Monday, April 19, 2010

Digging Deep

Drained - that's the word of the week. Have you ever felt completely drained and unable to give anything else? To be 'done', in the sense of energy and ability? That has been how I have felt many times in the last several weeks.

Almost immediately after I wrote my last post on adjustment, (you know, the one that said it wasn't that much harder for me to adjust from 2-to-3 as it was 1-to-2) things seemed to get harder for me. I became incredibly overwhelmed. Overwhelmed with everything, really. I don't need to go into all the details but I will say this... I was on empty. I was the most tired I have probably ever been in my life and more motivated than ever to be "perfect" and on top of things, the combination was disappointing, to say the least.
People kept telling me, 'Just let it go', 'Don't worry about this or that', 'It doesn't matter'; but the truth was I couldn't let it go and it did matter, to me.
I wanted everything to be perfect. Perfect for me, perfect for Tim, perfect for our children. I had this picture in my head... and reality was not quite what I was picturing.... okay, it wasn't even that close. 

I felt like I was (and am) in the middle of chaos. Our children are energetic children (compared to many) and this has never bothered us, in fact we encouraged it in a lot of ways. We don't have a lot of rules in regards to jumping on (or off of) furniture, wrestling in the house or running around. We have always allowed our kids to be kids in this area and they have taken full advantage :) Tim has always been carefree that way, I on the other hand, have struggled a little bit more but have adjusted slowly to the idea of it.

In the past three weeks (or so), it was this same energy that helped get me so drained. I was seeking peace and quiet, a place of harmony and love - a relaxing home with little to no stress. But, that's not exactly how I would describe our home right now.
In addition to energy, noise is something that we have an abundance of. Treyton is loud, he's loud at everything he does - talking, singing, yelling, playing, you name it Treyton does it loudly and to the fullest!! Lexa has recently become a screamer - if something doesn't go her way she just.... screams, if she's excited she screams, if she's happy about something she laughs... loudly with a squeal! And Audrey, though she is the most quiet one, and her cry is the quietest one I have ever heard it's the newborn cry that pierces my heart the most.

The truth is, my kids are good kids, they are fairly obedient, in the middle of their training, yes, but good kids. They are happy, healthy and love each other and their mom and dad. Some of our biggest problems are their desires to be with us most of the time, and hugging each other too tightly or one sibling not wanting to leave the other one alone. Honestly, we have a good life, we are extremely blessed and things are not "bad" - they're just crazy!! It's not bad, it's just not really what I "wanted", and when I try to control all the noise and energy, it's extremely draining. And on top of that there seems to ALWAYS be someone that needs me: someone crying, or hurt, or disobeying and in the need of training, or just someone who wants a hug or a little bit of mom time.  

I know "it will get better" as so many been-there, done-thatters have told me; 'this is the hardest stage, physically', they tell me. "This too shall pass" - but what about now? What can I do now? I need help, NOW, not later.

On a particularly rough day I had told Tim "I've had it, I can't do this!" and he simply told me "Yes you can, dig deep." My first thought was "I am digging deep!! Can't you see that?" but my second, more reasonable thought was "He's right, my well might be dry but Christ's isn't" I have access to a well that will never run dry, that will never get to the place of "enough" or "done". Truth be told, I knew this already, but I wasn't utilizing it.

I realized then that I was drawing from the wrong source, I began to see (again) the importance of scripture in my day. I still do my quiet time but it is more sporadic and shorter compared to what it I am used to so I am doing the best I can to keep scripture near me - I began to carry around my flashcards with my encouragement verses on them. This helped in the worst moments.
The one verse that has meant the most has been Psalm 18:39 which says
"For you equipped me with the strength for the battle; You made those who rise against me sink under me." 

I am learning my entire day is affected most by my mindset. The moment I began to think "I can't" or "I don't want to" my attitude begins to shift onto all the things that are going wrong and that are out of my control, overwhelmed emotions begin to take over. But when I can keep my eyes open to the big picture and the blessings around me, I am much more capable to attack each and every battle with more strength. The lies that rise against me are too numerous to list here, but each one will sink under me when my focus is on Christ and my real calling.

