When I became a mom of two I entered into a season of what I found to be a new kind of crazy. I had gotten one child all potty-trained and sleeping through the night and drinking out of a cup without a lid and giving me a chance to take a shower and go to the bathroom by myself…most of the time.
And then, there I was, starting the process alllll over again. Didn’t we just do this?
It was in that particular season that I vividly remember how I felt when I would somehow, magically, find that I had an hour or two all to myself without the munchkins around.
I’m pretty sure that the build-up moms feel as they wait for those kid-free moments is exactly like the build-up the astronauts feel as they prepare for the space shuttle to launch. Watching the clock as the minutes, then seconds, count down. Hearts pumping with eager anticipation. Doing all of the last-minute checks to make certain that things will go off without a hitch. And then, it’s time. A dramatic pause, maybe a few tears, sparks flying and then it’s all-systems ‘GO’!
There was always this glorious moment when I finally found myself alone where I would just simply pause and soak in the silence. I would close my eyes and just feel it enveloping me, wrapping me up and reminding me that I was, in fact, an actual person and not just a pacifier finding, train track building, baby food making, diaper changing robot.
But then, sometimes, that same wonderful silence would become almost overwhelming. I would feel like it was mocking me with all of it’s possibilities. I’ve been craving this alone time and now, all of a sudden I felt a sense of panic beginning to rise up in me.
Should I take a nap?
Should I sit down and read a book…which will inevitably lead to taking a nap?
Should I clean the kitchen?
Should I take a nap?
Should I catch up on the shows I haven’t watched in 2 years?
Should I take a nap?
Should I call that friend who I never get to talk to without being interrupted a million times?
Should I take a nap?
The thoughts would swirl and twirl all around in my mind until I felt like I was developing a temporary case of schizophrenia. I would find myself wandering around the house, never actually determining how I was going to spend the time. Here I had longed for, intensely craved a few minutes to myself and now that I had it, I didn’t know what to do with it.
What felt like a gift had suddenly become an overwhelming burden because I was so afraid of not making the absolute, positive MOST out of every single minute.
Think about the pressure I was putting on those 2 hours. They were expected to live up to this fantasy I had created in my mind and somehow magically fulfill every longing.
And, inevitably, I would be left feeling let down. The kids would come back home and my life as ‘mom/pacifier finder/train track builder/diaper changer/robot’ would resume and I would look back on that free-time with huge amounts of regret.
Somewhere deep in the recesses of my heart I knew that I had wasted it. I felt as though I had failed at yet one more thing. As a mom of young children, that sense of failure was already something I was very familiar with. It seemed like at every turn I was coming up short and now I realized that I was even a failure at what should be a guarantee. I should know how to relax, right? I should know how to make the most of two hours without running around like a chicken with my head cut off. I should feel refreshed afterwards, not sad and confused.
I’ve recently realized that I tend to approach the start of a new year in the same way that I used to approach those kid-free moments years ago.
I see the months and weeks and days (and minutes and seconds!) of this fresh year stretching in front of me with all of it’s possibilities.
At first, it all seems so exciting and ripe with opportunities and I have no doubt as to how I will fill each moment.
I’m going to give the dining room a makeover!
I’m going to finish writing that blog post I’ve had half-written for 6 months!
I’m going to get up extra early in the morning!
I’m going to organize the attic!
I’m going to spend more time studying the bible!
I’m going to find another way to volunteer!
And then, just like in those days of early motherhood, I find myself completely overwhelmed by all of the options and stressed out thinking about how critical it is that I make the absolute MOST out of every day.
But, friends, not this year.
You see, I think I’ve had it all backwards. I’ve spent way too much time trying to be certain of myself and of ‘all of my ways’. And this striving for certainty in my life has led me to that place where the thought of what ‘tomorrow may bring’ doesn’t just fill me with ‘a sigh of sadness’. It fills me with fear and doubt. The more I’ve reached for certainty all on my own, the more uncertain and untrusting I’ve become of God.
Frankly, the thought of abandoning myself to Him seems completely and utterly terrifying. The unknown has never been something I’ve been particularly fond of. 😉
When I was given the glorious gift of kid-free moments all of those years ago, it was my inability to abandon myself which ultimately led to it feeling like more a punishment than a blessing. And it always ended with a ‘sigh of sadness’. Not because it was over. But because it never lived up to what I had imagined in my head.
But, what if I did it differently this year?
