Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Feeling Lost

I have half-written a dozen posts in my head before falling asleep on the couch or dragging myself to bed after the kids go down.

How is it going; how are you doing; how do you do it are the questions on loop, right now. I usually state some form of, "we're exhausted...but finding our rhythm." And that's true.

Transitioning Baby Brother has been much easier than the transition with Cisco and Edie was, but I wouldn't call it easy. Having a baby in the house seems to double the amount of responsibilities we have day-to-day...and there are still four other littles that need us.

Three of our five are receiving special services, right now, which adds extra chaos to an already bursting household. But this is part of the call. Caring for lovies that need a whole lot of love+.

Bonding with Baby Brother was quick and easy. I never had that experience before. He is such a little lover and has, truly, brought so much joy to our home. All six of us are enamored. We met with a pediatric psychologist on Friday and she was stunned by the attachment that exists in just three short months. It doesn't matter how tired he is or how bad his gums are hurting (all 6 front teeth found it timely to fall at the same time), Baby Brother is, constantly, showering us with kisses and head snuggles.

He is so, wholly, entertained by Edie. When I watch them wrestle and giggle and take baths together, I get teary and thank God for pushing our hearts to "yes".

Our family has, definitely, found our flow. From managing the house to getting everyone where they need to be (on time), we all do our part. And there really are few complaints.

Ben and I have been very purposeful in filling love-tanks, individually, and just this weekend we took the four "bigger" kids to an overnight water park for some baby-free fun. Ben is also helping coach the older boys' Lego/Robotics club and really enjoys their time together. Last night, they "snuck" out for pie afterward and talked the whole way about the latest news in kindergarten and first grade.

My heart is full from the fullness of this life...but major pieces of my identity have crumpled in the last few months and trying to mash the new me with the me I want to be has been an insightful process. Early in the summer, before the news of baby, I made a very difficult decision to stop working full time and reduced my hours, significantly. Our schedule was too much to sustain.

I cried for days over the change. I love my work and knew that being home was going to take serious adjusting. Once I warmed up to the idea, I found myself looking forward to fall in a way I never had before. All the kids would be in school or preschool during the day, which was going to leave me some quiet time to write and run and pray. I couldn't wait to have a grocery day that didn't include anyone else but me. A luxury I had never experienced.

I enjoyed exactly one Tuesday all to myself. And then Baby Brother came home.

The glowing attributes attached to being home more were swept under the rug so quickly,  I really didn't even have time to process the new change. A baby showed up and suddenly, I was barely surviving. I love to cook and that became a nightmare with two under two. I love to read my Bible, but had to settle for a verse on my phone. I love to work, but even part time requires excessive planning, packing and driving. I love to write, but I am too tired. I love to read, but I am too tired. I love sharing my life with women, but I am too tired. I love playing games with Ben, but I am TOO TIRED.

You get the idea. Maybe you're in the same boat.

I really didn't take the time to reflect on all the changes that happened over the last several months, until one day (a few weeks ago) Ben and I were talking about our exhaustion and constant need for infused patience. While holding my hand, in a very genuine, I-love-you-through-and-through sort of way, Ben said, "You used to smile more."

At first I laughed it off and said (or maybe thought), "Yah...back when I was sleeping."

But slowly, over the last several days, I've allowed the Holy Spirit to use that statement as a mirror. And not in a beat myself up, pity-partying nature.

I, recently, was talking to another mom pregnant with her fifth, who laughed at the notion that we would have our two year olds potty-trained, right now. There was such freedom in connecting with someone who understands.

We do have five kids under seven and I give myself a lot of grace.

But, I am still not okay. And I am telling you, in case you're not okay either.

It's okay to not be okay.

No alarms need to sound nor reinforcements show up at the door. God knows me and loves me and will help me focus my blurry bits.

He might even use this time to show me new pieces I couldn't see before.

I am not a "free spirit", which, admittedly, makes the wandering uncomfortable. But, in the last seven years, the greatest moments of unease, brought about the highest level of reward.

Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need {Hebrews 4:6}.


