Thursday, March 24, 2016

Enjoy -vs- Joy

I have been pondering this a lot lately.  Joy is something we are called to fight for.

"Rejoice in the Lord always, again I say rejoice!"  
Philippians 4:4

So, with that in mind what about the hard days? The days when you wake up feeling weary from the go, and no one feels sorry for you and you just want to go back to bed and reset?  Still called to "rejoice?"  Well I had this epiphany.  We are called to fight for joy, but there is a difference between having "joy" and "enjoying" difficulty.

A few weeks ago I had one of those TKO weeks in motherhood.  It was like a volcano erupted and even though each individual thing wasn't all that bad, it was everything combined that was so heavy I felt crushed under it all.  

It started with Mo going from peaceful angelic baby to screamer like the flip of a switch.  She was screaming sometimes on and off for hours in the evening and that is enough to grate anyone's nerves.  Then she seemed to get a cold along with Miles as well which resulted in some sad whiny days, but I was still hanging on at this point.  But after a few days of the screaming I was feeling frayed, cue Micah throwing up all over the living room and I lost it.  NOT pretty.  In front of all of my kids, while feeding Moriah, looking like a crazy lunatic I sobbed. Miya being the tender one she is sobbed with me telling me it would all be ok. I don't remember actually saying anything intelligible between the sobs while Lew tried to comfort me, but I think something along the lines of "I can't take one more thing, I can't do this!"   I know it seems dramatic, but can I just say why is it that kids don't seem to know they need to throw up?  And WHY do they move around while throwing up only to spread it as far and wide as they can?  That will forever be a mystery to me.  Either way after my sob fest I manned up and we proceeded to tackle the mess and create a bunker for the sick one who I was determined to keep from the other kids.  Only I turn around and what is Miles doing but drinking out of the cup that Micah had been drinking out of all day.  More tears from me.  

We made it through that day and after 2 days I was feeling a little secure with the fact that no one else got it, although Miya wakes up with a fever.  Dun Dun Dun.  I decided to keep her home, hoping her tough immune system would begin fighting soon.  Friday comes and we greet the day of the "procedure". Lew had put this on the calendar pretty much immediately after Mo was born.  He was counting down as if it was an awesome vacation, or a sporting event he had been waiting for.  Only, it was just a vasectomy.  But still, he was so so ready to have it done.  I was hesitant.  What if one of the other kids gets sick, what if Miya starts throwing up?  How will I handle it all on my own?  I still had PTSD from the trauma of a few days prior.  I was not sure I could handle anything else.  But I knew he was not going to be ok with rescheduling.  So, he leaves for his procedure.  

An hour later Milo comes wandering down with no clothes on, not all that weird for him.  I get him dressed and we go about our morning.  An hour later I go upstairs to his room to discover chunks of orange all over his floor, all over his bed..and it hits me.  Throw up.  Everywhere.   More tears, but this time I had to think fast.  No backup meant I really had no choice but to "do".  Began grabbing things and throwing them in trash bags trying to pick through what to keep and what to just trash.  Stripping sheets, and attempting to get an idea what had been touched and honestly I think he just about touched everything, bless his heart.  At this point I am still hanging in there, probably running on adrenaline. I run downstairs to start what will be many loads of laundry to find an empty bottle of laundry detergent.  Waaaah.  I feel like this is just a bad dream. But I have some amazing friends who drop off detergent and carpet cleaner AND encourage from a safe distance that everything will be ok. 

Lew comes home and the poor guy is having to hear about all the drama of the morning and of course he is helpless at this point.  And to top it off he was using padsicles as ice packs because I forgot to buy him an ice pack.  But we made it.  By the end of the day I think we both felt like we had been through a war.  It was rough, but we survived.  The days that followed were better, but still rough.  Miya ended up with an awful case of Hand Foot and Mouth that caused sores all over her mouth and pretty much led to her feeling awful for a week.  

The bottom line, I guess, is that I think as Christians we have the freedom to fight for Joy and ask God to fill us in the hard moments or days, but at the same time admit that we are not "enjoying" the struggles.  That we can freely soak up the sweet moments for what they are, while simply enduring the difficult ones just fighting to make it through.  I sometimes think there is this intense pressure as Moms to soak it up, live every moment knowing it will go fast.  That is SO true.  On the other side of it though I think we feel such guilt when we have a hard day, or a hard stretch and we feel like we should have "enjoyed it more".  And typically, as you endure you are met with an unexplained joy.

So, I made a decision that I will consciously soak up the sweet moments, every single one of them.  But in the hard moments, when I am struggling in those "stripped bare" moments of motherhood,  I will fight for joy, while giving myself the freedom to simply endure. I know the days are long and the years are short, but I also know that for freedom I have been set free not to submit to a yolk of slavery (Galatians 5:1). I think we can easily set ourselves up to be slaves of "soaking it up" that we forget we are just humans with human emotions.  It's ok to not enjoy scrubbing vomit out of the carpet.  It's ok to endure car trips with a screaming baby and at the end say "glad that's over".  Freedom.

This verse came to mind:

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.

Hebrews 12:1-2

Even Jesus despised the shame of the cross. He ENDURED the cross. He didn't enjoy it. He had to persevere in joy. And because of Him we can do the same.


Jen Capellman said...

Love you! Thank you for sharing this.

Laura said...

Love you to the moon Jen! Glad to have you as a friend!