This Is Life

My chest feels tight with stress. My mind is fighting worry. Just when I manage to slow down my anxious heart, something else piles onto the load I’m carrying.

But this is life.

This is life when you’re about to have abdominal surgery and are told to expect a month-long recovery time (during which you’re not allowed to lift your babies). When your washing machine has been broken for going on three weeks with no end in sight. When all four tires need to be replaced unexpectedly. When you receive a letter less than a week before your surgery notifying you that your car has an urgent safety recall (again) and needs to be repaired now. When your kids roll from one illness into another, week after week. When your husband’s plane breaks down in another state and doesn’t come home the night you expect. When you spend your day cleaning up poop accidents and vomit. When someone tells you that the hospital where you’re about to have surgery in 7 days might have suddenly been dropped from your insurance. When you realize that by the time you recover from surgery, it will almost be time for another “see you soon” with your military hero. When you can’t even poor yourself a glass of wine after the kids go to bed because they suddenly refuse to fall asleep alone. When you wake up nauseous every morning because your gallbladder sucks at doing its job. When you fall asleep in pain because a hernia is pushing through a hole in your abdomen.  When you have a lot of unanswered questions and you hate unknowns. When all the people you would normally process your worries with live on the opposite side of the country in a different time zone. When you’ve agreed to write an article about prayer and grief for an editor, but get stuck in your own grief just trying to put words on paper. When you spend large portions of each day wiping urine off the bathroom walls, floor, and toilet (knowing full-well it will be covered with pee as soon as your son needs to go again). When toddler emotions bubble over and sibling fights seem never-ending. When your children freeze in the middle of their shenanigans to look at you like you’ve lost your mind because you’re praying out-loud for God to fill you with his patience. When you suspect your three-year-old sneaks off to law school in the middle of the night because his negotiation tactics and logic-based arguing are irritatingly impressive.  When you look at your day and choose to laugh because crying will take even more of your energy.

This is life. At least, that’s my life this week.

But life is also watching your toddler son strut around the local store decked out head-to-toe in the police uniform he created all on his own. Rocking your babies to sleep and brushing the hair out of their eyes in the middle of the night. Witnessing the enthusiasm in your 18-month-old’s face as she dances to her own tune. Snuggling with your kids under the biggest blanket you can find while reading the same books over and over again for an hour. Being your son’s copilot while he teaches you the ins and outs of the C-130, F-16, and American Airlines’ planes. Playing grocery store with your kids instead of doing dishes. Throwing a Firehouse Subs hat on your head and fighting imaginary fires with hoses made out of fishing poles instead of folding laundry. Holding back tears while your son asks his sister to dance and sings her a song about how much he loves her. Having your husband surprise you with roses and hold you in his arms. Having your mom and mother-in-law selflessly agree to come help you despite the distance, time, and cost. Receiving encouraging phone calls and texts from friends back home. Finding a surprise bag of clothes on your doorstep from another thoughtful friend. Breathing in the joys and blessings that abound in your life, and letting go of all the other stuff. Relaxing in your faith that God is ultimately in control and He will sustain you through your weary days.

This is life. And I am crazy thankful to be living it!

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