You may have noticed that it’s been a while since I published a post. If you haven’t noticed that’s really ok, in fact it’s kind of a relief. But I’ve noticed. I thought it was because I just didn’t have much to say that was interesting or relevant. Then whenever I tried to formulate an idea for a blog post it seemed stilted and fake, like one of those stock photos from that “It’s like they know us” tumblr feed (hilarious, by the way, look it up if you haven’t yet).
Then last night, during one of those eternal moments between putting my crying child back to sleep and waiting to make sure she’s really out and not about to start fussing again (you know what I mean) I had an epiphany. Maybe it was born from the cotton-headed fuzziness that comes from much interrupted sleep, but it still makes sense today so I’m going with it. Here is it is:
I’ve been in defense mode. Turtle tucked in it’s shell, raise the drawbridge and lower the portcullis, batten down the hatches and board up the windows, and a host of other cliches, that’s where I’ve been. But that’s not the way to live life, and it’s certainly not the way to write honest, transparent blog posts. It’s not that I’m in the middle of an all-out battle or raging storm like the preachers refer to. A simple scan of my Facebook feed shows a host of mountains other people are facing, so why am I stumbling over a few molehills? My marriage isn’t imploding, and we’re not facing a health crisis or a terrifying diagnosis. We’re not dealing with unemployment or a crushing load of debt. We’re not facing a sudden, devastating loss. It’s just small mistakes, irritations, and hurts. Here are some examples:
– I accidentally backed into another car in the church parking lot, scraping up their back door panel and cracking our bumper.
– A dear friend and I faced a painful set of circumstances that we had to work through in order to heal our friendship.
– I neglected to communicate my expectations to my husband before a recent family outing (he was thinking family fun hike, I was thinking Christmas picture opportunity) which resulted in frustration and disappointment for both of us.
– An unexpected conflict came up in a group that I’m a part of, and I found myself practicing conflict resolution and peace making.
– My pregnancy nausea (morning sickness is a total misnomer) is taking a depressingly long time to fade.
– A misunderstanding led someone to question my parenting abilities, causing an emotional wound that is slow to heal.
– An iffy weather forecast made us cancel some plans Charlotte (and our whole family) had been looking forward to.
– It’s been a while since we made it to church, thanks to various conflicts and circumstances, and I’m feeling the void left by not entering into corporate worship of my Savior.
– Baby Girl is dealing with her first ear infection, which was misdiagnosed by an urgent care doctor, leading to a week of giving her the wrong medicine and a delay starting the right antibiotics.
Sorry, this seems to have turned into a debbie downer post. Let me clarify and offer some hope (just in case you’re about to stage a depression intervention for me).
The purpose of this blog is not to show off an ideal life, to give examples of how best to raise a child, or to trumpet my domestic successes. Yes, my tagline is “the story of my happily ever after,” but I hope you know that is a tongue-in-cheek reference to what we all know is true; there’s no such thing on this dark earth. If I wanted to be more literal I would have put “the story of my on-going sanctification,” because I believe that is God’s true purpose for marriage and motherhood.
The hope that I cling to is that God uses the struggles and conflicts I face (the above listing being only a small sampling) as tools for His glory. As unwelcome and sometimes painful as these circumstances are they can also draw me closer to my Lord. If I accept them rather than fight and whine and cry, they can teach me humility and servant-hood, molding me a little bit more into Christ’s image. That’s as close as I can get to happily ever after this side of heaven. I’m trying to be thankful for the reminder.
P.S. You know that disappointing non-photo shoot I referred to? Yeah, that’s where these pictures came from. A tangible reminder that the unwanted, unplanned circumstance can be sweet too.