dimly lit days

parenting small children is an emotional roller coaster.  the highs are high, but the lows can be equally extreme, and for whatever reason, that remains a little acknowledged secret about motherhood.

will you think i'm a bad mom if i tell you that every day at home i wrestle with anger, loneliness, frustration, and stress?

will you think i'm a bad christian if i admit that being a mother doesn't fulfill my every longing for purpose?

the isolation, tantrums, crying, public defiance, power struggles, and poo-splosions are emotionally exhausting, and they bring me to my knees.  i wish i could say in prayer, but many days, it's more like defeat.  my inability to complete the simplest of tasks is overwhelming.  grocery shopping and getting dinner on the table are often bigger challenges than i feel equipped for.

i love my children, and i do love being home with them.  many days are filled with remarkable joy, and i'm thankful for the privilege of raising them. i don't think the grass is greener for working moms:  each choice has its trade-offs.  though i miss the intellectual challenges and adult interaction of professional life, i know my heart would ache not to be present for all the fleeting moments of my kids' childhood.

i'm glad i chose this path, but that doesn't mean it is an easy journey to walk.  bedtime battles, jim's working until 10 or 11, and an extremely defiant two-year-old have made for a rocky week.  my short temper and edginess are constant reminders of my own sinfulness, but even in the midst of a dark season, light bursts through the broken cracks.

the other day, i hit my head so hard it doubled me over in pain.  dylan stopped what she was doing and rushed to my side.

"mommy, are you ok?" she asked.

i told her i bumped my head and hurt myself.

"do you want me to kiss it?"

i had to smile, despite the blazing pain.  of course i wanted a kiss from two tiny, perfect lips.

"do you want me to sing 'you are my sunshine'?"

my eyes brimmed with tears from her sweet kindness.

despite my failings, i must be doing something right.  or more accurately, God is doing something right, creating a beautiful mosaic out of the broken pieces of my sinful life.

trusting this promise today, for myself and my family:

"he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus"  (philippians 1:6).

You say you want a living sacrifice
Well I am a burnt offering
Crawling off the altar and
Back in to the fire

And with my smoke-filled lungs
I cry out for freedom
While locking and chaining myself
To my rotting desires

And I hate the stench,
But I swallow the key
And with it stuck in my throat
Can you hear me, can you hear me

I'm coming home, I'm coming home
I'm coming home, I'm coming home,
but I'm still a long way off

I am shelled-shocked, and I have walked
Through the trenches full of tears
With the mortars of memory
Exploding in my burning ears

You stripped the trees of Lebanon
And now you're stripping me
Of the bark of false morality
And the bite of selfish greed
Can you hear me?

Will you run to me?
Will you come to me?
Will you meet me, will you greet me
Will you drag me home 'cause I'm still a long way off

--Coming Home by Caedmon's Call

thank you, Lord, for grace-filled moments and glimpses of your goodness.  thank you for your faithfulness.  thank you that even though i am still a long way off, it is you who runs to me.  i am incapable of getting where i want to be on my own.  thank you that by your grace, i don't have to.

image credit


Anonymous said...

Beautiful post, Suzannah! There isn't nothing quite as humbling or amazing as motherhood, is there? Grateful to be running this race with you!

Jennifer said...

whew, that one brought me to tears, and I have exactly 0 children! you and the Spirit in you are most definitely doing something right. ;)

Be encouraged!

Amy Reams said...

Wow, thanks for your honesty. I'm tear-y. It's really encouraging and I also have no kids.

care-in said...

You read my heart and's so comforting to know it's ok to have those feelings. I've been battling those same questions lately.

Thank you for the encouragement.

Katie Jones said...

This honesty is why I keep reading your blog. As a still single woman, it's most comforting to get perspectives on what's ahead from a woman who keeps herself in check and doesn't take moments for granted. Thanks for sharing your highs and your lows. :)

Misty said...

oh, friend. i don't even know you in real life, yet i long to hold your hand (if you're touchy-feely like that) and squeeze it and just encourage the daylights out of you. i'm only a step ahead in experience, but my heart is right where yours is. i have days that suck. i have days where i've thought, "i literally hate what i'm doing in this moment" but then that ray of grace-shine. it's amazing how our little ones can rob us of our self confidence and composure and leave us feeling inept and defeated. my latest blog post has some scary confessions in it, and while they may not be yours, they might make you feel a little less crazy. :) big hugs.

Penny said...

You're not a bad Christian, but an honest one and that is the best kind, the kind that can be transformed.

I have yet to meet the sainted mother who doesn't yell at her kids or suffer from all the things you write of. At least, that person is not me in any case.

Heather of the EO said...

"i'm glad i chose this path, but that doesn't mean it is an easy journey to walk."

I'm right with you. Yes. This is really really hard work and NO, I don't think you a bad mom. At all. Just normal.

And I love Caedmon's Call. Just saying :)

O'Brien said...

Thank you YHVH!! Thank you Suzannah for your words:)

jill said...

Suzannah, you are never alone, in all that happens and you would not be human if you didn't have those moments, those feelings. I appreciate that you can say how you feel, for soooooo many feel the same way and yet never share it. I think you are doing a great job!!!! Know you are loved!

Mrs. Small House said...

I feel like this so often thanks to my lovely toddler. You put it perfectly into words. It's always nice to know we're not alone, even through strangers on the internet. :)

Karen said...

Wow! You are a woman after my own heart. You so eloquently expressed things that I feel & experience so often. Thank you for a beautiful post. By the way, that verse from Philippians has been 'my' verse for years & years. It's a promise I cling to.

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