Friday, October 22, 2010

taking it all back

I have A LOT on my heart these days and a lot I want to write out, here on the blog, but it seems I don't have adequate uninterrupted time to get my thoughts together and find a good starting place, so I guess there's nothing left to do but just jump in. It's against my nerdy straight A character to not have a good intro paragraph or an outline, but I just can't get a hold on any of it enough to start... so I guess I just ask God to give me the words and move forward.

I feel guilty when you guys call me an inspiration. It makes me feel like I've unintentionally duped you or have been dishonest. It makes me feel like I shouldn't write anymore because I don't want to put on a false face or make you think I'm someone I'm not. I am a decent mother. I am an inadequate wife. I'm not writing this so you'll leave comments to reassure or affirm me. Seriously, that is the last thing I want. I just want to be real. I want to represent Jesus with my life, and when I don't, I need to confess.

There are days Matt comes through the door and I'm snarling at him... or days he comes home and I'm barely speaking. And I don't know why. He hasn't done anything. I'm just bitchy and ill. It drives me crazy not being able to pinpoint it and it drives him crazy not knowing what to expect when he walks through the door. He is so amazing, y'all. I could not ask for a better husband and father to my kids. He had never even changed a diaper before Jonah was born, but it has not slowed him down. He has jumped in, from the beginning, with both feet, helping in Jonah's care, being an equal partner. He doesn't have expectations of me. If he comes home and the house is a wreck, I'm in a bad mood, and there's no dinner, he takes Jonah from me, straightens up, and happily settles for a bologna sandwich. 

So why oh why am I so difficult?

I'm saying all of this so you'll know that I struggle. S-T-R-U-G-G-L-E with how to be a good mother AND wife. The truth is, Jonah will one day go home to be with Jesus or will live a long life, grow up, and move out, and as much as I love him and want to care for him, I made vows and promises to Matt long before Jonah came along. When Jonah's no longer here, I want to have more than a shell of a marriage. I want a rock solid foundation of love, trust, and genuinely wanting to put the needs of each other before our own. I want to treat and love him like Christ loves me. I want to let him lead and be ecstatic about following and submitting.

But man, Satan claws his way in and makes me an arrogant, selfish, pompous ass, and it sure is hard to overcome all of that.

Depressed yet?

Never fear. Aslan is on the move. God is working. I am getting my butt kicked, and I LOVE it. I am so desperately thirsty and dried up, I'm devouring our Bible study book (Satisfy my Thirsty Soul by Linda Dillow) and the Bible with excitement. I am not a non-fiction girl. I've never been able to read these type books (except Blue Like Jazz... which happens to be laugh-out-loud funny and amazing) with any real enthusiasm. But I can't get enough. And it makes me hunger for The Word like I never have before. 


And I'll tell you this (this post is all over the place... but that's not what I wanted to tell you), I am so sick of the stereotype of marriage being this "trap" where the husband is a lazy, aloof, selfish idiot and the wife is a bitchy, nagging, emotional basket case. (Okay, maybe I've been that wife a little bit, but that's not the point.)

Marriage is a gift. Children are a gift. LIFE is a gift.

And I'm taking my gifts back, thankyouverymuch. I refuse to live a mediocre life. When did life become about longing to make it to Friday, complaining to anyone who will listen on your Facebook and Twitter pages, and only seeing the negative??? (Hello Kettle, I'm Pot.) Ugh. I hate it. I want the fullness and promise of what God offers... and it's not just the promise of Heaven and Eternal Life. I mean, sure, I'm excited about that, but WHAT ABOUT RIGHT NOW?

We have been given so much more than a life of mediocrity. Everything we have or don't have. Everything we've been given or have been denied. We can use that to praise God and enrich the life we have right now. Gabe died. That sucked. Jonah has EB. That sucks. Like 90% of parents who've lost a child and/or have a child with special needs get divorced. That scares the living you-know-what out of me.

But y'all. I have Jesus. The things that have happened in our lives have brought me to this place - this dried up, oh-so-thirsty, what am I going to do place. 

Praise God!

For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom his whole family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of GodNow to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.

I'm empowered. He dwells in me. His love is beyond my wildest dreams. He can do more than I ask or imagine. I can have fullness, contentment, and complete joy in this life, right now, in this very moment. (mouth agape)

I'm working for that, folks. Scratch that. I'm accepting that gift, folks. I'm asking my Abba to bind up Satan, take away his foothold, and I'm accepting my Father's unimaginable love and unending grace. 

I am his beautiful and perfect daughter, and I deserve more than mediocrity.

I'm taking my life back. Care to join me?

(to be continued...)


RLR said...

Amen, Patrice! Amen!

