each season the hardest, each season the same

fallen-leaves-3

each season feels like the hardest one. i remember when hazel was brand new, and how utterly in over my head i felt. the learning curve was so steep. i was grieving the loss of independence, freedom to use my time as i pleased, space to be alone with myself. and i had no idea what i was doing, so no action was simple or natural. the weight of concern and worry, with all the accompanying advice-seeking and google-searches, was exhausting. leaving the house felt like the most impossible thing. how was i supposed to plan an outing between all the naps and feedings (which were, in here case, LONG)?

this season now, and those early days with hazel feel so far away. i sometimes think that if i could go back and re-live them, it would feel easy compared to now. i would handle it like a pro, i would be so much more laid back. maybe that would be the case, if i could carry the knowledge/tricks/confidence i’ve gained in the three following years with me and apply them there, too. but that’s not how it works, is it? of course not.

Father breaks us in easy, giving us one challenge at a time, taking us deeper and deeper into responsibility and commitment. if He were to throw us right into it, we would surely drown. Or so it seems to me.

looking back even further than new motherhood, to the days when i was a young adult and single, how simple that all looks from where I now stand. bills were few and simple, taxes straightforward, freedom to use and structure my own time was enormous, i could accomplish things in a fraction of the time it now takes with small children in tow, all my decisions were my own to make (no need to seek consensus with a husband), and my parents would still help me out financially. i could have gotten up and gone to do anything with such comparative ease (travel, move, adventure). but at the time it didn’t feel so easy! there was also loneliness and longing for a mate, worry about not having enough money even for the few bills that i did have, and the downward-spiraling thoughts that often filled up all those solitary and unstructured hours. there weren’t children to anchor me, to make me get up in the morning and do the next thing that needed doing, and being single was like facing the world alone, not knowing when or if that aloneness would ever end. and though i didn’t have kids underfoot to sabotage my cleaning and cooking and errand running, i also was still learning how to cook and clean and run errands, which sometimes made me feel so young and inexperienced.

as scripture says, “each day has enough trouble of it’s own.” that’s meant to remind us not to worry also about the future, but i see it working retroactively, too: yesterday had enough of its own worries, too. there will always — in every life season — be heavy concerns, and loads to bear that feel too heavy at times. there will be moments of overwhelm. and, in each life season there will be provision. there will be enough of the internal resources, the support of community, and material needs. there will be enough of these things, coming forward as they are needed, because across all of these life seasons the one constant thing is the Father to whom we’ve entrusted ourselves.

so TODAY, when the challenges of a feisty, cooped-up 3 year-old and a 21-month-old who’s stumbling into his terrible 2s while teething his molars, combined with my achey, cumbersome, pregnant body on a gray day, with to-do lists a mile long and a house that feels impossibly messy but cannot be tended to because the children’s needs are so unrelenting and my body in such a state… today when cooking yet another meal and doing yet another load of laundry feel absolutely unrewarding and mundane… today when I feel so isolated from the comfort of close female friendships because the urgency of daily life squeezes out most of the opportunities to connect… today when our list of financial responsibilities is longer and more complicated than i could have imagined or navigated when i was 24, and when the upkeep of a house and the oversight of a nonprofit and the managing of my own business keep our minds racing into the night…. today when the challenges of being a wife with all the mutual submission, vulnerability practice, and intimacy to keep up feel like harder work that the romance movies ever would have led me to believe… TODAY there will be enough. TODAY my Father is with me, leading me gently because I am with child (Isaiah 40:11), providing for my every need out of his glorious riches (Phil 4:19).

and so for you, friend. whether you are in your early 20s, living with friends and trying to discern the trajectory of your life while avoiding being turned out on the street, or whether you are a new mother absolutely drowning in the enormity of that identity redefinition and the weight of a newborn’s constant need, or whether you are in your mid-life, about to see your youngest child off to college and suddenly there is a giant gaping hole that invites you to redetermine how you will spend the rest of your days… in all these seasons, He is sufficient, He is present, He is neither shocked nor dismayed at how things are going, and He waits to show you mercy.

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One thought on “each season the hardest, each season the same

  1. Hey, Just wanted to encourage you on the close female friendship need. Something I learned when my boys were 4 and 2 was that I desperately needed true friendships. The type of friends that could not be found in 1 hour play dates every few months, or structured Bible Studies with child care, or the occasional ladies night out, meeting up at a park or the zoo sometimes so our kids could play (which were what my life was filled with). I found 2 other ladies with kids of varying ages who felt the same desperation. We met deliberately every week. We met at 10am with our kids at one of our homes. We often stayed through lunch. We always stayed way past naptimes. We decided on that day that we would put aside to do lists, kids schedules and even their desires, and place our relationship with each other number 1. There were days that were filled with crying children at times, but mostly the kids learned the ropes. We shared our lives, nursed babies, wiped noses, but mostly we focused on one another, and reminded the kids to go play. It wasn’t always easy and rarely convenient, but it was SO worth it. It had amazing results. Jason always knew when I’d been to my friends, because despite the cranky kids and messy house, I was happy. I was refreshed and remembered why I was doing this job. These were the women who cleaned my house when I was puking with pregnancy #4, and the women who sat with me in the rain as all my belongings were packed in a moving truck bound for TN. I’m still close to these ladies. I found a similar group in Memphis. This time 3 women with 13 children among us who played in my small house in Memphis every week. They walked with me through some dark times and saw me off at the airport for France. They send my kids birthday presents and call me weekly. Just want to encourage you, and other young moms to work really hard on a few friendships. Kids need so much from us, but sometimes they need us to put aside their desires for constant attention, and give them an example of true friends walking with each other. We often feel late lunches, missed naptimes, or late bedtimes aren’t worth cranky kids. I want to encourage you that if they are for forging deep bonds they are totally worth it and your kids will get used to it :).

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