Seasons of Harvest.

So far, I've written 42 blog posts for the year.  This marks my 43rd.
In eight years of blogging, I have never recorded under 100 posts, and this year I won't even clear 50.
I find this interesting and very indicative of these past 12 months.
These moments melt me.
Hands down, the hardest year of my life.
Easily the most stressful, the most refining, and the most raw.
Definitely a year that felt more akin to surviving as opposed to really thriving.

I am a woman who balks at change - it totally stresses me.
I am someone who needs large pockets of solitude and sanity to best embrace the swirling chaos.
I need downtime, I need breathing space to rest and regroup, and I need silence.
I love sleep, and I get twitchy when I am perpetually ping pong-ing from one thing to the next.

This has been a year where none of my perceived "needs" have been consistently present in my life.

We sold the house that I loved, and we shared a living space with dear friends - and worried often about being "too much" for them with all of the crazy that comes with six loud people.  I homeschooled two children for the first time, and I found myself to be very divided and often insecure about if I was doing enough or "being" enough for my students.  I had a wild and crazy, whirling dervish of a busy and somewhat high maintenance toddler who - to this day - is hands down my worst sleeper and wakes multiple times all throughout the that I honestly cannot remember the last time I have had an uninterrupted night's sleep.  We moved - twice - in just a little over a year.  Kev got a new job - at a new church. And I went back to work after having several months off for maternity leave.
Snowy owl in our backyard.  Pretty sure he got my boy ducky.
So much change.
So much crazy.
So much "new" in such a short period of time.

And so, it's been a year of looking deep, of having to be intentional in finding joy, and of letting go.

Letting go of my clenched fists that were desperate to hold onto things that were safe, and things that were familiar - things that had used to define who I thought I was, and things that were never mine to claim in the first place.  Letting go of ideals of perfection and of that ever elusive "me time."  Letting go of "grand" and instead embracing "good enough."  Letting go of being able to do everything in my own strength and instead breathing Him into every aspect of my messy life.  This was the year where Jesus was needed most in my life - and it was the year where I felt my brokenness most embraced by my Heavenly Father who knows me well, and who loves me regardless.

It's been a year of seeing God's hand woven throughout all of it - a beautiful tapestry of grace where He has proven Himself faithful time and time again...and where He has "shown up" and shown me rough edges where He has wanted to smooth away and make me more like Him.  Areas that need more grace and spaces that need a whole lot less of "me."

I'm not sure if I am any closer to His likeness or not...

But I do know how desperate I am for Him - and how I know I need to seek His face above all else - as soon as my feet hit the floor each day.  I know I can't do life without Him.  I know I am not defined by things or by status - by my lists that may or may not get accomplished each day - or by the good graces that my children may or may not possess.  I also know that I am not defined by my struggles...or by the cleanliness of my home.  I know that pretense gets me nowhere and that HOME is wherever you hang your hat with your loved ones.

I know that change can be great, and fresh starts can bring Life.
Kitchen crazy...with nary a visible counter top in sight.
I have learned that emptying myself of all things "me" is painful and humbling and that I am not "super Mom."  I am still not sure how to divide my day so as to meet the needs of all four of my children, nor am I certain if they are getting the absolute best education that I could be giving them.  I still hate clutter, and there are days when my toddler makes me crazy.  I'm sorely slacking in the meal department and I can't remember the last time I went for a run.  My Home is full of Whirling, and the laundry's never ending. My brain bandwidth is almost entirely used up from the Neverending Swirling that is my Life...and I sometimes find myself staring into space once the children are down for the night - wondering if I loved them enough, if I held them enough - if I was present.  I experience many days where I'm not even sure exactly what got accomplished for the day, and I've been a slacker in the girlfriend department - letting days and weeks go by before checking in with a loved one...
She eats like a puppy.
But God is gracious, and so are people.
And there's grace to meet each day.

And it is such a good Life - so very full, and so very blessed.
Kevy has not experienced the greatest version of "me" these last few months, yet his love is unwavering and he stands by my side.  My kids show me grace unending, and they love me regardless. The views from my windows each morning bring peace, and His mercies are new every day.

Life is full of seasons, and I know that all seasons pass.
This post made me cry, as this is where I feel I have been as of late.  In the thick of it....
Forgetting sometimes, that Expectation is the thief of Joy...
And that it is the Joy of the small that makes Life large....

And so we begin again this Joy Journey...and we start again the counting...
Because it's good to remember...
And it's easy to forget...
How great is His faithfulness, and how rich is His Grace...

Push to Restart.

~ Silent starts to my day and beautiful sunrises.
~ Seeing grass in December and sweet, happy chickies.
~ Sibling love....and sibling squabbles...
~ Him by my side doing "Life."
~ A church that I love and intentional ministry.
~ A job that I love and co-workers who are friends.
~ Honest friendships - real and raw.
~ Letting go.
~ A sweet little Home - filled to the brim with kids and with crazy.
~ Simple savorings.
~ Footy jammies filled with sweet bundles of Busy.
~ Two blonde pigtails.  And Daddy love.
~ Three boys.  Growing together.  Learning together.  Loving their Mama regardless.
~ New mercies each morning.
~ Grace to face each day.
~ Lessons learning.
~ A Happy Homemade Christmas.
~ Family and friends to walk alongside.
~ A Mama's Journey - and grace from her loved ones.
~ Choosing to see.
~ Embracing Change.
~ Days of Thriving.
~ And Days of Surviving.
~ New Beginnings.....

#5212 - #5235 ~ My Joy Journey


Anonymous said...

This post made me want to whisk you away for a few days and put you in my guest room with your favorite books, some bubblebath and nothing to do for a few short moments.
Thanks once again for your honesty and vulnerability.
I love you, Brenda

Rachael said...

Amen and amen. And amen. :-)
As I've read through this, I found myself echoing "yes" to all you've said. Same season of "chaos"! I love you, girl. And your honesty.

KateO said...

Girl, I could have written every word of this, describing my first year and half with four kids (minus the stuff about pig tails, cause I don't have a girl). (oh and I don't homeschool, so I'm sure you're waaay more exhausted.)
It gets better, things still spin, but its a tiny bit less demanding physically. And you're clinging to the right things, the sacred in the chaos, and the Cross.
Praying you get a moment of respite soon.
Kate Milliken (you know, from MOPS in PA an age ago)