Friday, April 25, 2008

Alien Abduction

Lately I have had several people ask me how I am doing. Usually I have a good response, honest, but good. However, over the past few weeks I've done everything to avoid answering that question because I just don't know.

When I think about the big picture, we are really doing well. I have so much to be thankful for.

My kids are healthy - mostly - a few seasonal allergy issues, but no one is in need of antibiotics. I've had a few health issues, but I'm a mom and I power through.

We have a house to live in and food to eat. My kids are clothed.

The church is growing, albeit slower than we would like, but growing none the less.

I have a wonderful husband whom I love dearly and even like an most days!

But I was feeling overwhelmed.

I'm thankful that God has made me an organized person by nature, given me the ability to multi-task, blessed me with patience , and helped me to relax my perfectionistic tendencies some. (Joe-on-the-street would still say I was OCD!) My problem was that these qualities didn't seem to be operating. I felt like my brain had given me the "blue screen of death". (Something you MAC users probably have no clue about!)

I felt like I was teetering on the fence of depression. Having been there before, I didn't feel like I was there yet, but I was flirting with it. One friend asked me with everything I had going on why was I not curled up in the fetal position in the corner? My answer: I don't have the time! And I truly felt like I hadn't slipped into a "poor me" attitude. My biggest frustration was that I didn't know how to prioritize what needed to be done.

I loved my kids, but I didn't want to spent any time with them. They were frustrating. I couldn't seem to get them to mind what I said. Morgan started screaming. Jeffrey was throwing fits. Meredith had no understanding of personal space. Jarrett was dealing with some anger. Judson seemed to be able to break out in tears very quickly. Mikalah is 11 and hormonal (yeah!). I just felt like I didn't have the energy to deal with any of it. More than that, I just didn't know where to start.

I am so thankful for the house that God has provided for us. However, it needs some work. There is painting, and trim work to be done, but the most frustrating part is just the upkeep. I can clean a room and in five minutes it looks like a tornado has flown through. Mop the dining room floor? What's the point? After every meal it needs to be mopped again. Bathrooms? I really hate cleaning bathrooms. Much less a bathroom that a three year old boy uses! The yard needs work done, but I don't even know where to begin with that. Of course a day with no snow would be a good place to start!

My husband is a wonderful man. He works really hard to provide for our family. He plays with the kids. He loves the Lord and is working to spread His word. But all of that takes time. So the things that he used to do like help clean the kitchen, mop floors, yard work, and general house repair fall to....? Me. I don't mind this, but it is another plate to keep spinning. He and I get time together - after the kids are in bed. Desperate to enjoy time with him and a peaceful house, I've been staying up too late. Without the luxury of sleeping in.

Yellowstone Church is exciting. It is great to see people being impacted. I'm thoroughly enjoying my Ladies Bible Study. I love studying and then teaching and seeing these ladies get it and apply it to their lives and then relate it back to study!! I want to have the same excitement about teaching the kiddos, but I don't. That's not how God wired me. However I love how He shows up in our weaknesses.

On top of all of that, I have been feeling like I am not growing or learning. If I thought it was even a reasonable consideration I would go back to school and get my degree, but hello, we have too many plates spinning as it is! Besides I wouldn't even be able to tell you what I want a degree in!

Put it all together and I kind of feel like I have "pregnancy brain" without being pregnant! (Thank you Jesus!!! PAUSE while we do the happy dance!)

So all of that to say, that is where I have been the last two weeks. The solution?

Focus on the things that I am thankful for.

Get back to the basics.
Reading my Bible everyday.
I started a Beth Moore study "just for me". Okay, really it is what we will be studying over the Summer for Ladies Bible Study, but I'm starting it now to feed me. Then I'll also be four weeks ahead of the group - less stress preparing!

We are changing up Children's Church for the Summer to make less stress on me. We may actually start the third week in May since around here that means vacation has started. I talked with Mike's church coach today, and he was very encouraging. We are doing the right things. His suggestions fit right into what we were thinking and added to them. The man is wonderful, except that I cry every time I talk to him. I'm sure he thinks I'm a crazy, weepy woman!

While Mike and I enjoy our time together in the evening, we are committing to going to bed earlier. Sleep is good. Good for the brain!

I signed up for FlyLady again. While lots of what she says and does I think are completely goofy, she has a plan. I feel like the plan I had for our house was not working, so we'll try someone else's for a while until my brain returns. My favorite thing about her plan? I can do anything for 15 minutes. Thanks, Jill, for the suggestion!

As for the kids, all the issues are really a matter of attention. So they are my priority. I'm taking extra time to help them get dressed, to brush their teeth, to tuck them into bed, to linger over a meal and talk, to let them "help". I'm also trying to plan "special" activities that correspond to my to-do-list, but make them feel special. (taking one to the grocery store with me) I'm also not requiring as much from them and applying the "I can do anything for 15 minutes" principle. They seem to be responding to that.

So, I do not feel like I'm on the fence of depression anymore. I do not feel as overwhelmed. I don't feel like my brain is really completely back, but I feel like I have a plan now. Proverbs 29:11, "Where the is no vision, the people perish." That sums up how I was feeling. Now I have some vision back, some goals, some plans. It's not perfect, but it is much better.

Because there is a plan, my multi talsking is getting better, my patience is increasing, and my organization is improving. I know it sounds crazy, but I organized my sock drawer yesterday and it felt good. I know, I'm wierd, but it was really nice this morning to get socks out of an organized drawer. It made me feel better - like I could conquer the next battle. Who knew I could be so easily encouraged - the power of socks!

I am thankful for how God made me. These last two weeks have just been an example of what happens when I lose my focus on Him. For me that's when disorganization creeps in. Unfortunately, I let it go so long that it creeped into every aspect of my life. And now it is a slow process to get back to where He wanted me. I am so thankful for His forgiveness, love and understanding. I'm thankful that He prunes me and weeds out the clutter in my life.

Now if I would just learn that lesson and not keep making the same mistakes...


Trish D said...

Boy oh boy, I am right there with you. Continuing to pray for you!

Elizabeth Wickland said...

I have to second the Flylady. I agree, she's a character for sure, but the only time I really feel like I am in control of things around the house is when I go back to her principles. 15 minutes at a time. If it takes less than 30 seconds to do, do it now. Wake up to a clean kitchen (shiny sink, if you will) and make your bed when you get up. It's amazing how much those little things change my day.

Now if she only had a simple plan to combat toddler tantrums, I'd be set.

Thinking of you!

Elaine said...

Hugs and high fives to you for putting all this down! I love hearing from you again, and reading about what has been on your heart and mind. I'll be praying for you, friend!

Pepperpot said...

I definitely can relate :) I think I blogged some fairly similiar emotions at the beginning of March. Glad you found your way back to the sunshine :)

Deanne said...

Isn't it amazing how spending time in the Word can change a day? I am surprised how much this little tid bit of information can actually do for me (though it really shouldn't! and how many times do I have to learn this lesson??). That has been one of the major things I've learned (again) recently. Hmmm...I wonder how long it will be until it comes around the next time? :)

Praise God for his grace and love in your life!