“Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass under trees on a summer’s day, listening to the murmur of the water, or watching the clouds float across the sky, is by no means a waste of time.” – John Lubbock, The Use of Life
I look around the living room and it looks like hundreds of boxes are stacked from floor to ceiling. How am I going to get his all done? It’s barely even been a year since we moved into this house. But, after all that’s happened, we can’t stay. I can’t afford to. It’s so unfair. It really is. What did I do to make this mess? It doesn’t matter, because I’m here cleaning it up….alone.
It’s amazing how fast it can all change. One day, I thought my husband and I were just having troubles, you know, a rough spot. But, I never thought it would end in divorce. But, it seemed like it went downhill at warp speed. It was like a tornado had struck, but it didn’t hit my house, it hit my heart.
I hear my children upstairs playing between the boxes that they have created to be their very own city. My heart breaks for them, too. They are too small to know the depth of the pain, but before too long, they will know all to well. I won’t be able to hide all this forever. They just think that we are going to move in with Nini and Momo (my parents), and that is super exciting for them! I mean, who doesn’t want to live with the most fun grandparents in the world?? I wish I had the same excitement.
Although that was years ago, I totally remember exactly how I felt. And, I felt like a complete failure. I mean, really! I moved out when I was 18….Miss Independent, or so I thought. I had a really terrible semester at college, and came back home to work. I got married at 19, quit work and had 2 children really quickly. And, now, I’m a 26-year-old single mom with a high school diploma that is moving back in with her parents. Ugh!
I looked at the awful choices ahead of me. It was like the choices were labeled crappy, crappier, and crappiest choice. There really wasn’t any easy way out! The crappiest choice was to sell my house and move into an apartment. I was going to have to get a couple of horrible jobs to afford all the bills and daycare. Since I didn’t have any college education, my job choices were very limited. The second crappy choice was to go back to school and live in family housing on campus. But, that would mean moving an hour away from my support system, and my children would not only have to adjust to their dad no longer being around, but also a new community, and having to go into daycare everyday. So, the least crappy choice was sell the house, go back to school so I could get a real job that could sustain us, the kids wouldn’t have to go to daycare because I would be MOVING IN WITH MY PARENTS. Yes…that’s right.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I was, and still am, eternally grateful that my parents allowed me to move in with them. It was a major sacrifice on their part, too. They had complete freedom, empty nesters. But, now, during their nightly TV shows they heard screaming children, and found cheerios in their seat cushions.
In my eyes though, I felt like I was coming home with my tail tucked and my head bowed. I was so embarrassed that I couldn’t cut it on my own. I felt like I had let my kids down. I let myself down. It was the most humbling experience in my life.
But, you know what? Little did I know that the years I spent living with my parents would be such a special time. They were such a gift to my children and me.
I didn’t realize how important it was for me to have someone to talk to that was older than 5 years old. I was able to run to the store if I needed to when the kids were asleep because someone was home. I was able to focus on taking as many classes that I could possibly take each semester (and summers, too) so I could get that degree. I couldn’t have done that so easily if I hadn’t had a roof over my head.
But, really the most important thing was that it allowed the kids and I to heal. I didn’t know it at the time, but that’s what I needed the most. I needed to be around people who could encourage me, and take some of the pressure off. The kids and I were so crushed by the divorce and life had changed so fast, that we were spinning in circles. Being with my parents allowed me to catch my breath…well, in reality, it allowed me to start breathing again.
I remember reading my Bible during that time and reading Psalms 23 where it talks about how the Lord “makes me lie down in green pastures.” I have read that several times before, but when I read it this time something struck me differently. It was the word “make.” The Lord will make me lie down. Have you ever tried to put an overly tired child to bed?? I don’t know about you, but if my kids went to bed over stimulated they would fight it. They would kick, scream, and yell that they were NOT tired!!! But, I knew best. I just needed them to trust me. It was the same with the Lord. He’s not gently reminding me that I need rest, He is MAKING me rest. And, that is exactly what I needed to do…rest and focus on HIM so I can bounce back from this mess.
Sometimes our life situations are not our favorite. We are low, I mean really really low. But, have faith that even though our circumstances are out of our control, our Lord knows what He is doing. He may be making you rest so you can gather strength and be able to find your way. Don’t fight it yelling and screaming. But, lay back, breathe and heal.
“The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.” Psalms 23 1:4