So I realize this little blog has been a bit sparse lately. The truth is, when the day comes to a close and the boys are snoozing in their beds and Jack is finally down for the night, I've got nothing left. The idea of sitting down and putting together a post feels almost impossible. I can hardly gather my thoughts to debrief the day with Mark, let alone write it all out in some semi-coherent form. There are so many things I've been wanting to share but it's just been difficult...and really, that's putting it mildly. Things have been really tough. Jack has severe colic, acid reflux, a milk protein sensitivity and cries all day long. All. Day. Long. I feel like I'm handling it really well, but it doesn't mean that I don't feel exhausted by day's end. I go through a pretty huge range of emotions on a daily basis...joy, frustration, confusion, concern, guilt...you name it, I probably feel it at some point during the day. I want to take away Jack's pains and I can't. I want to engage better with the older boys but my arms are always filled with a fussy baby. I want to feed my family better, but I can't even get to the grocery store or find time to cook dinner or figure out how to cook without dairy, green vegetables, onions, garlic, tomatoes or any real spice whatsoever. With all these challenges, not to mention a significant lack of sleep, it's easy to let my mind go into the "what ifs" and the "if onlys". You know what I mean..."If only I had more time I could..." or "What if it never gets better" This is a dangerous place for my mind. I'm a storyteller and I can create some pretty elaborate scenarios when left to my own thoughts. This really hit home last week when the unthinkable actually happened. Gus and I were playing "I Spy" on the couch when Jack (who was in my arms) started getting fussy. I stood up to bounce him a bit and Gus climbed onto the back of the couch to look out the window. He began listing all the different birds he could see and in my "distracted mom voice" I responded with a number of "uh-huhs" in varying tones to feign interest and attention. I noticed the message light blinking on my phone and walked over to the dining table to check the message. Those of you who are familiar with my house know that the distance from the couch to the table is but a few short steps. In that time Gus lost his footing and somehow ended up with the blind cord around his neck, bearing all his weight. He let out a frantic scream which caused me to turn around and I found him turning blue, looking terrified. I ran to him and got the cord off his neck and then collapsed on the ground, hugging him as tight as I could, sobbing. Immediately the "what ifs" began invading my mind. "What if I hadn't been in the room?" After all, how many times do I leave him alone to change or nurse Jack. "What if I hadn't turned around when he screamed?" I mean really, he's a noisy kid...what made me turn for that particular scream. For every "what if", I had an example of why it could have easily been a reality, as if I subconsciously keep a record of all my failings as a mother just so that when something bad doesn't happen, I can remind myself of all the reasons it could have, and possibly should have ended differently. That night, things got worse. I kept replaying the events of the day, but allowing for other, more devastating outcomes to fully play out in my head. It was making me crazy and all I could think to do was pray for God to take the images and the "what ifs" away from me. Almost immediately, God answered my prayer by giving me His scripture. Without even realizing it at first, I began reciting Phillipians 4:8 in my mind.
"Finally, brothers, whatever is true,
whatever is honorable, whatever is just,
whatever is pure, whatever is lovely,
whatever is commendable,
if there is any excellence,
if there is anything worthy of praise,
think about these things."
And that's when it hit me...the "what ifs" aren't true, they aren't honorable, they aren't just or pure or lovely. They are none of those things. They are not from God and do not deserve my time. My thought life needs to be devoted to real things, true things, the things of God, not the things of my sinful mind.
So now when I'm feeling spent, when I feel like things will never get better, when my thoughts are about to sink me, I run them through this verse, asking myself "Is this true? Is this lovely?" and when I find that the answer is 'no', I reboot, start over, clean the slate and start thinking anew. Praise God that He writes scripture on our hearts. With my current life situation I'm not able to sit down and study the Bible on a daily, concentrated basis, but His words are still there, etched in my heart, waiting for me to seek them. I may not always have the words to put on this blog, but by God's grace I always have the words I need to keep going and that is certainly true and lovely.