Sunday, July 5, 2009

There's grass in my bathtub

Catchy title, huh? I know I sound a little out of it but I actually feel "on" today. Many days feel "off," and that's okay because I don't expect to feel normal this soon after having a baby. Today, though, is a good day. Last night when I took a bath I realized something and I think it changed my life.

Baths provoke deep thought, don't they?

I love baths. Always have. They used to be what I'd do when I didn't have anything else to do. Now they are one of the few things every day where no one else is touching me, needing me, taking my attention. I love them even more after having my kids.

There were pieces of grass in the tub when I stepped in last night and I thought, "Geez even in the tub there are remnants of little people and what they do around here!" I don't know if there were pieces hidden on Ty's body (don't want to know,) or one of the kids had put the pieces in there on purpose. I don't remember ever seeing grass in there before. Yesterday of all days there it was.

Earlier in the day I had sent Charlie home with my mom for a little vacation. The house is strangely quiet without her here, which has been nice. She's needing lots of attention right now and that's to be expected with her age and the fact that she just got dethroned as the baby. It's been wearing on me. I know why she whines most of the time but it doesn't make it more pleasant. I honestly don't know how many times I thought about how different things would be without her yesterday. Not wishing, understand, just wondering.

Back to the bathtub. I'm not a clean freak. Sean wishes I was! I don't care if things are a little dirty but the grass thing was the last straw. The last grass. My breaking point. I sat in my lovely bathtub and started praying.

Lord help me. Really, help me, I asked. I'm up to my neck in parenting and I feel like I'm not getting anywhere. They make progress one day and the next day is like groundhog day...starting over from scratch. When will this ever pay off? When will they "get it," whether it's regarding sharing, eating, putting on their own shoes, or asking for help.

And you know what God showed me?

I need to get over it.

Sometimes I tell a story about how hard the day is/was to someone whose kids are a little older and they'll look at me like, "Well, what did you expect?" One friend even says that. "What do you expect when your kids are that little and you're up at night with the baby and you're a little on the selfish side anyway?"Yes she said that. Yes she's a good friend. Yes we're still friends after she said it.

So yeah, I need to get over it. God chose me to be their mother and for some reason, (still unclear,) He gave them to us all at once. And at the same moment I realized that stuff, I realized how many friends of mine are longing to be in my shoes. Or maybe a cuter, more stylish version of my shoes. They are longing for a baby. Or another baby. Or a healthy baby. I have all of those things and have been terribly wrong in my thinking.

So I was thankful. Really thankful. For the first time in a few weeks. Maybe even the most thankful I've been for my kids in a long time.

I wrote all of those words on Friday. It is now Sunday.

Yesterday, (the 4th,) Sean, Ty, Joy and I drove to Waxahachie to see my family and to pick Charlie up. Graham and his family were here so everybody was together and we had a great time. All of the babies took naps, a huge surprise since Ty slept in a different place than he's used to down there--and we all know how great he is with change--and last night everybody slept back in their beds. The whole family at home together.

Last night when I was trying to fall asleep I got frustrated.
Sometimes I do lose sight of things when I'm tired. I wish it wasn't the case and that I could just roll with it, (whatever "it" is on a given day,) but I have had a bad attitude about dealing with the whining/complaining/fits/etc here lately. You've obviously heard it loud and clear. A few days ago, when I first started writing this post I was refreshed and grateful for the kids.

Then last night, even after my realization just a few nights earlier, I took two steps back again. Why is it that even once we notice and name our struggle we still can't overcome it? Why can something so small that one of the kids does send me over the edge? Why does sin rear its ugly head in me SO OFTEN?

So at the risk of sounding blunt and the opposite of fluffy, this is my conclusion.

Motherhood is hard. It is excruciating at times. Mainly when the kids are sick but sometimes the hard times hit clear out of the blue too. It is unpredictable and risky and sometimes it's boring. But like everything else God gave us, it has promises attached. Thank God literally that we have a reason to do what we do. There are more reasons to, what is the phrase, kick the dust off your boots and move on, than there are reasons to quit. How would one quit anyway? Not that I'm looking into it.


God promises that the work I put in will not be lost, that what I teach them about Him and His word will not come back worthless. He promises that when He gives us a task He will walk right beside us until it is finished. And finish it for us if need be. He promises us that there will never be a moment without Him to lean on. He tells us that we need to feel safe and stop worrying about what will happen tomorrow. Even the vomiting virus is not too much for Him to handle. Even the days recovering from delivery. Even the days mourning a baby that was taken too early. He promises us that this is not all there is. There is much much more to look forward to.

So I'm gonna get over it. There's grass in my bathtub. And I'm gonna learn to like it.


Anonymous said...

I think I'll somehow figure out how to bookmark this post so I can read it again and again. You are SO right on so many points, both about how hard it can be and about God's promises through it all.

Sometimes, when I think I can't handle ANY more, I remember that it's only when we're pushed that we truly grow. When it's really, REALLY hard, sometimes, that's the only good I can find... That His work is also unfinished IN ME and that he is molding ME every day into being more of what He designed...someone with less of the selfish, sinful part.

And if being pushed to my limit is the way for me to become more like Him...then I can't think of a better way to be pushed!

Michelle said...

WOW! That was an amazing post. I just got finished reading this one to Justin. This has been a tough week with sickenss, little sleep, and lots to do. Of course 2 year olds and infants don't understand a bit of that.
Justin and I had to sit down today to talk about this crazy roll of parenting. It can really get overwhelming, and I always seem to take it out on the ones I love the most. We discussed how we really need to work on touching base each night, just the two of us, to communicate the happenings of each day and the day to come. To pray together, because Lord knows we can't do this alone.
So, next time you see some grass in your tub, just know that you can "clean it out." There is always a way to start fresh with a new "bathtub." Isn't that some awesome GRACE?

Mary said...

Amen to both of y'all-I wish someone had warned me about how hard it really is. I'm glad some of it made sense to you! I really felt like God put it on my heart to share :)

Rachel and Ian Kirkland said...

I love reading your heart! I think every mom would read this and let out a big sigh of "I'm not the only one" relief!
Thank you for being so transparent and real.

We Three Smiths + 1 said...

You have the best blog and post(s). Especially this one. I love reading your blog..I am sad on days when there is nothing to read :). What an amazing person you are..really. Heather is right, God does have a plan for us all. We can only pray that when heaven calls us we have fulfilled what he laid out for us!

Victoria said...

Thanks for sharing your honesty and heart. I have been blessed in reading how you are handling it all. Being refined through the fire, is what being a mom and wife seems to be all about!