I have missed this space.
But, mostly, I have missed being able to talk to God. Blogging helps me do that. In a weird, crazy way, banging on this keyboard helps me sort out things that are brewing in my head, it allows me to see God’s handiwork in my life and trust in that grace.
So, here we are. The second Sunday of Advent and I’ve had this post all written in my head for weeks. WEEKS. But, there was academic drama, medical drama, girl drama and no sleeping drama all wrapped up in this thing called life that demanded my attention.
People in my house are so needy. It’s like they need clean clothes and food and stuff.
For now, the little people are all sleeping and my husband is off at the gym. So I write. And pray.
Back in September, I began to feel the pressure cooker of our fall schedule. Between four kids, we had seven sports going, a newborn, tons of homework and then we added a dash of medical/academic struggles with two different kids (who shall remained nameless because this blog is not the place to hash out those crosses) and zero sleep. October came, and so did a fair amount of out-of-state travel for the Mr.
It all finally broke me.
In October, the cruise director quit. I fell apart on the couch one night while talking to Scott and we decided to make some drastic changes to our family life. We took a look at our family calendar and I wanted to cry. Almost every night we had multiple events and I could feel the weight of all those ‘yes’ moments come raining down. Just a quick ‘yes’ to the school for that fundraiser, another ‘yes’ to assist a friend on a pro-bono project, a ‘yes’ to a client, and they just kept adding up. They were all worthy and noble, but one person can only do so much.
After some serious prayer and a fair amount of tears, we realized that we were the makers of this chaos. We had done this and we were going to un-do it. And thus, began our season of no. There are no sports looming. Will is finishing basketball and then we are done until the fall. There is no coaching for Scott, no school volunteering for me. No dance. No baseball. No piano. No soccer. All that remains is altar serving and 4-H. We decided that to preserve our family, we needed to retreat within. We needed to start living, and parenting, with purpose.
Our spring will be filled with – wait for it – weekends with nothing on the calendar. We plan on taking a family retreat. Making spontaneous trips to San Antonio and the Hill country. There won’t be soccer games to plan around or a baseball tournament to consider. And, we’re protecting our yes’s. Just because we can, doesn’t mean we will.
We’ve long talked about our family mission statement. Earlier this fall, we began that process and this spring we will finish it, holding up each opportunity for our kids and one another to the mission and asking ourselves, “Is this helping us build our family, or is it destroying the peace we desire to foster?” Scott and I want our kids to know that sometimes it’s okay to step back. It’s okay to walk away from things you love, organizations you serve and causes you adore because God is calling you to build your foundation.
So pour our foundation, we will.
In time, we will reintroduce the things we love back into our lives, but we will do it with greater purpose and greater wisdom than before. Will, our oldest, begins high school next fall and we see the months ticking away all too quickly. You moms of littles? This thought is for you. I remember, one afternoon, sitting on my couch and longing for something to do, somewhere to be, some person to meet. I was restless. My children were all underfoot and several were still in diapers. I longed for this life, this busy one I now lead. My heart desired friends to meet for lunch, activities to watch my children participate in and destinations that required my presence.
And then I blinked and here I am.
Life is about loving the season you’re in. That season of littles? I loved it. It was hard, but man, the sweet moments got me through. This season of littles and bigs? I love it, too. For the wisdom of motherhood has taught me the value of perspective. I’m quicker to pray, slower to panic and too tired to worry.
Monday morning at Mass, our mission priest shared these three truths about the Immaculate Conception and our reading from the Gospel of Luke:
- God loved you first.
- Grace comes before all goodness.
- The tremendous power of free will.
For months, God has been sending our family subtle (and not-so-subtle) signs to retreat within and focus our hearts and our efforts on our family. He did, indeed, love us first. We are feeling tremendous peace and grace and I know its true source. And it ain’t Facebook. This ability, this choice, to step back has been there all along.
But, today? Today we embrace it.
Go enjoy Advent and if you’re having trouble wrapping your brain around the season, go check this piece out. It’s as if Rachel wrote this for me.
Take a breather, calm your bad self down. You might still have a million things to do and a billion places to go, but just for a moment, let’s be still.