Tired As A Mother
I’m tired y’all. I’m not sure there’s even a word to describe the amount of tired that I am. Exhausted, weary, zonked, enervated (that’s a $5 word!) – none of those seem to do it justice. I’m sure every parent has felt completely exhausted at some point. It usually starts about the time the baby is born and I hear it lasts through high school. I don’t mean to say that people who aren’t parents don’t get tired. Everyone has their “stuff” that wears on them, but I can only speak from my perspective and that’s as a parent of two small children. Not just a parent….a mom. Yes, dads get tired too. And if you’re a single dad, then I’ll lump you in with the moms on this one. I think if this question were to come up on Family Feud the survey would say “MOTHER”.
Being physically tired kind of goes with the territory when you have little kids. Their sleep is erratic, they want to wake up at ungodly hours in the morning and will literally fight you about going to bed. All the sudden there’s an emergency snack situation or they’re dying of thirst like they’ve gone without food or water all day. They’re insane.
Lately, I’ve been feeling tiredness deep in my soul. I felt this way as we neared the end of our inpatient chemo. The closer we got to the end of treatment the further away it seemed. Every day felt like it lasted a week. I remember how tired I was when the kids were bitty babies and I’d be up 4 or 5 times a night nursing and rocking. The sun was my only indication of time. Days of the week didn’t matter or even exist. I remember one time when Daniel was about 6 weeks old and had slept a few good stretches over several days. I looked at Bryan and said “I think I could do this one more time” (as in, have a 3rd baby). He looked at me straight in the eyes and said: “You’re drunk on sleep”.
Sure enough, that stretch of blissful 6 hours of sleep a night vanished as fast as it came. I had gotten cocky and angered the sleep gods! Pretty sure I’m still paying for that one!
Running on empty
This tiredness is something entirely different. I’m restless in every part of my life. Things that once made me feel fulfilled leave me empty and wanting more. I really like my job. I’m good at it and have worked for the same company for over 15 years. I pride myself in being an excellent colleague and team member, but at the end of every day I ask myself “why?” I feel a calling to do more. To share more with others and to make more of an impact in this fight against Childhood Cancer. I also want to write! Writing this blog gives me such joy! Even if no one is reading it (geez, I hope someone is) it still allows me to share my passions.
Maybe you feel a longing in your heart, too? Cancer may not be your calling, but you’ve got awesomeness to share with the world! But it would be irresponsible of us to quit our jobs so we can be happy and pursue our dream, right? Which makes these feelings even worse. Dang adulting! Things like insurance and car payments (or groceries) really put a kink in my plan for feeling fulfilled. I have a family to help support and my life is not all about me anymore, but no one wants to go around feeling miserable all the time.
So what’s the answer? What do we do when our souls are tired and need a new life? I think the answer is much simpler than many self-help books want us to think. The answer is rest. Not physical rest (although I’ll take some of that as well!), but soulful rest. What the heck is that? It looks different for everyone, and frankly, that’s the part that is the hardest for us to grasp. At the center of all of it is a close relationship with Christ.
You do not have this
Over and over I have tried to manage life with my own effort, always falling short of what I truly desire. “I’ve got this” are the 3 worst words in the English vocabulary (followed closely by “watch this” and “hold my beer”) Those are the words you generally hear in two situations: 1) your toddler (child, teenager or drunk adult) is about to jump off/lift/or otherwise attempt something ridiculously stupid OR 2) YOU are so intent on doing something and you’re convinced you don’t need help from anyone. Either way, failure (and in case of #1, physical harm) is imminent.
It wasn’t until this cancer journey was thrust upon us that I understood what it was to surrender to Christ. To surrender to the idea that I literally have no control over the situation, but He has ultimate control. It’s the most uncomfortable feeling I’ve ever had. Maybe you’ve felt it too? Giving up control is like giving up breathing for me (#controlfreak). Yes, we’re able to make choices about treatment, but they’re impossible choices. We make the best ones we can and that’s all we can do.
Giving up that control has brought me peace in life that I have never experienced. Seems counterintuitive since I often feel my life is the furthest thing from peace. One day last week I was trying to cram a workout into my day packed with meetings and a song came on that brought me to my knees mid-rep and I just sat and cried. Tears I didn’t even know were there poured out onto the garage floor. The song was “I Have This Hope” by Tenth Avenue North.
“But sometimes my faith feels thin. Like the night will never end.
Will you catch every tear or will you just leave me here?”
“Whatever happens I will not be afraid because you are closer than this breath that I take”
Those words were so powerful to me that day. That tiredness I’ve been feeling is perfectly described by every word in that song and it hit me like a ton of bricks. I was reminded of exactly how close God is to us through every joy and trial. He held me there on that floor and said “I’ve got this, let go”
Coincidently enough, the next song that came on was Hillary Scott’s “Still”. Do you think God created a playlist for me today?? I do!
“I believe that you are God alone, but sometimes I still try to take control. Cause I get scared when I can’t see the end and all you want from me is to let go”
I know He has parted waters for our family and I know he has moved mountains we’ll never know about. I don’t need to move them myself and neither do YOU! Every morning I can wake up with a reminder of that truth because I know that if I don’t stand firmly in that space the tiredness will creep back in and try to overtake me. I’d much rather live in a space of peace, wouldn’t you?