Ranting and Resting

Dear Friends,

I really want to share the following blog with you all not because it is so well-written or anything, but because I believe that it’s where so many of us, particularly single parents, find ourselves sometimes.  It isn’t pretty at first, but God, as usual, used my time typing on these keys to get my head properly in the “game.”  I was having a big old pity-party and God showed me how to praise my way through it.  If you are a friend or family member, fear not!  I’m just sharing my fussy little heart and hopefully touching someone else’s fussy little heart too!  I’m in awe of God and His faithfulness to stick with me and even light my way out of the darkness.  He is good!  He will do the same for you!

So here goes.

I’m falling apart…again.

Tonight has been a down on my knees, weep and beg God for help kinda night.

Sometimes the sheer weight of this life is too much.  The pain is raw all over again.  The hopelessness washes over me and I think there is no way I’ll survive.  And there’s a good chance one or more of my children aren’t going to survive either at the rate I’m going.

There are too many issues.  I’ve said it again and again.  I feel like a broken record.  I list them all in my head and I can barely breathe… and part of me becomes exceedingly frustrated with God.  I don’t understand why nothing can be easy.  I just don’t.  No straight forward anything…just shadows, gut-feelings, questions, concerns, angst and some pretty obvious prayer requests.

I can’t seem to stop my own issues from resurfacing.   My issues make me a lousy parent…an impatient, frustrated, teeth-clenching parent.  And when I parent like that, I get impatient, frustrated, teeth-clenching children.  Not surprising.

I want a “not-complicated” existence, or maybe just one complication or maybe even just one complication at a time.  I want to be able to take a breath – one good long deep breath.

Tonight I ranted a lot in my prayer.  I told God exactly what I thought about the situation I had found myself in as well as the life I find myself living.  I told Him in no uncertain terms that I am not happy…in fact, I used the word “hate” a few times.   Not that I hate Him, because nothing could be farther from the truth.  I sometimes feel like I just hate so much of my life circumstances.

This single momma thing is HARD!  It’s exhausting…I need to make up a word that conveys the magnitude of the mental, physical, emotional, and even spiritual exhaustion.  I can’t think of one.

I realize that I’m focusing on the negative an awful lot.  My focus is all off.  I know I’m so overwhelmed because I’ve lost sight of Jesus.

I’ve been focusing on the behavior of my children, my fears for them, learning issues, school issues, anger issues, work issues, relationship issues, church issues, financial issues, and health issues.   I’m burdened by issues.   I don’t want to be weary and burdened.

Those words bring a verse to mind.

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.

 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart,

and you will find rest for your souls. 

For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”  (Matthew 11:29-30)

Oh please give me rest for my soul! 

If I could remember to focus on what He’s done rather than what I do or don’t do.

If I could remember that He’s the perfect parent in answer to my very imperfect parenting.

If I could rest in the understanding that He will never leave me nor forsake me – and that that promise is absolutely for my children as well.

If I could really get that God is for me,

that my life’s battles are the Lord’s,

that He will not call me to something He will not equip me to do,

that His grace is sufficient.

If I could understand that it truly is all about Jesus, I believe I would have that rest for my soul.

It’s mine for the taking…my arms are just so full of my own stuff that I don’t have the strength or space to take on anymore.

I believe that is why God calls us to take His yoke because when I take His, I gotta put mine down.

And, I’m thinking He’s gonna carry it all anyway…in fact, in the biggest way imaginable, He already did.  He carried it all the way to the cross.

It’s not me being better at anything – thank goodness!  It isn’t my children being better at anything – again, thank goodness!  It’s about God being best at everything – about God being my focus, my strength, my Savior.  He saves me every day.  Over and over again, I’m reminded that I need a Savior and over and over again I’m grateful for His sacrificial, unconditional, everlasting love for me.

I feel better just thinking about Him.  I’ve spent the majority of my time these last several days thinking about my issues rather than my Savior.  And although I’m thankful it brought me to my knees, I’d prefer to be on my knees praising rather than ranting.

So here is some praising!!

Father God, I’m so very thankful for my sweet children.  Thank you for the joy I find in being a mom – even a stressed out, overwhelmed, exhausted single mom.  Thank you for my life – for hope for the future, for joy in small moments, for peace that truly does surpass all understanding.  Thank you for loving me even when I’m clenching my jaw and slamming doors.  Father, please forgive me for losing sight of you.  Lord, please set my feet upon a rock, make my steps secure, and put a new song in my mouth – a song of praise to you Lord! (Psalm 40:2-3)  I pray that my life will bless others, my hope will encourage, and my mouth will praise!  In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.

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Stating the Obvious (…well, maybe complaining a bit)

Shhhh…please don’t tell anyone, but I’m sitting on my bed at 11:38pm eating double stuffed Oreo cookies while I try to figure out what went wrong today.  I think I’ve figured it out and I’m not even through the first cookie.  EVERYTHING went wrong today.

I think my mascara left my eyes around 3 pm.  My eyes still feel that awful gritty been crying too much feeling.  I’m weary.

