Keeping it together


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That’s it.  The last few weeks I’ve been keeping it together.  Which besides falling apart, is borderline terrible in my book.  And I don’t know about you, but when I’m off my game I tend to retreat.  This is ironic considering I probably need community more than ever.  Yet, I’m a mommy and wife who is supposed to do it all.  A woman who would never dare to crack under the everyday pressures of life.  It’s called a facade, we all have one and mine is showing its wear.

Please, tell me…am I the only one who looks at all of the mothers during preschool drop-off and wonder how do they all look so calm?  everyone is always so happy and chipper as they skip back to their cars and head off to yoga or coffee dates. Meanwhile I’m trying to corral three children who upon release from their car seats immediately run in opposite directions.  I feel like a chicken with my head cut off, while other mothers carry on a conversation with one another.  A real conversation!

This is just one example.  I’ll spare you.

I’m nowhere near the wilderness, trust me I’ve been there.  It’s more like I’ve set up camp in the flower-filled meadow that happens to border the wilderness.

Life is good, it’s me that’s off.  Do you ever just feel off?  I’ve been off and my body has held nothing back in showing me how off I really am.  I’ve been experiencing insomnia.  My body physically hurts.  I manage to catch every cold or bug that floats by.  I’ve had more ailments in one year then any of my three children. And I’m the person who in the past, never ever got sick.

This is the point where I would tell anyone who was sharing this story to take a couple of advil and get over it already! Trust me.  I have.  Oh, and I’m working on learning patience and empathy too…

So I feel silly when I go to the doctor twice in the span of a week and come home with an industrial-sized bottle of pain meds and a prescription for wrist guards…carpal tunnel?  Really?   And yes, my blood work is normal.

So you can imagine my joy when I woke up this morning with a head cold and pink eye.  Really?  Yes, me.  Nope, not the kids.

Back to the doctor where she kindly mentioned that at this stage of life – with three little ones, two of which ferry germs home from school – I unfortunately seem to be taking the fallout, which yes apparently includes pink eye…

Ironically my point has nothing to do with my health.  Well, sort of…

My point is actually about perfection and why I always try so hard to *pull it together.*

I don’t think I’m alone in this.

Why do we feel the need to go to great lengths to give the appearance of perfection in this life?

I don’t know the answers.

Yet I do know my capabilities.  And when it comes down to it, I can seemingly pull it off.  I can have dinner on the table every night, wake up to a clean house every morning, entertain guests, never let the laundry pile up, play with the kids, weed the gardens, pay the bills, return phone calls, answer e-mails….and the list goes on.  Add to that the seemingly small stressors of daily life…mothering three children under the age of five, wife, friend, sister, daughter, the all-encompassing *special needs* category, advocating for orphans, community boards…all of these things added together create a big load.

Perhaps, as my mom suggested, my expectations are too high.  That while I may be able do it all, seemingly something has to give.  For me it’s been my health, which has been a pretty big wake up call.  For you it might be something else.

Which leads me to this thought:  I can do it all, but am I supposed to do it all?

Again, I’m reminded that His expectations are different from my expectations.

His expectations are different from the world’s expectations.

Who am I trying to please?  My Jesus or the world?

For a people pleaser, type-A, can-do attitude kinda gal, this is tough. 

Life is messy.  Life is hard.  Facades aren’t all they are cracked up to be.

The refining process isn’t easy, but it does make me more dependent on Him.  I’m pretty sure He realizes this.

*********************

For years I’ve read and studied the bible, however I’ve taken it one step farther.  I can’t exactly explain it, {or even what I’ve done differently} but whereas I might have previously gained selfish comfort, instead I find myself thirsty for more of what He has to say.  Interesting isn’t it?  A shift…from comfort to survival….Each word is slowly imprinted on my heart and feeds my soul.  His grace is good.

These verses have helped calmed many of life’s storms.  If you find yourself thirsty…

Jeremiah 29:11

11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

Philippians 4: 4 – 9

4 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5 Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. 9 Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.

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12 thoughts on “Keeping it together

  1. Libby, I am laughing out loud reading this post because I too have a head cold and pink eye this week, and don’t you really love not wearing makeup, not really?:) And my voice is almost completely gone, not very easy to teach when the kids can’t hear what you’re saying. I completely agree, why people all try to act like they have it all together when none of us really do. God is in control, and he loves to prove it all the time, especially when we try to do it all. I love the first verse you posted, it’s hanging in Brady’s bedroom, so hard to believe those words when you’re having a week like you are. Hope you heal up soon, and get to feeling better. Keep the faith, have a great day! Your posts are so uplifting.

  2. Well said and good reminders. I’ve told other women too that altho we CAN do it all, we should not go there or try to. Yet, sometimes we slip into trying to. I’m reminded too if we keep our eyes on Jesus and put full trust in Him each and every morning, the day goes a lot better, but oye, I try way too many days to try it on my own, always ends bad. thanks again for these reminders and praying you can let some of it go :)

  3. LOL well, I do feel like that scrambled mom who can barely get her hair did in the morning… at least my kids look good, right? Take care of yourself momma …

  4. I feel ya sistah! I remind myself that those composed ladies are just better at faking it than I am :) My comfort is that while I feel uncomfortable with all of the stuff of life and my “failure”, the Holy Spirit reminds me that this is not my home, and that His power is made perfect in my weakness.

    Preaching the Gospel to myself!
    Wendy (a recovering type A)

  5. I think Wendy is right – those other gals are better at faking it. Or they’re not dealing with everything that you are. Maybe their house is a wreck, with piles of dishes & laundry that need attention.

    Take some time this weekend & just rest. And for us Type A people, that can be tough to do. :) I’ll be sure to keep you in my prayers!

  6. Your “faking” it much better than I am! It is so hard to fake it when I still have therapists coming to our house (4x a week!) and I have head cold (7 1/2 months pregnant and can’t take anything!). What I envy about your post is how you still prioritize your faith and that’s something I have been lacking at…hope your feeling better soon!

  7. Libby, it is that pesky 1% creeping back up again. Maybe you should just head to Starbucks for a full fat latte (when you are feeling better) and have some “me” time. I think we moms are all too hard on ourselves. Here’s one that has helped me remember to go easy: “He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young”. (Isaiah 40:11)

  8. oh Libby dear…….as a reminder from the book I won from you…..GOD is in control; I will NOT fear…….GOD is always watching; I will NOT falter.

    You know the drill………but I will pray for strength for you to let HIM deal with it all and guide you along the way.

  9. I just want you to know how much I’ve always, and still do admire you – and the way to parent with style and grace, and ALWAYS seem to have it all together! I feel like I could have written that exact paragraph about preschool, and it makes me feel just a little bit better that YOU wrote it. :-) As I’m trying to guide Micah to his class and make sure he has his folder, project, or whatever … Matthew disappears up the stairs and Jesse runs toward the parking lot, and I’m frantically asking other moms … “could you grab him? did you see where Matthew went? aaaaaaargh!” seriously. They must all think I’m nuts as they calmly have their conversations and head off for coffee dates.

    I want you to know, also, that YOU helped make it OK for me to NOT be quite so perfect. I thought I had to do it all … keep house, raise kids, make home-made nutritious dinners, etc etc… but I finally hired help to clean the house. And I love it. And it was ok because you did it first … it made me feel like I didn’t “fail,” because I wasn’t keeping up with it all. It was ok to get help, because Libby did. :-) We think of you so often. Thanks for sharing.

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