Saturday, April 07, 2007

Cool things II

OK, so here's the story:
*I'm going to be quite transparent in this posting because I feel that many of you moms could be encouraged by my story (as some of you may be walking a very similar path).

When I walked into these roles as wife/mom I was completely clueless as to what all that would entail. My head was SO full of false expectations. (In a future posting I'll talk more on broken expectations and the frustrations they cause.) Anyways, to be boldly honest, I have struggled with my roles as wife/mom for these past 5 years. I KNOW that it is what God wants for me and it's the path He wants me walk, but I have been fighting Him all along.

Brief history:
All through H.S. and college, my teachers and professors made several remarks about my abilities and accomplishments, feeding into my brain all the limitless opportunities that awaited me outside graduation. With all my heart, I truly believed my stay in Peru was going to be very brief. Peru seemed like a great place to live cheaply and attain my masters degree, all the while having the company of my sister. After my masters, I was off to take on the world, spread my wings, experience life, change the world, etc.
Then I met RD... and my life changed completely.
"Ok", so I was thinking. "I could get married and still get my masters and pursue my dream career in counseling."
Three weeks after I said "I do", I found out I was pregnant and proceeded to struggle through 4 long/weary months of terrible morning sickness. With two simple words, all my dreams, aspirations, and goals for both my life and my marriage got completely shot out of the water. They would NEVER come true. For nearly FIVE years now, I have been angry at God for "screwing up my life" by giving me children, for ruining my dreams, for taking away any and all possibilities of doing something amazing with my life. Now, I'm "just a stay-at-home wife/mom" changing diapers, cleaning up spit-up, and doing pointless, mundane tasks like laundry, sweeping floors, etc. I busted my rear attaining that degree. I even pushed myself SO HARD in college that I had to be hospitalized (due to ill health). I was in debt over $20,000 to IWU FOR WHAT?!!! To change poopy diapers?! To clean house?! To cook meal after meal after meal?! To scrub floors?! To take the trash out?! To do laundry?! I can't even tell you how many times I bawled my eyes out because I worked so hard for a degree and career only to flush it down the tubes to be a stay-at-home wife and mom.
In one regard, I knew that staying home was what I was supposed to do... the best thing to do... but my heart and my feelings just weren't following.
Add to my anger toward God for completely altering my life plans, 2 home moves (both of which while I was pregnant), three pregnancies very close together (and all with horrible AM sickness), postpartum depression, thyroid complications, weight gain, MAJOR financial strains (as I quit my job to raise babies & RD started up his computer business) all the while not knowing a soul (but my sister) in Peru, attending a new church, having to learn on my own how to clean house, get on a chore schedule, how to properly wash clothes, how to meal plan & make a grocery list, how to cook, how to take care of babies properly... AND learn how to be a wife (submitting to RD, meeting his needs, helping/completing him, etc.). I was overwhelmed, exhausted, angry at God, frustrated, and anxious. I walked head-long into depression.
This past October ('06), I had a near break-down. I was seriously planning on leaving both RD and the kids. I remember very clearly the afternoon when I was contemplating how much money and gas I had, where I could go, where I would stay, what would I do... Praise God RD came home early from work that day! At that point, both RD and I decided I needed to get into Christian counseling.
At my very first session, my counselor (Phil), after listening to me vent my pent-up feelings and frustrations looked me square in the eye and asked me this piercing question:
"Do you feel cheated?"
"Cheated"?... That was the PERFECT word! YES, I felt CHEATED!!! I thought I could do and become so much more than what I had done/become. I felt like God had ruined my life, stolen my dreams, squashed my aspirations and goals... all to stay home all day with three very young, needy, illogical children!!!
Coming to terms with my anger toward God was the first step in the healing process. It's taken me several months to let go of my anger toward God and to trust His plan for me. This past winter has been a long, dark season of my life as I've had to work through a LOT of personal issues of faith and trust. It's been so hard to be obedient to God because the feelings just weren't there. I didn't WANT to stay home. I didn't WANT to be a mom. I didn't WANT to learn how to take care of a house. I didn't WANT to learn domestic skills. But I stepped out into obedience, threw my hands up in the air, and finally, after struggling against God for nearly 5 years said: Not my will but Yours be done. This act of surrender and submission happened about early March '07.
I can't say things were magically transformed for the better right away, but it was a start. To help curb some of the depression I was experiencing so I could better walk this path of healing, I started taking (on a short-term basis) a combination of St. John's Wort and 5-HTP (which I do believe is helping). Within this past month, I've started to see new growth in my life... much like the new growth I've started seeing outside. Nothing drastic, but I am starting to see "buds"... like my heart softening. I'm starting to have a burning hunger for God's word. I've started desperately wanting to rise early to meet with God. I've started to enjoy being home and with my family. I've started to see the long-term (eternal) benefits of being a stay-at-home mom. I've started seeing my house as more of a home. I've started to see joy in "keeping house". I've started wanting to serve both RD and the children (not just out of obedience, but because I really want to). And I've started to see my children in a new light... that they are a "reward" and a "blessing" because they are causing sanctification in me.
These past 5 years have been probably the most difficult, painful, strife-filled, frustrating, anger-provoking years of my existence. I think what has happened is that marriage & children brought to the surface my absolute depravity. My hidden sins were brought to the surface in full-force. I've been "unsettled". But, because of these trials and difficulties, I have been forced to deal with all kinds of sin. I've learned what it means to fully depend on God. God's grown bigger while I've grown smaller.
So anyway, I share all this because I KNOW there are moms out there reading this that have struggled with similar issues. As I've started to share my experience with other women, angry/frustrated/at-the-end-of-their-rope moms are coming out of the woodwork. Perhaps you, too, have sought a degree and career and are no longer using it because you're now a stay-at-home wife and mom. Perhaps you're at your breaking point. Perhaps you, too, are angry at how your life has unfolded. Perhaps you're thinking about leaving...
There's hope. There's God. God had bigger and better plans for me. I couldn't see it at the time because I was so blinded by the world- that there were great and glorious things to be accomplished in a career outside the home. But God's ways are not mans, as I'm slowly starting to figure out. I'm starting to see that I have a much bigger mission field before me... my children. He has given RD and I these precious/little/impressionable lives to not only nurture, but to provide a godly "greenhouse" for them to grow and thrive in. It's not just about changing soiled diapers, doing pointless chores, or taking the trash out. But about cultivating lives, teaching my children to love and serve God, raising up a godly army. I can change the world by raising God-fearing children. What a CAREER!!! What a job description to fulfill!!! It's not something to take lightly!
There is OH SO MUCH that God is teaching me about being a godly wife and mom so there's going to be LOTS of stuff coming up on this blog. Hopefully what I share here will bless and encourage some of you ladies.

1 comment:

Amy said...

Mel, I so appreciate your honesty and vulnerability here. Thanks for sharing your journey so openly and for seeking to encourage the rest of us.

Just came across this quote and thought of you:

"If you’re the person overseeing your household’s daytime initiatives to raise the revolutionary counter-cultural great thinkers and doers and lovers this world desperately needs more of (what some people call a “stay at home mom")..."

The quote came from Shaun Groves' blog, here. He just sort of said this in passing, in a post about something else entirely, but the "definition" caught my attention. Thought I would pass it along.