So this has been on my heart for awhile now. I’ve struggled with feeling inadequate and I know from living and breathing in this world, I’m not the only one.
When we found out Sam was deploying, he and I prayed that this season would be a time of thriving and not just surviving. And believe me, most days its beautifully messy and rich. But it’s beautifully messy and rich because I am reminded that God is my portion. I am reminded of that when I’m having to drive Bud all over the state for visits to family and friends and he HATES the car and there is no one to entertain him except me and his snack cup filled with cheerios that have been thrown across my car like confetti and his shrieks are so high-pitched that I think Mariah Carey might have taken an unwelcomed residence in my son’s vocal chords. I am reminded of that when I’m laying Bud down at night praying for Dada’s safety and there is a giant void of his Dada’s strong arms wrapping around us as we pray. I am desperately searching to feel my Father’s arms wrapping around us in those moments and am beyond grateful I have a husband who is praying the same thing across the world. I am reminded of that when I crawl into bed at night and force my body as close to the middle as possible so that the emptiness of the other half isn’t as vast. I am reminded of that when I remember how joyful our lives are when all 3 of us are together and thank God for the reality that the three of us do pretty damn well together. I am also reminded of that when I get to tell Bud of how brave and selfless his Dada is. When we try and explain what a heart for justice looks like, I can point to his Dada as an example. Trust me, I know how blessed I am to say that.
So here’s where we can come in. We need to cut ourselves some slack. I have put some major self-inflicted guilt on myself. Yes, these times have been thriving because of how faithful the Lord has been but there are some days when I am in survival mode. I have to do what’s best for my family even in the face of a hard situation. I have mentioned before that Bud doesn’t exactly take to the church nursery well. This has NOTHING to do with the volunteers there. They are beyond amazing. I am not sure if its the fear I’m not coming back or that I’m the only consistently physically present person right now in his life, but he wigs out. Which makes my heart shatter into oblivion all over the church floor. I can’t enjoy worship, I can’t hear the message because all I’m thinking about is how he’s doing in the nursery. I fully realize this isn’t the best state of mind, but its my birthday and I’ll cry if I want to. If Sam were next to me, I wouldn’t bat an eye. I’d tell Bud to tough it out and we’d go enjoy church and trust he’d work it out. But because of our situation, I just can’t do that. I don’t have peace in my heart about it. And lets be real, when you try and get a mama to do something when she doesn’t have peace about it, it’s like trying to convince Charlie Sheen to pursue a life of abstinence.
I love the crap of our Gospel-centered, non-judgmental church. I love my community of friends at my church. But on those hard days when Bud is upset I’ve left him in the nursery and I’m lonely for my hubby, it is anything but a worshipful experience for me. That’s a decision of survival for me folks. If it seems like a good morning, I go and try it out. I’ve sat with Bud for 40 minutes in the nursery while he calms down and then sneaked away for a bit of the message and we’ve survived. I also feel an aching in my heart as I search for a seat alone and keep glancing over at the empty seat next to me wishing I was sitting there with Sam. So there are some mornings when I realize that it’d be better for my heart if I sat in the stillness, listened to the sermon online, and sang to Him in our sunroom instead of the sanctuary next to that empty seat.
And you know what I’ve had to come to terms with? This doesn’t make me a terrible person. I beat myself up for awhile because I couldn’t “pull it off” perfectly. Hear me brothers and sisters, my faith is strong but my God is even stronger. I am not going to be able to pull it off perfectly each day and despite my tendency to beat myself up, I have to cut myself some slack for that. There are going to be some Sunday mornings when you won’t see me rushing into the building with a crying toddler, messy hair, and a weary heart but know that I am rejoicing in some serious grace that covers my messy hair, weary heart, and the crying toddler.
We never know what mess other people are walking through. Can you imagine how amazing it would be if we traded judgmental hearts for loving hearts? Can you imagine if we strapped on our boots and drudged through the mud WITH the people around us instead of dragging them through it? It might not be Sundays for you. It might be getting the house cleaned, or laundry done, or getting a work out in, or a PTA meeting. Whatever it is, sometimes we have to take a deep breath and know we’re doing the best we can, and hell… cut ourselves some slack.