A few days ago, I started paging through one of my journals from a few years back. This was a period in my life when all my kids were little. I know, I still have little ones now. But this specifically was a time when I had only babies and toddlers.
I was lonely.
I was reminded of how overwhelmed I felt with all my babies. At this specific time, I had 3 children 3 and under.
Looking through those pages brought back a flood of memories. And not the highlight real kind. These pages brought me back to the real hard parts.
I was reading through pages where my tears spilled out into words.
I’ll share with you a few of them.
The time when I stopped by Right Aid to pick up a pregnancy test that would be telling me I was pregnant with Caleb. Here I already have two “babies” in my cart and I’m buying a pregnancy test. The stare the checker gave me made me want to crawl into a hole.
All the times I would load the 3 up in the van and go grocery shopping. The physical exertion of going grocery shopping…. I can’t even… I’m not even going to try to put it into words… I would make sure baby was fed, put them all in their snow suits, load them and strap them in their car seats. Then I would go to Superstore where I could put the two older ones sitting in the front of the cart and then they had an extra basket area (above the regular basket), that I set Caleb in, in his infant seat. After our cart was loaded and the grocery’s where bought. I remember so vividly pushing the cart through the snow to the van. Buckling the kids back up, loading the grocery’s, and driving home. Pulling in to the garage, and not wanting to get out of the car. I would just sit and soak in the break before starting the unloading process.
There were times I wanted to leave the house so badly. But knowing the work it would take to leave and come back. Asking myself the needed questions “Am I in a good mental place? Do I have enough energy to do this?”
This was a time when our kids were 3, 2 and a baby months old. In fact, Judah was 2 for a month after Caleb was born, so there was a brief period of time we had three 2 and under. No twins. Often, I felt anxious when people would ask me how old my kids were. I never knew if the response I would get would be positive or negative. I was so tired from my own struggle, I was afraid of having a negative response from someone else. Could I handle it? Would it be too much, heaped on top of the negative thoughts already going on in my own head that day?
During this time, we lived away from family. There were no Grandparents to drop the kids off at when it all got too much. When I felt like I couldn’t take it anymore, when I just wanted to crawl into bed and come out next week. It was on me, and yes, Daniel as well. There were some people that I could have probably asked for help from. But I felt insecure in this, I didn’t want to burden others. After all, “we put ourselves in this position, now we get to deal with it” right? “You know how this works, you could have prevented it”, because life doesn’t have any nuance…
To sum up, I felt alone, I felt unimportant, I felt tired, and I felt like a weirdo.
Now it wasn’t that I felt like this all the time. But on some of the pages on some of those days I felt it all.
I still refer to this time as “When I was overwhelmed with babies.” It is beautiful and messy.
I’m not writing this to garner sympathy. I’m writing because I know I’m not the only one who has felt overwhelmed with babies, or baby…or life.
I’m not the only one who has felt alone and far from help when sanity is slipping.
I’m not the only one who has struggled with #momguilt because I’m not enjoying all the moments.
I’m not the only one who has felt trapped in their house.
I’m not the only one who hides in their “insert here”(bedroom, closet, bathroom, pantry…)
If you can identify with any of this, let me tell you!
You are not alone
Especially this time of year. Christmas. I love it. But it exposes hard things. Finances, as we buy gifts. Weariness as more things get added to the plate. Missing people at our celebrations, either because we live far away now, or because they are just gone. Long dark days. And let’s not forget, snow to push shopping carts through. (Although this is not something I am currently dealing with. Praise Jesus!)
I don’t want to be ashamed to write about the hard moments because they expose my weaknesses.
Even recently, in amongst my pretty Instagram moments with my beautiful babies and fun adventures, there are some very real hard moments. They look different now. I can’t capture them in a snapshot. But they are there none the less. I’m still human, so are my kids, and so is my husband, I’m reminded daily we are not home yet.
And let me tell you the best news of all here. In my weakness, Jesus is there.
All these hard times, they can either push me to anger, frustration, and the vicious cycle of guilt. Or they can push me to look at the cross. They can push me into Jesus.
God’s Word is living and active, it is still relevant to our situations today. Go there and dig in. See what He has for you there. And if you don’t know where to start, ask. Ask someone, ask someone in your church, ask your pastor, ask me.
Pray. God longs to hear your heart. He knows. You can lay yourself bear. He can take it. Let Him be a friend in the loneliness and hard places. Pray for situations. I know sometimes it can feel pointless. But believe me it’s not. I like to write things down that I’m praying for. That way I can look back and be reminded of so many answered prayers. It’s not always the case for everything, but it surprises me sometimes how many things I have prayed for that have been resolved over time. And gives me a chance to remember, thank and praise.
Go to church. Be a part of the Christian Family. Sometimes during all the extra Christmas services, it can seem like too much. But often its’ just what I need. My blood family is 3000 miles away, but my church family is right here. And I need to be intentional with making time to be a part of it. Some of these hard things I dealt with when my kids were so little could have been alleviated if I had reached out to my church family and let them know I needed some help.
This Christmas season let us draw close to the Savior. When we struggle with hurt, sadness, anger, and you name it. May it be a reminder to pray. To get into God’s word and to draw close to Him. To be reminded that His grace is enough to cover us, in every single aspect of our life. That His word is relevant today, it is relevant to us, it is relevant to me. To let Jesus shine bright in our weak places.
This morning I went to see what God had for me in His word. I was feeling burdened and lacking in places. Here’s what I read.
Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
“I will give you rest.” With Me you will find understanding, pardon, peace. In my presence, you may lay bare your heart. What has been shattered, I will repair. I will unravel the knots. I will relieve your burdens. What is painful I will help you forget. Here, in my arms you will find rest. Just come to Me!
~From Fredrik Wisloff, Rest a While, The last paragraph.