The Roughest Water
I was talking to my counselor last week and shared with her how absolutely "used up" and exhausted I feel. Have you ever thought or said out-loud, "I just need a break from my life?"
I admitted it last week, and felt horrible even saying it. It's not that I don't love my life. I have a wonderful husband, the cutest, sweetest kids, and I love my job as a photographer. I really couldn't ask for more...but I'm just exhausted. I said I wanted to go to the studio and just spend the night (and next day) by myself. I wanted to play guitar, sleep through the night, eat food that was hot because no one was bothering me. And I felt extremely terrible for saying it at all.
In January I decided to take better care of myself. For 31 days straight I read scripture, journaled, worked out, and fed myself healthy food. In a lot of ways, I was feeling way better--but I felt like every other area outside of self-care, I was drowning.
It's hard to work out, and journal your feelings when you are receiving messages asking when pictures will be edited, when the laundry has spilled out of your laundry room into the hallway and the kids say they have no clothes for school. It's hard to sit down and read scripture when you know that your kids need attention, your studio needs sanitized for the 23423098 time, you have 65 text messages unread and 15 more on fb, or you need to come up with something to teach the kids at children's church on Sunday.
The to-do list is never-ending.
I know I am not the only one who feels this way.
So in February, I "gave myself grace" as we all talk about giving. I slacked on my workouts, drinking water, and allowed myself to eat easy--but not as healthy--food choices...so I could just catch up on the never ending things. I allowed myself to take *a few* naps here and there as I needed--because let's be honest, no one can survive on 3-6 hours of sleep a night for 7 years and it not catch up to you....but then I wasn't feeling as good about myself because I felt like I had failed my own goals of health.
But here is the deal--SOMETHING HAS TO GIVE. Sometimes that will be the workouts...sometimes that will be sleep. Sometimes it will be the laundry, and sometimes it will be messages. You can't do it all. And that is OK. You cannot be everything for everyone all of the time and not get burnt out, used up, and downright exhausted.
I've found that when I am completely drained...I am not as good of a mom, I am not as good of a wife, and I am not as good as a friend. I did the unthinkable (for me at least :P) and took this weekend off work. I still edited *some* but I didn't do any sessions for 3 days straight. I took a stay-cation. I cleaned my house, watched movies with my kids, celebrated valentines day to the fullest--took the boys out to lunch, heart shaped pizza for dinner, and just spent every ounce of my energy on the kids.
And now here it is Monday, I locked myself in my office to edit, and I feel like for the first time in over a month---that it is such a joy to edit these pictures. I'm feeling rejuvenated. I'm feeling alive. I'm feeling like I can keep going.
A song came on my music list that I had never heard before: "Lost in your love" by Brandon Lake, and there was a line that stopped me dead in my tracks, "Your power is found in the roughest water." Let that sink in for a minute. This can be taken two ways-- 1. Your power as in Christ's power is found in the roughest water--when we are going through our hardest times, we can feel the power of Christ stronger than ever. Or 2. Your power--as in your own--the power the Christ put in YOU will help you get through the roughest water. He has given us the ability to conquer and face our hardest battles--we are never alone.
I'm not going to say that I'm going through my roughest water--even though we are back in the foster care circle and all of the emotions that go with it--but my hardest times were definitely struggling through infertility and miscarriage, losing some of our foster kids to kinship homes, losing #littledreamer (the foster baby we thought we were going to be able to adopt with Selah but she passed away) or having 4 kids 3 and under while trying to navigate some of the trauma I had experienced...but that doesn't mean that this season of life isn't hard too.
It's ok to admit that I cannot do it alone and need help. It's ok to decide that my health and well-being are important too. It's ok to say no sometimes. It's ok to call out to the Lord and say:
" 'Cause Your power's found in the roughest waters
Where I have no choice but to trust You, Father
Where my every fear has to surrender
I will trust in You forever"
It doesn't make you weak. It makes you strong. It doesn't make you a bad mom--trust me, it will make you a better mother if you have put your oxygen mask on first. Trust me, I'm learning it with you. Happy Monday y'all!