I’m a wife and mother of three who just discovered I don’t know how to take emotional breaks from my family. Physical breaks I get. Step away, take a shower, go for a drive. But the emotions don’t shut off. In fact, in times of reflection alone, they typically intensify.
Everyone in my family is going through something significant at the moment, and my built-in empathy drive is starting to spin too fast. As I reflect on the last two months of quarantine, I realize I’ve been this way for a while, and it’s finally catching up to me.
For example, I don’t know how to help my husband’s work situation. How to ease the pain and anxiety pressing in on him. This is one of the most difficult things he’s ever faced and I feel powerless to stop it.
My son’s mad at me for telling him to be careful again with something delicate. I’m flustered, and he’s flustered. Now, there’s a mixture of mom-guilt as I wonder if I’ll ever figure out how best to handle this.
Once more, I seek to find that line between helping my child understand a life lesson and showing grace.
I feel his anger and frustration, his yearning for me to respect him. I want him to know with every fiber of my being that I do while realizing I have no power to make him truly believe it.
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I don’t know how to process my daughter’s school year coming to a close 10 minutes ago. First, I heard the sound of her saying goodbye to her class through a screen, then I heard the soft closing of the computer lid. The room filled with such intense silence. It stayed that way for a long time. Her loneliness weighs on my heart, but I am powerless to bring her classroom back together today. In the meantime, I offer mom-hugs and a listening ear, knowing I still can’t fix all the wounds.
My toddler’s sole objective is to empty every cupboard and shelf she can find. It’s normal and healthy for her to be curious, and I exercise patience knowing this too shall pass. But some days, it chips away at my energy and my emotions feel gutted. I eventually feel frustrated with nowhere to let that out. It’s certainly not her fault.
As I write these words on my phone, slumped next to a heap of laundry I am too tired to fold right now, I pause and scroll down my digital notepad. I see something that stops me. It’s a message I wrote one week before schools closed their doors for the quarantine. It speaks directly to my soul.
Jesus is at the center of my family.
I know we’re not perfect, but having Him as our foundation helps us understand incredible, dare I say radical, ideas like unconditional love, having a servant’s heart, and being quick to forgive.
Jesus is at the center of our marriage.
No matter what life throws our way, and it has hurdled some stuff, let me tell you, we have the constant assurance that we both signed the dotted line knowing Jesus was the rock in this marriage.
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Jesus is at the center of my life.
There’s no telling what life will throw my way, but I never have to face it alone. Even in my darkest moments, Jesus will be there and will help me carry those burdens every step of the way.
How quickly I forget sometimes.
How easily I lock eyes on my own turmoil and allow myself to spiral down into a muddy pit.
I believe this is, after all, to be human. But God, the Rescuer, never wishes for His beloved children to stay down there forever.
Not every day is sunny. I won’t hide that. But I also know hope in Christ and the promises He made will win the day.
After mentally scooting out of the driver’s seat of my life for the 7,386th time and allowing Jesus to take the wheel, I know my path to discouragement has already slowed. I start to feel less numb, less apathetic, less empty.
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God gave me this incredible family, and even on my hardest day, I wouldn’t trade them, or the emotions that come along, for the universe. My tank may need some refilling and I may need to pause and let someone else adult for a second while I rest my emotions, and that’s OK too. I will figure out what that looks like along the way.
I wasn’t meant to carry this load on my own. The One who is strong enough helped me remember that today.
“I waited patiently for the Lord;
he turned to me and heard my cry.
He lifted me out of the slimy pit,
out of the mud and mire;
he set my feet on a rock
and gave me a firm place to stand.”
– Psalm 40:1-2