Monday, September 15, 2014

Finding freedom in the wastelands

I was stressed and angry. I had lost sight of what’s important in parenting. I couldn’t see beyond minor inconveniences and infractions to regain perspective of what actually matters. I blamed others in my mind for my weariness.

And my tears and words exploded all over Greg while we drove to Nashville for a delayed anniversary overnight date. As we drove away from the soccer fields where both kids had games earlier in the day, I didn’t want to go. I was tense and mad.

But we went. I cried and screamed and confessed. He listened and suggested and reminded me of truth. He told me it was going to be a good night. Even though I was hesitant to believe him, I hoped he was right.

My life is good. My kids are smart, healthy, and funny. My marriage is better than it’s ever been. Yet I’ve been feeling angry and weary. I sort of knew why but I was struggling to process.

Greg helped me with that. He loved me despite my feelings and lack of perspective. By the time we reached our dinner destination, my heart and soul were calmer and I didn’t want to yell anymore.

At one point during dinner, Greg and I were talking about how parenting is hard, how we’re all broken, and how the two of us needed to refocus. And then he said, “You should blog about that.”

“About what?”

“This. You should blog about how parenting is hard.”

So here it is: Parenting is hard. For me, specifically, parenting my boy is hard.

I love him. I love his laugh and his sweet, kind ways. But I don’t get why he thinks peeing in trash cans right next to toilets is a good idea. I don’t get why his speech has regressed and he now sometimes puts a “th” sound in place of “s.” I don’t get why boys do what boys often do.

I’ve been caught up in controlling Ben’s behavior and not teaching his heart and mind. I’ve been angry that I feel like I’m failing him and squashing his energy and joy in the process. I’ve been frustrated I don’t know how to do this.

Greg reminded me that even while this season is hard with him that we are not failing him. Readjusting and refocusing is necessary, but we’re doing some things right.

{I've said it before: Age 4 has been my least favorite age with both my kids. Even with their different personalities, nothing has challenged me more than parenting a 4-year-old. I may change my story when they’re teenagers, but this what I know now.}

On Saturday, Greg and I ate dinner and talked. We went to Target and CVS. We sang along to NEEDTOBREATHE songs on preparation for the concert that prompted our date.

I felt free again.

And that was before the concert that was exactly why my weary soul needed. When I bought the tickets months ago, I had no idea how perfect the timing would be. I was one of 4,500 people there, but NEEDTOBREATHE had a message I needed to hear.

Last week while working through the lesson in “Breaking Free” by Beth Moore, I read Isaiah 43:19:

“For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness. I will create rivers in the dry wasteland.”

I recognized the words from NEEDTOBREATHE's newest album. But I recognized the meaning from my own life.

Looking back, God was preparing me for Saturday night. Greg and I sang along with NEEDTOBREATHE at an amphitheater surrounded by trees. The weather was cooler than usual and felt perfect. I laid down some burdens and filled my head with what I believed to be true.

Of the two videos I found online from Saturday’s concert, one was lead singer Bear Reinhart talking about what he learned about God doing a new thing in his wasteland before he and the band played the song my soul needed. {Watch here.}

And I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised God was reminding me about LIGHT. Again. It’s truly become the theme of my year. “In this wasteland where I'm living, there is a crack in the door filled with light. And it's all that I need to shine.” Those words from NEEDTOBREATHE's “Wasteland” reminded me of a post I wrote earlier this year.

This was only one song and one message. There were others. But this is what I’m holding onto today because it echoes what God has been telling me. I’m so grateful for the soul relief that came with a reminder God is indeed doing something new.

I'm linking up with the weekly Soli Deo Gloria Sisterhood Gathering, Holley Gerth's Coffee for Your Heart, Jennifer Dukes Lee's #TellHisStory, and Lyli Dunbar's Thought-Provoking Thursday.

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  1. So needed this, especially today with my boy! If you find the way let me know. But I keep telling myself breath, God's got this!! Thanks for sharing this!!

  2. KristinHillTaylor9/15/2014 7:40 PM

    God does have it. He has us and our boys in his hands. It's good for me to remember I'm not alone, even though I have no idea what I'm doing! :) I'm glad you were encouraged today.

  3. YES! We are not along. Not sure if I should laugh or cry, as little man is only 3 1/2 and your saying year 4!!! :)

  4. KristinHillTaylor9/15/2014 9:03 PM

    It's been 4 around here with both my kids, so maybe it's just me. :)

  5. Parenting IS hard. I am grateful for the rejuvenation that God brought to your heart and soul and I also love this revelation you had: "even while this season is hard with him that we are not failing him." As a perfectionist, I think everything that is not perfect equates to failure. But this simply isn't true. And even if failure does come in some form, God can redeem all things.

  6. Smiling as I read about your little boy. Especially since I only had girls. ha. I just know God will give me a grandson to show me how much I need to learn! :) I'm glad you were able to enjoy your night. You have a wise husband who suggested you blog about this. I'm glad you did!

  7. Thank you for sharing your heart, I have been feeling similar, and these words reminded me that it's okay to be human and that we all struggle.:)

  8. KristinHillTaylor9/17/2014 1:46 PM

    It's not true, that's for sure, but that is a hard lesson for people like us to learn. :) Glad to be on this journey with you, Jen!

  9. KristinHillTaylor9/17/2014 1:47 PM

    Trust me, you can't help smiling around Ben. But that doesn't mean parenting is easy, as I know you know. :) It's good to see your smiling face here, Lisa!

  10. KristinHillTaylor9/17/2014 1:47 PM

    Human, indeed. And that's who we are meant to be. Hope you see God doing something new in your wastelands too, Katie!

  11. Such great words here . . . thank you for sharing. So appreciated your admission of the hardness of parenting. It is wonderful and yet difficult, joy-filled and makes you crazy all at the same time. So strange how something can be wonderful and difficult simultaneously! So glad you were encouraged in our great God. May He continue to strengthen you emotionally and physically in the coming days.

  12. KristinHillTaylor9/17/2014 2:23 PM

    Yes, you nailed it - wonderful and difficult simultaneously. I'm glad I'm not alone in that. :) Thanks for your encouragement, Jessica.