Friday, June 28, 2013

Me and Mrs. Graham

I've been sitting here trying to think of catchy or cute way to introduce this post. There isn't one. Bottom line truth is - raising kids is HARD and often EXHAUSTING and THANKLESS. Life is DIFFICULT sometimes and the road just seems to wind on and on somedays and you wonder when all the CRAZY will end and you make it to NORMAL. This is where I have been. On that winding road stuck between crazy and normal. The impact of boxing up our home, stress over finances, and life in general has been a bit much on me and now I'm seeing it in my kiddos. Add to that the awesome blessing of having a husband in full time ministry - which means he works those "weird" hours and needs to be gone to serve the Lord. For this I am thankful, but will admit it is difficult somedays. I woke up yesterday feeling the weight of the entire world on my shoulders... my journal reads like this:

"I woke up feeling like a failure...I missed the 5am prayer {again!}, Ava woke up early and I was grumpy with her and I was crying by 8am. August has been crying 3/4's of our morning so far. It's my birthday week and I feel just plain ol' defeated. I'm tired of all the mess. Tired of boxes. Tired of being so broke. Weary of whining kids and bored with monotony." 

Aren't I a ray of sunshine? :) I know we all have those days, but I keep having them. To be honest I have felt so very alone in my bad days and wondering if maybe I was the only woman who really battled with life like I have been. Maybe that sounds silly...but I was wondering.

Wednesday night I made a pit stop at our church library to look for some fresh reading. Something challenging. I had been wanting to read the book, "It's my turn" by Ruth Graham {Billy's wife} and it was on my Amazon wish list - but, apparently it's super old and expensive. :) Who knew!? There on the church shelf was a copy. The rest of Weds night did not go well - I even had to leave the youth bible study time with my children screaming through the parking lot only 30 mins into the night. Blah. But I did get to start reading it yesterday, and oh my is it refreshing. Not only did that woman love the Lord with her entire life...she loved her ministry husband, children, and anyone else brought into her path. But ultimately what has been the biggest highlight of this book so far was her journal entry titled "Help". She was in the thick of raising 5 children while her husband toured the country evangelizing, often leaving her alone. These were here thoughts:

"Dear Journal,
Reading again from Exodus 33:12-16. This job of training five little Grahams to be good soliders of Jesus Christ is too big for me, who am not a good soldier myself. Feeling particularly distracted (or I should say overwhelmed and confused) this morning, I have been looking to the Lord asking, "Where, from here?".
Bill will be leaving soon for the San Franciso meeting. And I almost have a sinking feeling. Not altogether a left-behind and left-out sort of feeling, but swamped, knowing that all the things I have depended on others to do, I shall have to do myself.  
And things have not been going smoothly. There is a terrible amount of fighting among the children, ugliness and back talk from GiGi, and peevishness on my part backed by sporadic, uncertain discipline. I am not walking the Lord's way at all. I am doing what I feel like doing rather then what I ought to do. Three verses hit me hard: "She who is self indulgent is dead even while she lives" (1 Tim. 5:6), and "The fruit of the spirit is...self control." (Gal. 5:22-23). 
Self-indulgence is doing what we want rather then what we ought. I had always thought of self-control applying to temper or to drink. But what about the almonds in the pantry, the ice cream and chocolate sauce, the candy which I know will add unnecessary pounds and make my face break out? What about controlling my tongue? My tone of voice? Standing up straight? Writing letters? All these and many more need controlling. 
And I don't look well to the ways of my household. Children well taught even to brushing teeth and keeping rooms straight. Regular family prayers at the supper table. Children's clothes, kept mended and neat and organized. Getting ready for Sunday on Saturday. Well, there's no use going into it all. It just boils down to the fact that I am not being a good mother.
So I took it to HIM this morning, I want above everything to be the kind of person He wants. If He had His undisputed way in my I would be. Eveything would solve itself. The place to begin in here, the time to begin is now. And as I reread Exodus 22:12-16, the phrase that jumped out to me, which I had never noticed before, was : "Show me now THY way."

Wow. This could easily be a page from my own journal... time and again as I battle my flesh to win and love my family and serve the Lord. As I read this entry I just cried and cried and smiled and laughed. She got it and I'm starting to get it. It's in those moments where the growth happens and the Lord's grace abounds and the Holy Spirit guides. Ah, Mrs. Graham... I think we could have been great friends. What a timely blessing her wise and honest words are to this tired momma's heart.


Amy@My Front Porch said...

Wow, yes! What a timely word for this Mama too. You are certainly not alone in your struggles...I am right there with you, even to missing early prayer and feeling stressed over moving/finances, convicted about my lack of self control...yeah, basically everything you just said. So thankful for the grace of God and encouragement from a godly lady who has gone before us. So glad you shared this!

Emily Archer said...

Friend, you are not alone! At all. We've all been there, done that. Truth be told, we're all probably in that state more often than we'd care to admit. This season is hard and wonderful. Joyous and emotional. Challenging and convicting. Who knew parenthood could encompass so many feelings and emotions?! Obviously we need the Lord above all else. But you know what else we need? Each other. We need time to sit around and fellowship...share these challenges, and hear that we're not alone. Not, if only we could figure out the best way to meet together in the busyness of this thing called life! Love you, friend!

Brianne said...

Thank you for sharing! Jeff has been working 12 to 15 hour days and I have been feeling very alone and overwhelmed. I look forward to the kids being home for summer break, but I am so tired and running on empty. I needed to read this today too! Thanks!