THIRTY-NINE

I have been a bit quiet of late. Not because I haven’t had a lot to say, but because I feared that what I had to say wasn’t edifying. I am not sure of what I want the blog to be – an online journal of a mom of five children, a journey of recovery from crazy expectations, a word of encouragement, a resource for others with FASD children, a place to connect with the other Threadbare Mommas out there, or . . .

Last year it was easier to talk about what was going on in my life, to spend time in The Word, to meditate. I was stuck in bed. Now I am on…the…go… from the first sip of coffee (I’m really not going anywhere before that sip) until that last game of Bejeweled Blitz/Sudoku/Scrabble before my eyes turn off at night. I’ve learned a LOT, but what I’ve learned is heavy in many places – maybe not for every reader. My journey through PTSD and PPD are difficult, and heavy, and shared with many people, but I think it’s time to really allow the healing to take place, to step out of the shadow I’ve been cowering in, and allow the sun to shine on me and REJOICE in all that I have been given.

I want to be “raw” as is raved about on blogs, “real and raw” but I also want to edify my reader. I’m not really sure that a lot of what I’ve had to say has been building the reader up. SO, after a “blogging fast” for the last few months (although I’ve attempted many starts) I am jumping in again. The day I turned 39 I had U2’s 40 going through my head. I decided to read it, and then I thought it was more appropriate to read Psalm 39. It was. Ken says what I am feeling is a mid-life crisis. This “my life is not meeting my expectations” crisis. This “I’ve lived half my life and what have I done” crisis. Strangely enough, the Psalmist took a time out from speaking (even the good) and realized . . .
Each man’s life is but a breath . . .

Psalm 39
New International Version

  1. I said, “I will watch my ways and keep my tongue from sin;
    I will put a muzzle on my mouth as long as the wicked are in my presence.”
  2. But when I was silent and still, not even saying anything good, my anguish increased.
  3. My heart grew hot within me and as I meditated, the fire burned; then I spoke with my tongue:
  4. “Show me, O LORD, my life’s end and the number of my days;
    let me know how fleeting is my life.
  5. You have made my days a mere handbreath; the span of my years is as nothing before you.
    Each man’s life is but a breath.

    SELAH

  6. Man is a mere phantom as he goes to and fro: He bustles about, but only in vain;
    he heaps up wealth, not knowing who will get it.
  7. “But now, Lord, what do I look for? My hope is in you.
  8. Save me from all my transgressions; do not make me the scorn of fools. 
  9. I was silent I would not open my mouth, for you are the one who has done this.
  10. Remove your scourge from me; I am overcome by the blow of your hand.
  11. You rebuke and discipline men for their sin; you consume their wealth like a moth –
    each man is but a breath.

    SELAH

  12. “Hear my prayer, O LORD, listen to my cry for help; be not deaf to my weeping.
    For I dwell with you as an alien, a stranger, as all my fathers were.
  13. Look away from me, that I may rejoice again before I depart and am no more.”

40 – 1 = 39


I have one year (well, actually I have 353 days) to meet the expectations of what I have always believed about 40 year old women:

They know how to look good, and they are comfortable in their own skin.

A pony tail ≠ a hairstyle.
T-Shirts & Jeans ≠ fashion sense.
Flaking Make-up, acne, lip hair ≠ comfortable in own skin

They have good friends.

Admittedly, I have those, but most of them I see very rarely. The blessing and curse of Social Media. I need to work on my physically-close relationships as well keep in contact with my non-next door neighbor friends. AND their best friend’s husbands are best friends with my husband.

They have a good prayer life. The prayers they pray are powerful.

Not just the “please get me through this crisis Jesus.”

Their kids are in high school.

This I realize is a misnomer from where I grew up – my father turned 40 when I turned 18, and my mother went back to college, AFTER I graduated from college when she was 40. Many of my friends had children while I was in college. Their kids are now in college. They could be having grandchildren now. I have a one year old (and 4, 6, 8 & 14 year old).

my current weakness

They have self-control.

They don’t eat the entire bag of Easter Candy. They get up before the kids to make breakfast. They don’t yell.

They have money to spend. They are wise stewards.

I think this has to do with NOT having 5 children and living in one of the most expensive cities in the world. The 40 year olds I looked up to back when my parents were turning 40 were 20 years in the same job and their kids no longer needed them at home so both parents could work.

They are leaders. They know their place. They know where God has them.

aka They are not chasing their children all over the community centre during worship service, they remember the names of the people they met last week so they are able to greet them again, they use their gifts and talents (which they are sure of) to build up not only their church, but their family, their community and even new gifts and talents.

They have hobbies.

I have laundry. Dishes. Diapers.

ready for coffee outing

Their children are respectful, well-behaved, well-dressed.

My children are energetic go-getters, they know what they want and know how to get it, and have ingenious fashion sense, albeit a little unconventional.

They “have it all together” or are confident in who they are and where God has them.

They aren’t questioning why their house sold only at the bottom of the market, why they are infertile, why they don’t make more money, why they are sick, why they are scared… Why. Why? Why!

•••

Over the next few weeks, posts, I am determined to PUT INTO WRITING what my expectations of turning 40 were, what they are now, and my goals for meeting those expectations in the next 11-1/2 months. A little overwhelming I am sure, but maybe I’m closer than I thought to what I expected. Certainly, my one-year-old will not be in high school, nor will my children always be well-behaved (I suspect that they are actually imitating my own inability to sit still during worship). I am certain that if I ask the people who were 40 when I created these expectations (when I thought 40 was O•L•D) that they, just maybe, feel as I feel now.

