Faith, Hope, parenting, prayer, promises

Crash…and…Burn

Remember how I said I was tired?

Well, Saturday proved to be my breaking point.

Last week was incredibly busy at work. I had multiple evenings where I was still sitting in my room, computer out, working at 9:00 pm. In addition, my oldest had multiple doctor’s appointments yet again (a broken arm…again). And, God has been opening doors for my writing and speaking (a VERY good problem).

But when you put it all together, it can become a recipe for overload.

When Saturday finally arrived, I knew there would be very little rest. OKC Memorial Marathon and packet pick-up, promise to take my son to the movie to meet a friend, pictures for my daughter’s Ice Cream Festival Princess pageant, family birthday party, and church. I felt as if the weekend was going to be at least as busy as the week had been.

I got up early (as I always do). I decided to skip the gym and simply go to the marathon expo to pick up my packet. When I arrived home, my oldest greeted me in the garage.

“Boy, did you get home at a bad time,” he said.

Not exactly what I wanted to hear.

I walked in the house to find water all over my kitchen floor. Apparently, someone had filled the garbage disposal without running it. Another someone came along and turned on the kitchen faucet and left it running for an unknown period of time, causing the water to back up in the dishwasher and overflow.

My dad and brother happened to be nearby, so there we all were trying to clean up the mess. I began to snap at everyone—kids, dad, brother—about everything.

“Pick that up.”

“Clean up your room.”

“What were you thinking?”

The words were flying out of my mouth, and I could sense the sting as they landed squarely on the hearts of those I love the most.

I didn’t like who I was in that moment.

The tears began to leak out of my eyes. Then the sobs began. There was no controlling the flood of emotions.

And that’s when my kids found me, curled in a fetal position in my closet floor, sobbing.

There was a time when my kids would not have been surprised to find me in this state, but it has been years since I had a complete melt down. I could see the confusion and concern on their faces.

With the sobs still coming uncontrollably, I began to cancel every plan I possibly could. I knew that I HAD to have some down time.

Eventually, I ended up sending all three kids away for the night. As I drove away from my brother’s house where I left the younger two to play with their cousins, the dam broke again.

“Lord,” I began between sobs, “something has to give. I can’t keep this up.”

And that’s when truth hit me. Over the past five years, my kids have spent minimal but consistent time with their dad. It might have only been 24 or 48 hours once or twice a month, but it gave me just enough time to enjoy some silence and solitude. I could stay in or go out. I could sleep or play. I could enjoy friends or enjoy isolation. I could do whatever I wanted without having to care for the needs of others.

However, my kids have not gone to their dad’s house in over two months, and I don’t anticipate a time in the near future where they will all be with their dad. That’s another story for another day, but suffice it to say that my kids are growing up and making decisions for themselves. I am proud of them. I stand beside them completely. I love them and love having them with me. I love that they are happy and content.

But I had NO IDEA the impact on my own emotional well-being. I had NO IDEA how much those short breaks meant to me. I had NO IDEA how much recharging I did in those short hours without children.

Widows, I salute you! To those whose children have no visitation with their other parent, I stand in awe of you! To those who have no family nearby to offer a helping hand, you amaze me!

I am entering a new era of single parenting, and I had no idea how difficult it would be. I have worked hard over the years to care for myself, to do little things to make myself feel good. Whether it is a monthly massage or a regular mani/pedi or making time to stay physically fit, I take time for my health and well-being. I use writing as an outlet. I get up early so I can enjoy an hour of quiet and read my Bible before the kids start clamoring for my attention.

But I have severely underestimated the importance of an extended period of solitude.

So now the challenge begins. If this new phase of my life involves no extended periods alone to recharge, I will absolutely have to find ways to get away by myself.

Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place where he prayed. Simon and his companions went to look for him, and when they found him, they exclaimed: “Everyone is looking for you!” Mark 1:35-37

Even Jesus required solitary time alone. He used his time to pray. But, just like being a single parent, his time was often interrupted. I am a firm believer that the solitary time anchored him in the midst of his busy life. Just like a single parent, he always had people looking for him.

