Today was tough. The boys fought oh-so-noisily to be the only recipient of my love. Flattering but tough.
Ellis at nearly 19 months old has been blossoming from EZ (Ellis Zachary) baby to a little dude, roaring his way towards the big Two.
Fight after fight,
excruciating headbutts (both accidental and deliberate) into my cheekbones,
both climbing me with their grabby little feet, using my forearms as makeshift rungs and gifting me with skin-burn,
both refusing to eat their lunch and dinner,
a tag team of whining and defying,
big old spill on the couch from Ellis insisting on drinking my water on his own,
big avalanche of toys and blankets all around,
no energy or will to regroup and take control of the scene.
Only the temptation to flee.
As I made them their dinner, I was daydreaming about the fetal position I would clench myself into as soon as Kevin walked in the door. And how I would greet him icily with, “You have no idea. Please don’t talk to me. Not a word…”
Premeditated ice was on the evening’s agenda.
Instead, I took a few deep breaths in our tiny, cold kitchen even while the boys continued to fight and demand that I put the other one down. I ended up cooking while holding Ellis and began to marinate like the sukiyaki dinner on the stove, marinate in thoughts about how I am surrounded by too many needs and zero glamour and luxury.
NOISY ASS NEEDS.
But something shifted.
I felt like either I was maturing in that moment or I was being showered with GRACE, or both.
I didn’t feel the urge to break down or take to bed or plan to take it out on the husband as soon as he walked in the door.
Sometimes, fetal position is overrated.
Sure, it was still an objectively relentless day but I felt a moment of, “This is Life. THESE HAIRY MOMENTS. Noisy, annoying, relentless, unpaid, insane, not the least bit glamorous but pretty dang abundant.”
Reflecting further, I feel like I’ve been getting setting up in the past handful of months.
Getting set up for Hope.
I had told the Lord with a scrunched up face and my hands raised in surrender, months and months ago, that I do not know how a good marriage actually plays out. I’d only witnessed cautionary tales. Tales that have unfortunately become my default when the going gets tough.
Last December, He led us to a real life example of Happily Ever After through a marriage retreat that we were miraculously able to attend. Childcare for two full days straight had been downright UNHEARD of in the 3.5 years we’ve been parents.
Marriage is still SO hard but I always think of the couple who led that retreat. I sat in the front row and studied them like they were a different species. They broke it down for us – how they are able to truly live in love more than four decades and TEN kids later, actively seeking God’s grace. I was in awe.
I also told the Lord I don’t know why I love to write and NEED to write, but that I do and I want to do more of it. Soon after, an email about an Artflow workshop awaited me in my inbox. I spent a quiet, rainy Saturday in March, learning that He cares about my desire to create, my desire to write, and that it’s not trifling or something that needs to be killed because it’s not in alignment with real life duties.
I have a sneaking suspicion that I am getting set up for Hope.
Sure, I regress here and there and it is DAMN painful when I fall back into unhealthy default modes, but lately, I do feel like I am getting injected with hope through community, books, blogs, sermons, moments, my boys, emails, Facebook and even this here tiny blog.
So consider this a belated Easter post.
“Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the entrance.”
John 20:1 (emphasis added)
Our pastor, Rich Villodas, preached from John 20:1-16 on Easter Sunday, that WHILE IT WAS STILL DARK, He had risen!
So while we are wandering about in our own darkness, whether it be infirmity, loneliness, sorrow, lack of finances, or just the general tough stuff of life, we have Hope. Glory!
It’s nice to be set up.