Day 15 of
Hope is there to cling to because things happen in life that require us to need that Hope in which to cling. Becoming a child of God does not mean you are stepping into a life of easy perfection where all things go your way and you have no cares in the world. Becoming a child of God means when you are living this life with all it's ups and downs you can rest in the promise of the Hope God provides.
A couple months ago my husband let me run away for a day and a night for a mini spiritual retreat. I sat in quiet, read, prayed and had full thoughts that weren't interrupted by those three crazy blond boys I mentioned a couple days ago. During that time I thought a great deal about where I was and where I am and the road that took me from there to here and my God who was with me the whole time. I asked questions and pondered and processed through writing and this is what came out...
From August 2014
A few mornings ago I was with some girl friends from church discussing and hammering out details for a morning bible study that we want to start at our church. It was a nice morning of conversation and planning and watching our 5 children who were there (4 children were at school) come in and out to distract and talk and just be children.
On my way out, my friend Dara Lynn asked how it was going with just having Logan. My response was "Good, but I feel like we haven't had a normal week yet." She responded in kind with her trying to find a new normal for herself as well, since her oldest is in Pre K 5 days a week now. Suddenly, it seemed to hit both of us at once. What is normal, anyway?
I personally have not been able to get that thought out of my mind since it happened, and I can only assume she thought about it briefly as well, since she happens to be one of the most thoughtful (as in full of thought, though she is also thoughtful) people I know.
I have pondered and pondered the last few days about normalcy and why it's something we strive for so often. We have only had 11 days of school so far this year which means 11 days of having to let go of two babies every morning instead of just one. 11 days of getting a proud smile from Connor as he steps out of the car. 11 days of just me and the Logi Bear and each day I have tried to find what our normal will be, and have yet to find one. Looking back, I can see so much time focused on, and maybe even wasted on, finding this elusive thing.
Because, it has been 11 months since the bomb went off in my life causing an intense amount of relearning, refocusing, recommitting and restoring love, hope and faith and taking every day as it comes. It's been over 2 years since Micah started big school, and my mothering of him has had to change to include letting go of the control that was never really mine to begin with. It's been almost 3 years since we added a third child to our family, and parenting changed from man to man to a zone defense, and an endless analysis of who needs you the most at any given time, because, let's face it, being everything for all of them simultaneously is a goal that will never come to fruition and will always make you feel like a failure because it will never be attained. Ever. It's been 10 years since I said I do to the man who my soul loves, and we moved to a new place, to new jobs, to new friends, to a new church in a new state. And quite frankly, it's been almost 33 years since I entered this earth shaking up someone else's idea of normal life, and you know what? In this whole time, there have never, ever been two days that are the same. None of them have been normal in the way our hearts think they want.
In my experience and (take it for what it's worth) opinion, the normal we all think we are searching for includes a few things. It is predictable, it doesn't catch us off guard, we know what to expect and when to expect it. It's not harder than other days, it's easy because we know what to do and when to do it. It doesn't stretch us too much, we are not asked for more of ourselves than we want to give either physically, emotionally, or spiritually. When it ends, we look back with comfort that we finished our lists, cleaned up our messes, still have smiles on our faces and got to bed with few regrets. I am learning that in my mind, normal just amounts to everything going the way I want, when I want it, and not taking too much away from me. Basically, it was just another reminder that I am an incredibly selfish, sinful person. While it was a needed reminder, the truth of it did not sit well. My desire had left out the one thing I need most, the gospel.
Recently I met with my pastor, and discussed what I now know was this exact idea of wanting steadiness, and normalcy. We talked about emotional see saws. Very technical conversation. ;) I thought my goal was to get off a see saw of emotion. I thought I was supposed to be striving for a life of flat, without the intense peaks and valleys that come and go constantly sometimes with little or no warning. It was an eye opening conversation that has taken me way too long to understand how it pertains to my quest for a normal life, since I am literally just understanding its complete meaning as I am writing this. I know very little about the medical field but I do know that flat lining is pretty much the worst. When that happens, buzzers go off and lots of highly trained people move around in a necessary flurry to do all things they've been trained to do to keep that from happening.
The peaks and valleys prove that there is life. That you are alive. The peaks and valleys are what normal really is. No two days will be the same. Ask any mama with an infant, ask any mama with any children, ask any teacher, ask any doctor, ask any missionary, ask anyone in the corporate world, ask any person living on the street, seriously ask ANYONE! Our lives will continue, from now until we leave this earth, to be a mix of different, a mix of emotion, a mix of issues, a mix of people, places and things, and a mix of highs and lows. And yes sometimes it stinks because our flesh craves the predictable, and the steady and situations that it can control and fix without anything else or anyone else. But our flesh is our biggest enemy. Our flesh wants to never ever have to lean on the Spirit for anything, which is why we have to live out the highs and lows. Why we have to not walk in our flesh, but walk with the Spirit instead. If we settle for steady we block out the only thing that saves us, the only thing that gives us life.
God created us in His image, He sacrificed His Son so that we could commune with Him and He gave us His Spirit to guide us through the life we have been given. So (totally talking to myself here) stop striving for steady and that elusive goal of normalcy, and strive to see all the peaks and all the valleys as nothing but amazing blessings of being alive, of being a child of God, and a disciple of Christ. It will be hard because when sin entered our world, life became hard. Therefore, do not, I repeat do not, try to surf through those things on your own, but cling to the one who created you and created them, and holds fast to you throughout it all. Because even if you don't understand it completely yet, you would much rather live a see saw life with Christ, than a steady life alone.