Just got back from Wal-Mart, after two hours, $200, and all my energy spent. :) This week I actually did what I always intend to do, but don't always get accomplished: I made two weeks' worth of menus and got the groceries we needed for each meal. I like it when I do that, because I don't have to wonder at 4 p.m., "what am I going to fix for dinner tonight?"and I don't have to want to fix something but not have what I need in the pantry. But, most weeks, finding the hour or two that it takes to make out a thorough list like that just feels impossible. I get halfway through the menus and someone needs their diaper changed or a bottle made. Or I get to the grocery store, thinking I have a "good list in my head", and Maggie wets her panties or Penelope pitches a fit, and I end up just going as fast as I can, getting what I know they will eat, and hurrying through the line.
Yesterday I "had a come apart" on the way to church over what seemed like something trivial: the umbrella. It had been the usual Sunday morning craziness of getting everyone fed, dressed and ready, diaper bags packed, Bibles in hand, etc., except when I, the last family member out the door, opened the door, I discovered it was raining CATS AND DOGS. And my children and husband were waiting in the car that seemed to be miles away. No umbrella in sight. On a day that I was actually having a "good hair day". I ran as fast as I could in my heels to the car, but of course by the time I got there, I was soaked. I yelled at Brian for not knowing where the umbrella was, then when his reply was, "I don't use an umbrella, so I don't know what y'all did with it", I burst into a pool of tears. I went off on how many millions of things I have to take care of and how overwhelming all of it is. And then I said words that surprised me at their truth: "I feel like a faulty human. Like there are just things missing in me that everyone else has. Everyone else has it together, and I just can't ever seem to get it together. There is just so much wrong with me." My pity party was so bad that even when we got to church, I had to sit in the car and cry for a few minutes more. I just felt like such a failure. And I realized that I felt that way a LOT. And I just wasn't sure what to do with it.
I try to do everything. We are Care Group Leaders in our Sunday school, and I want to be awesome at it. I want to make sure everybody gets welcomed and feels good and gets their needs met. I try to stay on top of the laundry. Keep my closets organized. Make sure the kids have nutritious meals, that they are learning what they need to be learning, that they have godly friends and good clothes and are reaching their full potential as people. I am trying to educate myself on breastfeeding and hospitality and the Bible and herbal remedies and quilting. I am trying to be everything that Brian wants/needs/desires and make sure he is happy. But it feels like I continually fail. The laundry is behind. I forgot to call my care group people. I spent three hours on the closets, but there is still a mess in the playroom. My kids don't like vegetables. Allie tries to dress herself and it usually doesn't match. Some days I don't read my Bible. I am 4 sizes bigger right now than when Brian married me, and much less adventurous. I can't even keep up with my umbrella for goodness' sake!!! What am I going to do???
I've tried programs. I love programs, actually. I love "three steps to a cleaner house" and "ten steps to a self-confident child" and all that. I eat it up. But the more programs I try, the more I feel like a failure. Because somewhere around step 3, there's a hiccup. Or I give up, realizing that I'm just never going to make the goal. I strive, I try, I reach, I fall. Again and again. One group of people says you should encourage your child's creativity, so I take them to art museums and have them write fairy tales. Then another group says forget the creativity, teach them truth. So I surround them with the Word and burn the fairy tale books. And on and on and on it goes.
Yesterday we sang a song in church called "Mighty to Save". It says, "Take me as you find me, all my fears and failures, fill my life again. . . Savior, He can move the mountains, my God is mighty to save. . . " As I reflect on those words today, I think there IS something I'm missing that other people must have. It's called dependence on God. The person who wrote that song has fears and failures, just like me. And people everywhere relate to that. So I must not be the only one! And Who does it say can move mountains? GOD!! Who is mighty to save me from my fears and failures? GOD!! It doesn't say "Julie, she can move the mountains." It doesn't say, "Take me as you find me, all my accomplishments and talents."
I think I've wrestled with God for years on this thing of trying to do things in my flesh. I make vows, and resolutions, set goals. And fail, fail, fail. Maybe I should try to let God do it in me. But what exactly does that look like? How would I do that, really? I have to say that I'm not sure. I believe it's what God wants me to do, but I'm not sure how to do it. Anyone else ever struggle with this???