My Reflection

Right now I'm coming to confess that I haven't been myself lately. Or at least I haven't been the self that I would like to think that I am. I seem to be an ugly version of me. My reflection shows an impatient, frustrated, worn-down, tired, and not joyful person. Where did I go?? I'm mad at myself for being this way, and yet I totally know what is wrong. I'm trying to do it all myself. I have been asking God for help, telling Him that I'm reaching my limit and can't do this on my own, and yet, things haven't gotten easier. The funny thing?? I know exactly why. I am still holding on to all of it. I'm asking for help and not giving one ounce of it up.

On Sunday at church I just cried during worship as I thought of all that the Lord has done for us, for our family. I cried because of the ugliness that I saw in my life. I cried because my daughter is such an amazing gift from Him and yet, she is so hard and is challenging me beyond what I ever expected. I cried because if Maddox were here things would undoubtedly be so much harder and yet I'm struggling just as it is. The contradictions I see are astounding.

Do you ever just feel inadequate? So often it seems cyclical and in different seasons of my life I feel like I have a great balance- being a wife, mother, friend, daughter, sister- and then at other times I feel like things are so out-of-whack. Quite simply, this is where I am now. I feel like I'm pouring so much into being the mom that my kids need (and taking care of "domestic" duties) and yet I'm still falling short. It seems to be a negative chain reaction and by time my sweet hubby gets home, I'm spent. Lack of time with him means the whole family balance is off. I just can't find my bearings. And my precious girl... oh my amazingly fun and independent girl... She is so. much. more., in all ways, than what I could have ever imagined. As of late she has been waking up at all hours of the night, for the last two nights crying for almost two hours straight. "If baby doesn't sleep, mama doesn't sleep". You know the drill. So for me to wake up and have any alone time with the Lord is virtually impossible since she is still beating me awake after the two inconsolable hours when I'm also awake hearing her cry. Suddenly, my day gets going, nighttime somehow arrives and I'm left wondering where it all went wrong. Honestly, I'm just tired... and the crazy thing is all the while I know what I'm missing. So where has the Lord gone? Maybe I should re-phrase it... where have I gone? And what am I going to do to fix it?

I certainly know how blessed we are. I could list a thousand ways and more that our Father has blessed, provided, protected and sustained us... and still in the day-to-day I get entangled. Sometimes I feel so deep in the trenches of motherhood that I wonder where the fun, exciting, knowledgeable person I used to be went. I LOVE this job... I wouldn't trade it for any other in the world and crazy as it seems, it didn't even take losing my son to make me realize it. I don't take this for granted. I know God has called me to this place and if it is where HE wants me then HE will provide. He will provide the strength, the wisdom, the joy, the energy, the spirit of fun... all these things I so desperately need right now.

In some ways I wish I was the only one experiencing this right now, but I know that I'm not. Would you pray with me for encouragement for all of us moms out there? Would you ask God to give us the JOY, the wisdom, the rest, and the strength that we are all needing? Would you ask Him to help us to daily turn it all over? It's so hard but the Holy Spirit can't do his work when we don't let go of the reigns.

I'm praying that in the days and weeks to come my reflection would be one of beauty... a beauty that can only come from fully relying on God to sustain each and every day.

"Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer."- Romans 12:12

Comments

The VW's said…
Thanks for helping me to not feel "so alone." Being a mom is such a hard job.....I recently blogged about this too.

Being a mom is even harder when you don't get the sleep that you desperately need! I pray that you are able to get more sleep soon!

