Cease Striving

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It was past midnight, I laid in bed unable to sleep, warm tears soaking my pillow. I was so unhappy and feeling so guilty for being so unhappy. There were so many good things in my life, how could I possibly feel so lost?

In the dark of night, I began to pour out my heart on paper:

I want to feel alive
I want to feel the sand running though my fingers
Each grain slipping through, rubbing against my hands
My hands that so easily take to busyness, to work

Too busy to enjoy life
Too busy to feel alive

I want to see the smile on my daughters’ faces
Study each tooth, each line, each movement
Feel the joy exuding from them

To lay in bed next to my husband,
Hear his heartbeat,
His deep breaths as he falls into a slumber
Remembering from where we have come
But looking forward to our future

I want to feel alive
Taking the cool air into my nose,
Filling up my lungs
Recognizing the Creator
Worshipping
Praising
In awe of the One who gave me this life

To stop
To pause
To feel
To be
Alive

 

Night after night I poured out my heart on paper, random thoughts, raw emotions, spilling on the page…

Sometimes I want to shout from the rooftops, “I am here!” “I matter!” just so I believe myself.

What do I like and dislike?

What do I enjoy doing?

What makes me happy?

What brings me real joy?

WHO am I?

I was so lost. I had forgotten how to find delight. I had lost all sense of who I was. I allowed myself to get so tired, so worn down, so overworked that I had forgotten how to find delight in anything at all. I literally didn’t even know where to start to find delight. I was too tired for a hobby. Too exhausted to go out with friends. I wanted to enjoy my kids and my hubby and the life that was whirling around me but I was too tired…mentally, physically, emotionally DONE.

As I started praying and seeking the Lord, Psalm 46:10 kept “popping up.” Don’t you love those “coincidences?” Sweet whispers from the Lord. “Be still, and know that I am God.” This is a seemingly simple part of Psalm 46:10 and while it has been redundant to my ears many times, it hit me like a ton of bricks this time. The New American Standard version says, “Cease striving and know that I am God.”

God’s words to my heart:

Just be. Stop striving. Stop looking for more, stop wondering what will be, what could be, what could have been. Just be. Take Me in, learn about who I really am. Take in the life around you, your kids, your husband, creation that is all around you. Exist in the space that you are in. Stop going from one thing to another while thinking about the next thing. Just BE.

I played these words over and over in my mind.

My prayers for myself before all of this were often prayers of, “I don’t know what to pray for myself but God help me.” Now I had clarity for what to pray for myself, “God help me be. God teach me how to cease striving.”

I have these beautiful lives right in front of me and every day that I am in a fog of anxiety or depression or busyness, is a day that I have swallowed up. Danielle Bennett says in her poem “Kairos” (a moving spoken word poem that you should totally listen to), “I want to taste the day before I swallow it.” I know that learning to “be” is going to be a lifetime journey. A life of learning to accept what is in front of me. A life of learning to enjoy what exists around me. A life of constantly surrendering myself to His glory. A life of learning to be ALIVE.

 

What I Want For Mother’s Day

There’s something about this third baby that has totally changed the way I see my life. I feel like there are so many times that I am taking “visual snapshots.” Slowing down is still something I struggle with, but I find myself lingering longer, studying my girls’ features, trying to mentally capture each tiny thing. Suddenly I know how fleeting these moments are.

There’s a Mother’s Day video going viral right now that really bums me out. I’m not sure when Mother’s Day became a day to get away from your kids or a day to wish your kids were different. I mean, that’s not exactly what the video says but moms everywhere are agreeing with this mom who says that she just wants one day off. I mean I could use a day off too, I’d love to get some sleep for once, or to watch a show that isn’t animated or to not be cleaning the kitchen at 9 pm. A break WOULD be nice but this mom’s Mother’s Day wish is that her kids call for their dad every time they want to call “mom” and she doesn’t want them to talk to her unless they are going to tell her how much they love her. Someone give this lady a break! Give us all a break! We need a break!!!! But is Mother’s Day really the day for that?

Motherhood in the Trenches

You see here’s the thing, I don’t love listening to my kids argue with each other, and sometimes I just want to yell, “Everyone find a corner and stay there until dinner!” even when it’s only 3pm. Sometimes listening to their tattles problems drives me insane. “Seriously, my dear children, just deal with it! Life is not all about YOU!” Sometimes I dread the sound of, “Moooom!” But here’s the thing, someday not too far in the future, my kids are going to want to have dinner at their friend’s house and there will be an empty seat at our dinner table. If I don’t listen to their problems now, one day they will stop telling me their problems and will find comfort in the ears of their peers. One day my girls will be completely self-dependent and won’t be calling, “Mooooom!” nearly enough.

