Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Pieces of Me

My leave-taking from this space was unintended. As it turns out, raising five kids, is tough.

Really tough.

And it's not just because none of them pee without spraying the toilet first.

Somewhere in the meal-making, clothes folding, hair cutting, appointment driving, T-ball cheering, and job going cycle, my identity became singular in focus and so many of my favorite attributes shelved themselves.

It wasn't like this happened overnight. The changes came slowly and, mostly, I was able to re-adjust to each new state of crazy, while living content.

I am a career mama by choice and the sacrifices I've made in that area have probably been the hardest. As challenges and opportunities in the workplace have surfaced, the terms always remain constant. I only have a small portion to give and it has to be enough...even when it's not.

I understand the big picture. And, more importantly, I know who drew it.

I know this time is temporary and fleeting. The sweetest moments will stand out best and we might ask for the clock to reverse. I'm not chasing after tomorrow or glossing over the giggles and kisses today.

But, I do stand in front of the mirror, wondering about the girl who stares back.

Her clothes are wrinkly and hair unkept. Showers, meaningful conversations, and self-investment are luxuries often missed. Apart from Jesus and family - so many things she loves are far from close.

Her dreams are dusty.

A few weeks ago I sat on our back hill and let the tears stream. Ben came and laid his head on my lap and we talked, quietly. I appreciate the steadiness of our marriage. We never rest in the challenges of the day or swap faith for fear. We release our shortcomings to the night and rise in victory with the freshness of morning. Rarely does our frustration attack the other.

So, when it comes to identity, how do I reconcile uneven footing, when my faith and marriage test strong? It's a good life when your God and husband are wild about you...and you know it.

Yet, I look around...and there are pieces of me everywhere and no real plan for resolve. And I plan for everything.

I'm not going to lie, it's unsettling.

Ben and I spent last week in a remote chalet in the Smoky Mountains.


My family took our kids and gifted us several days of solitude. I didn't know how desperate we were for the fill-up, until we got away. Renewal drenched every part - body, soul, and spirit.

I spent a lot of time reading my Bible and shaving my legs.

Although my pieces are still here and there and my day-to-day hasn't changed, I am anchored in Colossians 1:17. He [Jesus] is before all things, and in him all things hold together.

What a relief.

My pieces aren't missing! Some are just...well, sort of stretched out of sight, with supernatural elasti-glue.

The adventure of it teases me with promise. While the picture grows with each fixed section, how many fragments dangle in shadows waiting for discovery?

Some pieces won't fit for a long time; others will surface easily.

But, they're all here...

.....even if the baby dunks them in the bathtub or they double as artwork for a season.


  1. I can't wait to read your book, when that time comes. This is just my unfiltered thought I am throwing out there.


  2. I always miss reading your family updates, but lately, every time the Lord brings you to my mind, I think you must be quite overwhelmed raising 5 littles. I can't imagine the busyness of your days. Meals and laundry are events in and of themselves, much less the rest of life! Prayers for you!

  3. That was beautiful and authentic! I wish I lived closer so I could give you an hour or two reprieve. I'd enjoy the FIVE--knowing it was for a short time. Keep writing and sharing. You bring hope to other Moms who are just as spent.

  4. You know how in The Incredibles, the mom is elastigirl? I think that's more than just a fun superhero power - I think it's what Jesus does with us in this stage - stretches and stretches and grows us in many ways, all at once. We hardly notice it, in the busyness of washing down toilets and cooking dinner and remembering to love each child in his or her love language ... we lose ourselves. And while I'm still in that lots-of-littles stage with you, I can see it in my sisters, and in my friends as they step out of it -the self they step into is a self made more like Him, more filled with Him, a self more confident and generous and unafraid. And, girl, I've been following your story from your first precious adoption - you are no stranger to pouring yourself out. You surrender to each tug and stretch He offers, and I know He is transforming you to carry more of Him than you ever have.
    Thanks for sharing pieces of yourself with us. You call us upward an onward to a richer life. You challenge us to stretch more and more, Elastigirl.

  5. your dreams are dusty? it sounds like some of your dreams are peeing all over the seat :)

    i bet its a busy time of life. what a gift that weekend was!

  6. As a mom of six young ones, I get this so much. But it's so important to take care of us, so we can better care for them. I'm glad you got to take a trip with your husband! How wonderful. This season of motherhood, of having very dependent littles, is so hard but fleeting. One day they'll be more self-reliant and independent and then gone to their own careers, spouses and lives. I type this as I breastfeed a baby in my bed, one who refuses to be far from my arms. I can feel resentful seep in, when there's something that I want to do but just can't. Even my showers have to be timed just right. So I breathe deeply and remind myself that it won't be like this forever. It'll pass, as all hard things do.

  7. We had a family of 5 and I can totally understand what you are saying. You often feel like you are just surviving. Now looking back, at 54, they are all gone and married it seems so brief. Life is funny. It just goes. There are lots of things I think I would change but our faith in God is what has brought us through all the ups and downs; both individually and as a couple. He is my Rock, my Anchor. So if I could go back, I would make Him even more the center of our life. You will never regret walking with Him! Love reading your updates!

  8. My first thought was... Ha! Yep. You're a mom.

    In everything there is a season... I think the Father wrote that about motherhood/parenthood. ;)
    It's a beautiful, difficult, challenging, stretching, exhausting, joyful, amazing time. It seems like it will never end, but then the time flies.

    I have five: 5, just turned 8, 9, 11, 12. My youngest will be starting Kindergarten. My oldest is hitting puberty in full force. My times of rest are coming, but strangely "balanced" out by extreme challenges of teen-dom. Uffda!

    Glad you received a time of rejuvenation. And like you already sense, this is a season. The season of "you" will come back around. (I'm still waiting for mine, too.)

  9. You have the right Anchor! I am glad you got away to refresh! Nothing like the Smokies for such! Hold tight and hang on....the ride raising kids is so fleeting and so wonderful!

  10. Praying for you. So glad you were able to get away with your husband. You are such a great mom and have a beautiful family.