Paige said...

Well said.

Unknown said...

Patrice all I can say here is "I understand" no really I do! ;)...there are somethings we just need to ride out and come out on the other end "okay"...I can't promise you that you won't feel this way again after this wave is over but you will probably do just a cm better than the last...and that's all that we can do...progress not perfection in our lives right ;)...XOXO

God'sGirl said...

I love it! Love it, love it, love it!! Thank you for sharing your heart!!

Sarah said...

I've been following your story from Fairbanks, Alaska since someone I know first posted about Jonah days after he was born. One of the things that I like best about your posts isn't that you are perfect, it is that you are really good at keeping it real. Thanks for that :)

Brooklyn said...

Well said! I love your style. You have such strength!

Julie Glover said...

Great post. I love your heart!

Shelby Baker said...

Wow! That was AH-MAZING! Well spoken!

Janel said...

You go girl!

I hear what you are saying about people saying you are an inspiration... people look at me (with my EB) and say - wow, I don't know how you do it, you have such a great attitude, what an inspiration - BS! I do it because I don't have a choice - I do it because I don't know any different - and Thank God for that! I didn't just wake up one morning and have my skin fall off - I was born with this - this is all I know. And as sad as that sounds to someone not born with it - I Thank God that I don't know a different way, I don't know a better way - this IS MY NORMAL. So, I'm glad people think that about me - hopefully it helps them in some way, hopefully it inspires them to be greatful for what they have, for whatever reason they need to believe that. But for me - I just think - Whatever, I'm just me, just a person, nothing special - and in a bad mood - NOTHING inspirational!

I hear you - and today I was thinking about my marraige and something needs to change....thank you for this post - it is inspirational and it is exactly what I needed exactly when I needed it!


Nancy said...

I so understand what you mean! My poor hubby never knows what he's going to get when he comes home. He's such a great man, husband & father. Motherhood is so trying and I feel bad I can't be a better wife. But you are right, I made promises to him before we became parents. Thanks for really making me think about stuff in your post.

Jenny said...

I need to join you!

Anonymous said...

I don't even know what to say. You just said it all. I'm with you - I'm taking it back. I wish I could come over and hug you. Mostly because I could use a hug after crying my way through this. You are so, so loved.

Jen said...

You go girl!! i love it, thank you for sharing something i really needed to hear myself right now!!

pinksarahh said...

SO SO glad I read your post today! I too, am trying to see everythign as the blessing that it truly is.

That husband, I need to be glad he loves me, no matter what. Those screamin kids, glad that they are able to scream and tip over the newly folded towels in the floor...:) God is good.

Thank you for sharing this! I needed it today and every day! I think I will check out that book , too.

jcclifton said...

Wow - great post. I too have a wonderful husband who is God's gift to me. I am on the other side though - I have raised my children and am now enjoying my granddaughter. My girls are grown and married and my son is away at college most of the time. Our marriage has always been good - we have put Jesus at the center of our home - but our marriage is GREAT now - we love each other more today than we did yesterday and the day before that. Yes, we wasted alot of time/energy on the day to day stuff - but today at almost 50 years old - I can say that I don't live for Friday - I live and love each day as it comes - and I love my husband so much it hurts. It is good that you realize now what it took me years to learn - but the sad thing is that you will have to learn it everyday - but don't give up! Thanks for being real.

Unknown said...

this blog sent chills up and down my spine. thank you

Candi said...

Such a great, HONEST post. Isn't it great to have a friend in Jesus & to know that we are NEVER alone and that we will ALWAYS have him by our sides.

Thanks for sharing your story.

I'm Erin. said...

I can totally relate to what you've posted. Both being a not-so-wonderful wife at times, and also not living in the riches that I have in Jesus.
What a great reminder!
I follow your blog and Tripp's as well, and I make it a point to pray for your marriages.
Marriage is hard enough before adding in the unfathomable stress of a child with a terrible chronic illness.
I will continue to pray that God will bless you all.

Total side note-- you accidentally typed that you made "vowels and promises" to your hubby.
Made me laugh a little ;)
Now go stand by your vowels! ;)

Kristy said...

Amen! This is exactly what Keith and I have been feeling lately - that life is living us, instead of us living life. AND that we should be living it totally for Jesus!

Mom of Carson, 7, EBS

Della said...

am there.

no sick children, but other struggles are right on.

i'm signing up for your claims too k?

Sarah said...

And now I'm all teared up! Thanks for the reminder. I love Linda Dillow. Her other book "Calm My Anxious Heart" has given me a whole new perspective. Thanks for being real.

Sarah said...

