Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Dealing with discouragement

I have been doing a LOT of thinking about motherhood lately... probably because I just really feel in the thick of it. Sleeplessness, whining, temper tantrums, and attitude problems are all a part of what I deal with daily. And sometimes hourly. (And sometimes Mommy is the one with the attitude problem, sad to say ...)

Lately I have been having a very difficult time with Audrey. I don't want to go on and on about it, but just suffice it to say, there is a lot of limit-testing and attitude and disrespect and argumentativeness. I am trying not to let it hurt my feelings, but sometimes, honestly - it does. I love her so much and some days she just seems out to push my buttons. I do understand that she is going through a lot right now. She has a new baby sister, who takes away much of my attention, and Audrey is someone who needs a lot of attention. It's just kinda the way she is. Then, she just started "real" school and I know that learning all the rules and figuring out the way things work in a school setting requires a lot of emotional energy, despite the fact that she loves it. I also know that at this time of year her allergies always seem to be at their worst and they seem to make her irritable. So I try to take that all into account. Yet it is still very difficult.

Then Carter ... well, he's 2. Enough said.

Chloe is a newborn and I just love her to pieces, but I struggle with just wishing that she was a bit older. Okay, I just wish she would sleep through the night ... or at least for some longer periods of time. Mainly, I am just tired out with being up at night. And I don't do very well without enough sleep. But on the plus side ... she is one very happy and content baby. She only cries when she needs something, which isn't too often.

So ... all that to say, I've been feeling discouraged lately. My days are filled with very humble kinds of "work" and I struggle with feeling trapped in my house. I pray every day that I will be more patient ... and every day I feel like I fail. I ask for wisdom ... and I still feel clueless about how to handle the situation with Audrey. It is just uncharted territory for me right now. I myself am adjusting to how to be a mother of three.

Anyhow, I say all that because I had a revelation the other day. I know this is not earth-shattering, but I share it because perhaps it will encourage someone else too.

I was walking the kids to the bus stop. Audrey had run ahead and was walking with her friends, and I had Chloe in the baby bjorn, and was walking with Carter (actually, I was kind of dragging him along as he slowly walked behind me). And I actually thought to myself - "Maybe I'm just not cut out for this stay-at-home mom thing. Maybe my personality just isn't quite suited to this kind of work. Maybe I should have been a working mom and then I would look forward to all the time I got to spend with the kids rather than wondering what on earth I was going to do to occupy them (and myself) all day." [I'm embarrassed to say that that's what I was thinking because I love my kids so much. And I always wanted to be a stay-at-home mom. But I just am being honest about what ran through my head at that moment.] As a side note, I also believe that when we get discouraged, Satan likes to add to our doubt. And unfortunately in that moment I was not listening to truth, I was listening to the words of doubt running through my head.

However, in the next moment, I felt God whispering to my heart. He said this: "I will never give you a job without equipping you to do it." It felt like such a weight had been lifted right then and there. Why? Because I know this is the work God has given me to do right now, and He will help me to do it. I am not alone.

I also had many verses of scripture come to mind, like ...
* "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." - Philippians 4:13
* "He who began a good work in you will be faithful to complete it." - Philippians 1:6
* "For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do." - Ephesians 2:10
* "For it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose." - Phil. 2:13
* "If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him." - James 1:5

These verses have greatly encouraged me in the past few days. And I feel a renewed sense of hope and joy. Not because my circumstances have changed - because they haven't - but I KNOW this - I do not walk this life alone! God - yes, the one who created the universe - walks with me. He has given me these particular children because it is His good purpose for ME to raise them. And with His help - I can do it.


girlymama said...

one of most encouraging things someone told me was when i was in the trenches with a 18-month-old and a newborn and a husband in school and i was dealing with ppd.
she said, 'the 40-years moses spent in the desert was not wasted. joseph's time in jail was not wasted. that time was preparing them for future ministry.' our time now, though it feels like the desert, is preparing us for the rest of our lives!
hang in there, dear! you can do it!

nateandkatesmom said...

Amy, you are doing a great job! Funny that you thought....maybe if I had a job...I always wanted to stay home with the kids. It just isn't feasible for us. It would mean Norm getting a second job...which would drastically cut down our family time. Of course I've prayed about it, thinking, if I quit...God will provide...but then I realized that God put me in a job that is super flexible. I work very little hours and make good money to help out my family. I actually have a pretty sweet deal! If you feel you are meant to be home with the kids full time...He will give you the strength to deal with these day to day things. And remember...He also gave you great neighbors who are willing to help out when you need a break! :-)

Karen said...

I still remember the transition from one to two children as being the most difficult test in my life. I have no idea what it is like going from two to three, but please know that you are and have been in my thoughts and prayers. Like Kelly said, your neighbors are here for you. If you don't feel like asking because you feel like you are "putting us out" then just say so and I will just step in every once in a while and offer to take one or two kids. This is not a journey you can do alone and as I said at E and R birthday party two years ago, "It takes a village to raise a child and we are so very blessed that our village is surrounded with wonderful people who will take care of our children as if they were their own." Let the village help lighten your load. We love you Amy!

Allison said...

Oh Amy, I know...I know...I know...

Those weeks and months after each of my girls were born were surprisingly dark, uncertain and melancholy times. So much responsibility...such humbling circumstances...such long stretches of time ALONE with a little human or two that were NOT clearly communicating to me in ways that I understood with any sense of confidence. And not one instruction manual to be found. I only look back now and find myself choked up and nostalgic and longing to be there again for just a moment or two. To enjoy and roll with those times that I took too seriously, or allowed myself to get so frazzled, or lost sight of my Abba's support. I want to highjack a time-machine, go back 8to 10 years, and grab that woman by the shoulders and tell her what God has graciously told you on the way to the bus stop. He is there, He is merciful and He equips those that He calls. Hang in there, and I will be praying for your strength, encouragement and wisdom. I love you. :)

Chris Ann Schultz said...

That's how we feel about Chantel too. Why did we have to wait so long to have her. Our answer, it took 5 years so that we could be interchangeable parts, or we would not be ready for her.
We love her too, but need our time and space as well. Like having her home, sick from school the other day was a rough one for me. I didn't get any down time. Congrats on the tough job you do every day. :-)

ErinOrtlund said...

A good word--I don't know how you're doing it! One minute at a time, one second at a time, we do our best to meet our children's needs. Especially when outnumbered and the only adult around, it's no wonder we struggle to be patient. Funny that Eric and I have pretty much decided to stop at 2. There were a couple times in the past year when we seriously wondered about having a third--later I realized the first time was when my Dad was here at Christmas, the second when at his parents' in Tennessee.