My younger kids were learning about Alexander the Great this week, so we took advantage of one of the beautiful spring days and sat outside and read about him. He would go off to battle and write lavish letters home telling all about his victories. He had a few failures too, but he never mentioned those in his letters. Because he never mentioned the battles that he lost, everyone thought that he won them all. People had an idea about who he was, but it was based on half truths.
This got me thinking that I don’t want to tell half the story here on my blog. i don’t want to just share about the battles that I’ve won. I want to tell the whole story. 2 Corinthians 12:9 says,
“But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.”
So, here it goes. I’m going to boast in my weakness.
I’ve never had a full blown panic attack, but I’ve come close about three times. One was triggered by a nightmare I had when my youngest daughter was a baby. I dreamed that she was kidnapped and it was extremely realistic. I woke up sweating, with my heart racing and I could not breathe. I also came close again a few years ago when we were involved in a lot of extra-curricula activities. In the midst of it all, our youngest child joined the family and he was medically fragile, meaning that I had a lot of medical appointments and therapies. I was so busy that once I plugged my crockpot into my car so I could cook and drive at the same time. (Bad idea, by the way, but I didn’t want to feed my kids one more happy meal.) Also, it was during this season that I showed up at one of my kids’ concerts wearing a pink croc and a brown leather loafer. I was insanely busy and I finally hit an emotional wall. I just wanted to be at home, bonding with my new baby. I felt like he spent more time in a carseat than in my arms. After that we pulled out of most of our extra activities and I focused on the home front, which is what was needed.
This evening was the third time. I felt like all of the air had been sucked out of my lungs and I couldn’t get a deep breath in. My husband talked me through it and ran me a hot bath. I feel better now, mostly. Over the past several weeks I have been feeling increasingly stretched. I always feel stretched, as I am a homeschooling mother of five, but it’s been more than usual. There is a lot going on in our family. A lot of it’s good, none of it’s terrible, and most of it is just the day to day stuff that goes on in our life.
We bought some land and I took on some extra stress feeling like we had to get a bunch of projects done right away. Those projects are just about done now, and it feels good, but I realize that I was stressing a little bit. And then there are five children, in five different phases of life. I have one kiddo in K-4 this year and another who is about to finish their sophomore year of high school. I”m gearing up to teach one how to read and another how to drive and how to prepare for her future. And then, there is everything in-between. The in between is the largest category at the moment.
I feel like Frodo Baggins when he said, “I feel thin. Sort of stretched. Like butter scraped over too much bread.” I really hate mediocrity, I feel like I am low to mediocre in every area right now. I tend to be a hyper-focused person. I like to focus on one thing and do it with passion and excellence. But, I’m not doing anything like that right now. I’m treading water and paddling hard to stay afloat! In the midst of my falling apart my husband told me that I am an excellent wife, which made me cry harder because I immediately started counting up the little ways that I have let him down over the past several weeks.
And so, here I am, a couple of hours later, not feeling great about things, but trusting my husband that we are only going forward from here. We have a plan in place to get on top of some of these areas, and I feel hopeful…I think…sort of.
I don’t know how to end this. I always like to end with some perky message and word of encouragement to my readers. I will say this. For a long time, when I would come to a place like this in life, the discouragement would knock me down and keep me down for a long time. I am thankful for my husband, my church, my family and my friends who help me to quickly come to my senses and get back up. I don’t have to do this alone! Tomorrow is a new day. I’m looking forward and not back.