January 10, 2015

winter fruits.

Today is the first day in more than a month that I've been without the kids- I don't know what to do with the peace and quiet anymore. Do you ever feel that way? I needed this time in a big way, I needed to deal with the feeling of disorder in my soul, and I needed to find ground to stand on.

If you come here often, you've probably been able to see the unmitigated chaos reflected in my posts, even though I've tried very hard to conceal it. Bloggers are a perceptive lot of people, I've learned through the years. God knows I try to put a lid on the things I have no control over and just be persistent and encouraging in my writing. It's an impossible task to maintain for long, I assure you.

I've tried several times to start a post to pour out my heart in peace offering to you, my blogging friends. Every time, I've hastily deleted the words in frustration once I read back over the paragraphs and feel my tone is hasty, complaining, or dry. I don't want to whine, but I desperately need some way to share these burdens with someone before they weigh me down. I'm too painfully aware of my humanity these days.

I've been thinking a lot about ways I can alter the way I approach blogging to make Hello Hive work better: to be more cohesive, honest, and useful. I'm coming up empty, guys- totally empty. If I had a guaranteed space and time to work in, I could hammer out awesome content everyday and give all of you the attention you deserve. Yet I have neither- only abbreviated naptimes and boys that resist bedtimes, infinite laundry and dishes and spills and suppers to be prepared, and no matter how early I rise (it's 5 a.m. these days), both kids just rise earlier.

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Unanswered comments bother me. For me to peek at your blog and not have the ability to comment on your posts- that bothers me, too. Having to say "no" to opportunities and nearly every creative inspiration that comes my way- that bothers me.

Motherhood is an awesome responsibility, and most days I am totally joyful in my duties. I don't think this job was ever intended to be done alone, however- and alone is exactly what I feel most days. I know I'm not ever wholly alone- my Lord Jesus is Emmanuel, the God is With Me who breathes life into my dry bones, and I hide myself in him when the darkness threatens me. But here, on the natural plane, the ache remains.

In the soul searching, I asked myself, Why do you keep blogging, anyway? Some of you know that Hello Hive is a return attempt, that I have blogged and quit- and blogged, and quit again- in the past. I don't want to give up again. Obviously, I keep answering the call to return for a reason. But why?

I don't want to be famous. I don't have anything to sell. I'm not making a dime's profit right now. Most days, I honestly don't feel like I've got a single thing to offer but me- and lately, I don't even have myself to give.

It's the people. I'm craving the companionship. I desperately need to know that I'm not doing life alone! I need a community to hold me up- is that selfish?

I have to be careful in wishing- time is so small. Teach me to number my days, Lord, I pray. And remind me when I feel lost- this life is a gift. I asked for this.

And I did. Right here on the floor beside where I sit today, I cried out with my face to the ground, warm tears spilling down my cheeks into the milk-stained and crumb-dotted carpet- I asked God to let me leave the nine-to-five to come home and just mother. So He did, and so I do. Day after day, I live the gift that He gave me when I asked.

This morning, Eric packed up the kids and headed to his parents' house- he's taking Seth and our nephew Jacob to a monster truck exhibition, and his mother agreed to keep Hawk while they were gone. It is the first time I've been away from both the children at once since the LIFE retreat, and before that, a few hours before our family's Thanksgiving dinner, while I was cooking and cleaning.

I grabbed my camera and headed outside for some time in the sunshine and fresh air immediately after they pulled out of the driveway. I've intentioned to try and use my camera most days this year (unlike last year, when it only came out for special occasions and my iPhone bore the brunt of the daily picture-taking responsibilities...), and in ten days' time, I hadn't captured a single photograph outdoors.

I stood in one spot in the backyard for what seemed a long time, allowing myself to be surrounded by the light and the sound of birdsong in the trees around me. Flying south for winter, the birds pause on this crisp January day to perch in treetops and sing praises to God in thanks for the abundance of winter fruit here to sustain their journey. I closed my eyes and let the sounds of their calls fill me with hope again, and I began to feel a healing breeze stir around the calloused places in my soul.

I can't shake the feeling that the shape and consistency of my life- online and off- is changing dramatically. This sort of discontent tends to fall on me most when the Lord is working on me in unexpected ways. I'm anxious for the work part to be done, but there's opportunity for growth in the waiting. Even when everything around me lies dormant there is winter fruit to be found, so I'm looking to Jesus to sustain me until the opportunity and inspiration blooms for me again.

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