The challenge at church this week is to study Romans 12:3-8 and determine our spiritual gift(s). What words set my heart on fire? What God-Sized Dream is gnawing at my soul when I’m quiet enough to listen to The Spirit within me? So I am taking that as my first challenge.

•••

What is your favourite Spiritual Gifts Assessment?

I’m looking for free and on-line! I’ll share my outcomes from each test I complete and see if that makes any difference in how I perceive some of the other expectations of what it means for me to be 40.

 

Resolutions

Getting Organized…

Anyone else planning on starting fresh this year? New calendars, new storage totes for the Christmas stuff in the garage/attic, new budget to “solve all our financial woes”?

It’s on-going isn’t it?

Well, a few things I’m going to try to do differently this year…

I’m going to let other people invent the wheel (and I’ll tweak it).

The first thing I’m doing?

Kayse Pratt has written for us (and prepped for us) a quick and easy way to start getting our lives in order. She has a stack of darn cute printables that I’ve already printed out and was so stoked that they already matched my current binder system…

I totally imagine, as I read her ebook, that she’s showing JUST me how she built her home management notebook. I imagine the kids interrupting us and someone getting up to change a diaper or make another pot of coffee. She is down to earth, easy to read (like, less than an hour to get all psyched up and ready to organize) and the printables are AWESOME. She even includes a budget worksheet that is inspired by Dave Ramsey. So I’m well on my way (right? getting organized is half the battle? no? oh. shoot.)

From helping you get all the vital information at your fingertips, to helping you plan meals for a month (along with that budget-o-thingy-mc-bobber), Kayse has got it ready for you to make your mark. Easy, schmeazy.

As well, she is running a RAFFLECOPTER! You know what that means? You go to the link below, enter the pertinent information and in return, if you are the lucky winner…

Kayse will customize a set of printables JUST FOR YOU (you choose the fonts and colours – so if your go-to-binder doesn’t match hers as perfectly as mine does).

So, what are you waiting for?

;

*and yes, I received an advanced copy of her ebook so I could share it with you – although, as always, I’m waiting until the last minute to “Get it Together.” So, wanna race? On your mark, get set, GO!

1 Peter Gold

I feel as if I am being refined. Although, Dear Husband is turning into a saint with this last Momma hospitalization:

20121125-143959.jpg

Thank you for your prayers. I didn’t know that my Facebook deactivation was going to force me to write here for prayer requests.

I’m going for more tests here in a few minutes. I can’t remember the last time I’ve had a CT scan. Oh the excitement!

I appreciate that they want to get to the bottom of it now, and not send me home to wait for specialist appointments. I just wish I had better clothes!

Facing Memory – Day 31

It’s the last day.

I didn’t write the last couple of nights because I needed to rock a snotty baby, I needed to take lots of pain medication, I needed to think about something OTHER than the darkness I’ve held onto in my heart.

Although I didn’t write every day (I knew I was too focused on writing when my wandering day-thoughts were “I could write about this, or this or this”) I think exposing the darkness to light helped me to garner a little control over the memories and fears that have plagued me for so long.

was molested.

I was sexually assaulted.

was raped.

WAS

But now,

I AM MOTHER to five children, even though I WAS infertile.
I AM WIFE to a very handsome, man who makes me feel safe and beautiful, even though I WAS dumped many-a-time.
I AM PRINCESS to the KING even though I WAS a screw-up.

I am not a victim. I don’t even think of myself as a “survivor.” I am saved.

Even though sometimes I feel a bit broken inside, I am all here. Pieces have to be knit back together (like that darn pubic symphysis) but even before I was conceived, God had a plan for me. I haven’t overcome all my anxiety, fears, doubts. They are part of me that I am learning how to use, be strong with instead of against, grow out of, grow from.

So, tonight, 22 years later, with a baby at the breast and children trying to get one more piece of candy out of their stash before coming up to bed, I am alive…with joy. Things could have turned out differently – I could have become angry at God because he allowed these things to happen to me.

But I didn’t, well, I did for a short time, a whole 2 years of my life I lived my double life. BUT I know now that I didn’t need to be angry at God and throw away MY life in the meantime. Fortunately, God didn’t let me throw away my life. He renewed passion in me. Saved me, again, from the dark alleys and dead end streets. (Colossians 1:13-14)

I am grateful that God has a perspective that I don’t have, He knows the end story, He sees the tapestry being woven, when all I can see is the blood-red colour, or the charcoal that seems to be dominating my days, there are times of blue, of orange – and growth. The people who are woven into relationships with me, the challenges that come my way, the nights staring at the clock after another nightmare wakes me and shakes me to the core. All these things have the ability to be used by God to be turned into something beautiful.

My life is busy. But not glamourous. Not anything to be excited about – but it is good. It’s a good story of how God does work things together for fabulousness. (Romans 8:28) Our story is always full of “just so happened” moments that make all the stories amazing. You know, those “coincidences” that completely change the outcome of a story? Like a pair of luxury suites in a vineyard for our family at 1:30 in the morning? Or a baby conceived with contraception to two people with infertility? Or a coffee bar conversation because someone was smoking marijuana on the air intake “thing” at the grad school. Our life is an amazing series of stories. But they aren’t ALL beautiful. Some of them are dark. Scary. Fearful. Some of them are about cancer. About disease. About rape. About miscarriage.

And, I am so grateful that I was able to share with you the parts of me I want to hide all the time. When I hide this part of me, or at least TRY to, I hide the real me, the part of me with fears, with weakness, with hang-ups around being perfect. That you are reading my story – even the dark parts. The not-so-fun parts. And praying. Encouraging. Sharing.

Thank you.

Thank you for helping me to be proactive in this month. To not try to hide from the reason I’m afraid – but to face it so that I had control over it (to an extent).

Bless you.

•••

My final submission for Facing Memory