Another Amen from me. This is my favorite post of yours ever. I, too, have to work every day on not being in a bad mood by the time by husband gets home. Somedays I get it right, other days my husband extends me more grace than I deserve. But I have seen too many empty marriages when the kids leave and it has scared me straight. I want my husband to want to be around me (easier said than done, but worth fighting for). Plus its way more enjoyable in the meantime! Thanks for being vulnerable and honest.

Rhonda said...

Sounds like depression to me, Patrice. My husband suffered with my moods for years. Stress does terrible things to brain chemistry. Please google the signs of depression. If you answer yes to most of the questions...there is help available. Medication saved my marriage and gave me 'myself' back.

Jessica said...

Go. Go. Go. This is good.
First step to taking your life back...getting over yourself. Realizing where you are coming up short and asking God to give you strength to make it right.
He's a good God.
Sending love.

Jessica said...

Dear Jonah...
your mom just totally said bitchy and ass. She rocks.
such a cool mom.
my mom is psycho sometimes too, but i love her anyways. Sometimes she growls at my dad and gets a bit weird but we love her anyways.
peace out.
{18 mths and rocking my first cast cause I jumped off the couch and broke my leg}

Jenn said...

Dude, all this time I thought we were pretty perfect. Thanks for bursting my bubble. :) Love you, girl!

Sarah said...

Realizing that marriage and children are gifts is such a wonderful light bulb moment. No matter how many times it's been "preached" to us we never truly understand it until that moment when we realize that we don't deserve any of it. I don't have a special needs child, but I have and regularly still do struggle with that being happy thing. I don't know you at all, but through your words on your blog it seems that we see your heart, and your heart if full of love and longing for Christ and that is the most beautiful heart you can have. None of us will ever be good enough wives or mommies, but we'll dang sure keep trying. I think the reason I think you're an inspiration is that all the work you have to do everyday just to keep Jonah healthy and happy makes me look like the biggest lazy a$$ in the world, haha!
Thanks for such an honest post, it's good to hear it from other mommies. I hope you feel better soon, we're rooting for ya!

Unknown said...

Patrice, I haven't posted before as I think we are just giving you one more thing to do having to read all our comments!! But today I can't help it. You said you feel guilty that we think you are an inspiration - Please remember you inspire us by just being the way you are. Not by doing extra posts, adding extra photos or staying up late to master uploading video for us all! Not by being perfect all the time or being the best mother and wife. Just by being you. Funny, needy, unsure, grumpy, tired, are all these things and many, many more. Most people who inspire others never set out to do that - we are just lucky when someone like that comes along. Continue to keep it real, continue to be aware of all the things you have posted about today. When it is all becoming too much for me I like to remember the phrase "it won't always be like this."

Maryellen said...

Great post Patrice !
I'm with ya sister !

Emilie said...

Even though I don't have the same religious views as you do, this post really resonated with me. Thanks for being so cool and open and honest. I have read your blog since Jonah was born and I feel like I know and care about you so much through this blog. (weird and cool, right?). Just saying thank you and keep on keepin' on. :)

Laura A said...

Amen, Amen and Amen.

This is what I love about you, Patrice - you are not afraid to show us who you are and where you are. And the reason we all think you are an "inspiration" isn't because you're some lady of steel with a cape and wings. It's because you are real. And you are honest. And you are broken before Jesus. And you realize that without Him you can do nothing.

Whew. :)

Mommy-hood tends to bring out the "snarky" in all of us. And sadly, I think our husbands often become the prime snark-targets. Maybe it's because we know they will love us without condition. It's kind of like my 4-year old's behavior right now. She has been AMAZING at pre-K - no melt-downs, following rules, being kind, etc. But when she gets home, oh boy...steer clear! (At least for a couple of hours anyway.) My theory on that is that she feels secure enough and loved enough at home to know that we'll always love her despite her snarkiness. I think it's the same way with husbands and wives (at least with Jeff and me anyway!) That doesn't make it right - and it's so awesome that you want to break that chain.

Ok, I have rambled on way more than I intended to. Again, THANK YOU for being transparent and sharing your heart with all of us. My prayers are continually with you, Matt and sweet Jonah (who, by the way, ROCKS the collared shirt!)

Love from TX!

The Greene's said...

Thank you for being transparent and giving me a good kick in my butt!

Today I was gripey at my husband and twice this week I posted on Facebook "is it Friday yet?".

You have completely hit.the.nail.on.the.head. and I thank God for speaking through you in this post :)

JenandAsh said...

I am not a fan of Condoleeza Rice, but the title of her new book fits you to a "T".

You are an "Extraordinary, Ordinary Person".

You're a mom, just like so many of us, who aren't perfect, but doing our best, whatever our best is, on a day to day basis.

