|Lesson of the day.|
The time was 9:33, it was an hour past my children's bedtime. I was cranky. They were cranky. I was trying to rush through scriptures and prayer (and shamefully texting through scriptures to make plans with a friend to go to a movie at 10) to get them into bed ASAP.
We wrapped up prayer, I kissed their heads and sent them off to bed, sending one last text to my friend that simply said, "Ready!"
Then, it all fell apart.
My three youngest children began crying and begging me to stay home. "Please don't leave, mom. I have a really bad feeling about this," begged Thing 2. "Mommy, you don't need to go anywhere without me," Baby Girl reasoned, "I need you, and you need girl time with me." Thing 1 didn't even cry to me, he knew it was futile, he quietly went to bed and cocooned himself in his blankets and cried in solitude.
I sent off another text. "I don't think this is going to work. I have 2 kids bawling." To which my friend replied, "Confused?" Yeah, me too. Me too.
This was not something I hadn't done before. I have had a few late night girl nights that began after bedtime so that I could be a little more at peace with leaving my kids home, knowing they were tucked safely in their beds, reasoning that the chances of one of them lighting the house on fire in their sleep was less, if only slightly, than if they were all wide awake. This is one of the many adaptations--going out when all the rest of the world is going to sleep--you make as a military wife when your husband is away for a year. Sanity is a necessity, therefore, girls nights are a necessity.
But alas, my children were not having it. And because I'm an awesome mom, I totally guilted them into going to bed and stopping their tears. "It's fine" I assured them, "I'll just stay home and won't go out... and actually spend time with another adult... who I promised I'd go to a movie with. I'm sure she'll understand that I can't go and she'll just go to bed since she won't want to go alone. Because I can't go because you are all feeling so bad and she doesn't have anyone else to go with. Ok, good night. I'm going to bed now too."
Then one Thing or the other said, "Great. Mom can't go out and it's all our fault. We're a bunch of jerks."
Yes. Mother of the Year, here we come!
So I took a deep breath, apologized for the guilt trip and really tucked them in. And what do you know, they all feel asleep in literally like 2 minutes flat. And I did get to go. And the movie was interesting (2016 is a must see if only to be informed about the climate of our government and politics). And the company great. And then, *insert heavy sigh* after the movie, I hit a wall, slid down it rather ungracefully and had a melt down.
It was probably my lowest point of the entire last year. Not lowest as in I was crying my eyes out uncontrollably, because I wasn't. Lowest because I hit a wall of despair and anxiety and slid to the ground as all hope left me. I crumbled and gave up and opted for cynicism and resentment rather than tears and sobs. *Ok, I'd be a total liar if I claimed I didn't cry at all, but it wasn't about being lost in despair and sobbing my eyes out in a pool of depression. It was about being sucked into a void where despair had no hold on me, but neither did hope.
Finally, at 2:30 am after hours of venting and repeating the phrase "I just can't do this anymore" over and over and over, my dear friend dropped me at home and I crawled into bed, utterly exhausted. With no idea when my husband would actually get any news of his military medical board of review paperwork and therefore when he would be coming home, I found myself with zero energy to do it anymore. To get up and be strong for my kids that are, to be very honest, basket cases and are falling a little more apart day by day. To referee one more argument, soothe one more tantrum, placate one more disgruntled child. To put on my smile and let encouraging words drip from my lips when I speak with my husband on skype so that he won't be overly anxious about me or the kids.
Not my finest hour.
And then... and then.
My alarm was going off and I was trying to figure out why it was going off before daybreak and fumbling with the screen trying to unlock my phone so I could quiet the alarm. And a voice said, "Hello, honey are you there?"
"Yeaahh," my voice grunted. It finally clicked that it hadn't been my alarm going off, but rather my ringer and that my husband was on the line. "What time is it?" I asked. I took the phone away from my ear to check the time. I had been in bed a total of forty minutes.
"I don't know, but I guess what?" I could hear the smile in his voice. He didn't even wait for me to respond. "I got my paperwork and I'm getting retired. I'll be home in a month!"
And the tears came tumbling down. And joy swelled in my breast and flowed into my limbs, giving them new life and vitality. And I thought to myself, "The Lord's timing truly is perfect." Which is exactly what I posted on facebook a few hours later.
In my very darkest, bleakest hour, He brought me the light, the hope that He knew I desperately needed. In that moment when we all had reached the end of our ropes, He gave us another measure of rope to hold on to.
So many small miracles have happened for my little family this last year, too many to ever doubt God's awareness of us or His love for us. But I think this might be the biggest, most powerful message He has sent me this year.
His timing is perfect. The challenge is that we must continue to have faith in the dawn we can't see coming.
We must be willing to:
photo credit: the Mormon Channel