It's okay. I concerned some caring family members because of my recent post, and I apologize. I am not on the verge of a break-down -- physical, emotional, mental, nor spiritual. A little more sleep might help, but still, all is okay:
This past Sunday Atticus woke up with a stomach bug -- severe enough that Brad stayed home with him. I took Dietrich and Lincoln with me to the service. Dietrich went to the nursery. And Bekah, who had driven up separately, sat beside me and took Lincoln, quickly putting him to sleep (a nice and surprising respite -- both him sleeping during the service and Bekah sitting there by me really wanting to hold him). I was able to listen to the entire sermon and take notes and have myself a "parallel Bible study" -- my favorite way to hear a sermon. I was able to think and pray and see that I had some very specific repenting to do:
1. A lack of joy (Serve the Lord with gladness, Psalm 100:2 and Rejoice in the Lord always, again I say rejoice!, Philippians 4:4)
2. A completely agitated spirit (NOT a "gentle and quiet spirit" 1 Peter 3:4, "Be anxious about nothing, but in everything with prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving present your request to God, and the peace of God which transcends all understanding will guard your heart and mind in Christ Jesus" Phil. 4
I have been rereading Nancy Wilson's book on mothering, Praise Her in the Gates, which has been very encouraging and re-focusing on what God wants to do in and through me as I mother my children. I can cooperate with the sanctification, the self-emptying (kenosis) inherent in motherhood or I can kick against it and be broken anyway. I choose to give myself to God's good work in this. I choose to throw myself into the intensity of caring for small children. I choose to see the joy and good and the over-arching MEANING in this work, instead of letting the tedium or the monotony be all I see. That would be so completely stupid. I love my husband. I love my children. I love caring for them in this city, in this house. And I will remember just how very miraculous it is to have been given a good and wonderful man to love and let me love him...and never let the wonder ebb of laying next to this man at the end of the day or waking up in the middle of the night (many times (-:) to nurse the baby or help one of the other boys) and find him there warm and mine. To have someone to share this life with...it is the penultimate gift (right after Christ, my Heart of Hearts, King-Creator, Redeemer). And that is before I even look one second on even one of my miraculous sons. This life I have right now is the hardest work I have ever ever done -- It is relentless and bottomless -- but do you know what? Relentless and bottomless also means that it is intensely present (it can't be ignored, it fills every crack of my human resources, and exceeds those resources pressing me into the wildly sufficient God who gave, who gives me this work in the first place) and deeper than anything I have ever found to pour my life into.
And so I will say "Thank You" by fighting the bad mood that wakes me in the early morning after little sleep; By happily switching laundry around (because it means I have people with bodies who need clothes, people who let me love them and who love me); By not reading as many of my books as I would like and instead re-reading "Dinosaur Roar" and "Harold and the Purple Crayon" for the 507th time for excited and wiggly little urchins; By cheerfully wrestling kids in and out of car-seats in heat and in snow and ice; By letting other creative projects slowly crawl out of my hands over months and years instead of days and weeks because the truth is that a good and full life is always a balance of the many things God gives us to be present in, to work for -- This is true whether you are one person, alone on your own. Or a child (young or adult) in a family with parents and siblings. Or you are a wife with children (young or grown).
I remembered this weekend that I asked God -- no, I pleaded with God to not let my life by isolated, inert, useless, disconnected from true relationship, true community -- to not give me over to my desire for quiet and order that so quickly turns into sterility if it is a quiet and order that is obtained and maintained by removing oneself from other people. Please, I cried, don't let me do this to this life, it is so very wrong, so NOT what You want from me. And then one day, soon after that Brad opened the door of his ugly black Buick and sauntered out with his wild wavy hair, Van Arkel nose, and faded flannel shirt. And now... I have no escape from relationship, no way to worm my way out of this community we have made for ourselves, for our children. Thank God. Thank You so much. So don't worry, you dear, concerned family and friends, I may kick and flail and let it show (I've never been good at hiding anything) that I am having a hard time with the goodness God is working in me, giving to me but God is much stronger and more creative and efficacious than my weakness and sin. He will complete what He has begun in and through me (Philippians 1:6). And by His graciousness, I WANT what He is doing, what He has and is giving me. Yes and Amen.