Another thing I have learned is to slow down and expect less. These two go hand-in-hand for me. I have to realize I'm dealing with toddlers and preschoolers here, not adults, or even fully trained children. We are in the middle, and even the beginning of training with our children. This doesn't happen overnight. It takes patience, along with opportunities for failure and success. Another great piece of advice Tim gave me last week was "Look at the big picture and stop focusing on all the little bumps in the road" - Most of the time I expect perfection from my children. I think they should listen to me right away, when I say something, without arguing or excuses, EVERYTIME.... right? It's absolutely true, they should, and SOMETIMES, they do, but sometimes they don't, and that was frustrating me more than it should.

My work is not done, that much is clear :) but I need to realize that to finish the job. I am so not close to getting my emotions and thoughts under control, I'm still tired, I'm still drained. So please, don't think this is coming from anyone who has it figured out - I so don't. I know that most of this post is written in the past tense, but this is still present for me. But I'm trying, I want to do this thing right - not perfect - but with a clear conscience, following the Word of God. I am hopeful, today. I am drawing near.

"Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and grace to help in a time of need." Hebrews 4:16


Jessica-MomForHim said...

This post says almost exactly what I was feeling the past few weeks. Seriously on the verge of a breakdown, it seemed! Tears, yes (I am pregnant, after all!), and on a regular basis! Frustrations with illness upon illness and being sick and tired of being sick and tired and all the laundry! And yet life with 4 kids kept going on, and the training that involves, and my lack of patience wasn't helping things, it was making them worse. I just wanted a little PEACE before the baby arrives next month!

I came to the same place as you--I needed to dig deeper. HE is enough and CAN help me through! Like you, it's not instantly all better, but like you, I am also hopeful. The past week has been much better for me (even though my husband is in Korea!). My days are far from perfect, and I and my kids aren't perfect, either (but they are GOOD kids!). Training needs to keep happening, and yes, kids are loud, but I can still make it through my day without completely losing it. :-)

As for what you can do now? Head outside! Put school off for awhile (really, your kids are fine academically--ahead even--and some time off wouldn't hurt them). Enjoy your littles and enjoy the spring. Start your garden. Plant some flowers. Order a butterfly kit. Go for a walk to pick up trash. These are things I'm trying to do, and although the million other things still clamor for my attention, I hope I am making progress. :-)

Hang in there, friend. You are not alone. :-)

Catherine said...

Hi Amber,

Thank you so much for being so open and honest! Our 3rd one is arriving in August and our kids are about the same age gap as yours. Sometimes I'm overwhelmed by just the thought of it all! I feel like we've just begun to get into a great routine with our two kiddos, and anticipating the loss of that structure (ok, control) makes me so nervous!

But I know that Christ works the most effectively when I'm working the most ineffectively. He uses those times when we feel empty to fill us up. He's so faithful and good, and He won't leave us there for long. He's working even these crazy, LOUD, chaotic times for your good. :)

For now, don't put so much pressure on yourself! It's ok not to be Super Mom right now. Hold off on school for a while. Just enjoy the kids and enjoy the sunny outdoors.

And please remind me of all of this in August when I hit my low point. :)

Our God is able,

Ashley Skye said...

You are an amazing women I am so strengthened even by in your mind weaker moments.

I look at you and sometimes I think she always has it so together I will never be able to live up to the path you have already laid out. I look at you and your children and hope that I am even half the mother that you are. To know that even you struggle makes me feel less stressed about the near future. I struggle with a part time 6 year old, and I am terrified of my soon to be newborn I cannot even imagine your plate!!

Your honestly and openess are amazing to me and I thank you for all your insight as you come across it!!

I love you and your family with all my heart and if it makes you feel any better I think you are doing an amazing job and I can only HOPE to follow in your very big footsteps - that is how I see you!

Michelle said...

You are not alone. I only have 2 in training and I have days where I feel like all is hopeless and I'm failing miserably. That's when I realize I'm depending on me too much and not enough on God.

I agree with Jessica. Get out and take a break. It's the great thing about don't HAVE to be in there. Treyton can learn anywhere! And he's fine. Don't let the beauty of spring pass you by. (Although...I remember how hard it was last year trying to man handle a newborn and chase a 19 month old I understand if even that seems overwhelming!) Keep your head up...I haven't been there...but you will have to. :D