The Unseen Life

Someone I love recently shared they're reading a book called Unseen: The Gift of Being Hidden in a World that Loves to Be Noticed. She shared an excerpt of it via social media--the book title alone kind of rocks my world, and I've been thinking about it ever since.

Motherhood this summer has felt heavy, lonely, and hard. Thankfully I haven't felt the postpartum depression symptoms I felt after Archer was born and I can honestly say having four littles isn't as hard as I feared-- as long as a. Nobody is sick b. Everybody is fed c. There isn't anyone arguing d. We have something to keep us busy!

Mostly I still struggle with our location and my hubby's job. Location wise-- I feel like an extrovert trapped in the woods! As far as his job, Mike's hours have been craaaazy. I am used to being on my own with the kids sun up to sun down, Monday through Friday, but it is the loneliness and disconnect that really get to me. I also am starting to see how hard it is on him and the burden he bears being away from his kids, not seeing them during the week.

Neither are changing anytime soon and I am learning to embrace that. For me, this means no more Zillow searches on affordable beach towns, and not proposing a variety of career options to Mike the second he finishes dinner and sits down on the couch to relax. 

My life is my life, is my life, is my life... 

As in every season, I cannot imagine motherhood without clinging to my faith. All the self-sacrifice that raising kids can bring just requires something so much deeper than my own happiness and good attitude can muster up. Even a huge cup of coffee can't ignite in me a passion for finishing the mountain of laundry or dishes that seems to accumulate around this house every day around 11 am. The best conversation with the best friend cannot equip me to talk Emmy and Mack through yet another argument over squirt guns or lego towers. Listening to a podcast or reading an awesome book doesn't motivate me to get up from the couch to get the baby out of the crib that started crying the moment I finally sat down. Even a weekend away can't refresh my brain from the mental load of caring for little ones that instantly weighs on my mind each moment I'm in my home, loving these precious babes, keeping them safe, meeting their needs, protecting their hearts, shaping their character.

I cried really hard to Mike a few weeks ago. I had gone out after the kids went to bed to water the flowers and saw the prettiest sunset through the trees. It was my first time all day getting to really see the sky! I was already on edge and feeling melancholy-- earlier in the day, a friend had posted a picture on social media of himself with a big group of people eating at my favorite pizza place in Chicago. It wasn't the pizza that broke my heart, it was the memory of a big group of people sitting around the table, talking and laughing. It has been like literally years since I did that-- sat around the table with a big group of people I loved who really saw and knew me-- and I began to long for another life and another time. I am thankful for a husband that pursues and sees me and knows when I'm not doing well. He kept asking questions and of course I poured out all my feelings and absurd thoughts for him! I said things like-- "Why did I even go to college or grad school?! What was the point? Why did I even bother making friends if I was never going to see them again? What was the point of living for 27 years with an ACTUAL PERSONALITY if nobody cares about anything from me other than if I'm providing them with the proper snack that day? How can anyone thrive in life if they spend all day doing things they suck at, but then still feel guilty EVERY night that they didn't do enough!?"

I'm pretty sure at one point in my venting session I told him the old, fun me was dead and the kids killed her-- dramatic much?!

But I write all this to say that if you are living an "unseen life," I totally get it. There is no glamour, no pat on the back, no glory, not even anything to post about. The beauty is really behind the scenes-- it is hidden, happening in the hearts of my children and the rhythms of our home and I know I will someday look back and see the joyful family that each small, hard decision built. It is a little seed, planted beneath the surface in the dark dirt that may not bloom for years to come, perhaps not even in my lifetime, but it matters greatly to the One who makes all things grow, who makes all things new, who makes all things good.

God's word has seriously been my lifeline the last few months of parenting. There is such a pull to create a worldly life that ultimately will not matter. An internet life. A life of an empty shell- that is so pretty and perfectly crafted on the outside but inside is shallow and dull. Part of me believes that kind of life will make me happy! Maybe if I finally start to do something I love, I'll be happy! If we actually get time away for a vacation, I'll be happy! If I live near my family, I'll be happy! If I join this group or try this hobby, I'll be happy! If I had what she had-- I'd be happy! I feel the pull allllll the time. God's word grounds me back to reality, takes me back to what matters, what's lasting, and ultimately the only thing that can really satisfy my wild and searching heart.

These are a few verses that have encouraged me lately. I downloaded this great app a few months ago called "She Reads Truth." Some of the reading plans are free, some are $1.99. If you don't have any experience reading the Bible, maybe this is a great place to start. They pull a few different passages together on a topic, then you can scroll right to read a quick, relevant devotion on that topic. Another good book to start with is Jesus Calling. The days I spend time reading, praying, and journaling are seriously dramatically different than the ones I don't. They are for sure NOT easier, but I have something fueling me that actually lasts longer than the little boost I get when I scroll through Instagram first thing (even though I still do!) Yes, Archer still climbs the pantry, pulling out bags of rice and dumping pasta in his wake... Emmy still blasts her favorite song Taylor Swift's "22" on repeat... Mack never stops talking, offering me a running commentary on all his trains, trucks, and planes... and sweet Charlie is basically perfect so he doesn't do much to get on my nerves (yet!)... these little ones need a lot from me these days and I'm so, so thankful to have something other than "myself" to give. 

"Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you."
James 1:2-5

"Wonderful are your works! My soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written-- every one of them-- the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them"
Psalm 139:15-16

"Let us not grow weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up"
Galatians 6:9

"...my soul is downcast within me-- but this I call to mind, therefore I have hope. Because of the Lord's great love, we are not consumed. His compassions never fail-- they are new every morning."
Lamentations 3:22-23

1 comment:

  1. THIS IS SO REAL AND GOOD AND TRUE. I feel you {fist pump} and I see you and I am you and how thankful am I for a God who cares about it all.

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