I’m going to love you…even when I’m tired.

The older the children get, the longer stretches of nice, relatively quiet play we get. It’s glorious. I don’t panic every time they are playing quietly together in the other room. Most of the time they are sucked into their pretend world. Cooking and fighting dinosaurs and playing therapy and doing gymnastics.

Just a few days ago the younger two were playing so nicely in the sensory room together while I made lunch. When, for seemingly no reason, I heard her tell her brother, “I don’t love you anymore”.

My ears perked up and I quietly eased dropped on their conversation. There was not any anger behind the words, and there was not any fight or disappointment from her brother. When they had moved on I sat next to her and asked her what caused her to not love her brother anymore. She said “because I’m just tired” and I said “even when we are tired we still have to love our people”.

As the words came out of my mouth I could feel the wind leave my lungs. The Lord had just spoken through me, to me.

I honestly could not breathe. The weariness of this season has made me so intensely tired. The last two months have been overwhelming and hard for me to love even those closest to me. As we sat side by side on her balance beam, she looked at me expectantly and I looked back at her with a new and deep compassion.

“Sometimes mommy gets tired too, and it’s hard to love. You know, how sometimes, when mommy is cooking dinner and she just wants everyone to be a little bit more quiet? That makes me tired and makes it hard to love. Sometimes, when you have scary dreams and need mommy to rock you in the nighttime. That makes me tired and makes it hard to love, sometimes. So I get it. But, Jesus wants us to love even when we are tired. Because Jesus loves us, even when we are tired, and cranky, and rude, and need a break.”

She looked at me with real tears flowing down her cheeks (because, hello, this girl is a precious and sensitive angel) and told me that she was going to love me even when she was tired and even when I was tired. She went to her brother and told him she was going to love him even when he was a booger to her and hides her Elsa shoes.

Now it’s my turn to cry. Because I so deeply love my people. But I am tired. And I don’t always get it perfect. So on this particular day, Jesus showed me grace through my angel girl. Reminding me that we all get tired. Goodness gracious, Jesus himself went into gardens or to the other side of seas all the time to rest. It’s okay to feel tired. When we are tired, is when He shows up to give us every ounce of energy and love we need to love our people well.

This year is the anti-self-love year for me. Because it is so insanely easy for me to make it about…me. So I’m switching gears. This is the year where I learn how to be patient and kind, how to not boast and not be rude, how to be selfless, how to rejoice with others, how to always protect, always trust, always hope, and always persevere. I’m going to love the snot out of my people. Because it is not about me. Or how tired I am. Or how overwhelmed/empty/burnt out I become. It’s about this magnificent calling to love others, always.

When you’re drowning.

“We are drowning.”

I said those words to one of my most trusted friends today. Words that I’ve been avoiding. Words that I haven’t let my heart feel. But the most accurate words to describe how I truly feel under the “I’m fine!” attitude.

Today I also realized there are 32 unread text messages on my phone. Mostly from people I love. Some checking in, some waiting for a question answered, some funny gifs that I’ve yet to open. My life also has 32 things on hold. Heavy things. Things I’m trying to hold up from the water so even as I’m drowning, I won’t let anyone or anything down.

It’s not that I have problem saying no, it’s one of my favorite words (I’ve obviously been hanging out with my two year old). We have almost zero extracurricular activities this summer. We’ve rarely seen friends. We haven’t made it to our long weekend in St.Louis. The things I’m holding up have almost nothing to do with me. But the people I hold dearest. The people who live in my home. They are carrying heavy, tired, broken hearts…and I am holding them.

Do you know this feeling? The tightness of your chest that you don’t notice until you sit down at the end of the day. The tears that are always close to the surface but rarely fall. The constant strain to grab a breath just in case your lungs have to hold air for a while before you can resurface.

Maybe you’re holding foster care and financial stress and aging parents. Or maybe it’s homeschooling and foster care and mental health. Maybe your combo is infertility and self-employment and moving. It’s possible your situation is a mix of all of those scenarios.

Whatever it is that has you drowning, I see you, I feel it, I know it’s hard. I know your arms are tired and your lungs are burning. I know your prayers are more angry than loving. I know you’ve have to apologize to the Creator for being bitter and ungrateful.

Guess what? He sees you too.

“For the Lord is our judge, the Lord is our lawgiver, the Lord is our King. It is He who will save us.” Isaiah 33:22

Whatever the injustice. Whatever the pain. Whatever it is that is starting to cover your head. Our Lord, our King, He will save us.

Today, by verbalizing my complete feeling of drowning, I turned it over to the King letting Him know I was ready for saving. I still don’t know what that looks like for me. But I do know that I was not created to live in a state of drowning…and neither were you.

Infertility Awareness 2017

This week begins our 4th year of unexplained infertility.

When we decided to “start” trying to get pregnant you could not have prepared me for what the past 36 months would be like. The buckets of tears I would cry after painful procedures and negative pregnancy tests. You could not have prepared me for how closely I would check labels on everything from mascara to ketchup. Or how many times I would have to quietly delete social media from my phone to stop from obsessing over others pregnancy announcements.

In the past 36 months I have gone from excited, to embarrassed, to outspoken. Excited at the thought of joining my best friends in the joys of motherhood, embarrassed that I seemed to be broken and unable to carry a baby, and now outspoken on the heartbreak that infertility brings. My life, and my heart is different. I am a different person.

I have panic attacks: Jesus redeems. I am weak to the point of inconsolability: Jesus is strong. My mind wants to live in the “what-ifs”: Jesus whispers truth. I mourn when my friends are joyful: Jesus gives grace. I am weary: Jesus gives rest.

My hope is not in my ability to carry a child in my womb. My hope is in the ability of Jesus to make me whole.

Month after month I read the story of the fiery furnace. Daniels friends were faced with the hardest choice of their lives and this was their response.

“If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us from Your Majesty’s hand. But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.” (Daniel 3:17-18)

But even if He does not.

He could. God could have swooped down and delivered those guys from the fire. He easily could have said, “wow guys, thanks so much for sticking up for me and not bowing to the idols”. But instead Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were thrown into the fire and God got the glory.

He is good. So good. He is able to deliver me from my hurt. But even if he doesn’t, I will not give in to the devil’s lies about my ability to be a mother. Even if He does not, He will still receive glory. This is my prayer and my hope. That others would see my fight, my story, my hurt, and see God getting the glory.

This past week was Infertility Awareness week. I am thankful for the stories I have heard  this week from women and men, telling their stories and bathing each other in grace. If you know a woman or couple who is currently battling infertility, send them a card. Remind them they are loved and cherished. Because you never know when the dark moments come, and there could never be enough support.

sometimes you need a giant stuffed puppy to cuddle you better.