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 . . .
- 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.”
- But when I was silent and still, not even saying anything good, my anguish increased.
- My heart grew hot within me and as I meditated, the fire burned; then I spoke with my tongue:
- “Show me, O LORD, my life’s end and the number of my days;
let me know how fleeting is my life.
- 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.
- 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.
- “But now, Lord, what do I look for? My hope is in you.
- Save me from all my transgressions; do not make me the scorn of fools.
- I was silent I would not open my mouth, for you are the one who has done this.
- Remove your scourge from me; I am overcome by the blow of your hand.
- You rebuke and discipline men for their sin; you consume their wealth like a moth –
each man is but a breath.
- “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.
- 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).
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.
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.