Circumstances in your life have led you from being an "ordinary" mom like so many of us into what you are, "extraordinary".

JenandAsh said...

I am not a fan of Condoleeza Rice, but the title of her new book fits you to a "T".

You are an "Extraordinary, Ordinary Person".

You're a mom, just like so many of us, who aren't perfect, but doing our best, whatever our best is, on a day to day basis.

Circumstances in your life have led you from being an "ordinary" mom like so many of us into what you are, "extraordinary".

Unknown said...

Patrice, wow, that's all I can sy. You may not think you are strong, you may not thing you think you are a good example to others but you are so wrong...we all struggle, none of us is perfect, we all fall so short! You so have your priorities where they need to be and I so admire you for that! I read your posts every day and look forward to seeing and hearing all about your lives. You are an inspiration to be a better be a better Christian and definitely a better example!
Praying for you every day,
Cheryl Ezell
Jacksonville, FL

Kathy H. said...

You sweet precious young lady. What you two have endured is monumental. God is using your lives in a big way.I don't even know what to say that isn't trite, but please know that you are in my prayers.

Laura Kathryn said...

This really blew me away...THANK YOU. Thank you for sharing your heart and speaking the truth. I'm joining you - I'm taking my life back.

Cindi said...

Wow! What a fantastic, timely word that I needed to hear! Love you Patrice for being REAL!!!!!! I can't put into words how awesome that was!!

Carla (Choosing His Joy) said...

Amen! I'd love to join you!

chinamoon1420 said...

Ditto on what Sally said!

God is using you in ways you can't imagine.

Much love and prayers for you and Jonah!

Nati @ I will praise Him said...


Gene and Annie said...

Awesome!! Thank you so much for sharing your heart and your life!! God is good!

Tribulation said...

Amen! i'll stand beside you in that one. I think we all need to be reminded of that every once in a while.

SandraDee said...

You go girl! I LOVE TRANSPARENCY!! I can relate to much of what you said about wanting to be a good wife. Sometimes I go days without making any conversation with my husband. Sometimes I know why and sometimes I don't. Sometimes it's things from my past and sometimes it something going on in the present time, something that I KNOW our opinions are so different about, something that I want to talk about it, yet WON'T talk about. So for some reason I just shut down so to speak. But somehow my husband loves me unconditionally. Always has and probably always will. Then when I snap out of my whatever you want to call it, I feel like scum, like dirt, just plain mean. I have no idea why I just wrote all that, but oh well ... I'm transparent.

Love & prayers still coming your way.

Anonymous said...

Wow, just Wow. Thank you.

Angela said...

I LOVE your post! I have been right where you have been. I had a great Christian therapist at one point to help me through a postpartum depression that I just couldn't shake on my own. She recommended a great book for getting my marriage back on track which I often reread - "The Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands" by Dr. Laura Schlessinger. I realized "I" was the problem and as soon I changed the way I thought/behaved/acted my marriage reflected a more Godly marriage. I know Dr. Laura is of Jewish faith, but her marriage advice in this book based on solid Biblical teachings which apply to all Christians as well. I wish you the best of luck and continued success in this area.

Be blessed today and always...

Jill said...

I have really really related to this in, I don't know why I act the way I do to my husband sometimes. In truth, I don't know what I'd do without him. I can't take what we have for granted. thank you for writing this (for yourself!) I really want to get that bible study!

Melissa said...

Girl, I am SO with you here! God is stirring (broken) hearts back to Him, and, yes, He has used my life circumstances in much the same way as He has used yours, in order to bring us back into passionate pursuit of Him!

I, too, am doing a wonderful Bible study right now, "Jonah, A Life Interrupted," by Priscilla Shirer. This, on the heels of Beth Moore's "Breaking Free," has been a catalyst in my life to cause me to love Jesus and pursue Him more than ever before.

I will be praying for this journey that you and I are both on. Unto God be all the glory!
(And if worship music stirs your soul like it does mine, check out Jesus Culture on YouTube. They have a website, too, but I don't know it by memory. I think it is Their mission is my heartbeat right now!)

Maheen said...

I read this post a while back and then had to go searching for it because I was thirsty for this bit of perspective once again in my OWN marriage!

Truth is, EVERYone of us struggles, but it doesn't look like it from the "outside". So glad you are taking back your gifts.

You EB mamas have so much more on your plates, and manage yes, because you have to, but you also do it with such appreciation, love, and gratitude.

Sorry, I am still inspired by you! Even more so for being real and honest enough to confess that you can be a complete bitch at times!!

Loving following your journey and seeing how little Jonah is growing and learning!

Maheen, mama of 2 from frozen Wisconnie baybee!