Thursday, October 8, 2009

The Importance of being Real: a post to myself

Nope. No pictures today either. Whenever I think I have a moment to blog, I then remember that I have yet to download pictures from my camera and then I decide not to blog. So this time, I'm just going to do it.

Life is good at the Cowart Casa. I find myself smiling more and laughing for no apparent reason. This is a good thing, and I'm afraid, not exactly usual this past year. There's something about carrying the weight of responsibility to love, care for, teach and train three little ones as well as the usual daily responsibilities a home-maker has . . . I have found myself under a tremendous burden as of . . . Haley's arrival? Not really sure, but a long enough time. Two of my children are in the throes of "dig-your-heels-in" training mode and life's responsibilities in general have all but sapped me of my energy, joy and drive at times.

However, there are hopeful moments; days where I can see a tiny glimmer that it isn't all a waste. Haley using manners without being reminded, Claire stopping to think before she yowls and gives way to a humongous tantrum, or Ruby coming to me in the kitchen, "What can I do for you, Mommy?" hands already washed, willing to do any task I find for her in my dinner project.

Such a day was today. I asked a lot of them. We took Gram out to breakfast for her 88th birthday (forgot the camera), returned a shirt at Penney's and did our monthly Costco trip. I didn't actually believe we could get it all done, and was completely prepared to ditch the Costco shopping till another day. But they came through, and no one was more surprised than I at how it went. Yes, we had issues. Yes, there were at least a half-dozen fits by a couple girls. Yes, we were all completely worn out by the time we returned home. But the fits were not out-of-control: "We-have-to-leave-now!" They were blips that came and went fairly suddenly (at least for what I'm used to!) and I can say that I actually enjoyed the morning errand-running, and so, I believe, did the girls.

I don't know what my deal is, but I feel as if I'm alone most of the time in my feelings of overwhelmedness. In fact, when I start to see that confused, "I'm not sure I get what you're talking about" look with others, I just go ahead and trail off on whatever I was saying.

I remember back to when I was that young single woman, or that starry-eyed pregnant-with-her-first-sweet-little-baby-with-whom-I-could-never-see-losing-my-temper woman or that woman with one child, and how I probably gave that, "Really?!?" look myself. And then I remember how much I now take comfort in recalling those times when I probably was giving that confused look, and yet that woman continued to be real about her struggles, and I am determined to continue to be real, even though at face value it is under appreciated, and possibly even frowned upon. I may turn a hundred people off by my realness, but if one woman can look back (as I do) and appreciatively remember that it wasn't easy for me either, then I think it is worth it to be real. After all, we are surrounded by people who make it look easy. If we didn't have an example of realness to point to now and then, we may begin to think we are crazy freaks.

In fact, I shudder to think how much more overwhelmed I'd be, were it not for women here and there in my life who gave me a glimpse of the reality of their situations. What kind of encouragement am I being if I keep my struggles to myself and act as if I have none? Yeah, I may look better to others. I may even have the respect of people who otherwise do not respect me. Perhaps even, a person may think I am the one to ask, since I clearly have it all together. But I think more often, a lack of openness breeds more of the same in relationships. And I don't want others to feel as if they cannot be real with me, that I would not understand (which I may not, but I do struggle, too!) and would not be compassionate to their situation.

When I started typing this evening, I did not intend for this to be a pep-talk to myself on the importance of remaining real, but I really do need to remind myself of this, because it is not a celebrated thing--even among Christians, where it should be encouraged (1 John 1:9, James 5:16, Proverbs 28:13).

God is so good, and that is not any less true when I am exuding sinfulness and struggling with my own fleshly desires. He is faithful to complete the work He started, and that is what I need to remember as well. He is my only hope in overcoming my propensity to anger or my critical spirit, my laziness, perfectionism or my tendency to feel guilty about every little thing I do or do not do.

Even though this post has been mainly helpful for me to express, I pray that by posting it, it blesses someone out there who also struggles :) and needs to know she's not alone in so doing.

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