Way back in January I compared life to that of the Alaskan tree frog. I think you’ll all agree that it might have stretched the joys of having a metaphor for life a bit too far. That aside, the point was that I felt very frozen, dead even. I knew spring would come, and summer eventually, and life would happen again but I was living in a very real death. My whole immediate environment was the two small people I look after all day and night. There was no glimmer of light through the canopy of trees around me (yeah we’re back to the glade metaphor, keep up will you?). Life had hemmed me in. I felt frozen out of friendships and of using vast portions of my brain and gifts.
(Well, I was overusing the bits of my brain that look after children- anyone who says being a stay at home mum is brain numbing is doing us all a disservice. Bits of the brain are numb but the time juggling, creative, inventive, training parts of the brain are alive and well but just very child focused…)
It was a fairly bleak picture. The only thing keeping me sane was the knowledge that it wasn’t the end picture. It was just a season. Winters are always followed by spring. Even really long seemingly never ending winters are. Even this winter we live in now will end when the final spring dawns and the joyful morning chorus will burst from our lungs as our Maker makes everything new for the last time.
I think the thaw is happening. I think it’s more than a thaw, I think it’s finally Spring.
Oh so slowly I can feel my limbs tingling again. I can feel the warm sunshine penetrating to the dark corners of my soul and I can feel life again.
It crept up on me at Word Alive. We had a beautiful weekend with reminders of our Gods big fat crazy love for us, we felt the Spirit speak to our hearts, we repented, we cried out to our God for help and he heard. Jesus showed up and drenched our souls in living refreshing water. We had space away from our kids, we had time with friends chatting over life and sharing what God was up to in us all. We drank wine and we occasionally slept.
When we got home I felt like I’d actually had a holiday for the first time since son2 was born. I felt refreshed. We had another beautiful day in the holidays without the boys, chatting to friends, delighting in God’s work in their lives and enjoying a long lazy fish filled lunch remembering how to have conversations without small people needing our attention.
These breaks have done me good.
This is the end of the first week back in term life and I have enjoyed my boys all week. Sure, I’ve shouted and got grumpy at times but I’ve apologised and we’ve moved on. My failure to love well hasn’t defined our days. It has brought me back to my need of forgiveness and the wonder of it freely given to me.
Son2 is 6 months old now and we can manage more time apart from each other. He’s started eating and, although he still doesn’t sleep much, he’s easier during the days. Son1 is delightful and frustrating in equal measure but I’m starting to get that his frustrating side comes out most when I am unsettled and distracted. It’s a fascinating process watching him play off my moods. Somehow we have to learn how to deal with that, but knowing about it is a good start. I love chatting to him and seeing how he makes sense of this world.
This week I also started back in my role at church of looking after our small groups (all two of them) and leaders. I remembered my love of encouraging people to pay attention to God and my love of seeing him at work. It was a treat to feel like this wasn’t a burden but something that gave me life.
Today I went back to the crèche attached to our local swimming pool with both of them. It was the first time in 6 months. I had another sense of bumping into ghosts from the past. There was the me with Son1 at 6 months, scared and unsure of what to do. Today it felt so much more straightforward to drop them off, I knew what I was doing and I was confident they’d be ok for an hour or so whilst I swam.
It was another step in spring appearing. I swam and swam and found my thoughts again. My little writer who has been languishing at the back of my brain burst to the forefront of my mind with excitement and started to scribble. My body loved the rhythm it has known since I was 11. I felt like me. Whole and alive.
I still feel like me sitting in my car with both boys snoring away as I write and write. Spring is here. There is more space to think. Obviously the trees still surround me, horizons remain limited but clearing has taken place, I can glimpse the view beyond them, I can see how I can bring others into this space and paths lead out of my glade, ready for exploring every now and again.
This week Husbandface got offered a promotion, after a gruelling few days of interview he is now going to be an assistant Head (one step below a deputy head) at his school. For a brief moment I got jealous of his professional achievements, before delighting in them. But then I looked at my life and realised I wouldn’t want it any other way.
The core of our lives isn’t made up in our jobs or lack of job, my core isn’t resting on being a stay at home mum. Our core being rests on our belonging to the Maker of the world and being loved by him. That frees us to excel in the places he’s put us. Husbandface at school and me largely at home and beyond. I support him in his work and he supports me in the varied mix of life I’m involved in, the boys, ministry stuff I do and friendships that I have. I like this life we have. I like being of worth and value just because I’m me. I like being loved so much that I can spill it abundant on my boys and those who I encounter each day.
So there you have it. The thaw is on. Spring is here. Being a pessimist I would like to point out that this might all change after another annoying night with the small one but for now it’s pretty darn good around these parts.
(see told you the little writer had a lot to scribble about…)