Wednesday, December 3, 2014

a sacrifice of thanks.

I'm not sure how to put into words what last weekend felt like. Our first major holiday as a truly separated couple. It felt heavy and hard and gritty and vulnerable. But on the other hand, it lifted my spirits to have my immediate family in my house all weekend, so it was life-giving at the same time. I've said before that the constant dull ache of loneliness is the hardest thing to live with (even months and months into this), so having people in my house make that ache disappear and makes me feel more human again. I'm an introvert. I crave quiet and alone time desperately. But I've realized how terribly we all need companionship. This quote has been swirling through my head since I read it several weeks ago:
"To be loved but not known is comforting but superficial. To be known and not loved is our greatest fear. But to be fully known and truly loved is, well, a lot like being loved by God. It is what we need more than anything." -Tim Keller
This season has made me feel so very human. So very lacking. I look at my daily life and feel like I'm just barely holding on to any thread of sanity. I feel like the biggest loser in my role as a stay-at-home mom these days. Truly, though, I'm not writing these things to garner sympathy or encouragement (though that is always welcome.) But I know there are other women who need to know they're not alone down there at rock bottom. And for that reason I continue to write. And I'm not just here to say, "hey, I'm down here too." I'm here to say He's down here too. I listened to a quick Brene Brown clip that a dear friend sent me and my favorite part said something along the lines of, "our relationship with Jesus isn't supposed to look like an epidural that takes away all of our pain. It's supposed to look like the midwife who sits with us in the pain." My future has never looked more uncertain in my life. But I stand firm in the knowledge that my life is secure in God's hands. My mind can race a mile a minute thinking about all the what if's and following bunny trail after bunny trail. These thoughts are utterly endless when divorce is a looming threat. But on good days I cut those thoughts short. I remind myself of all of the verses about worry and what good it actually does. (None. Worse than none. It's harmful.) And then I just let my thoughts linger on heaven. That's always far more comforting than sitting with my worry, growing in my mind like a snowball racing out of control down a hill. I was telling a group of my closest friends about where things are currently and they told me I sounded at peace. I'm thankful that came through in my voice because that is how I feel. My house does not feel peaceful. My daily life feels anything but peaceful. But I have peace down in the depths of my soul.

Here are some snapshots of our Thanksgiving day. I haven't done a post with lots of pictures lately because I haven't picked up my big camera much. It was fun to capture this day. I hope I look back at these pictures and see God in all of it.
They played with the kinetic sand all morning. And instead of the usual lava pits and animals sinking to their death in quicksand, it was all cakes and cookies and biscuits. I love having girls in my house.

 My mama gettin' her bacon on in the kitchen.
Sisters doing what we do best. Watching our mama cook while drinking all the coffee and mimosas. (We have an older brother too, by the way. He lives outside of Yosemite in California and is currently on vacation in Argentina with our sister-in-law.)
We all still joined my in-laws for Thanksgiving dinner because that's what we've always done. It was a lovely day despite everything. We've still done family things together and I'm thankful for that for my boys.
Nana's give the best snuggles: 
Channing snuggled right up with his great grandma and stayed there for a long time. I know this was the highlight of her day and it warmed my heart that she felt cherished. Nothing like a baby crawling in your lap to make you feel loved.

This Christmas season feels scary to walk through. My heart aches and my stomach clenches when I see pictures of people decorating Christmas trees and doing festive family things together. That was supposed to be us. This was never supposed to be us. And I think of all the other broken homes-- separation, divorce, a death, military wives...I know I'm not the only one putting on a brave face but feeling a bit like you're crumbling inside. Just because I'm at peace, doesn't mean I'm not feeling all of the crushing heartache for what I'm missing. For what my boys are missing. But sometimes I think about the person I was before I went through this. I had sympathy for the woman who lost her husband or for the newly divorced or the military wife who had to tough out a year without her husband. But I couldn't have understood that depth of hurt and loneliness if I'd tried. (And I did try.) And so I thank God for everything that deepens my character and drives me closer to him and makes me more humble and aware of His grace. And for everything that opens my eyes wider to the hurting around me.

There are people who have loved me so well through this season. My friends, both near and far, have come through for me time and time again. I had a friend mail me a box with 25 gifts wrapped up for me to open each day in December. I had tears rolling down my cheeks as I called her to thank her. That sort of generosity blows me away. To feel remembered and cherished is the best feeling in the world. I hope to have hundreds of opportunities to bless others in situations like mine down the road. I'd encourage you to bless a single mom in some way in the next few weeks. She will most assuredly cry and love you forever.

If this post resonated with you in some way, jump over to my girl, Shannan's blog post, When You're Not Merry Yet. Because sister's got a gift for words and she tells it like it is and tells it like it should be. God bless her for it.