As I mentioned earlier, my routine involves getting up early and spending time with God. I get up before the kids for some alone time. I have noticed recently that on the rare occasions when my time gets interrupted, I can sense a real change in my spirit. I find myself on edge. I snap at people. My spirit is simply not at peace.

My dear friends, I can’t even start to explain the importance of solitary time, especially solitary time with God. If you aren’t making time alone with God a priority, I beg you to give it a try. I dare you to test him, to see if your outlook on life changes. He promises that if we seek him wholeheartedly, we will find him (Jeremiah 29:12-13). He promises that his yoke is easy and his burden is light (Matthew 11:30). He promises that when we wait on him, we will mount up with wings as eagles, that we will run and not grow weary (Isaiah 40:31).

As for me, I will be looking for ways to be alone, to get away from the “crowds” (i.e., children) who are always seeking me out, following me. I will be looking to take better care of myself so that I can better care for my precious children who deserve an emotionally healthy mom.

 

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14 thoughts on “Crash…and…Burn”

  1. Though I do not have the same amount of years under my belt as you do…. I feel as if we are on the same path. Thanks for sharing your heart and the encouragement…your a blessing!!

  2. The crash and burn are never fun and I’m so sorry it all came down at once. But I can’t help but see the grace in the way God delivered His request to spend some time with you. And that you long for it too. He’s sweet to have not flooded the whole neighborhood…lol. I’ll confess I’ve learned the hard way that choosing stillness is difficult, sometimes impossible, but so necessary…even if it’s me with earbuds in a bathtub for 20 minutes (that keeps me from tearing my hair out). 🙂 Praying you find your peace and stillness and enjoy every minute!

    1. I told my kids one night that I was going to my room after dinner and locking the door. My 13 year old son snuck in my room and found the key to my bedroom door (I don’t even know where it is!). I told him that if he opened the door, he would regret it because I was going to strip down naked! He said, “You wouldn’t.” I said, “Try me!” No boys in my room that night, but it doesn’t seem to stop my daughter! Whatever it takes!

      I have a friend who was a single mom when her kids were young. She loved to escape to the bathroom. Her kids would gather up june bugs and crickets and flick them under the bathroom door. Oh, the stories we have to tell!

    1. Absolutely true! I am constantly examining my life to see if there’s anything I can let go. Unfortunately, there’s very little in my life right now where I can say, “No.” Three kids, a full-time job… I delegate as much as I can. But, I’ve discovered that I’ve just been pouring out without filling up. I have to take time to care for myself.

  3. I pray you are blessed with some days per month that someone takes your kids to their home so you can again have this much needed rest and recharge. I had very little support as a single parent of a special Ed child ( now 33). Sure brings back scary mems. It’s has to be so hard for you. I look forward to what the Lord’s solutions are for you. Thank you for sharing such transparency, you will speak to many hearts.

    1. Thanks, Christie. I’ve really focused on just escaping and letting things go this week. I am beginning to feel better…almost normal. I am blessed with an amazing family that supports me 100%. I know that his strength is perfect in my weakness, so I have to say, “Bring it, God!” I have certainly been at my weakest, so he should be showing his power!

  4. We weren’t “suppose” to be in this place.. But each step is our transformation to the likeness of Christ & what is more beautiful than that! Praying for you & your precious family. Beauty for ashes.. God promises us that in all our brokeness .. He alone will never leave us or forsake us

  5. I recently read Mark Buchanan’s “The Rest of God.” I am slowly implementing the idea of Sabbath with my daughters (they don’t know it yet–I plan to explain it when we have worked up to a 24 Hour period”). It has revolutionized my wirk and rest.

    1. I may need to grab that book. I went to Saturday night church services when I was training for the half marathon so that I could get a long run in on Sunday. I arranged my schedule so that I had Sunday as a true Sabbath. I really enjoyed that!

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