What if, instead of running around trying to figure out what is going to happen in the months, weeks, days, minutes and seconds of 2016, I embraced the uncertainty of it all? In fact, what if I not only embraced the uncertainty of it but I replaced that uncertainty about what tomorrow will bring, with certainty about God. About who He is. About His character. About His love for me.
Being certain about God doesn’t mean I can’t have dreams or make plans or wonder about what is to come.
But it does mean that my trust in Him trumps my need for certainty.
And I’m ready. I’m ready to abandon myself to Him and to the task He has placed closest to me.
I’m ready for my life to be filled with surprises.
Which is saying a lot for a girl who absolutely hates surprises!
But, I know that His surprises will far surpass anything that I could have ever imagined. They always have!
And how about for you? Are you ready to get comfortable with being uncertain in YOUR ways so that you can be certain of HIS?
Maybe we can form a support group! Who’s with me? 🙂
Don’t wish your life away…..you will turn around ad your children will be grown with families of their own!
I so needed to read this, I think. I quit my job thinking I was going to be a housewife forever, but my husband feels like I need to return to work so that we can pay down debt and not have to count every penny. I feel like if we budgeted properly and counted pennies, we’d be fine. Needless to say, we aren’t on the same page. It’s causing serious friction in what I thought was a picture perfect marriage ordained by God. I’m almost 50, so I’m not looking forward to getting back into the rat race again. I know God loves me; I quote Romans 8:28 to my Sunday School class almost weekly. I feel so …. I don’t even know what I feel. Scared, uncertain, rug pulled out from under my feet, yuck. I’m trying to look at this as positive. I’m trying to not be resentful ( I’m not doing very well). I’m questioning everything I thought I knew. I’m not questioning God, per se, just my ability to discern His voice, what I thought He wanted for me. I feel much like you in some ways. I feel like I’m just a laundromat, cook, maid, whatever needs doing. I feel like I lost my identity, my dreams, my goals somewhere down the road I’m on. I don’t know how to get it back.
I agree with Mo. It seems like yesterday the diaper parade woul never end and now my children age from 42 to 58. I didn’t believe that time would pass so rapidly
Karen Varney says
I am definitely with you on this. I am tired of failing because I do things my way. As I get older and reflect on my life I missed out on so much by not putting God first so that I could be a happier, stress free, person. My goal this year is to pray first then react to any given situation that is set before me. God is in control whether we want to believe this or not!
I am with you!!!
Thank you! You have completely expressed everything I have been feeling this year. I am ready for 2016 to be different, so I will embrace the certainty of God and be ready for all his love has to offer!
heidi @ Decor & More says
OH, vanessa, how this post speaks to me! Only by trusting in Him and His plan for us can we relax into that uncertainty! My Word of the Year for 2016 is TRUST, so you can count me in! Looking forward to rocking uncertainty and TRUST with you this year!
Debbie Riley says
Your words are spoken with much wisdom. I am 65 and remember quite well those moments when I thought I had maybe an hour to do something “productive” while the children napped. Walking around in a stupor of what should i do? what should I do? It all seems so silly now, and what a waste of time spent in worrying about what to do!! It’s easy to say now that I’m past that point. To be honest, I sometimes still feel myself in that stupor of what to do first when I have several things that need to be done. One step at a time. Take nothing for granted. Love where you are in life at the moment. Let go, Let God.
Right there with you!! Thanks for sharing today!❤️
Chloe | Boxwood Avenue says
I think that’s a lovely “resolution” to trust in him, and his plan. I loved reading your story, I hope to remember it when I have kiddies of my own.
This is a perfect post. I’ve had a revelation to record my Journey of Joy each day. The joy of the Lord is my strength. Do I want to go through life letting mean people rule me? That’s like focusing my thoughts on THEM giving them power over my mind. Worshiping their meanness and talking about it instead of talking and worshipping the Lord and thinking on Him!! Praising Him! And like you I don’t give myself “permission” to goof off. Or read for fun. And then I’ve started so many things to get done I’m worse off!!!
And I’m excited to search for the joy daily in my journey along the way and write about it so that if you read it, you too would find it joyful. Not dour.
Yes. I’m in!!!
I cannot tell you how often your posts put into words all of my thoughts! I always wonder why I have sadness and worry on New Year’s Eve. I’ve always felt strange because I don’t get all excited at the stroke of midnight. I love having the fresh start (and a blank planner) but the pressure to make the New Year amazing is almost too much! I’ve created my goals for 2016 but after 2015 went nothing like I had planned, I’m going to try and give myself a break and just trust God. Please keep writing from your heart because you are so inspiring to me!