It's been about 4 1/2 years since my last post. As I sit here, I have no idea what I am going to write. I just read through a couple of my old posts, and I was reminded how much I love to write and how I enjoy processing through writing. I don't know if I'll publish this blog post or if I'll keep it private, simply for my own benefit. But what lies before me is an empty "page" and a wide open space for me to think and write freely.
The last time I posted was for Lucy's 2nd birthday. A lot has happened since then. And that is a severe understatement. Hank is 8 years old and in the second grade. Lucy is 6 years old and started kindergarten this year. And we have added one more to the bunch - Jane, our sassy little 3 year old who still has me tossing back and forth about wanting #4.
When I wrote that last post over four years ago, if I had asked myself then, "Where do you think you'll be in March 2023?" Not in a physical sense. Maybe the question I should have posed should have been, "Who do you think you'll be..." I think my answer would have looked something like this:
I'm not sure who I think I'll be. I know who I hope I will be. I hope I am a woman who has come to terms with all the hard things she has walked through. I hope I am a woman who is no longer trudging through depression, but who lives each day full of joy, soaking in all the little moments with her children and her husband. I hope that I will be using my past trials as a platform to encourage others and to proclaim God's glory and goodness. And as far as where I'll be physically? I hope to embody Psalm 66:12. "We went through fire and water, but you brought us to a place of abundance."
Is that who/where I am today?
In fact, that's the exact answer I would give today, about who/where I hope to be in March 2027.
I could get really down on myself for not being the woman that I desire to be right now. Well, in all honesty, I have been really hard on myself. But let's pose a new question...
Who am I today?
I am a woman who has walked through a LOT in the past 10 years. I am a woman who has not given myself a whole lot of grace for how those things have affected me. I have spoken lies and death over myself. I have compared myself to who I think I should be. I have compared myself a whole lot to who my mom was. To me, she is the picture of everything I want to be as a wife, a mom, a friend, a sister, a daughter... everything.
I have spoken wretched things over myself. "You're lazy. You suck. You are a failure. You are nothing like your mom. I have no idea why my kids love me. I have no idea why my husband loves me. I don't deserve their love at all. I'm horrible at life."
Just this year, I officially reached my lowest point. And it scared me. So much so, that David and I decided it was finally time to make counseling a real priority for me. It's something I have been wanting to do for years. Years. But life, and kids, and time, and money have all gotten in the way.
I started going to counseling about 6 weeks ago. I haven't had any major revelations or breakthroughs yet. But I am beginning to notice a shift in the way I speak to myself and about myself.
Depression is a real thing. My counselor said that struggling with depression is similar to having the flu. You just don't feel good. How would you speak to yourself if you had the flu?
Would you tell yourself that you're a failure?... No.
Would you say that you're horrible at life?... No.
Give yourself some grace. Acknowledge the hard things you've walked through. It really has been a LOT. I often find myself thinking back over the past 10 years and defining each year with what trial came our way... And yet, I don't let the weight of it all really sink in. I think I try to brush it all off as "normal" (because it has become normal to me), put my big girl panties on, and just keep trudging through.
The reality is, what we have walked through in the last ten years is not normal. The reality is:
IT'S A FREAKING LOT.
I'm learning that there is value in acknowledging the "LOTness" of it all and allowing myself the space to process it and to give myself grace when I feel like a "failure." Because the truth is:
- I am not a failure.
- I am not lazy.
- My kids love me because they think I'm awesome.
- My husband loves me because we made a commitment to each other "for better or for worse." And even though I may not be my "better" self all the time, we are in this together, and we are a team.
- I am a damn lot like my mom. Yeah I said it. Because it makes me feel like a badass when I say it. And yeah, I said two bad words right there because I am just. that. awesome. (And so was my mom. Boom.)
- I am not horrible at life. Life has dealt me a hard hand. But I have not given up. I have continued to put one foot in front of the other. My family is fed, even if it's cereal for dinner, they are fed. They have clean clothes to wear, albeit sometimes they have to dig things out of the dirty clothes hamper because I haven't done laundry in a week, but by golly, they have clothes to wear that aren't too stinky. Our house might be a mess, but it's safe, and we have a place to land where we know we are loved and cared for.