I’m not trying to be sappy here, I’m being genuine. It’s taken me six years to realize this, these years are so fleeting. Not just these infant years but every single second. Big Sis isn’t always going to come skipping into my room to sit next to me on the bed. Little E isn’t always going to want to cuddle for 5 seconds before she runs off to the next adventure. Baby Girl is changing by the minute. I don’t want to wish these days away, not even on Mother’s Day. I KNOW it’s hard and there are times, every single day, that I think, “I need a break!” but this Mother’s Day I want to watch my girls run around. I want to hear their stories, as long and tedious as they may be. I want to look into their eyes and let them know that they are loved. It won’t be all rainbows and butterflies, I have a two year old after all. There will be meltdowns and ungrateful attitudes, there will most definitely be a lack of sleep and of course the stress of getting out of the house to make it to church on time, but I want to enjoy every moment and let my kids know that I am enjoying them too.

I could use a break, a spa day sounds amazing! It’s so easy for me to slip into a selfish mentality, and I have spent many a Mother’s Day expecting to be pampered but not this Mother’s Day. This Mother’s Day I’m going to be extra careful to pay attention to every aspect that makes me a mother, even the really hard moments, and thank the Lord that He has given me these people and this opportunity.

 

Hey Baby!

It’s been over three months since I’ve last posted and the Dallas family is now a party of five.

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After what seemed like the longest pregnancy and shortest labor, our third baby girl joined our family on January 3rd.

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She’s teeny tiny compared to my other two girlies.

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She is my third baby with colic which was so hard. I’ve cut out dairy from my diet completely and she’s become a pretty easy-going baby, which I couldn’t have said about my other two, even when they did get over their colic.

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She’s been such a joy.

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I was so nervous about having three kiddos. I heard from so many people that the transition to three kids is really hard but so far it hasn’t been bad at all. I think by now I’ve learned to let things go and just focus on what’s most important. Some days that meant everyone just remained fed and alive but everything gets a bit easier with each day that passes. It does take us a LONG time to get out of the house but we are back to homeschooling and nature days out exploring. We made it to church on Easter and again last week. I’ve survived a few shopping trips with all three kids but I try to run errands when the hubby can watch at least one of them. We also survived for 8 days while Dirk was in Iceland! That was quite an accomplishment and everything went so smoothly. There are times that all three girls are melting down and we can’t help but look around us and just laugh. It’s chaos but it’s also so fun. Overall the adjustment hasn’t been bad at all. I’m looking forward to getting back to “normal” and jumping back into blogging. I have lots of posts pending that I’m hoping to share with you all soon. Thanks for sticking around!

 

I’m Back and With Big News!

I love to blog and have missed it so much. Our first year of homeschooling required a lot more from me than I had anticipated, add to that hosting and Eisley’s health issues and unfortunately the blog had to go on the back burner for awhile. I’m back and I have some fun things to share in the coming weeks.

But first…there’s big news in the Dallas family!!!

Baby Announcement with the Help of a Drone! from Dirk Dallas on Vimeo.

That’s right we are officially going to be “Dallas Party of FIVE.” And we’re having another girl! I laugh every time I think of it. I always thought if I didn’t have a mix of boys and girls that I’d definitely be a “boy mom” but alas I am a “girl mom.”  A girl mom who doesn’t know how to French braid or really do much more than pigtails or ponytails, I am horrible at painting nails and have had maybe three pedicures in her entire life. I’m not very girlie but to know that God saw it fit for us to raise three girls in this world is a challenge that I am happily and prayerfully accepting. It’s gonna be a wild ride so stick around. :)

When God Says, “No.”

I didn’t anticipate this, I didn’t anticipate the struggle, I have never gone through this. God is growing me and it hurts. I feel like spiritually I have been prepared for God’s yeses. As I have attended church my whole life and walked with God for most of my life, I have so many times heard about the dangers of telling God no. Don’t be like Jonah, when God tells you to go, you go. I have often prayed for God to tell me to go, proclaiming with Isaiah, “Here I am, send me!” This past year has been a time of living through that “Go!” and obeying and being nervous in the obedience but so excited and trusting Him fully. It has been a rich season.

As a new season comes, He has told us no for something and it’s hard. I wasn’t prepared for this, “What do I do now Lord?” His answer has been, “Be still and know that I am God.” I don’t like to be still, I want to GO! Our pastor has often said, “Sometimes God says,”Go!” Sometimes God says,”No!”Sometimes God says,”Slow!” And sometimes, God says ”GROW!” I thought I understood that, but I guess I always envisioned God’s, “No” to be when it was something not right like, “Don’t buy that house” or “Don’t take that job” I never thought that God’s, “No” would be, “Don’t do that good work, it’s not what I have for you.” It is much harder for me to step back and obey in this “no” than it ever has been to obey to His, “Go.”

To be still, to wait, to obey in this quiet season, it’s not easy. I trust He has a plan, not just for us but for all who are affected by God’s, “No.” And as difficult as it is, I will be still and as He has shown me, I will meditate on these words, “Wait on the Lord; Be of good courage, And He shall strengthen your heart; Wait, I say, on the Lord!” Psalm 27:14