So it’s been awhile since I’ve posted here. Honestly? It’s been a rough month. Since school started 5 weeks ago, at least one child has been home sick one or more days each week. First, there was the stomach bug (on the third day of school), then, both girls had eye and ear infections, and the next week they both had RSV and one also had strep. We were at the pediatrician’s office seven times in two weeks. Oh and did I mention that my hubby was also out of town for work one of those weeks? Then that brings us to Hurricane Irma. So, yeah, it’s been a month.
When stuff like this happens, my first reaction is to turn inward and close myself off from the world. I didn’t want to write here because I had nothing positive or inspirational to say. I was snappy with my kids, frustrated with taking days off of work, tired of a messy house, sick of figuring out what was for dinner, and wanted to put everything on hold until our lives were “normal” again. I wanted to be out of the weeds, then I could get back to my regularly programmed life.
Now, I’ve only been a parent for 4 years (4 and a half! as Charlee reminds me), and I know that raising a child is a long, often difficult journey. There are parts of the path that are delightful and easy to walk on. My kid came out of her room dressed for school this morning and I didn’t even have to ask her! My other kid can’t talk back yet! It’s lovely! However, I would venture to say that most portions of the path are covered with varying degrees of thorny weeds.
The telltale sign that you’re in the weeds is when you start using statements like this, “If this would just ____________, then I could ___________” or “Once ________, then life will be good.” For new parents, at first it’s sleep. Right? If my baby would just sleep through the night, then I could plan meals // go to work // not drink inordinate amounts of caffeine // function like a normal human being. We trudge through lack of sleep, breast feeding, bottle feeding, diapers, reflux, tantrums, potty training, sleep training, etc. Then it’s school, making friends, bullying, attitudes, technology issues, self-esteem, and it goes on and on. Weeds look different at every stage of parenting, and are different with every child. (Some kids are even ‘weedier’ than others).
There are patches of weeds in life that are sunk so deep, you can barely see above them to keep your eyes on the path. I don’t know what it is for you right now. It might be cancer, addiction, a broken relationship, infertility, grief, or something else. But if it feels like you are stuck in the middle and can’t see a way out, know Jesus is there with you. We are not promised an easy life. In John 16:33 He says, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
For most of us, when we are in the weeds, we just want to get through to the other side. Push through. We might get some scratches and it’s not going to be pleasant, but we just want to make it to the next part of the path. But here’s what God’s been teaching me during this time. There are valuable lessons to be learned in the weeds.
This is where I learn that sometimes it’s okay to eat pancakes for dinner three nights in a row.
This is where I learn to apologize to my kids and to my husband when I am acting like a crazy person.
This is where I learn that this too, shall pass.
This is where I learn to ask for help. It’s not a sign of weakness, but of humility.
This is where I learn that I have to make time for me and Jesus, even if that means breaking my own “no TV for kids in the daytime” rule.
This is where I learn, and relearn, and relearn, that I can not do it on my own. I need my God, my husband, my friends, my circle.
And this is what God has really been impressing on my heart. If I slow down and quit rushing to fix it and get out of the weeds, there is beauty. There are moments that happen when things are broken, that are beautiful. If I duck my head and close my eyes every time we get into the weeds, I am going to miss a lot of important moments.
When Evie was so sick a few weeks ago, I just wanted Charlee to leave her alone, and honestly, to leave me alone. Go play with your dolls, stop touching her, go draw or color, stop messing with her, I can’t play with you, I’m busy with Evie, let me help her get better so we can be done with this. Then I came out into the family room one day and Evie was laying on a pillow on the floor. Charlee had given Evelyn her lovey (Charlee’s most prized possession in the entire world — a pink bunny), and covered her up with her binka (her second most prized possession–a polka dot blanket). She was sitting beside her, rubbing her head and her back and singing softly to her.
I know that moments like this happen all of the time in the weeds, even in the deepest, thickest patches. So I’m going to try to stop always pushing through, and looking anxiously for the end, for the clear path. Instead, I’m working on lifting my head and opening my eyes.
I’m working on seeing the beauty in the weeds.