Weary from the Battle

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Writing has been too difficult lately. How much do I tell? I am a transparent person but lately I have wanted to hide….hide from myself, hard truths, life, and everyone else. Why? Disappointment, shame, depression, fear. Some days the weight has felt unbearable like shackles around my ankles and others it has lifted like the early morning fog. Some days I have gone between the two extremes all day long depending on the circumstances. To say that it has been confusing and exhausting would not begin to define this state of struggle. Even as I write this, I want to quit. Walk away from the computer and yell, “F*** you!” But I need to push through for me and for you. For me to work on healing and for you to know you are not alone.

We have raised our children the best we know how. Mistakes along the way. Never believing that a formula would produce godly children- I think we have been pretty realistic and held our children loosely knowing God’s plan is ultimate…..but deep down we thought our children would be leaders in their faith and stand for righteousness no matter the cost. It has not happened.  Nothing prepared us for the struggles of watching our teenagers waver and fall. Curfews, apps to know where they are, becoming semi-professional investigators, and regular confrontations has left me tired. Tired from the worry. The unknown. And tired from the self-condemnation that I don’t trust God enough to know that each of my children must walk out this journey and find his own faith.

I am a self-blamer every time. Did we make a mistake with their schooling? Their friend choices? Were we too sheltering? Not enough? Did we bombard them with faith so now they resent it? As my mind reels from this self-talk insanity, I just want to go to sleep. And when I put my head on the pillow sleep hardly ever comes. I toss and turn, get up, lay down….the ritual of my nights. And when I sleep I often have those anxiety dreams where I am watching someone’s child and go out to lunch forgetting that he is asleep in the crib. I wake up believing the voice in my head that says I am not a good enough mom to be trusted with someone’s child. Not the brightest way to start the day, I guess,  but it happens.

Every day I get the privilege to take medication to my friend who is dying. She was an addict for 35 years and cannot keep the morphine or anxiety medications in her house so I take them every day to her. Because of her lifestyle, she did not raise any of her children. Living on the streets, doing drugs and prostituting did not make her a suitable mom. Oh- except the one that she had after her father impregnated her when she was 12 years old who was automatically adopted by a relative.  She has never even seen that child. She was sold  for sex to support her parents’  drug habit starting at five years old while they gave her cocaine and heroin to numb her pain. When her parents were having sex with her, she developed multiple personality disorder because the emotional trauma was so intense she had to leave her own body. Today she told me she is just too tired to keep fighting and she knows death is imminent. We cried together and then I went home to unload my groceries. Somehow the sadness does not leave me when I walk out the door. I grieve what was stolen from her by selfish, sick people but I know she has faith in Christ and she knows that she will see Jesus face to face soon. I do take rest in knowing this but I also cry heavy tears for the life she did not have.

Relationships. They are so hard. Family ones, friend ones, ministry ones….none are easy……and not because I am perfect and no one else is. Because I am imperfect and struggle with being a good friend. Lately I have not had much to invest. My hollowness has given me the sense that I don’t have much to give away. Everywhere I look I see parents who are not struggling like I am…people not burdened by the depravity of the world and carrying that weight…..peers who seem to be able to maintain friendships for decades…women who have the best dads while I have none…..and I wonder what is wrong with me. Why is life so hard for me? Am I jealous? No, just confused. Trying to figure out why I can’t turn off my emotions and my heart ache for the world’s suffering. Sometimes I just want to be able to go to the gym for a few hours with my personal trainer, eat at Crispers, go shopping, get a weekly pedicure while someone else cleans my house and picks up my kids…..because it seems to be working for A LOT of people. I wish that shoe fit me.

Churches and nonprofits are full of imperfect people and some of them are desperately broken. I don’t know why this catches me off guard sometimes because I know it is true….but it creeps up on me and it feels like a punch right to the face. Pastors (not mine) who are not fully disclosing of the truth and sit in their private quarters untouched by human brokenness…..ministry leaders who fall, remain unrepentant and take others down with them. Meanwhile, others are left to clean up the big, sloppy mess. Blows my mind.

