October 04, 2010

The First Step to a Solution is 'Getting Real'

Sometimes there are moments of clarity in which you are forced to get real with yourself. For some of us it requires less blood and gore than others (I'm one of those 'walk right in to the wall 800 times' kind of girls, myself). I pondered the word 'REAL' as I sat down tonight with my blank screen and obligatory post. One of the Relevant 2010 mottoes is "Real. Intentional. Blogging." But do we always feel like being real? There are seasons where blogging comes easy - times are good and things are going smoothly, and there are times when life seems to be coming at you from every direction like one of those tennis ball machines - thug, pthug, thug!

Most of the time, I stay away from the blog when I'm feeling the bruises of bombardment... but every now and then I just have to 'let it out' regardless of the consequences. It isn't always easy to turn your problems in to ten-point articles. Keeping them on the inside does nothing but intensify the hurt. Reality gets in the way of easy blog material because sometimes the 'real stuff' isn't always as pretty.

So here I am tonight... after everyone is snug in bed... when I should be paying the bills and getting the paperwork on my desk in order (or grading Math, or cleaning my purse out, or folding laundry, or figuring out how to get that awful smell out of the front-loading washer)...

I stare at the screen, but I can't write. Something is stuck. All the blog posts in my head (most of them happen to come to me in the shower for some reason - maybe because I'm ALONE?) have been really whiny lately.  

I've been filled up with lists of whiny questions; things like:

-Why does my 11 year old have to suffer in pain and worry that she has cancer in her spine?
-Why am I having a baby so late in life when I hardly have the energy to handle the three that I already have?
-Why does there always seem to be three or four extra days in a pay period when the money has already run out?
-Why do I have an aversion to cooking dinner when we have 40$ in the account and can't afford to eat out?
-Why is it so hard for all of us to get our chores done and get out of our pajamas?
-Why have I only been on one date in the past 4 years with my husband?
-Why do my best attempts at "getting school done" always get pushed aside for doctor visits, medication, and grumpy mornings with two tweenage kids going through puberty?
-Why am I the only one in the house who knows how to change a toilet paper roll?
-Why does the baby have to write on everything with Sharpies?
-Why do I have to go to the store every day to buy 2 gallons of milk?
-Why aren't there enough hours in the day to actually get the house clean, school done, the baby taken care of, meals cooked, planning finished, paperwork filed, and the checkbook reconciled?
-Is it even possible that I can be burned out on homeschool this year when it isn't even a week in to October yet?

These type of questions aren't easy to answer.

They require grace and forgiveness; vulnerability that grates at your soul like sandpaper. Everyone laid bare... everyone in need of forgiveness (even yourself).

They require honesty.



And as you know, change is not always easy when things feel broken. It hurts bad.

Sometimes it takes looking past the homeschool curriculum and the xrays and the mechanical pencil that started WWIII before the kids even cracked their 'prayer journals' open for school. There's something deeper that isn't right. Something quiet and hidden inside. Something hollow.

But if we ease out of our shell and take a good look at the reality behind the veneer, we can address the pain and the hurt - put the pieces back together. We can pony up with a heavenly posse to tackle the attitude issues that are keeping real healing from happening. That's what I'm doing tonight. I stayed up to clean off my desk, sure... that was the original self-programmed "I CAN DO THIS" reason... but I knew God was calling me on the carpet when I sat down and couldn't find more words in my head besides, "Why, Lord?"

"That's what I wanted you to ask, Heather." He whispers as I stare over at my dusty Bible and consider picking up my own prayer journal that is quite a few days overdue.

The tears come because I was finally quiet enough to listen. I recognize His voice. And then the 'admitting that things are broken inside' and that 'I can't do it all'... (the thing He's been watching and waiting for)... it happens quietly - when I'm finally alone.

"Be still, child." That's what ADD is like for a grown up and her 'Big Daddy' in the sky (I'm sure he considers medicating me often). "Just let me minister to you."

I figure that God is not too small to answer big questions. I know he has the answers. So I'm going to ask them and He's going to whisper to me from those neglected pages about things that will make me better. Maybe my circumstances won't magically change, maybe our medical issues won't instantly disappear, and maybe the bank account will stay empty... but all of that will be miraculously OK when I am filled.

