Many of you "know" me as a mom. A homeschooling mom, an urban homesteading wanna-be mom, a sewing mom, a plastic hating mom, a simple mom, a blogging mom.
But what you may not know is that there is another mom part of me. A struggling mom. I started this blog shortly after my family entered our darkest days. The blog allowed me an outlet to focus on the joys amidst that darkness. I didn't blog about that darkness b/c it was not mine alone. It involved others. But now, nearly two years later, I feel "allowed" to share this part of me with you.
The first of our struggles started nearly two years ago when my dad, whom appeared devoted to family and church, was caught in an affair. To make a long (painful) story short, he chose to not only abandon his marriage of 35 years to my sweet mom, but also abandon his children and grandchildren. Previously he had worked with his daughters in the hardware store where he was employed. He'd been the worship leader at our church where I sang along side him often, as did my brother-in-law. After church on Sunday, it was common for most of the family to gather at his house for food and hanging out. We all lived in the same town. His grandchildren saw him multiple times a week. One day, though, he decided he wanted to follow his own selfish desires more than love his family. And he left. My children went from seeing him multiple times a week to basically never. He moved 2 hours away and rarely contacts us.
I could go into further detail about the struggles my extended family has suffered in the HUGE wakes of my father's disastrously selfish choices, but I think you can imagine.
Since then, my family has seemed to take one hit after the other. I was diagnosed with Hypothyroidism. My daughter was diagnosed with Hypotonia after a LONG and emotional process. Pets dropped like flies, family members were diagnosed with infertility, we lost our sweet Nana, and I miscarried.....all while dealing with my dad's ongoing drama. There's more, but for the sake of others' privacy, I'll leave it at that and figure you get the picture.
Another thing I haven't shared is that Zac has worked out of town since May of this year. I am a single, homeschooling mom during the week. I did not share this because I did not want to advertise, online, that there was a mom all alone out in the country by the lake (where there are no street lights and it takes 25 minutes for police to respond to calls) with three young, helpless children. Now, however, I can mention this because the security I was trying to protect has been shattered. This week I had cops shining spot lights in my yard and neighbors' yards at 11pm. They were looking for a reported prowler! I have struggled with fear since I was a child. I thought I'd have a hard time when Zac left in May. However, only by God's grace, I've done fantastically. That is, until there were cops in my yard this week. My brother-in-law and sister came and got my kids and I that night (so that I wouldn't have to load 3 sleeping kids, one by one, into our car in the middle of the night with a prowler lurking) and we've been at my mom's ever since. We will go home when Zac is home on the weekends, but I think it will be a long time, if ever, that I will be ready to brave the night alone in our home. The feeling of security I worked years to have, is now totally gone.
I also have not shared that due to Zac working out of town, we have had to grieve a lot of the miscarriage apart from each other. Not only one miscarriage, but two. Yes, I had another one, just a few weeks ago. Hence why my blog has been a bit quiet lately. That miscarriage was accompanied by lots of tests, an MRI, and a lot of fear. After a few weeks, I was deemed healthy and normal, and my miscarriages were deemed "unexplained." All of this is hard to process, and STILL my dad adds drama to our lives, and on top of that, Zac and I have had to learn how grieve "together", while not always together.
So WHAT does this all have to do with thankfulness?
Well, last year's holiday season just plain sucked. It was our first without my dad. The lack of his presence and the hurt that came with it were deafening. It didn't help that my mom had to put her dog down ON Christmas morning. This year, we are determined to make the holidays better. We are determined to heal from all this stuff. And we are determined to plod along forward. However, Thanksgiving was still very hard for me this year, and I started to feel I'd already failed the goal to make this holiday season better. But then, God graciously showed me something. My attitude sucked. Yep, that's what He showed me. I was and have been struggling with losing the "consistencies" in my life. My consistently present father left. My consistently healthy body turned on me. My consistent feeling of what a normal childhood should look like changed when my daughter couldn't communicate. I couldn't control life so that it was consistent for my children. My consistent feeling of safety in my own home was shattered. My consistent support of my VERY helpful husband is limited to weekends only. And my once consistently healthy womb couldn't hold on to two babies. Man, my attitude about losing these constants was really bad....IS really bad. But this weekend, as I was sulking about what has changed and what has been lost and wondering what constant we will lose next, I realized that really, I should only have ONE constant in life...God. Our world was thrown into the hands of sin at the fall of man. Why should I expect anything earthly to be constant? God is the only constant. He is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. I'm hoping I can just stay focused on that truth that I know so well, that I've always constantly felt, and just have tunnel vision on my Lord so that all the inconsistencies of the world will roll past me a bit easier in the future. I do pray that my family's NEAR future will be a bit less tumultuous. That sure would be nice. But if I can just learn to only hold my faith in the ONE constant, I think the road ahead, either joyous or sorrowful, will be more fulfilling. He is there in the joy, and He cries with me over my sorrows. HE is constant.
Lord, THANK YOU for;
* holding us in your arms and carrying us forward when we ourselves can not take one more step.
* Your Word, which gives us direction when we are blinded by tears.
* the example of my mom who shows unhumanly amounts of mercy, grace, and patience.
* friends who have supported our family, validated our losses and struggles, been there to babysit with NO notice, and just listened.
* the promise that Your mercies are new every morning.
* comfort in knowing our Nana is enjoying feasts of Thanksgiving at Your side.
* Your hope, when we have none. Hope for babies in the future (through birth and adoption), hope for healing (physically, emotionally, and mentally), hope for comfort from fears one day, hope for knowledge and understanding.
* our angel babies, who have taught us love of an unearthly form, and whose short earthly presence in our lives blessed us in ways I can't yet explain in words, but am thankful for.
* medicine that helps my thyroid function correctly so that I can be present for my kids.
* my husband's job that allows me to be at home to raise our kids.
* the knowledge that my husband's long distance job will end this Summer and he will be back with us again.
* a safe place for my children and I to stay, even though I miss my home.
* a speech therapist who loves my daughter and is helping her grow by leaps and bounds!
* my husband, who has been able to comfort me even when hours away.
* our marriage, which feels ever more sacred these past few years.
* forgiving me when I put too much faith in our earthly "consistencies".
* and lastly, our amazing babes...our gifts from God....all 5 of them.
After 5 years of being a stay-at-home mom, I found the wonder of mothering slowly starting to get crowded out by the mundane feeling. I realized our world seems to surround people with the negative, and complaining about blessings seems totally acceptable. So I decided to fight against that "normalcy" and focus only on the positive. I look back to my first year as a mom when everything was new and keeping house was fun and I aim to have that attitude again. This blog is my outlet to showcase the daily miracles that surround me in my blessed life as a stay-at-home mom so that I will never forget the wonder of it all.