  1. Yes! You have two littles . . . And big ones who need a lot of love. Lots of room to be gracious and patient with yourself. I think sometimes it's easy to be harder on ourselves when we didn't "birth" the baby, but any mom of littles would be right where you are, and doesn't have the hard work of forming attachments and bonding issues. Praying for you to be able to have patience with yourself, find times for quiet and sleep! Even in snatches. Aren't you glad this is just a season? I really enjoyed the book "desperate" by Sara Mae and Sally Clarkson, a good encouragement to moms in this season.

  2. I loved this post. I always looked forward to reading your thoughts, kids and heart. I have 11, 15 and under. 15,12,11,10,8,7,6,5,3,2 and 11months. People always say how I have it together and I am so organized. And I am the first to say we have good days and we have bad days. It's all Jesus! His grace pulls me through when I'm the only one that knows how difficult my day has been. It's not easy, but I am blessed. This is the only way I would want to live my life....saying yes to God.

  3. This brought me to tears. Thank you so much for sharing and for your honesty. I'm not okay, either. Our foster son has been with us almost two months and I am struggling to find a new rhythm as I spend each day in a constant fog of exhaustion. But God is faithful and I know He will provide for you and for me. I'll be praying for you.

  4. I haven't been OK for awhile. And I only have two. I work two jobs and take care of the one who hadn't started school (preschool/daycare) is too expensive. The only time I'm alone is the hour drive home from one of my jobs at 10 o'clock at night. We live in an apartment without a washer/dryer, so we are drowning in laundry on a pretty regular basis, which is embarrassing. I love to cook and yet haven't done it in months. It's all too much and I look around and feel like I'm the only one who can't figure it out. Thanks for making see there's at least one other.

  5. I love your blog and can often identify with what you write (though I can't say it as eloquently as you do). We have four boys-current ages are 11, 9, 4, and almost 3. We have been exhausted since the four year old arrived here from the NICU in March of 2012. When his little brother arrived in February of 2013, the exhaustion went to a whole new level. We had to make many changes in our lifestyle to maintain sanity. We've lowered our standards more than I ever imagined we would (I wasn't a clean freak or nutritionist before, but...). But really what I wanted to say is-it does get better. Someday, you'll be finished dealing with CPS (might be different letters in your state), and all of your babies will be YOURS. Someday they'll all wipe their own heinies (I'm anxiously awaiting that one myself!) And I hope and pray that one day we will feel rested again, though I have my doubts. This is our mission field. And pouring ourselves out day after day for these little people that have been entrusted to us is sure to make us tired. Hang in there Mama!! You're making great little people-the most important job on Earth!

  6. Hugs and prayers, I say this so it might help you. I was in your shoes kinda but you will get the idea. I had less kids but one of the three was a teenager losing his way (he is finding his way again, only 3 months till graduation.) and the other two were only 10 months apart in age 16 months and 26 months. The 26th month old I fostered from 3 days old to 19 months then he was adopted by me. The 16 month old was a new foster placement with the hopes of adoption. To put it short and sweet I lost myself and couldn't breath anymore. I had never heard of it before but I was actually going through post adoption depression. I got professional help and more sleep and unfortunately the adoption of the 16 month old fell through when he was 21 months. After that I felt a relief and disappointment in myself but with help I worked through it. My biggest sign for the depression was what I was calling being tired, but really I needed help so I could work through things. That was almost 2 years ago, still getting help but doing much better.

    Not saying you need the adoption of the baby to fail. Just saying you might need professional help with the "tiredness". With everything going on.

