“Then the Old Man of the Earth stooped over the floor of the cave, raised a huge stone from it, and left it leaning. It disclosed a great hole that went plumb-down.
"That is the way," he said.
"But there are no stairs."
"You must throw yourself in. There is no other way.”
― George MacDonald, The Golden Key
Ah but how often in life are we required to throw ourselves in, not knowing clearly what is at the bottom? How often are we clutching onto the sides of our caves, holding onto what is dank, dark, slimy - yet familiar. We are terrified, so wholly of the mysterious below - a world with no comforts promised, and yet it has been created entirely for us, We are the puzzle piece, designed to fit perfectly...but to be entirely enveloped is a scary thing. There is no out, no wiggle room. No "Exit" sign to bypass the rollar-coaster.
"You must throw yourself in. There is no other way."
Perhaps it is the seasons changing, perhaps it is because I celebrated both a birthday and an anniversary this month - getting older always makes me look inward. Perhaps it is because this weekend makes one year since we moved, and time has flown far faster then I ever imagined possible. Perhaps it is because just in the last month, my youngest no longer needed pull-ups at night, my middling started reading effortlessly and my oldest asked to buy her first training bra...and along with these changes, I am entering into a whole new realm of parenting that is un-known, exciting and truly terrifying.
But...but...I had just gotten good at this! This parenting young kids thing, I had it down! We had learned to master the tantrums - even the ones where you are unsure whether the child needs more 1-on-1 attention, a firmer hand...or an exorcist (You know the ones moms, and no, it is not just your kid. We have all been there. You are not alone!)
I had FINALLY learned to let go of so many things I used to stress about. Like whether my kids had eaten enough dinner, whether their shoes were on the right feet, tattling, arguments, noise levels, whining, etc. I have worked through the compulsion to nag, I had (mostly) gotten a handle on yelling. I had gotten really good at stepping aside and simply letting life be the teacher - and trust me, life is a far harsher and more effective teacher than I could ever hope to be. It took me 9 years to learn, but I just started getting good at this!
And now I am buying training bras...and I don't know what the hell I am doing. And this is only the beginning. New adventures are ahead, I can feel it. I am excited, truly. Well, that and horribly afraid. But isn't that how the world works?
My world just got bigger. Again.
My daily devotions have been an unusual mix of late. In my own quite time I have been reading the book of Job. A truly eye opening book, if you will allow it to be. And in my shared Bible reading with my kids, we have been reading Proverbs. Along with these truly challenging books of the Bible, I have been engulfed in health issues again. Most of you know my struggle with the auto-immune disease Hashimoto's Thyroiditis.
I have dealt with this officially for almost 4 years, but looking back I think I have had it on and off for a good portion of my adult life. It affects just about every body system both physical and emotional. I am on medication everyday, have changed my diet dramatically - deal with a good number of the 300 symptoms listed in the link above and I just discovered this last month that despite everything I have done to make it better, both natural treatments as well as medical intervention - my numbers are still WAY off of where they should be (or in my doctors words: "Your thyroid is very not-happy" I am told that is the technical term.) This means drastically upping my medication and the process of adjusting to that, which is not easy on a body.
I am not who I used to be before I learned to deal with all this. I am older, wiser, slower, more introverted. I complain more about the little things and less about the big ones. I am less reliable, more inclined to crazy outbursts and far more likely to cry at Wells Fargo commercials than I ever was before. I am also a lot more careful how I treat people. After all, we don't know what silent battles they are fighting.
You see, regardless of how high my TSH numbers are - It Is Well With My Soul.
It is not well with my body, it is not well with my hormones, my emotions are a wreck and I am pretty sure I am failing in this whole stay-at-home wife/mother thing.
But it is well with my soul.
“Well, perhaps; but I begin to think there are better things than being comfortable.”
Tuesday morning my oldest managed to somehow injure her neck. She tweaked it funny and suddenly she couldn't move. The Doctor assures us that it is muscular and will heal, but in the meantime, she is living with a whole new realm of chronic pain she has never experienced before. For her, life has been full of comfort, the physical world has been easy. This pain feels like a betrayal of her cozy world. It has been interesting to observe her process of handling it - and she has handled it. Far better than she thinks she has. It has grown her, her world has gotten bigger. She will do wonderful things in her life, she is becoming a truly spectacular person and this, this debilitating pain is part of her journey. In the grand scheme of things it may seem like a small part, but right now it engulfs her. There is no out, no wiggle room. No "Exit" sign to bypass the rollar-coaster.
"You must throw yourself in. There is no other way."
Right now, on a fully 9 year old level her body feels broken. She cannot play with friends, she cannot read her books. She keeps telling me "mama, I am not handling this very well!" But oh she is! Right now she feels broken. But her soul, it is ok. She is learning how to be well beyond being comfortable. And I am so proud of her.
You see - if Job has taught me anything, it is that this life has purpose beyond our comfort. Beyond our Here and Now. In fact, I would go so far as to say that our comfort is very VERY low on the list of what is truly important.
There are no stairs, the way is not clear. It is dark, it is scary and often it feels very, very lonely.
Sometimes I think I am completely failing at this whole stay-at-home mom/wife thing. But you know what? That's ok. Because I was handpicked to be mom to these exact kids, by someone who knows a lot better than I do exactly what they need in order to be the people they were designed to be.
There is peace in that thought. My job is not to be perfect, but to help my girls grow to be as spectacular as God meant them to be when those souls first sparked into being. My job is to be there to shout "Jump!" You can do it, oh it is scary, but there is a world designed just for you waiting below. You are the missing puzzle piece. You have been trained for this, you have been prepared. You may feel alone sometimes, but there is purpose in the pain and I promise you - to the core of my being that you will be ok.
You must throw yourself in, there is no other way.
“It was a profound pleasure to her not to know what was coming next, provided some one whom she loved did.”