Loving addicts and strippers is always life changing because I learn so much about myself from people who have overcome so much. But it can also be disappointing, lonely, and heartbreaking.  Having an 18 year old come into our home, we adopt her like a daughter, and months later she returns to the drugs, stripping and abusive relationships that she was escaping when she came to us in the first place.  Other women who have worked so hard to get sober find themselves relapsing and losing their children to the child welfare system forever. The addiction is greater than any other love and I have to see it, accept it, and continue to pray for a breakthrough that can only come from a life of surrender.

Somehow in this huge, sticky, messy life there is hope. Why? Because God is still good and I am still loved by Him. Even when I am untrusting, arrogant, self-dependent, and live like He never existed at all.  Some days there is only a speck of hope in me because I cannot look past my failures, disappointments and the hard road in front of me. In those moments I am trying to turn to prayer and devotion to my Creator instead of giving into the voices in my head screaming, “You are not enough.” I don’t do that most of the time but I have hope that I will get better and that I will once again find that peace that passes understanding that I once knew.

I am praying that Light will break through my hurting heart and my grieving spirit. I know the beauty of God’s light and I talk about it all the time. It just seems lately that the world is darker and my light is dimmer. I am praying for a breakthrough.

6 thoughts on “Weary from the Battle

  1. Feeling it today, this weekend just felt like an avalanche of rock and sand on my weak soul, but yesterday morning a small bird came up on our porch and hopped a bit on our porch and it was like God touched my cheek, and my heart felt the hug. Marriage and parenting, being a daughter, loving people well, I just want to be successful at it all. When I think of the cross and how He was crushed for me, I am not crushed, I must only remember. Thank you for this for many are weary, but He has won the battle. ❤️I love all you do for others and it inspires me today I this moment. Praise Hod.

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  2. You love and serve big…with that comes big rewards but unfortunately greater heartbreak. Doing God’s work is never easy but you are doing it in obedience and he will give you the strength!

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  3. This is most “real” post I have ever read about motherhood, ministry and misery for the brokenness of our sin and others-
    The biggest hug of support and high five are coming your way from me today – In the day of evil, we are called to stand !
    Standing with you today – Tracey Russell

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  4. Just read your entry, Jennie. Please know that you are not alone in the struggle. But I know how that feels. When we put our heart out there, when we serve Him big, we often experience bigger disappointments, setbacks, depression, bigger doubts… But I know you. Even as you go through the struggle, your faith is huge and just by being transparent, you strengthen all of us. Just knowing we are not alone. I get the whole teenager thing. I am praying that as parents we can mightily trust in God’s plan for our children. And pray that soon they will too. Love you.
    Kim

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  5. Jennie, I have been where you are. I am a little bit further down the road though, walking ahead. All three of our children were raised in the church, good father and mother. All three walked away from God in their teenage years and rebelled. None of the three did I get to usher joyfully from my home when they reached 18. All were ripped away. And it came as a shock to us. We though since we raised them in the church and taught them right from wrong, that they would choose right. But for a season, they did not. Of all the things I have experienced in my life, nothing ripped my heart out like that. But a couple things I learned I will pass on to you:
    1) God is the perfect father and all his children rebelled
    2) This season of life takes a lot of energy. Had I the financial ability, I would have quit work to stay home and deal with the teen age years. I know that you know they are your first priority next to your relationship with God, so you may have to lay some things down to have the emotional energy needed for this season of life. You have to take days sometimes to minister to your own emotions- a day of refreshing, a day of doing something just for you, something fun. Or you will eventually snap.

    You cannot be all things to all people right now. This season takes a lot of mental/emotional energy. To me, it was as much as when they were infants and toddlers. As they say on airplanes to first secure your own oxygen before assisting others, you have to do that here too. You have to do what it takes to remain stable and healthy, before you can help someone else.

    I can also tell you that this season will end. It will pass. God knew who he was giving these children to. He knows what He is doing. Those seeds you have planted in them all these years will not return void. But you need rest.

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