If only

Lately I’ve had to try really hard not to feel sorry for myself.

There. I said it.

Sounds so pathetic doesn’t it? I can almost hear the whine wafting off the page…

I wish I could say that I always have perspective, that I am always oozing with gratefulness, and that I always see the glass half-full.

The truth is, I often do have perspective, I often am incredibly grateful, and I often easily see the glass-full.

And yet lately it’s been a struggle.

{don't worry, levi doesn't always look this miserable. he was sick... and dad dressed him that day.}

Pregnancy with a very-young toddler has been kicking me in the backside. Working in ministry has been stressful as we are pulled in a thousand directions – Ryan especially is always solving someone else’s problems it seems. Being fulltime “volunteers” has a set of financial and faith-related pressures that are difficult to even describe. Ryan’s been immobilized with back problems. Levi’s been sick and up at night for three solid weeks. I’ve had pain and illness of one sort or the other for almost four months now – and just when one issue resolves another creeps in. And there is still a big unknown about the health of our precious little boy who is due in six weeks time… even though we know we will be okay with whatever the outcome.

I’m gonna go ahead and stop there lest the whine turn into a full-fledged emotional word vomit that I will later regret.

In all of these difficulties – some large, some small – I’m beginning to realize that “crazy” is our family’s normal. I feel like these days I’m always answering the question “how are things going?” with the response, “Um… fairly well… but things are definitely a bit crazy!”

Maybe it won’t always be, but for now normal is crazy (or crazy is normal?!) and I’m trying really hard to learn to embrace that.

I often think to myself… if only things would slow down a bit, if only responsibilities would ease a little, if only people would be a bit kinder and more generous, if only we made more money, if only I could get more sleep, if only ‘they’ would understand, if only I could get a little help keeping my head above water, if only I had more time to myself and more time with my husband, if only our families lived closer… if only, if only, if only!

Even typing it all out sounds ugly. Blech!

But then all of the ‘if onlys’ get harshly snapped back into perspective when I think of the battles my friends are facing: Friends who are physically and emotionally depleted by the heartbreak of infertility. Or the other who was admitted to hospital on bed rest at 20-something weeks pregnant in a city two-and-a-half hours from her home and husband and two-year-old. Or still the other that has been in and out of hospitals and operating theaters more times than she can count with their little boy who is not even a year old yet. Or the other who is facing a deadly disease that’s invaded her family and turned their world upside down.

It’s scenarios like these that help me to remember that my glass really is half-full and that my life really is much “easier” than I acknowledge a lot of the time.

I instantly recognize that the real battlefield is in my own mind – that constant tug-of-war to remember that life is bigger than what I can see, larger than my immediate circumstances, and no doubt much more wonderful than I give God credit for most of the time.

Ryan and I have been talking about Grace lately. We know it’s there. We know it’s available. We know it has our name on it. So why is it sometimes so hard to access it? Why do we stumble in the darkness looking for it? Why isn’t walking in it a little bit easier?

I imagine the answer is a simple one… perhaps it’s not easy, but simple nonetheless. I imagine it has something to do with activating our faith just that tiny bit more. Or maybe it’s seeking out that quiet place with more intention to let the mind ease and the soul fill. Possibly it’s letting go of the need for order and well-laid-out plans. Or it could simply be a matter of lifting our gaze to heaven with more humility and desperation and regularity.

I’m not sure exactly, but I do know this: Despite all the crazy and the life-going-a-thousand-miles-an-hour-and-feeling-completely-out-of-our-control stuff… I really do know that life is good. I know that I am blessed beyond belief. I know that if given a magic wand there actually is not much that I’d alter when I take into account the big picture.

Because in the mix of life-as-we-know-it, there is a peace which has settled that doesn’t match up to the chaos of my brain or the challenges of our circumstances. It’s a peace that can only be explained by the presence of a God who cares and loves and provides and protects… a God who is most definitely more than enough.

That is the reason behind the statement “life is good”… and that’s reason enough for me.

In saying that, I will shamelessly ask for your prayer in my very next breath. We need love and support and encouragement in all forms at the moment. And I can promise you this – we will receive your love notes and pats on the back and prayers of faith just as we would receive treasures from heaven. Because that, my friends, is what they are – treasures.

If only… if only I would learn to appropriate Grace just that little. bit. more.

Help me God!

{and this is what well and happy looks like. ahh.... grace. how sweet it is.}

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3 thoughts on “If only

  1. You are all in my prayers.
    You are an amazing family, who are so genuine – you reflect God just by being honest and open that life isn’t all sunshine and roses.
    Just stop and rely on your Heavenly Father – something that has really helped me in my returning to England is just memorising a few scriptures and really holding on to them, and God really does just step in and be our strength. I know I cannot help practically, but I am praying. Take care of yourselves. xx

  2. I somehow came across this just now…
    Wow! Your honesty and openness was unexpected, but really appreciated. You two (well, three..but now I guess four) have definitely got a lot going on… I’m sorry there’s so much going on that you feel a bit overwhelmed (understatement), but thank you for taking the time to write it all. It’s a great ‘lesson’ writing all that you did about what you’re struggling with, then at the end still being grateful., I can definitely see why you are asked to speak on some “DTS’s”. Your family will be on my mind that’s for sure….. Do hope things calm down and this crazy season will be over, if even just for a little bit.

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