A few days ago, I had a pre-sunrise panic attack. It was early, before anyone was even remotely close to rising. I was already doing the mental run-through of the day ahead when I suddenly felt like I totally could not breathe. Sure, I’m historically a bit of a mess, but this was a new one for me. A teeny bit alarming for sure. So there I was, coffee cup in hand (of course), rationally thinking this through. Either I was having some ridiculous anaphylactic allergic reaction (to what? my generic vanilla coffee?). Or possibly a heart attack. Or “just” an omg-my-life-is-caaarazy panic attack. I took a seat, calmed myself down, and diagnosed myself with the latter. I am happy to report that, whatever the cause, I did revive myself and have been breathing just fine ever since.
You know, I keep waiting for life to slow down and ease up. For the constant feeling of nearly barely keeping my head above the water to begin to dissipate. I look all around me, and some days I wonder if I’m the only one stuck in this day to day cycle of treading water and just trying to stay afloat. In the comparison game that I inevitably play, I never cease to identify other moms who are doing better. Who confidently and effortlessly juggle even more balls than I with a smile on her face and heels on her feet. Meanwhile, I all too often feel my head bobbing and am apparently now having pre-dawn panic attacks (or allergic reactions. or heart attacks.)
On the heels of this, I headed out this weekend for a few solo hours to recharge. I was on a mission for quiet and solitude, so I drove from park to lake to yet another park, only to find my quest for quiet spoiled by “closed” signs and boisterous family reunions and birthday parties. Not quite the peaceful mini-retreat I had envisioned. Rather than allowing myself to feel defeated, I pulled over in a quiet parking lot, rolled down the windows of Matt’s car, opened my Bible, and cried out to God.
“Lord. I’m weary. I.can’t.do.this. Help.”
And right there in Matt’s little Kia, I was reminded once again that, indeed, I can’t do it. Sure, I can create margin and ask for help and identify ways to make our current state of life more sustainable. But, even then, I will still feel and be inadequate. Life will keep on marching, and I may or may not continue to have mama’s-on-the-brink-of-crazy moments from time to time. You guys, I have come to realize that life isn’t going to slow down any time soon. Even when we emerge, bleary eyed, from these years of raising little ones, we’ll just be stepping into a new crazy. Of curfews and licenses and dating (Lord, help us all). Life will likely be just as hectic, and I will likely feel just as inept.
Ironically (or maybe not so much), I came home from my little meeting with God in the Kia (because, y’all, God can show up anywhere) to find Mary Grace inconsolable and in obvious pain. Apparently, an all-too-typical wrestling match between Mary Grace and Carson resulted in an injured three year old and a sheepish big brother. Off to the ER we went, and the Xray confirmed a fractured clavicle. Of course. When all is said and done, she’ll be okay… but as I keep telling you guys, the fun and crazy never end around these parts.
I can’t do this life on my own. I try and I try because I’m proud and stubborn and independent to a fault. I pride myself in my self-sufficiency and then fall apart in exhaustion at the bitter end until I’m reminded, once again, that I’m not all that self-sufficient after all. That every breath I take comes from the living God who also fuels me with the strength to keep on in the trenches. That I need Him. Desperately. Every minute of every hour of every day. My pastor recently said, “If dependence is the objective, weakness is an advantage.” And so, this morning, I toss aside my go-to “I’ve got this” response of false self-sufficiency and humbly confess my need for Jesus. Because, despite the lies I tell myself and the facade I like to put on for the world around me, my inadequacies are great, but His strength is infinitely greater.
My prayer this weekend was spot on: I can’t do this. So I’ll embrace my weakness as the advantage it is because, as I begin to wave that white flag and allow Him to take over once again, He’s the one getting the praise and glory. And that, my friends, is precisely the point.