Day Two

How have you changed in the past 2 years?

What a question…day 1 – what weird thing do you do when alone… day 2 – This?! How haven’t I changed in the last two years?

I guess as I pause between typing lines, I have to acknowledge that the last 2 years, while a roller coaster in many ways, has also pointed me toward God, solidified relationships, and helped me to see many things in a clearer way.

Two years ago I knew I was carrying my last baby – 7 kids is plenty they say. I (kind of almost) agree. Especially when her royal highness wakes up too early, misses a nap, or is otherwise perturbed. 7 kids is plenty. She’s the type of kid that might make you think twice about having a second if she came first.

Knowing that she was the last of the babies I would birth and watch grow, I’ve embraced her moments more fiercely. I’ve watched with the wonder I had for my firstborn, with the wisdom I have now. It’s been a time of joy and sadness as I come to grips with what it really means to me to have ended my child bearing years.

We went from financial high to financial low in the last two years. That’s been humbling and devastating. It’s reminded me not to be too big for my britches, and that God is our provider – no matter how much we try to do it for ourselves.

I feel less patient, which is the opposite direction I want to go with this particular skill. I feel like I should be saying I’m more patient and less gets under my skin. But if I’m being honest, I feel a little more anxious now. A little more nervous. A lot less patient.

One of the best things that is different now than two years ago is how much closer my husband and I are. I don’t spend as many days watching him and wondering why he has one foot out the door, wondering why he isn’t all in. This change, while it took time and some definite heartache, is a treasure. We’re going through some stuff, and knowing he’s right beside me, both feet in, has been a huge relief.

Two years is a lot of time that goes by so quickly. To look back over the last two years makes me realize I need to work on the patience thing, and really focus on valuing each day, making the most of each moment.

I’ll be back with more tomorrow.

Conflicted

We face so many choices in our day-to-day lives, and I find it hard to make decisions more often than not. Some of the decisions that we face are inconsequential, some sway the course of our day, week, month, year, or even our entire lives in ways we can’t even always see when making the decision.

Welcome to the mind of a chronic over-thinker.

In decisions that are clearly the difference between right and wrong, I feel capable. In decisions that honor God or stray from Him, I feel led by the Holy Spirit. But in decisions that are neither right or wrong, toward God or away, I feel deeply conflicted.

Often, I feel like one choice is the more responsible, although the riskier choice usually has some perk(s) that appeal to me. I don’t mind taking calculated risks, I don’t mind going out on a limb. It’s the only way to grow.

I have watched what “playing it safe” and never venturing out boldly does to a person. I refuse to leave stones un-turned, adventures unexplored. This is my one life and I want to live it passionately and fully alive. But that doesn’t always make decisions easier for me. In fact, it rarely does.

I am currently deeply conflicted between two choices, and as exhaustion clouds my brain from working all night, I cannot even begin to tell you which choice makes the most sense. Okay, sort of I can. One choice seems a little wiser to me, a little more like the “secure” choice. The other choice is the one that carries the most risk. But the “safe” choice requires super human strength and energy to manage. The other choice does not.

I’m feeling less than super human with my energy and strength at 5:30 am after working the night shift. Why did I think this would be such an easy transition?

I worry sometimes that I am over romanticizing one choice or the other, because I tend to do that. Or sometimes I create false obligations to something, obligations that exist only in my mind. Or sometimes I wait for approval/permission to make a choice.

A recent moment in my life made me realize how much time I spend waiting for the approval of certain people, waiting for their permission, their go-ahead to do things, say things, reach for things, achieve things. Heaven forbid that I stray from the beaten path or disregard the unspoken permissions granted to me.

I’ve decided to stop living that way, to stop owning someone else’s opinions of my life and my pursuits. I will serve my God, I will love my family, and I will live fully. I will accept the wisdom of people who have gone before me, and I will weigh what advice I’m offered against my own experiences and knowledge, and I will pray. And then I will leap, or step, or tiptoe, or crawl, forward. Always forward.

