First off, I want to apologize for taking such a long break since my last blog! Life has a habit of happening, and I hadn’t had a chance to just sit down and write.
For the last few months, it has been heavy on my heart to reach out to other moms, and relate with them. I just want to be real. I think a lot of us are so busy trying to be the perfect mom, or wife, or girlfriend, or daughter, that we forget that WE ARE NOT PERFECT! I think we’d all like to think we are perfect, but why? Are we comparing ourselves to others? Are we trying to “one up” and somehow be better? Face it ladies, we’ve all done that a time or two, but that doesn’t make it right!
I want to be so real with you that you see some of my vulnerability. If you know me at all, you know I hate to be wrong, I hate to ask for things, and I hate being embarrassed. But to top it all off, my biggest fear is failing. I’m afraid that I won’t be a good wife. I’m afraid that I won’t be a good mom. I’m afraid that I won’t lead well in our church. I don’t want to fail.
As many of you know, I had a baby in October. We had planned that after my two month leave, I would go back to work. But, once I saw how cute, how needy, and how precious my little baby girl was, I didn’t want to give anyone else the opportunity to raise her, because I wanted to be the one to do so! So I decided to stay at home with her! What I did realize was that our finances would be tight for a little while. What I didn’t realize were that finances were going to be REALLY tight for a little while.
When you’re pregnant, everyone tells you how expensive babies are. Whatever, right? No… they were SO RIGHT! From diapers, to bottles, to bottle cleaners, to wipes, more diapers, clothes, bibs, spoons, more diapers, pacifiers, ETC. They are SO expensive! I knew that a baby would be expensive, but I didn’t realize the toll that a baby would actually take on our finances. So, not only was I now staying at home, but we also had a baby to pay for, without the extra income.
Not only was the money situation stressful, but we were stressed in so many others ways. We were taking care of a human being. She had to eat, she had to be changed, her face had to be wiped, and usually the floor or whatever she had gotten all over you. We were brand new parents and it was stressful!
I had a horrible experience on the day that Opal was born and I had fallen into depression. Not so deep that I really realized I was depressed, but enough to where it was hard for me to do anything. Sure, I put on a happy face at church, or at the store, or even at family events, but I wasn’t okay. I was so angry with God. He hadn’t done what I asked for with so many things surrounding Opal’s birth, that I was mad- no- furious with Him. (Kind of like what a spoiled brat does when they don’t get what they want!) I pouted, I drug my feet, and I just didn’t care. Not only was I upset, but I seemed to lose myself. I’m a mom, now what?
By that comment, I don’t mean that being a mom wasn’t enough for me, because that is FAR from the truth. Being a mom is what I always dreamed of! But it was like something was still missing. Maybe my sense of purpose or the thought that now I had found my purpose and God was totally done with me. That’s what it seemed like at the time, and that’s how I felt. But y’all, that was so far from the truth.
One month, in particular, we were struggling SO much that we truly had no idea how we were going to make things work. We had gone without buying groceries for weeks, and our diet basically consisted of ramen noodles or spaghetti because we couldn’t afford anything else! Thank God we were able to get help for Opal’s formula! (Never be ashamed for needing help! Especially if you need formula, or even food! It doesn’t matter what other people think of you. If you or your baby need to eat, you dang sure better do what you need to make that happen!)
Our marriage was struggling, because all we talked about was money and the lack of it. We usually had a back up plan if something didn’t work, but we had run out of savings that we stored while I worked during my pregnancy and no longer had a second paycheck coming in. We had bills upon bills stacking up, especially doctor bills from delivering Opal (which I also wasn’t prepared for!). We should have been more prepared, but we weren’t and now who knew what was going to happen!
I remember that day, it still brings tears to my eyes, that we checked our bank account and we had 18 cents. 18 CENTS! Not dollars, cents. I just remember being so overwhelmed that I left Opal and Ethan in the living room to take a shower, so I could cry freely without anyone feeling sorry for me. I started bawling. You know that point where you have such a headache, and your eyes burn, but you still can’t stop crying? Ya, that was me! I talked to God and told Him how upset I was and how much of a failure I was and lost it. I remember that day, at one of my lowest points, I got down on my knees, in the shower and wept. I cried out to the Lord for help, because at that point, it’s all I could do. I remember an overwhelming peace sweeping over me, and I even remember saying, “God, I give it to you. Our lives, our finances, our future, everything, I give it to you.” I got up, wiped the tears off my face, got out of the shower and told Ethan (my husband) we were going to be okay. And we were. I can’t remember exactly what happened that day, but I remember being amazed at what God did. It was almost like He picked us up out of a crummy, nasty, muddy ditch, and put us on dry ground.
That was months ago, and we still struggle from time to time, but like in that situation, God has always been faithful! Whether wondering how we were going to pay a certain bill or how we were going to buy birthday presents, He has ALWAYS been faithful.
I didn’t share this story so you could feel sorry for me. Because, in fact, I know we have all faced something similar. Not everyone struggles financially, or even with depression, but we’ve all struggled with something. That something could be a broken marriage, that something could be believing the lies that you aren’t good enough or worth it, that something could be not being able to find a job, it can be ANYTHING! I don’t want you to feel sorry for me. I want you to realize that we all struggle. No mother is better than another. No person is better than another. God loves us all the same, and all equally.
I think the reason God let’s us struggle sometimes is so we can become stronger. I KNOW I am absolutely stronger since that day and it’s all because God used that situation to show me many things. It’s not all about money. Yes, it is stressful, and yes, we need it to pay bills, buy food, etc. But money isn’t everything. Do you know what my husband said about a month after that awful day when we found out we basically had NO money??? He said, “The day we only had 18 cents is the day I realized we were rich.” We had each other. Even though everything around us looked like total chaos and we had no idea how to make ends meet, we had our love, our friendship, our new family, but most of all, our loving Father watching over us! God wanted us to trust Him. When everything is perfect and there are no worries at all, we sometimes forget that we still need to trust God!
I also think we go through struggles, so that during the next struggle, we can remember what God brought us through. Even today, if there’s a bill we’re worried about paying, or we’re trying to figure things out, we both remember this day and remember that God got us through it once, and He’ll absolutely do it again! We have always had what we needed, because God always comes through!
I want to encourage you if you’re struggling right at this very moment. Don’t be afraid to reach out to family or friends, but especially to the one who created Heaven and Earth. Get in a quiet, secret place, whether that be a closet, your bedroom, or even your backyard, and talk with Him. Tell Him how you feel! So many of us believe that since God knows about it, we don’t have to tell Him. But that’s so not true! God WANTS to hear your struggles, your complaints, your worries, because He CARES for you! He doesn’t want to see you fail! He wants to help you where you are! He loves you so much that He sent His ONLY Son to die for you! That’s a pretty big love if you ask me!
So if you’re stressing or worrying about something right now, rest assured. Give it to God and watch Him work.