I had to run a quick errand after dinner – quick actually is not the best word considering I took all my children – so I will rephrase -I had to make a run to the store which was a bit more like one of those muddy marathon thingies complete with mudslinging, some yelling and exhaustion at the end.

At the store, my youngest had to use the potty – while standing in the bathroom waiting I stepped in front of the mirror and glanced at myself.  Oh my.  I went in public looking like that?!?! How badly did I need to run this errand???

Today I felt sorrow and maybe a little hopeless.  Seriously how can I possibly even be feeling hopelessness when I have Jesus?  He loves me.  I can trust Him. I have hope for the future.  But, what about hope for today…for this very minute?  What about hope that my children really are going to be okay?  Because I will tell you today…I’m anxious for my children.  I don’t think that I’m doing this single parenting thing as well as I’d like to…really, well at all.  I’m weary of single parenting.

I have a teenager dating. I’d elaborate but I’m assuming most can deduce my angst!

I have a middle-schooler who is just pushing boundaries and pushing buttons…on purpose.  This child pushes my buttons like someone waiting for a slow elevator…push, push, push…pause…push again.  Half the time I can respond with gentleness and not even be bothered by it. But the other half?  Not so much.  I feel like I could just bang my head against the wall, repeatedly.  I don’t know how to reach his heart.  I’m weary of the battle.

I have a child that has taken to wailing…not crying, not whining…wailing!  Ahhhhh….Wahhhh…it would be funny if it wasn’t so annoying.  This sweet child is also struggling with some very serious learning issues which I know are frustrating and discouraging.  I can’t figure out how to effectively help.  I’m weary of searching for answers

I have a preschooler who is openly defiant and can be quite mean.  This cutie seems impervious to discipline and actually, at times, seems to like being in trouble.  Very disconcerting.  Actually terrifying is a better word.  I don’t know how to get to this child’s heart.  I’m weary of fear.

My oldest is at college.  I had visions of weekly care packages, funny encouraging cards sent often, and skyping occasionally.  Thank goodness for texting or he would think I forgot about him.  Poor guy.  I’m weary of failure.

On top of all these parenting issues…I’m still drowning in house stuff, financial stuff, relationship stuff, friendship stuff, church stuff, health stuff, and “I-Don’t-Have-Time-To-Do-All-My Stuff” stuff.

I’m whining.  I’m sorry.  I’m trying to find humor in my situation, maybe this isn’t the right time of day for that endeavor.  I’m also acutely aware that I should not be grumbling or complaining.  I want to do everything without grumbling and complaining…I really do.  But, today…I’m done.  I don’t even want to complain or grumble.  I just want to state the obvious and move on.  But move on where??

I want to figure out what my proper response should be to all these things God has allowed in my life?  What does God want me to do with all the conflict?   What keeps running through my head is, “Be still.”  What does that look like?

I don’t know how to be still…there is just so much to do.  How do you really truly rest when you are a single parent?  How do you trust that anything is going to go well when everything has gone kablooey and keeps going kablooey?  How do you deal with the sheer magnitude of mental stuff to deal with in a day?

I don’t know.

I was hoping you did.

Give me a minute and I’ll think…

OK I’ve decided I can’t just be all defeated and such so here is plan A (which hopefully will work because at the moment it’s all I’ve got) –

I’m gonna pray.  I’m gonna get on my knees and I’m gonna pray.  I’m gonna pray that God will calm my anxious thoughts.   I’m gonna pray that God will give me wisdom.  I’m gonna pray that God will give me rest.  I’m gonna pour out my heart before him.  I’m gonna ask that God restore the joy of my salvation. I’m gonna thank Him and offer a sacrifice of praise and I’m gonna ask for that peace which passes all understanding to guard my heart and my mind in Christ Jesus.  And I’m gonna trust.  I’m gonna take those fearful, anxious, overwhelmed thoughts and approach the throne of grace with confidence.  I’m gonna lay those blasted things at the feet of my Lord, and I’m gonna leave them there!  And then I’m gonna take my eyes off that stuff and I’m gonna fix my gaze on Christ – the author and perfecter of my faith.  And I’m gonna let Him lead me beside those still waters and I’m gonna let Him restore my soul.  And I’m gonna stop grumbling and complaining…ahem…I mean stating the obvious.  I’m gonna “seek the Lord and his strength” and I’m gonna “seek his presence continually!”  (Psalm 105:4)

The verses I’m praying through:

Philippians 4:6-7 do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.  And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

James 1:5-8 If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.  But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind.  For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.

Psalm 51:12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit.

Hebrews 13:15  Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name. 

Psalm 25:1-5 To you, O Lord, I lift up my soul.  O my God, in you I trust; let me not be put to shame; let not my enemies exult over me.  Indeed, none who what for you shall be put to shame; they shall be ashamed who are wantonly treacherous.  Make me to know your ways, O Lord; teach me your paths.  Lead me in your truth and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation; for you I wait all the day long.

Hebrews 4:16  Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

Hebrews 12:1-2 Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.

Matthew 11:28 Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

Psalm 62:8 Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your heart before him; God is a refuge for us.

Psalm 23:1-3 The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.  He makes me lie down in green pastures.  He leads me beside still waters.  He restores my soul.  He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.