Stressed, Unprepared, Irritable. How would you like those words used as a description for you...and from your son no less! Kids are blunt, they tell it like it is, even if the truth hurts. To his credit, or mine rather, he did say I'm not like that all the time...just a lot of the time! I had a little conversation with his sister the other day that was also telling. We were in the car, and I was crying about something. I had my sunglasses on so I didn't think she noticed, but then she said, "Mom, are you ok?" I tried to answer somewhat in the affirmative with a little nod of my head. "Well", she said, "I was just wondering, because you cry a lot and I just wanted to be sure you were ok."
Am I ok? Yes… and no. Yes, because I have a strong testimony of who I am, why I am here and where I am going. I am not in danger of losing my testimony. And no, because somewhere between 4 years ago and now I lost my bearings and gave up for awhile. It was like being in a boat on a slow moving river and paddling upstream. I lost the energy to keep going and sort of fell asleep. And now I find myself waking up and witnessing the after effects of all the lost opportunities. I feel like I am going through a sort of mourning process of what I lost, and am unsure of how to proceed.
I don't want to have a pity party here; I do that enough on my own. What these two episodes have done is to help me to see some changes I need to make. It will be a harder battle from where I stand now than it would have been had I kept up the energy 4 years ago. I'm being ambiguous I know, but I'm having a hard time putting a face on it myself. I'm only now starting to understand why I gave up. I'm coming to understand some key characteristics about myself that I didn't recognize before; stumbling blocks that need to be moved. I'm also coming to understand more and more that I am not alone. This past year, more than any other time in my life, I have recognized the workings of the Atonement in my life. In fact several months ago I had an experience that gave me a whole new understanding of the Atonement. It was "one of those days". I just didn't think I could do anything anymore. I felt trapped in this life with six kids and all the pressures that go along with motherhood, wife-hood, chauffeur, homeschooling and church. I felt like I had too much to do and not enough time or energy or even desire anymore. I had nothing left to give. Here's an excerpt from my writing at that time:
"Yesterday I felt peace in my heart. My house was a mess, I wasn't accomplishing all the things I needed to, but I felt peace. As I was driving down the road contemplating it I suddenly realized what I was experiencing was the atonement working in my life. I understood what it meant when different groups of people in the scriptures said that their burdens were made light. I could never comprehend that before, but what I came to understand is the way it happens is different for everyone. For me, to make my burdens light means to take the tightness out of my chest. To make it so that when I see my messy house, or when I think of all the things I should be teaching my children, or when I think of all the roles I have to fill, that I don't get that panicky feeling and want to give up. The night before this happened I had said my prayers and told Heavenly Father that I wanted to give up. I was done. I told him I couldn't take this pressure anymore. I told Him that I was finished praying for the night and I was going to bed now. I cried myself to sleep. I had a weird dream. I dreamed that someone was attacking me with a couple of knives. This person tried to stab me and I fought with all my might. I screamed for help several times. I woke up. The person in the dream I was fighting was me. I was attacking myself. The next morning I read my scriptures. I've been studying Hebrews and the excerpts come from chapters 3 & 4,
“Christ as a son over his own house; whose house are we, if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end...Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief...exhort one another daily...if ye will hear his voice...labour therefore to enter into that rest...[He] is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart...Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.”
I knew that Heavenly Father felt my sorrow and understood what I needed. He lifted my burdens by taking the tightness out of my chest and helping me to cope. I also felt that He was telling me that I have an unbelieving heart, but I am to have confidence and firm hope in Him because I belong to him, I am of his house. He knows the thoughts and intents of my heart and I am to ask him boldly for the help I need."
Stressed, unprepared, irritable…a wake up call. I think I’ll start rowing again.