It has been some time since I have sat and banged my thoughts out on these old keys…I find myself in a constant whirlwind of new and exciting things. It's interesting, as the kids grow older (and so do we), I find the changes happen faster and faster--almost at an exponential rate--and with each new thing comes an equal level of excitement. Driver's permits, graduations, buying a first vehicle, some going off to college, others just beginning to put "the plan" together…All of this covered in the prayers of many waiting and watching to see what God is going to do…
This month will mark a year without my Naughty in our home. I'd like to tell you I am doing well without her, and honestly, I thought I was, until Saturday evening when I couldn't enter a pet store without melting into a pile of tears--Nope. I guess I'm still dealing with some grief. (But in my defense--it MAY also have had something to do with the PILE of hound dog puppies sleeping in the middle of the pet store floor!)
Despite all the new and exciting things happening here, I seem to find myself in tears a lot lately. My Gram always said our bladders were too close to our eyeballs. Back in June, I came to the realization that maybe I was crying a tad too much--much more than I should be (even with the bladder issue!) . Over a time of self evaluation, and a lot of prayer, God revealed to me my condition--I was depressed. Me. The one who's always laughing, always pulling pranks. The one who's always helping. Always telling of Hope. Always encouraging. How did I end up here? How could I be laughing and carrying on one minute and a sobbing pile of tears the next? I'd like to have the explanation all packaged neatly in an envelope for you, but the reality is, I don't know when it happened. I believe it snuck in quietly and patiently, over a long period of time… Throughout the months of being a wife, a mom, teaching our kids, helping, serving, loving, fighting the physical ailments of living with RA, trying to be a good friend, a good sister, a good daughter--I grew tired. Physically, emotionally and spiritually. Just. So. Tired. And at some point, depression won.
Now, I will have you know, I am the "Queen of Balance". I preach "balance" to everyone. I keep a planner with every event carefully scheduled as to not take on too much. I have learned over the years, I am easily overwhelmed, and I have remained constant in the careful scheduling and structuring of our home and the tasks of the four humans that dwell here. I have prayed and sought God's guidance in what should be a "yes" or a "no". I have sought counsel from much wiser ladies than I. And even with all of that---I was oh, so tired.
In the middle of being so tired, I was approached about a job. The same job I held many years ago selling auto parts, the position I had left to raise our boys and be a stay at home mom. I honestly didn't think anything of it, or that it would amount to much. You're probably wondering, "If you were so tired, why would you even consider a job?" The decision was not approached lightly, and God made it very clear this was what I needed, this was what I was supposed to do. Through a series of prayer, phone calls, more prayer and receiving more calls, I ended up with this job. A job I once thoroughly enjoyed. In fact, I had forgotten how much I enjoyed it until I stepped back behind the counter. Yes--there are trials to my new found "old" friend--as I enter back into the work force after 16 years of being home. There are new customers, new software, new products. One of the biggest challenges I'm finding is keeping food in this house! (They eat A LOT while I'm gone!) And the most common question I hear is, "How do you home school and work?" Well--we are all finding our way, together, stepping into this unknown territory and honestly, it has been good for us--very good for all of us--another new and exciting journey.
Our family recently took a vacation, a first in four and a half years. While there, I stumbled upon a gift for a friend. It was a neat little pin that looked like an anchor. Her "life verse" was on the card:
"We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure." (Hebrews 6:19.)
I made the purchase, and didn't think much of it until the next morning when I accompanied my oldest son fishing. The lake had grown quite rough and the wind had come up a bit. I watched as he rowed us out to find the perfect spot to fish. How the waves slapped against the side of the boat, and the wind continued to spin his craft around making it hard to cast a line in any direction. He would just get us into a spot where the weeds were few---and the wind would blow again, sending us into the shallow water, or a bed of thick lily pads. Will was growing a bit frustrated. (He has my hair!) We didn't have an anchor--nothing to "hold us in place". We were simply at the mercy of the wind… I began to think on a much larger scale--the ships of the ocean, the unsteady waters they can face, and how they "anchor down" when these times come. Oh how I could relate. The verse I had quickly skimmed over the day before, a verse I had read a dozen times from my Bible--it suddenly became very clear to me. (I am more of a "hands on learner"!) How thankful I am for the HOPE I have in Jesus, the promises He has made and the "anchor" He has provided.
"Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for He who promised is faithful." Hebrews 10:23
And although you are liable to see me in tears at any given time these days, I am doing better. Really. I have come to understand my tears are needed to heal. It is good to cry. And even if I appear a mess on the outside---no worries--my anchor is firmly planted…
Oh--and yesterday, my worst fear was confirmed. After a busy morning at work, I returned home to have a quick bite and do school work with the boys. Much to my surprise, there was a slice of pizza left in the fridge from my favorite take out place. (I'm really unsure how the boys missed it!) I warmed the slice of cheesy goodness and settled in at my desk to do some grading. A knock came at the door---and when I returned, a boy pointed out my empty plate!!! Looking around, I realized a certain Golden Retriever had quite the mouth full!! (I don't think she approves of "extra cheese"! And I'm secretly glad!) Naughty's antics live on…