Have you ever spent time living in a place where you barely make it through each day? The more you get done, the longer the list of things to do gets? I hate survival mode, yet, this is where I’m living. I’m fully here. Period. No denying it. Barely surviving.
Each day I make a list of must-dos for the day. I check them off. The bare minimum gets accomplished. Nothing else.
Laundry has piled up. Grocery shopping is a luxury I gave up January 25. Yes, my day of diagnosis was the last time I set foot in HEB… Scary. The house has sold so no longer is a clean toilet or a vacuumed floor on my list. My list says change insurance, call doctor, pack kitchen, buy tape and mail camp registration. Exciting.
I haven’t been here in this mode for quite some time. I don’t do well here so I try to avoid it. I try to be organized and give myself all the time and space I need to thrive. Sometimes that’s just not possible.
When I got married, I was working long, crazy hours at a demanding job. Our apartment was a mess. I was t.i.r.e.d. So tired. I had no time. I remember longing for a space. You know, a place where I could go away from the craziness to just be alone and to think without distractions. I never learned how to do that before I began having babies.
I had baby one. I was sick, so.very.sick. I was tired, so.very.tired. Then I had babies two and three. I living in survival mode. Even when I had a little space, it just wasn’t enough. I found myself on my face in my bedroom, crying into my carpet fibers. I asked God what it would take for me to feel the space I needed in my life. I asked Him how I could be the wife and mother I longed to be. I asked God how I could meet with Him the way I longed to.
I was at home taking care of babies all day yet, my house was dirty and disorganized. There were days I still couldn't get dinner on the table and my babies were needy. I was needy. That was the day I resigned.
I wrote out a letter of resignation in my journal. I told God I was resigning from my life, my house and my kids. I was taking on a new job. I accepted His offer to manage His life, His house and His kids. I would please Him first.
Then I accepted the second part of His offer to please my husband. I let loose of my priorities, my dreams and my goals. As they fell to the ground, I picked up Andrew’s priorities, Andrew’s dreams and Andrew’s goals. I was scared. I was scared to trust my husband and I was scared to trust my God. But I did. And here I am.
Today even though I’m full force in survival mode once again, I can see how God has brought forth His glory in my life. He took a messy house and gave it order. He took some lousy parents and gave us some pretty great kids. He also took a struggling marriage and made it thrive.
Giving up the things I thought I needed, brought me freedom. God and Andrew have now given almost all of them back but the irony is that I don’t need them anymore. I am free to enjoy them instead of spending all of my energy clutching them tightly.
God did it before; He will do it again. He turned my mess into a message. He will turn this test into my testimony. He is always good. He is the same yesterday, today and forever. These are the thoughts I tell myself as I place checks on my list while staring at my once again dirty and disorganized home. These are promises my heart rests in while mothering my once again really needy children. These are prayers from my heart as I once again set aside mine for Andrew’s priorities. These are the songs I sing to a God who has before and will again take me from surviving to thriving. These are the reminders I focus on as I wait to see when we can move, how long each radiation treatment will last and what my side effects will be.
Today, my thoughts wander. I wonder if I’ll have the time I’m used to once I start radiation. I want to have time to enjoy my family, organize and decorate my new home and continue writing. Yet, I know my first priority needs to be getting well. Fighting well. Taking care of my body.
Why is that so hard for women? Why is that so hard for mommies? The Lord has shown me in all of this that the priority of my children, my husband, my God are all the same. They want to have a healthy mom, wife, servant.
And so I will fight while praying, Lord, don’t let me waste it.
And I will survive.
“My health may fail, and my spirit may grow weak, but God remains the strength of my heart; he is mine forever.’ Psalm 73:26