Picture this, if you will, because I know you can because I know you’ve lived it:
A day begins, with new promise and new hope and the newness of new beginnings- it’s going to be a good day, you can feel it in your soul.
Then, as it turns out, not five minutes pass and you don’t know how you’ll go on another second- the baby is crying or you’re late to get out the door or your husband broke bad news or someone punched their sister and you’ve already yelled so loud your throat hurts.
Wait, though. This is unfair. Wasn’t today going to be a good day? Wasn’t it going to be good? Wasn’t it going to be a good day for me?
But instead: Can’t stop, won’t stop, keep going – isn’t that how the story goes?
And in this one-foot-in-front-of-the-other mentality, sometimes the day shifts and sometimes it doesn’t. Every time though, you keep moving forward.
See, that’s what’s so incredible about you, really. That’s what makes me so smitten with you, just enamored really.
The day will go sideways at some point, and sometimes it rights itself, sometimes it doesn’t, but you keep going.
You would say you’re fine and you’re strong and you can do hard things, remember? You would say you just do the next thing, and then the thing after that and then the thing after that, it’s really not that big of a deal.
I see you though, and I see that deep breath you take before you move on to the next thing. I see you rally, I see you close your eyes for that split second before you move on and here’s what’s underneath those seconds: It’s not really that you’re exhausted, right?
Because honestly? That just kind of seems like a given. There’s no newsflash, breaking headlines about it: You’re exhausted, who’s not?
As it turns out, there is another little piece to the story and it’s this:
The hardest hard about it is that you’re so exhausted, so overwhelmed, so frayed, and you don’t have the option not to be.
Can’t stop, won’t stop, keep going- remember?
Your days careen into each other and you don’t know when the pace will slow down. You thought you were at the finish line of your hard race, only to learn it’s actually not over. You feel like you’re doing the very best you can, yet you don’t feel like you’re doing anything well. You’re maxed out and tapped out and at the very end of yourself and wait- the school year is just beginning?
But you can’t even think about this great undoing because that would take energy you need to reserve for taking actual literal steps and making actual meals for your people and having hard conversations and waking up at 2 in the morning because you must.
So then, what do you do?
You keep going.
Sometimes, in your race, you look to your right and to your left and see the other women who seem to make life look effortless and streamlined and efficient and still manage to getaway with their husband. You look to your right and to your left and instead see your own reflection coming back to you as insufficient, overwhelmed, in yesterdays t-shirt with smudged mascara because she was too tired to wash her face last night.
Want to know something?
I look at you and I see something totally different:
I see a woman, undaunted, immovable, strong as a rock.
I see a woman who is so tired her body physically aches and she still chooses to color with her daughter and play in the rain.
I see a woman who has been parenting alone, adulting alone, taking out the trash alone and still chooses to invite a new friend over because she knows she can’t do it alone.
I see a woman chasing her dreams and doing the work even though she was up so much last night she didn’t get to have any literal dreams.
And you want to believe it will get better, but you just don’t see any end in sight so you’re running on fumes and coffee and a resilience so deep and a strength so fierce.
Let me believe for you.
Let me be your words until you can build your own and let me be your belief until you can stand on it yourself.
Let me enter into those tender places on your behalf- those barely-there-prayers, those half-whispers of hope, those longings for a day when everything changes.
You can’t go there right now, I get it. But I can.
See, I’ve been through a thing or two. I’ve experienced a thing or two. And I can promise you it gets better. The sun always rises, the rain always stops, there’s a finish line up ahead. I know it.
So were we to be sitting across from each other, legs pulled up on my couch, this is what I would do.
I would take your baby, hand you some coffee, look you in the eyes and promise you: Not every day is going to be like today.
And when you’re ready, should you get to a moment when you need a prayer to say, quick as a breath, as restoring as the ocean, as strengthening as the mountains, these are some I pray:
You are always with me, and everything I have is yours (Luke 15).
Hold it together (Colossians 1).
Make a way (Isaiah 43).
Lead me, renew me, guide me; may goodness and faithful love pursue me (Psalm 23).
Show me how to walk in the way of love (Ephesians 5).
Know what it does? It keeps your eyes from turning to the right or to the left. It shifts your gaze back to exactly where it needs to go
As you keep going.
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