Friday, September 30, 2016

The Power to Make it Through the Day (Part II)

In the last post, I talked about how I was really convicted about needing to re-start spending very intentional time with God. I feel the need, I feel the call, but I'm not sure how to put it into action. Noah weaned (WOW emotions), he started potty training, then he got his first stitches, my computer broke, then we went through a few weeks of "terrible two" behavior requiring reinforced discipline, then my pain flared up. August and September got the best of me, which is why I had my initial "aha" moment early this summer, and I'm just now processing it at the END of September!

(How is it the end of September!?)

Except... it's not really like that, I guess. It's not like nothing's been happening in my heart. I've been reading, I started seeing a new counselor, I've been reaching out in friendship more, I've been talking to Ross about not assuming the worst of people (especially of my spouse). I recognize the void, and I guess I've spent the last few months really feeling it out. This is how far and how wide and how far-reaching it goes: the absence of God in my life touches everything.

God is in constant pursuit of me, and the last 5 years of my life have been spent letting go of how I thought my story should go, softening, changing, and realizing this is God's story. In fact, sometimes I go through this entire range of emotions in a 24 hour period! Marriage, miscarriage, and motherhood have continued to refine me this past year, possibly more than ever. Which is funny, because I thought my marriage falling apart in 2012 was the biggest upheaval my life would ever see.

Anyway, I'm starting to feel like I'm moving into a new season. I'll always need to be letting go of little idols and expectations, yet I can't help but think that this new season is more about taking hold and standing firm than it is about letting go. Taking hold of the promises of God. Taking responsibility for my thoughts, feelings and actions, and actively sifting the good from the bad. Using my time wisely. Standing firm in the faith to which I have been called.

With these thoughts floating around in my head, I started reading Present Over Perfect by Shauna Niequist, and this image caught my attention early on in the book.

I loved my life, but I had become someone I didn't want to be around. I had become someone I didn't want to be. This book is an account of my winding, messy journey from exhaustion to peace, from isolation to connection, from hustling and multitasking to sacred presence... The greatest, most challenging, most rewarding sea-change of my adult life. 
I had no idea what it meant to remake my life from the inside out. Now, more than three years later, I'm so deeply thankful to look back and realize that's just what I've done, although in the twistiest, most circuitous possible way. I tried all the outside ways first-- I imagined the changes I needed to make were about time management, or perhaps having the cleaners come more often. I quickly found it was not about managing time or housekeeping. It was not about to-do lists or scheduling minutes and hours. This journey has been about love, about worth, about God, about what it means to know him and be loved by him in a way that grounds and reorders everything. 
It IS work, of course. It feels, I'd imagine, like adding a basement to a house that's already been standing for decades. I thought it would be more like adding new shutters, but I'm finding it to be more like lifting up a home and starting to dig, re-orienting the very foundation. There is nothing superficial about this process.

This really captures my imagination because the other week, I was at work and Ross texted me a picture of this exact thing: someone's house on stilts, while they added a basement beneath! Of course, he sent that picture to tease me about our own never-ending renovations, joking that we should do this next. All I could think of was how horrifically disruptive and expensive it would be. (But I entertained it for about a second because our moldy crawl space drives me nuts.)

Anyway, when I read Shauna's words, they really had an effect: how horrifically disruptive this would be! Followed swiftly by the thought, I need a change in my life, internally. For so long, the tidal waves of disruption have come from the outside. This is gracious, in a sense, because my external circumstances have spurred internal heart-change that might never have happened otherwise. But... what if this time the disruption could be my own? What if I was able to see: this is where I want to be, and this is where I am, and I can't carry myself from here to there on willpower or passage of time alone.

As I sit here thinking, dare I say? The waters have stilled a bit. I've caught my breath. I look at life very differently than I did 5, 10, 15 years ago. For better and for worse. I love my life, truly. I'm so happy that the avalanche of all the things led me here. I love being a mom. I love my job at the hospital (the ninth job in as many years-- although many of them overlapped-- and the fourth job in 2 years). I love that I'm about a million times less anxious than I was this time last year. I love that my laughter overrides my anger more often than not when I'm home all day with a toddler. I feel softer, in a lot of ways. So many of these changes have been necessary in my life, but I feel like I've taken them as far as they can go. The house (literally and metaphorically) has been organized and tidied, and now... maybe... it's time to begin addressing the foundation so I'm on solid ground when the next storm hits.

I've come a long way AND I have a long way to go. These two things will always be true.

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