Until next time,

blue signature

Progress

(I am having a blast using these writing prompts at Write. Blog. Connect. to jump-start my writing. I’d been neglecting that screaming inner voice that pleads with me to write for far too long. You should check the prompts out and let them inspire you to spew words!)

Progress… This one stumped me – not because we have made none in our life, but because the progress we’ve made overwhelms me at times. And the areas where we don’t make as much progress as I’d like is something I struggle with accepting as it is instead of pushing harder. See, we’re blended. Some days, that just means more family to love and be loved by. Some days, though, that means resistance I don’t know how to overcome, discomfort I don’t know how to soothe, and other really big feelings from my (getting bigger every day) small people – especially from my two boys and his two boys from before we were us. (Did you follow that?)

Right this minute, things feel right – we feel like a well blended blend of families that have walked through some serious brokenness. But tomorrow might not feel this way – and I struggle with the ups and downs. I feel like our blend has been in the works for long enough that we should all comfortably jive, but I’ve learned that kids count time differently. I’ve also learned that kids blame people for things that they had nothing to do with if they are persuaded. And it is incredibly difficult to overcome that persuasion when it comes from a person the kids hold in exceptionally high regard. (And even harder when you won’t stoop to a low-level of involving children in adult problems, too. No one ever told me the high road was this hard. And no, I’m not perfect, but I do try to hold my tongue especially where my kids’ bio-father is concerned.)

See, my husband and I met 3 years after my ex left and we divorced. We weren’t friends at the time of the divorce and his presence had nothing to do with the divorce or my ex leaving. (I could go off like a mad woman about the fact that it was a series of other women that spurred along the demise of that relationship, but I’ll leave that to this parenthetical line only.) But one of my boys still feels like it’s mine and Mr. Wonderful’s fault that his dad and I aren’t together. I’ve tried to explain it (in kid friendly ways). I’ve tried to have our counselor explain it. Our counselor feels like he doesn’t want to accept that it’s not Mr. Wonderful’s fault, because then he can’t be permanently mad at him. If he’s not permanently mad at him, then he has to accept some of the kindness shown to him and try to connect with a man that he wants to make sure the world knows is not his dad. (And we’ve never tried to force him to accept Mr. Wonderful as his dad, for the record.)

I desperately want to see progress in this area of our life. I want the chains to break, the anger to fade, forgiveness to happen, connection to happen, and a relationship to bud. I want these things so bad that I push Mr. Wonderful harder and my son harder and I think I may make it worse by doing that. But when I do nothing, I feel like nothing can ever change, either. It is something that is hard for me every single day. I want the same father-child relationship for my bigger boys that my younger kids have. Don’t get me wrong, in the realm of step dads, I know my kids and I are blessed beyond measure to have Mr. Wonderful. He is doing his best to raise them as his own, but there are still differences. The connection isn’t the same between him as the bigs as between him and the littles.

Due to circumstances outside of our control, the boy’s father is not allowed to see them any more. It breaks my heart to walk through such a devastating loss with my kids. No matter how I ever felt about him or his actions, he is important to these boys…and he should be there for them, raising them and helping them grow into the young men God made them to be.

So, I guess, all of this to say that sometimes progress comes easily. It can be measured, it can be seen, and felt. It happens steadily, and at a pace that is comfortable. Sometimes progress is a whirlwind and it comes so fast you can barely prepare for it. But sometimes progress is slow. It is painfully slow. Prayers feel unanswered, things feel unchanged, and it’s really hard to see that we are different now than we were 4 years ago. But that’s okay, some progress has to be allowed the space and time to do its own thing, in its own way.

Here’s to the progress you are hoping and praying for, and the progress I am hoping and praying for. May we see the fulfillment of God’s will in our lives – whether it looks the way we envisioned or not.

progress