are a particular brand of exhausting, but I can't help but think that, especially with the busyness of the holidays looming, many of you might feel weary as well. So today I'm praying for myself, and for each of you, that you would go to Christ first. That He would refresh your heart, and that you would draw strength for motherhood, for work, for all of life, from the well that does not run dry.

"Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him." - John 7:38


  1. Thank you for this reminder. I sat down in a humph on our sofa irritated with my kids, frustrated with my response to them and weary from it all. Thanks for pointing to Jesus.

  2. Becca... it's so hard. I can't stand the loud and louder volume in my house, and I don't have a ministry floating in and out of it either... try and not be so hard on yourself, and give yourself a break... you have been through so much, through more than any mother, wife or human being should have to endure over the past three months. Breathe, find a quiet space (no matter how short lived) and breathe again. YOU ARE MY HERO.

  3. You can't do it all?
    How can you break this myth I have...
    I believe you are doing such big things for Jesus. I am sorry you are stressed right now. Praying for less frazzled days.

  4. Thank you, Becca! I needed to read those words badly. I constantly feel pulled, not sure which is "God's best" for me and my family. Then I often become on edge from being tired or having to correct my children for the same reason for the 100th time in the hour. I praise Jesus that He is enough for me and He can do all things through me. Again, thanks for the the reminder.

  5. "The edges of motherhood and ministry seem messy and blurry." - Yes, I understand this sentiment so well. It can be so hard. May God grant you wisdom, patience and strength for each day!

  6. There is so much here that I can relate too....and today we found out that one of our children is allergic to 85 % of what anyone another journey begins. And I am glad that I am not the only one who gets tired! loves to you,

  7. Thanks for this! I was JUST thinking about how I am so not ready for the holidays to be here already. Family can be so complicated, but Christ loves me and He loves them. That is all that really matters. Time to stop focusing on me!

  8. I needed this today.

    Thank you.

  9. Love this. thanks for the reminder. I had a meltdown moment today too---school, ministry, family and now the holidays! Thanks for your honesty!

  10. Isn't it crazy how day to day can be refreshing yet so exhausting at the same time? You can't do it all and neither can I no matter how hard we try! Thanks for the reminder!

  11. You need a break. Whether it's an hour at Starbucks or a half-day at a museum, you just need to get away, and often. Been there, done that, in hindsight, taking a little time for myself has only ever been good for all of us.


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