It didn’t all come crashing in at once, it was more like a gentle landslide. Sickness. Family stuff. Needy kids. Car trouble. It all compacted together against our obligations and an unrelenting schedule. We started school in August. It was good. I still found time to write, exercise, and sleep. My sister moved in with us in August, and needed rides to work a few times a week. My eldest started a demanding EMT class in September. Shane and I started foster parent training in September. We had family in, which was a joy, but we still tried to keep up a regular pace in stead of letting life interrupt our schedule. Sometime around then, I stopped getting enough sleep a night, stopped losing weight, started getting fatigued. I stopped making time for things that are good for my soul. Started reading sensational news articles instead of books and watching political commentary instead of having quiet devotions.
In the midst of a busy schedule, we all started to suffer. My oldest struggled with her class. My ten year old started having emotional meltdowns, the kids all got sick, my husband got worn down.
I turned 38, and took a step back. Talked to my hubby. Contacted the foster parent agency we were training with and said “we’re not in that season yet”. I really wanted us to be in that season, but we’re not. Our other children need more from us right now.
This week we’ve been in recovery mode. We cleaned house. We spent some days just playing with legos. The meltdowns stopped.
This week, I took time to think rather than just ingest media. I’ve been reading about late 1930’s Germany, paying particular attention to the tension between faith and nationalism. This line of investigation led me to the Barman Declaration (which was awesome, the church took a stand against German nationalism and the Nazi party), Karl Barth (the theologian who summed it all up with:Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so!) , and the life of Dietrich Bonheoffer. In reading Bonhoeffer, I find a gentle reminder of an orthodox Christian liberality? liberalism? that I can embrace. I find a respite from the false dichotomy presented by the media, and the better way Jesus expounded on in the Sermon on the Mount.
Today I read Psalm 37. It said not to worry about the wicked or the powerful. It said to rest, to dwell in the land, and to wait. It said that the meek would inherit the earth. I struggle with waiting. I struggle with a gnawing uncertainty that we’re not doing enough. The lie that I am supposed to do “great things” for God. Is it really enough just to raise my kids? Shouldn’t I be doing something more?
And yet, the fruit that Christ looks for is not in the things that we build for Him, but the fruit that we bear in the process. And the fruit of the Spirit is this: love, joy, peace, patience, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control. These fruits dried up in my life weeks ago (were they ever there?). They were replaced with: stress, anxiety, self reliance, bitterness, a short temper, binging, and guilt.
So I’m stepping back. Going back to the place where I last knew peace, and joy. Resting from my work and entering His.