When Things Fall Apart
Join me in welcoming one of our newest contributors, Kristin Demery, to The Better Mom. Kristin encourages us today to remember our blessings outweigh our temporary circumstances - XO, Ruth
Ten days after my third child was born, life was good, and our family of five was settling into a new normal. With my older children occupied, I was able to lay the baby down for a nap and get laundry and dishes done.
On day 11, we fell apart. I woke up with flu-like symptoms. My husband, who had battled neck and arm pain for the previous week, woke up unable to move his neck. When my vision swam and my arms felt heavy and weightless at the same time in the shower, I ran out with shampoo bubbles still clinging to my hair to avoid fainting. Panting and praying, I willed the dizziness to pass, even as I called my mom to see if she could help out for the day.
Within 24 hours, I went from burgeoning confidence in my new role as mom of three to abject despair. Life was miserable, and I was so very tired. When the baby cried for what felt like the eighteen millionth time that night, I cried too—big, ugly, wrenching sobs that wracked my body.
When I reached out to friends, they responded with graciousness. With meals. With offers to take the big kids off my hands so we could rest. With shoulders to cry on when they stopped to drop things off or pick kids up.
But life still felt hard.
While sitting in my living room one day, my eyes strayed toward a hand-lettered sign I bought online: And if not, he is still good.
It’s an idea paraphrased from Daniel 3:17-18. As Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego faced being burned alive in a fiery furnace because of their refusal to bow down to King Nebuchadnezzar, they replied that their God was more than able to deliver them from their fate. But even if he didn’t, they would still believe that he is good.
I wondered as I sat there, if I really believed that to be true. When my husband has yet another sleepless night, is God not still good? When I’m at the end of my patience as a parent, is he not still good? When we gasp for breath under the weight of our troubles—when my sister’s cancer isn’t healed, or our oldest daughter’s twin dies in utero—do I believe that he is still good? Knowing that he could deliver us from the pain of this world if he chose to, do I dare believe that even if he doesn’t, he is still good?
Slowly we recovered and found ourselves learning new rhythms. Falling asleep in a sun-drenched spot on the floor; hearing frogs croak in the pond behind our house, closed windows no deterrent to their cacophony. Savoring coffee in the morning before the big girls woke up; hearing them stampede from above as they raced to find me, tousled and flushed from their beds. Scooping pea gravel from the playground into buckets weathered from being forgotten outside too many days.
But the question still played in my mind—until one day, when I saw the sun beaming through my bathroom window and watched my children trying to catch the sparkles that swirled through the air along with dust motes, thanks to the glittery eye makeup I had just applied. Hearing their delighted laughter, I felt ashamed. How often have I dismissed or scoffed at the everyday magic in my life? How often have I let temporary circumstances outweigh the blessings I’ve received?
Our newest miracle was a tangible reminder of this truth. She’s now a preschooler, three years old and full of funny maxims and a desire to play with Little People. But in those slow months following her birth, I couldn’t help but watch the way she would startle, tiny hands grabbing at air before she settled back to sleep. The sleepy lip-smacking she unconsciously did on her way to sleep, and how she burrowed into my shoulder. Tiny and perfect and so loved, her innocence and innate trust has been a final reminder to me that he makes all things new, in his time.
And yes, he is still good.
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