Yesterday I stayed up until midnight writing a blog post about, I don't know, this year, I guess, and how I am barely hanging on by my fingernails. I decided not to post it because, ugh, bummer, and also hello repetitive! I thought for sure I'd have something brighter or funnier to say in the morning, but nope! I am sitting here again, ready to delve fingers first into my nonfiction opus entitled Fingernails, Strength Of.
I've been saying JESUS a lot lately. (Not in vain, though I am frequently (always) tempted to do so.) No, I'm just sort of saying it because I have nothing else to put out there. His name is a prayer in itself. It means Help. It means I have nothing else right now.
Christ with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me,
Christ in me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ on my right, Christ on my left,
Christ when I lie down, Christ when I sit down,
Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of every man who speaks of me,
Christ in the eye that sees me,
Christ in the ear that hears me.
I yelled at my nine-month-old. (Christ be with me.) I'm packing for our beach weekend by myself. (Christ before me.) I'm putting three un-sleepers to bed while Phillip is out helping someone other than me. (Christ behind me.) How can there be so many dishes, so much laundry, when I did these things yesterday? (Christ in me.) Oh God, the terrible news this morning. (Christ beneath me.)
And on it goes.
Some people say they don't know how people parent without Twitter. (I'm one of them. God bless Twitter.) But more than that I wonder how people parent without God. I hope that sounds how I mean it - a genuine question, not a judgment. I am in no place to judge right now - the whole gist of my post-that-I-didn't-post was how this year has humbled me, to a humbleness I didn't know existed. I didn't think three kids was going to be hard. I'm not a fabulous parent, but I'm a decent one, and I'm pro-babies and pro-powering through and I'm the annoying eternal optimist and WHATEVER NAYSAYERS, THREE KIDS AIN'T NO BIG THING. I might even be able to talk P Cheung, Naysayer In Chief, into four!
Insert bitter laughter here. Somehow, even with three easyish kids, welcome to quite possibly my roughest year in parenting. (I say "quite possibly" because I honestly don't remember at least half of Molly's first year.) I didn't count on extended months of questionable mental health. I must have forgot about business trips. I most definitely forgot what sleep deprivation is like.
For an irrational overachiever like me, the fact that I am Hanging On By My Fingernails on a near-daily basis feels like failure. It's not, I know that. But remember, I am coming from the place where I don't think it'll be all that hard. I mean, let's call it what it is: a place of rather impressive arrogance. This much humility is dreadful, you guys, and keeps me running to the kitchen for pieces of chocolate.
But Christ is before me, under me, to my left, to my right, he is everywhere. How else could I keep washing the same dishes, the same clothes, cleaning up the same messes, breaking up the same fights, wiping the same bottoms day after day after day? How else can I read Twitter, see what happened last night, and think, "But I still have to get ready for the beach."
The other day I was thinking that the next time I'm hard up for blog content I ought to just start writing thank you notes. I'll create a whole Thank You category. Thank Yous for all the individual internetters who've carried me through my rotten days and my anxious weeks, the people who send me surprise presents or random text messages, who enable my retail therapy or just listen (read) while I rant (type) via instant messenger. And today I think wow, I am the nerd who accessed the body of Christ through the internet.
The desperately grateful nerd.
I have spent an awful lot of money this month in an attempt to make myself feel better. I've eaten a ton of chocolate. I've looked for affirmation and validation in the work I did for my sister's wedding, even in the ways I interacted with friends and family members in town last week. With every line I spoke, in the way I dressed, in every action I was selling I am a good person, I am doing it right, I have it under control, I'm all right. I do it here. I do it now. I'll do it tomorrow.
But with Jesus, all of that is futile. There's no point. He sees through me, he sees the places where I feel lost, dead, confused, and so very tired. I work so hard to hide all that stuff, but Jesus doesn't seem to mind. For the millionth time he barely looks at all my hidden things in that dark corner, calls me over to his lit up kitchen table, pours me a glass of Chianti, invites me to put my feet on the adjacent chair, asks me how the blog is going. The invitation, I feel, is to be real. Not to necessarily dwell on those hidden things, my perceived failures, but to admit that they're there, not deny their existence. But not to worry about it - those things aren't me. Those things aren't the death of me. They're just... part of where I am right now. A 33-year-old SAHM with three kiddos, a husband who works hard, a house that needs cleaning, and a fridge that does not magically dispense dinner.
So after a few sips of wine and I'm calmed down and no longer overshadowed by the corner, I'll say something like, "Ugh, you know what Jesus, sometimes the blog just gets boring. Sometimes I have no idea what to do with it. Sometimes I'm just saying the same boring stuff over and over." Then I feel like he says, "Well, tell them about me."
So I did.
And now I have to pack.