Tuesday, January 13, 2009

I Got Nothin'

Yesterday my husband read a couple of my blog posts. Instead of telling me how clever and witty I am, he said: 

Lackluster life? Do you really feel that your life is lackluster? 

I responded with my usual rationalizations like, 

"Of course not, I'm just being funny. 'Lackluster' only in the sense that it's not Broadway." 

I got all defensive and told him that he doesn't get my humor and that he was making much ado about nothing.

But he wasn't. The truth is, the last few months have been hard. Motherhood and domesticity have become challenging in a new way. I mean, intensely hard...overwhelming this here wimpy soul. And while blogging has been such a great outlet for me and I get to talk about decorating and the Golden Globes and all, the truth will eventually seep out...even when one is trying to cover it up with fluff and funnies.

Today, after crying on the phone to my husband, I realized that it's okay to admit that life is hard. Sometimes I don't want to admit that because it makes me feel guilty and spoiled. I don't live in a war-torn, AIDS-ridden African country. I am not a single mother. I know where my next meal will come from. So I don't feel I have the right to say (out loud) that life is hard. But it is. 

In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world. 

Those were the words that came to me in rare moment of quiet reflection. 

Turns out my Bible isn't broken after all. (A joke from one of my last posts.) Those were not just words Jesus spoke for the martyrs and the persecuted. They're words for all of us, for the AIDS orphan in Africa and for the weary mom living in vinyl-sided suburbia...like me. 

The mom who is tired of living the life of a servant. The mom who doesn't want to yell at her kids anymore. The mom who wonders (multiple times a day) how badly she may be screwing them up and what kind of therapy they may need when they're grown. The mom who wants to change. Who wants to be kinder, gentler, more patient, less selfish, less on edge. The mom who wants more than anything to delight in being a servant rather than often despising the selfless existence she's called to live..and truly wants to live (in her better moments.) 

I need to change. I want to change. But change is more than a campaign slogan. And it's definitely not just something one wills herself to do. I can't just change...not without help. And this is usually how it goes with my Father and me. I try and try in my own strength. I fail and fail in my own strength. I finally give up, admitting that I've got nothin'.  And I hear him say... 

Now this, my child, I can work with. 

He works with nothin'. He's kind of crazy like that. You know, creating people out of the dust of the earth and all. Speaking stars into existence. Turns out He's really good at making somethin' out of nothin'. And I am really bad at getting that through my head.

So, right now I've got nothin'. And I've decided I'm okay with that. Because my Father is ridiculously creative and powerful. And He's constantly having to remake me. I'm ready and finally willing...and grimacing. Because being remade usually hurts a bit.

So, while there is definitely trouble in this world, my world, I am not alone. And neither are you. Take heart...and thanks for letting me share mine.


  1. I just started enjoying your site a few days ago and can I ever relate to this post.
    I am so feeling how you are feeling right now.
    I'm a stay-at-home Mom to 3 blessed boys and after having the stomach bug go thru this weekend, I am tired and weary. I babysit during the day and let me tell you, I feel like a horrible Mom most of the time as well.
    Every night before I drift off to exhausted sleep, I pray for help to have more patience and not yell so much at my boys. I want them to realize how much they are loved and when I am being rational, I know they know. But still, life is overwhelming and I know that we are doing our best to raise God fearing Men (I'm raising men not boys) and know God is with me. I may be screwing up my kids, but every decision I make is in prayer and I am doing the best I can today.
    Tomorrow, might be a different story.
    Hang in there. What you feel is not uncommon.
    You will be in my prayers for the next few days.
    May you have some peace and feel God's comforting embrace.
    God bless you and thank you for giving me something to enjoy during the day. I feel my brain cells dying by the hundreds being surrounded by small ones 24-7.
    Thank you.

  2. My sweet friend, you put into words so perfectly what all of us moms feel. Thank you for spelling it out! I can talk to you about this on the phone for hours, but reading it seems to make it so much more concrete. God is so good at using us "nothings" - and making us "somethings" - isn't He? I'll always fail at being the perfect mom, friend, wife, etc but when I humble myself and seek Him first - He takes all my ashes, and makes them into something beautiful. God is so good. Oh, and so are you. I have to be careful not to get hooked on Miss A La Mode. :) I think it's too late.

  3. Beautiful... and just the reminder and encouragement I needed today! Thanks!

  4. Hey girl! Thanks for your sweet, sweet comment. I'm so glad that you left it because I got to read this beautiful post.