I know this. He's done it before. Funny how that first step hurts so much and then there's peace... and you laugh at yourself for being so stupid to wait this long for the filling up again. "Yes, Lord, Yes... I'm just empty. That's why everything is broken. I'm spent. Please fill me again."

I always forget that my questions and problems are not too trivial or too big for Him. And that's what gets me in these messes to begin with. I'm so glad that I didn't shy away from letting my fingers talk to this blank page tonight. I may regret posting this tomorrow (I always do when I get 'too REAL'), but I know there's probably someone else out there that needed to hear it or He wouldn't have prompted me to be so brutally honest with the entire internet.

He's waiting for you, too.

"Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain on the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.

I am the vine and you are the branches.

If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing." ~ Jesus (John 15: 4-5)


Brenda Johnston said...

I don't remember how I found your blog, through another homeschooler I am sure. Thank you for all the great tips you provide! And thanks for sharing from your heart tonight. Earlier this evening at our monthly homeschooling support meeting, I heard Bev Bradley speak on the VERY SAME THING! Being still and listening to his voice. I know I have been too busy lately and too caught up in curriculum choices and the schedule of getting school done for the day. I know I need to slow down and just be with the Lord. So, being that I've now heard the same message twice in one night, I think God is speaking directly to me! Thanks. :)

Tracy said...

Thank you, Heather. In addition to homeschooling (we have three very similar in ages to yours) this has been a very trying season for us. Since May we've had to replace the lawn mower, weed eater, hot water heater and dishwasher. One of the cars and the refrigerator needed repairs that my husband couldn't manage. There was a leak around the front door that damaged one of the finished walls in the basement and the regulator that controls the water pressure in the house has broken, resulting in a fix that won't be easy because the man the put in the original plumbing in our house soldered together parts that weren't supposed to be soldered making repairs much more difficult. Oh, yea, there was an outdoor spigot that had to be replaced too. Again, this was a much more difficult job to do because of soldering! My poor hubby has spent more time repairing, replacing and trying to repair things this summer than he'd care to remember! As if homeschooling and regular life isn't challenging enough, dealing with all of these curve balls has left me feeling even more overwhelmed than normal. All of this to say that I needed your post this morning. It was a breathe of fresh air and the boost I needed to set the tone for the day. Thank God His mercies are new every day!

Sheila said...

What a beautiful post! I was reminded of the Amy Grant song 'Better than a Hallelujah'. God will never fail us if we lean on him.

P.S. For your front-load washer - if you have a clean cycle, run it with beach. Otherwise just run it through with some bleach.

Gwen Toliver said...

I'm praying for you especially today, Heather. I really appreciate your candor in this post.

Our eldest was born with a number of "deformities" and deals with pain on a daily basis - it has caused him to turn His eyes to the Lord and trust in Him far more than he ever would have if he had been born "normal". Jer.9:23-24 With everything going on in our lives right now, I'm finally learning that it's a good thing to wake up in the morning realizing there's no way I'll make it through the day without the Lord's help.

Keep me posted on your daughter's health, okay?

cceeyore said...

Heather ... you are an amazing woman! I am so thankful to read so many women's blogs who are real ... even though real is ugly, messy, and dirty. Life is not a beautiful bouquet of roses ... it is full of thorns that will mess you up!

God is very patient ... He has to be. Because there are so many of us who have to learn the same lessons over and over and over and over. Like trusting Him when you run out of money and there is a week until payday. Like living in pain and wondering what your daughter's life would be like if you didn't live in pain and could do all of the things she wanted to do every day. God is there. He is always there. Even when we walk away, He is still there with arms open wide waiting for us to come home.

Thanks for being real, Heather!

Debbie S. said...

Don't take this the wrong way - but I would rather hear the "real" stuff anyday over the surface stuff.

So many times I have a desire to write what's on my heart, but I don't for fear of being too "real" or gaining sympathy. Sometimes you don't WANT anything, you just need a place to speak what's on your heart.

I've so enjoyed this post and look forward to more "realness" from you.

