My friend Becca wrote a post the other day that really hit home with me. If you haven't read it, I highly suggest you do as she has such a way with words that you'll quickly find yourself nodding along in agreement with what she's stating.
Our church is also doing a series right now called "Crash the Chatterbox" which is dealing with, in a nutshell, hearing God's voice in our lives over all the others. Sometimes those voices are external, but usually, internal. And they aren't always nice.
They're the voices that tell you you're not thin enough, rich enough, smart enough, or just plain good enough. The ones that tell you that you don't parent "correctly" or that you're "getting it all wrong". Those last two? ones that have been beating me down lately.
This sermon series couldn't have come at a better time and as I read Becca's post last night, I teared up, because ohmygosh I am so there.
Forget all the other things that are beating me down right now, these days, mothering is beating me down. No, that's not true. It's not just being a mother. It's all the other things that come with it.
Three is a hard age y'all. Like super hard. While I absolutely adore my kid, there are times where I have considered just dipping out because I cannot handle one more second of the back talk. Of the outright defiance. Of the more than obvious favoritism of her father than her mother. And while I would never "dip out" (total expression), I find that those nasty little voices in my head get louder and louder the more frustrated I become. And these days, I'm pretty frustrated.
I struggle a lot with things in my past that constantly rear their ugly heads. They beat me down and too often when things get hard, I retreat. I back down. When E is acting out (again), I turn it onto me. She's not being a typical toddler, but instead she is straight out out to get me and then the dark takes over and I can hardly breathe.
In my head I play a game of 2 against 1 a lot. I put E and Mr. P together and they gang up on me. Which, if we're being honest, they do like to do, but I make it malicious and mean which it's so not. So I shut down. Because that's easier than feeling ganged up on any day.
Sunday the preacher made a statement that resonated with me. I didn't write it down so I can't quote it, but it basically went something like this; which voice are you going to let determine the direction of your life. And then he went further asking the question of what we are being kept from when listening to the wrong voices? What relationships are we missing out on or destroying because we are so in our own heads that we can't focus on what's outside?
I'm completely aware that my past and the relationships in my past are 99% of my dark voices. That the voice telling me to "give it up; you'll never be good at this Mom and wife thing" is definitely not His. And please don't think that I'm saying I'm leaving my family because I love my family, I'm just showing you my heart. That I struggle with not feeling good enough. In my head I make that into I don't have to put in the effort because it's all for naught; I will never be good at it.
See how bad that is?
Lately I'm taking E's three year oldness (disclaimer: she is a GOOD kid. She is kind and sweet and smart and oh so lovely. She's also 3 which as any parent to a toddler knows, is full of it's own highs and lows. This post is about my perception not her actual behavior.) and making it personal. I'm making her tantrums into an act of terrorism against me. See how messed up that is?
It's just a tough transition. I've never mothered a toddler. I have no clue what I'm doing and sometimes I forget that that is okay because no one does. Moms of four are still thrown curveballs. I am so not alone.
The key is to just remember that I've been through tough before. A lot. And He has never left my side. He won't now either. So when I feel like E and I are battling it out in the trenches, I know that He's down there with us trying to talk us through it. It's my job to listen. And to tell the other voices to freaking chill. I know it's all in my head, it's just that sometimes it would be so nice to distance myself from that head a bit. Too bad it's attached...