If you were to come over to my house right now, I would first hug your neck and then usher you all the way back to the couch- the white one because I like bright and airy things, but I’m no fool, we had that thing stain-treated before bringing it into a home full of children.
We would cozy up on the couch- I might offer you something to drink, a coffee maybe? A La Croix? But my offerings of food or drink might not go much beyond that- I’d be much more interested in sitting across from you, gathering up my knees, and hearing all that you have to say.
You would tell me some stories- your own.
I would tell you some stories- mine.
I imagine I would begin telling you of that time (yesterday) that I was sweeping the kitchen floor, when the two littles- sensing the opportunity of not being under my watchful gaze- decided to open a salon and apply makeup to each others’ faces. Markers were their makeup. I walk to the living room, about to scoot them out the door for pre-k, and see swirls on their face and rouge cheeks and purple eyeshadow fully shaded in on her sweet eyebrows.
As it turns out, marker doesn’t come off of faces with baby wipes that well, especially when in a hurry to make it to school on time.
Ellie still has purple eyeshadow on her lids- you can only press so hard to scrub that area off, and just wait for the rest to fade eventually, I suppose? At pre-k pickup, if you see the 5-year-old that looks like she’s on the way to an audition for toddlers and tiaras, she’s probably mine.
We, sitting on the couch still, of course begin in the safe zone of mothering- it’s exhausting, isn’t it? Man, these silly babies and their little escapades. Mothering demands so much- too much, sometimes. It challenges me so much, refines me so much.
But it’s good though. It’s so good. I’m getting to the place where I see it more as gift in my life, less as disruption to my life. Do you love it? Have you gotten there yet? It’s coming.
Just take it one day at a time, I’d say. Just one single day at a time. Keep going, you can do it.
Don’t look back, don’t dwell on your weaknesses, just keep going, keep going, keep going.
If you were to come over to my house right now, after the coffee and the couch and the mothering conversation, we would probably then move into the harder stuff. Isn’t that how these conversations go, after all? First safe, safe safe. Then, dip our toes a little- can you still handle me when you know I’m actually just a mess? Do you love me still?
I’d tell you about how busy my husband is, how we haven’t gone out on a date since November. November! We’re doing fine, we’re fine, I’d say. But we always talked about how we would be one of those couples, no matter how crazy the season of life is, marriage first, marriage first, marriage first. We’d make the time to go out on dates, we’d say. At least twice a month we had declared, if not every single week.
We’re fine though, I’d be quick to interject, lest you be worried about us. We’re fine. I just miss him. He’s been gone a lot, you see, but even when he’s home it’s just a season where we have to talk about details and issues and plans. It’s been awhile since we just laughed together.
You get it, I see it in your nodding head.
But we’ve felt this before. Life has been crazy before and it didn’t wreck us. It’s nice to be far enough along in life to know what to do with all of this. Things still shake me, but it doesn’t feel as scary because we’ve done this before and come out the other side so we know that there’s a better day coming.
How do we get through it, you say?
Oh man, I’m not sure this is the dose of encouragement you’re looking for, but it’s as simple and hard as this: We keep going.
Oh, I know sometimes the only thing keeping you going is that little, earth-shaking, promise you said right before you said “I do.” The whole for better or for worse, as long as we both shall live part? That commitment is sometimes the only thing that keeps us going, but that matters too.
Keep not quitting, keep not having a record of wrongs, keep staying in it together. Keep going, keep going, keep going.
I’m finding that theme everywhere, really- this idea to keep going.
I have to tell it to my own soul, sometimes- do you? You’re a difference maker, a creator, a teacher, a leader, a love-bearer- I think we all are in some form or another. So do you ever feel your confidence just rocked? Because there’s this desire (this calling, you correct me), inside of my soul that is pulled, compelled, to something bigger, but then I begin to wonder if I ever will, in fact, make an actual difference.
What do I even do with that?
And you say to me: You keep going.
This all makes me think of a story I read that morning and it’s making more sense to me why I teared up reading it.
I read about the Israelites marching around the walled city of Jericho. How they had to stay silent and they marched and marched and marched. Don’t you wonder what it was like to be them? It must have felt so futile, so defeating. They must have been so curious, doubtful even, about what all of that walking in circles was going to accomplish.
But they kept marching.
What do you think happened next? When they blew their horns- Did they hear the bricks start to crack and it was a little by little kind of moment? Or did the walls just crumble all at once and suddenly they were surrounded by rubble? Did they have time to realize what was happening?
They were in it together, the Israelite army. They marched together, walked together, blew their horns together. I think that matters.
It was a walk of faith, every single step, one step at a time.
They didn’t stop, even when they must have wanted to.
They kept going, kept going, kept going.
We all know what it feels like to walk in circles.
To not know how it’s going to end.
To not give up, even when we want to.
But we keep going, keep going, keep going.
I think there’s something in the not-giving-up part.
I think there’s something in the in-it-together part.
So for this day, keep not-giving-up. And then do the same tomorrow, and the next day.
This whole not-giving-up, this keep-going perseverance does work we can’t see.
There’s a space in our souls- that place just between faithfulness and victory- where we cultivate a strength, a gritty resilience built on love and hope for the long-haul, and this matters more than we might realize.
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