    I think you must have dug around in my brain and heart before you wrote this post.

    Thanks for sharing your heart.

  5. Great writing from a great heart! You have the ability to give us word-driven whiplash, the way you can make us cry with laughter as we travel the red carpet with you and then cry out with "I feel that" when you give us a powerful, insightful post like this one. Keep it up! All of it!

  6. I guess Beth Moore was talking to you as much as she was to me this morning, huh? I think we both did a good job of hiding our mornings....why is that. I came today because I felt like I was supposed to be there. I really wanted to crawl back in the bed and cry. My body hurts. My brain is dead. I got nothing. NOTHING.
    Thanks for being my friend and know that we are in the nothingness together (and less than a mile apart).

  7. I totally agree! Just how I am feeling. Thanks for putting it into words. It doesn't really work when I am the one in charge either.... hmm.

  8. Alright, woman. That's it. You are going in my Google Reader FOR GOOD! I love this post. I live this post. I am this post. Are you me?

    And...I'm going shopping with June on Saturday. Don't you wish you WERE me?

  9. Thanks for your honesty and your encouragement. Sometimes I am so disappointed in myself and what a poor example I am of everything I want to be teaching my kids. But in moments of clarity, I remember that I want to teach them humility and repentance. I want to teach them that following Jesus isn't about doing everything right, but it is about depending on Him. Life is about being madly in love with that Guy, Jesus, even though you have no idea what he sees in you. And in those moments, I can breath again.
    Thanks again, this was a wonderful post.

  10. I love you M. Yes, I blogstalk you from time to time. I quit facebook and now I blogstalk people. Addictions...

    Your honest heart was used to open the door for mine years ago. I am so grateful from a very deep, Sacredly Romantic part of me. :)

    I can't wait to spend time with you in the in the coming weeks, months...years? :) I'll be there in February ready for some yummy coffee!

    Sarah B.

  11. The book I linked to does require actual sewing, but there are lots of simple projects in it that a sewing newbie would still be able to do. Actually, it probably would be a great book to start with since there are different levels of projects and fairly well-written instructions. Plus having such cute ideas makes you really want to sew!

    And thanks for stopping by the blog!

  12. Your honesty is so refreshing. I too feel guilt when I'm down because my life compares littel to those with nothing. However, to just ignore the feelings would be worse. Keep faith and keep blogging. I've really enjoyed your posts.

  13. Why is it so encouraging and comforting to hear that the struggles we face and the feelings we have are common with others? A mom of 9 whose baby is almost grown said in passing a comment about motherhood being such a lonely thing. I remember thinking how odd that was for her to say. How could she ever be lonely with nine children? But over time I have thought about that comment and I think it is so true. It is lonely because we are so busy trying to create and manage these beautiful lives and we feel like we are the only ones doing it. So it's so lovely to hear from someone else who is right there where I am. Griping and then feeling guilty for griping. Thankful, but aggravated. Blessed and tired. Nothing, but worth a price far above rubies. Have a lovely day!

  14. As a newish stay at home wife/mother I would like to recomend you check out: http://www.homeliving.blogspot.com/ Recently Lady Lydia has been on a recycling craft kick but look backwards and she has many many good articles on sorting out your life at home. She has had this blog for years and there are sooo many good articles. I came here from Nester and am enjoying your many Nester type decorating ideas as well as your thoughts and ideas. Checkout Homeliving...you won't regret the time looking around!! :) Jody

  15. Well, Dear, there must be something in the bloggy water. Your words are poignantly true and felt in the depths of so many mommies' souls. You typed words I have literally spoken both in my head AND outloud in these past weeks. The fog has sort of lifted, but then a bad day and the kids looking forelorned, and we begin again. Thank you for your honesty. I'm sure I'll be back!

  16. Today it seems like you crawled around inside my head-the stress of life with three underfoot is sometimes overwhelming but your words are so encouraging! Thanks for sharing your heart and reminding me that He HAS overcome the world and has our troubles in his hand!

  17. Ah yes, the life of a SAHM to small children (three to be exact) can be very UNglamorous at times...well, let's be honest, most of the time! But I chase away the SAHM Slump by remembering I am doing the MOST important job in the whole world. And I am perfectly suited to it even if I don't feel like I am. Also, I realized it is okay to feel like a failure every once in a while. His grace, even the grace to be a SAHM without losing my sanity, is sufficient for me! :)


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