What Do We Do When Life Looks Different Than We Thought

This morning, I got back from a physical therapy appointment to a tired baby and a toddler still asleep at 8:15 a.m. Isaac has been waking up the last few days around 5:45-6 a.m. and Marin has been off since he brother so kindly shared pink eye with her. On Saturday, after cleaning the entire apartment (stove tops included!) and having a glass of wine, Mike and I were just getting ‘cozy’ when our first alarm went off – Kid #2 was up. After an hour of trying to put him back to bed, we fully unsuited our baby Starfish and brought him out to the living room. No more than 15 minutes later, wimpers were coming from Marin’s room.

Our ‘romantic’ evening soon shifted to Curious George on the couch with Mike and I both vying to stay awake and meet the needs of two simultaneously tired and cranky kids. It felt like our perfect Saturday day ended with an almost completely non-existent Saturday night. At the very least, Saturday night was not shaping up to be the Saturday night we planned – and it’s not an anomaly by any means – it’s parenthood.

(I can already feel someone smiling reading this and saying to themselves ‘see, that’s why I don’t want kids now or ever”)

I don’t know how else to put it. I don’t know how else to sugar coat it, and I’m even tempted to do what many “Mommy bloggers” (Side note: please don’t ever refer to me as that) do, and somehow end this post with a wonderful, fulfilling recent parenting experience, but I won’t. While I’m talking about parenthood specifically here, I’m really wanting to get to the nitty gritty of life – with or without small children. Particularly for those who identify as Christians, and for those Christians who are living a life different than what they planned, and instead, in the direct, perfect will of God.

I want to hug you – or if you prefer, high five you. Or something physically celebratory. You’re doing awesome things and big things and braver things than you ever imagined and I’m proud of you for that. I’m happy you’re not settling and you’re dreaming big. I’m thankful you’re trusting God in areas that are the areas that you want to trust Him least. It’s a big deal what you’re doing and it will pay off. And I’m sorry, because it’s hard, it’s really, really hard to do, and maybe no one else is validating you to tell you to keep, keepin’ on and go for it – including your Christian friends.

Because I’m there. I’m with you. More than just on Saturday nights that don’t go as planned or Sunday mornings when you can easily fall into the routine of putting on a happy face. I’m with you because I’ve dreamed dreams that are playing out differently than they did in my head when I was younger. It’s not about the kids for me – it’s about the kids and the ____. I’ve always wanted my kids and to be all ears, all eyes on them for this short window of time that they’re needy and little. I never thought (in a million years) that I’d have a family and not have my family around the corner for babysitting, park meetups, beach trips, and more. Or that I’d be living in New England, loving it and daily turning into a greater crunchy hippie than the day before (although, that may be due to a lack of self awareness). Or that I’d be thinking of working some, and then from working some, wanting to work more. Never. Like ever, ever, ever. I didn’t think I’d feel the strongest callings of my life simultaneously – motherhood and birth work. And there is nothing making me pray harder or turn to God more consistently than that right now. Because it looks crazy, it feels like I’m in over my head, and I really, really miss (the guarantee of) sleep. And frankly, the worst direction I could go in is more children and more birthwork if I want any of that. But it’s calling me, bit by bit, more and more. And I’m listening and stilling and hoping more and more again.
I’m less afraid in this place too. I’m less afraid because I know the One who is ordering my steps and this path faithfully. I can look back and see what God’s done in my life, my marriage, and my kids and remind myself that I’m not in this alone. So take a deep breath with me, don’t fight the process, submit yourself continually, and embrace the new frontiers on the horizon because your only regret will be not chasing them. You’re not in this alone, I’m running my race right alongside you.

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