Thanks for sharing.


amber @ classichousewife said...

Absolutely! Amen! I've been asking a lot of the same questions this past week. And I knew deep down inside, even told myself once, that chaos without is a sign of chaos within. Everything goes sideways when I'm not looking up. THANK YOU, Heather.
God bless you today, rest in Him, let Him lead you, I pray peace for your family and joy for you today. Amen!

revisedexpectations said...

Praying for peace and strength in your home and in your head, mind and heart today. ~K

Heather at Creative Family Moments said...

I really needed to hear those things right now. Thank you for posting.

Leanne said...

Hi Heather, my 9 year old daughter too, has been dealing with back pain for the last 14 weeks. After much testing, she is finally starting to improve. I have a few old fashion home remedies that have been helping her if you are interested.
Thank you for your bloggs, they are inspiring :)
I will be praying for your daughter.

Sprittibee said...

Brenda - isn't that amazing? I had the same thing happen to me this week with a verse in the Bible being mentioned more than once to me. Happens a lot. Helps to know that the curriculum isn't what gives us the success in teaching the kids.

Tracy - I understand very well feeling like you 'can't win for losing'. ;) We've had nearly 3 really difficult homeschool years - with me being pregnant three times (miscarried, bedrest for the last one for a month or so and getting used to being a baby mama again after a 10 year span between kids, and now this pregnancy with nausea for a couple of months). I'm feeling good enough now to tackle the year, but now the kids are sick! LOL Always something. Good to know that as long as we keep holding on to God - He'll make the end result come out OK (Romans 8:28).

Sheila - BLEACH! Why didn't I think of that. Thanks!

Gwen - THANK YOU for the prayers!!! We started our day off good (prayer and up early with mom at the breakfast table feeding baby...) and it all went downhill with hormones, fears, crying, back pain, ... but it looks like the end of the day may be a positive one. It is all a growing process for everyone - learning to live with this pain and trying not to worry about the future. I know the prayers are helping.

cceyore - :) xoxo

Debbie - Surface stuff is so much easier! ;)

Amber - I know sideways. We do that a lot around here.

Revised Expectations - THANK YOU!!!

Heather - You are welcome!

Leanne - Please please - share the remedies! Anything! I'm even doing the vitamin supplements that people suggested. Someone said fish oil would help with the puberty hormones so we are doing that. Thank you for praying.

Jo said...

"I'm just empty. That's why everything is broken. I'm spent. Fill me up again." Yes, Heather, I am exactly in that place too! Thank You Jesus for using Heather to speak to me.
Bless you sister!

Traci Michele said...

Hey girl. I created a Relevant Meet and Greet page on my blog. Come join the fun.



Traci said...

You have been on my heart this week and I have been praying for you dear. I keep thinking of the scripture "His strength is made perfect in our weakness' and being broken before the Lord is exactly where we need to be for Him to move on our behalf. It's all for our good and His glory.

Heather S. said...

Thanks for posting. I was feeling very overwhelmed today - and needed the reminder that only Christ can fill me.

the first one, the middle one, or the infant said...

I would rather hear something REAL than something shallow any day! Nothing like that not so subtle reminder from Our Father how needy we are...Blessings on your home and heart from a fellow Texas homeschooler! Marie

The Faithful Homeschool said...

I loved your blog and your honesty. Thank you... you are so right and so justified and so blessed to know your Father is just waiting for you to come.

Karen from A Glimpse Into My Reveries said...

I just found your blog from a link from Mary at Owlhaven.net.

I appreciate real over fluffy & projected perfection. And I can identify with the need to Be Still & Listen. A young priest once taught me a powerful prayer: "Help!". He said the hard part was listening for the answer.

For your stinky washer: www.smellywasher.com. Worked for me. The remember to drap a hand towel over the door to keep it from closing, so it'll dry out between loads & prevent new mold.

Dinner: my sisters are fulltime working moms while going to school themselves. They swear by: www.e-mealz.com. They get a meal plan, recipes with easy instructions & shopping list for the week. They credit this website with a return to the family dinner table and a huge reduction in their daily stress over feeding the family delicious nutritious and regular meals!



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