  7. I COMPLETELY relate to this post. Our five children are ages 9, 7, 4, 3, 2. My 4 and 3 year old are only 5 months apart (one adoption miracle and one birth miracle). When they were babies, one of the babies was miserable most of the time for the first 4 months. I felt like I was not the same person. There were things I loved to do I could not do. I actually came to the point of thinking I was no longer the person I used to be. Not in a growing in the Lord sort of way, but in a limited, confining way. I would never have traded any of my blessings to "feel free", but things I wished I could include in the mix gnawed at my heart. I was so indescribably tired, even looking at the pictures of my babies (then), I feel like I am just now seeing how cute they were. I saw snippets then, but now I see clearly. Though I am certain both of us will always be tired, the exhaustion you describe DOES PASS. It feels like a long phase, but your smile will return. Your joy has not left you. You will be right back at it again and God's grace does prevail, as you describe!!! That one verse will be just what you need every day. When your limitations begin to lift, you will then need chapters again. Isn't God so good!!!??? Dana O'Farrell

  8. oh yes. The exhaustion. The no time for self. I feel you. I had (have) five kids in just under seven years. It's a lot. It's noisy and busy and the work and needs seem to burst the seams. And yes, oh yes, we cling to mercy in that time of need, which some days seems like every other minute. Moms would tell me that it will pass and to enjoy it and blah blah blah, and now that mine are ages 5-12, I can attest to the fact that it does, or at least, it changes, and you WILL read/write/bible/women again. But that doesn't help so much in the now when you're lost and bone weary. But know that it is temporary, and as you have already called it, God is there for His good purpose, and you already see the reward. He still sees YOU and that other part, though on hold, is not lost. Just keep on holding on to Him. :)

  9. I love reading your updates. I am sure you hear this often, but I don't know how you do it all - you are truly evidence of God's strength and mercy. I am a stay-at-home Mama to a single two year old and many days feel like I am losing my mind :) So thankful for God's sustaining mercies that are new every morning.

  10. I checked just a bit ago to see if you had blogged, and then this popped up on Facebook because a mutual friend commented on it.

    I "only" have one. (and I hate that I have to use that qualifier, because I know that you, of all people, understand how God works, even when we don't). It took me a good three and a half years of being home full time before I began to feel like myself again, and that included the EXACT same phrase from my godly husband.

    I know you know that this, too, shall pass. But I know that right now is hard, so hard. Here's what I want to tell you: do not, for one second, feel guilty. Do not feel guilty that you cannot run as much as you want, that you cannot write as much as you want, or that you aren't spending as much time in the Word as you want. Your desperate prayers (for peace, for sleep, for help) at 2am are just as precious to Jesus as any hours-long session spent in His Word.

    (and you know that, as did I, but sometimes it helped to hear it and receive "permission" from others to let.it.go.)

    As much as I would love to fall into the trap of envy at your beautiful large family, I will, instead, offer up prayers for you. And encouragement - you will find your peace, your smile, your rhythm. And it *is* okay to not be okay - for however long it takes :) I don't recall Jesus ever promising life would be perfectly okay ;) - but He did promise to walk alongside us and help carry the burden!!

  11. After reading this I felt like, 'I should have warned her.' But I didn't know if I was the only one hanging on by a thread. I didn't want to act as if it was too hard, because it isn't too hard...it's just really really really hard. It does get easier, thank goodness. Every month will bring a bit of ease...and yet another issue to tackle. I am so glad that your family is together. That means something.

  12. SO beautiful! I can't thank you enough for being so open, honest, and raw with us. I just find it so lovely when mamas can share the real life stuff--not just the "blog worthy" stories--it joins our hearts together. I will be praying for extra strength, joy, and rest to come to you soon. Blessings to you~

  13. I was thinking this same thing today. I'm not okay, I'm tired and lost of my former self. As a single mom of a very busy 6 year old, it just never stops. If I'm not doing kid stuff, it's work, the house, chores and I just fall to the side. I can't remember having the time for myself. It's so crushing.

  14. So many women can identify with you on this post, including me. I always say to myself and others "I'm fine" but the truth is...I'm not. I don't think I've been ok since before Skyler was born. You are so incredibly brave to admit this. It's taken me so long to identify that "I'm not ok. "
    I just really figured it out this year, 2016. :( I don't have the answers but I do feel like God is giving me the answers slowly. Thank you for your post. It is obvious from the other comments that a lot of us gained a lot of comfort from your words. Love you!

  15. Plumb's song -Exhale!! You likely know it, since you used that line, it's ok to not be ok :) So great! Christian hugs from Canada