I will be praying for you and all the moms out there! It's a tough job, but the best job that there is on earth! Hang in there Momma! Hugs!
Anonymous said…
Thank you for the reminder that God is still here even in the dirty diapers and sleepless nights and the just being a little lost in this season. Praying that God gives us all hope and renewed sense of purpose today.
Nicole
StephG said…
As I was reading your post I felt as if I were reading my own diary entry. I don't know if it's because we're moms or if it's because of the loss of a child(ren). I too am feeling like the "good" side of me is missing and in it's place is a grumpy, tired, irritable mama & wife.
I have had to write on my hand *choose joy*. Because being joyful is a willful decision. Willful meaning we have to choose it...it takes a conscience effort.
I keep praying to God to give me the strength I need to make it through each minute, hour & day.
It's a constant battle between my flesh and my grumpiness & the joyful person I should be.
I will pray for you as I am praying for myself! *hugs*
Don't forget to choose joy & even write it on your hand if you have to. That way it will be a visual reminder when you need it!
~Ashlea~ said…
You are absolutely not alone in feeling this way. I felt like you were writing my thoughts exactly as I was thinking them. It puts things into perspective to see it written down, so thank you for the reminder.
I just wrote a post on my blog about God being the same God he was when he delivered the three Hebrew children from the fire. If he could perform miracles like that, I KNOW he can and will help me with my daily struggles.
But sometimes knowing something isn't enough. Sometimes we have to let go of it and let him perform the miracles in our life.
I will be praying for you and all of us moms who need a little help.
Christa Mc said…
beautifully written and perfectly stated... you are very blessed in the ability to pour out your soul in a way that touches lives. Yes, we all go thru and deal with similar things on a day to day basis but no one could have explained it as clearly as you. We put too much on our plates - even though we pile on the good.. too much of anything can be bad. Here's to simplifying!! Going thru the Beth Moore study, Fruit of the Spirit, I have gotten into the habit of just waking up (even though it is to a crying or cooing baby) and just saying "take all of me away and fill me up with your Spirit - Less of me, More of YOU" thanks for the great post kenz.
Kimberly said…
when I read this, I felt like this is something I too, could be saying about myself some days, well, actually most days lately. With a 1 and 3 year old, it does feel like being in the trenches, and I do wonder sometimes how others seem to do it with so much patience and grace, and so effortlessly. I know that you will be praying for the other moms who feel like you do, including me, and I will be praying for you!
chadandnikki said…
This is so well written. All moms, whether SAHM or working 40+ hours a week, at some point and time all feel inadequate and like we're not doing enough.

You're doing a great job. Keep it up. Love your Lord, your hubby, and your babies. Praying for you.
Devin said…
It is SO, so hard.

I have been there too, Kenz. Many times. I think this can actually be a day-to-day struggle for many women. One day things are great, and the next you can be in such a valley!

I recently read what I think is a wonderful resource called "Real Moms, Real Jesus" by Jill Savage. I'd be happy to loan you my copy if you want! (I know, one more thing to have to do in the day, right? Read a book?) But, if you do have time, I know what an encouragement this was to me. It so brought Jesus right down to my level, and made me realize that He experienced every single feeling and every single emotion that I have as a mother--and that He really does understand our situations. It also helped me in how to deal with some of those emotions and struggles I was having.

If you want to borrow it, consider it shipped off! Just let me know.

I will be praying for you my friend. For so many of us who fight this battle on a daily basis. God will grab your hand (He IS) and will lead you through this...He promises that!

Love you girl...
The Nichols Fam said…
Well said. Thank you for that prayer and thank you for your soul sharing. You are not alone- in Heaven of course or on Earth! Much love to you sweet friend!
kari j said…
Gosh, you summed it up so well Kenzie. This is so much how I've been feeling lately, and (like you said) I go through these cycles of it. Because other times the balance seems to be so right and so "easy"! These times creep up and then all of a sudden I'm in a hard streak again wondering how to get out of it. Thank you for sharing your personal experience as of recent. Although as you said you would like to be the only one going through it, you're not....and it's comforting in a lot of ways for us other moms to know that.
Lots of love,
kari
Melody said…
It is the end of a long day, and I'm waiting up for the last load of laundry to dry and the final feeding of my 6-week-old before bed.

I broke down crying reading this post. Partly due to be tired and partly out of relief. Relief that my feelings of inadequecy and "uglieness" are not alone. Dont get me wrong- I hate that you are feeling this way, too! It can make for long, hard, frustrating days. Thank you though, for sharing your heart and feelings, for others to empathize with.

I will definitely say a prayer for you and mothers everywhere, as we continue to do this incredibly hard, yet incredibly rewarding job.

Rest well tonight! (I'll say a special prayer for Faith to sleep soundly as well...sleep really can make all the difference! For them and for us!)
The Stoycheffs said…
Thank you for this post, Kenzie. I have been reading your blog forever but never commented, and today I just had to.

I had my baby boy 5 months ago, and I wanted him so badly. We didn't have trouble or any reason for me to be so desparate other than I just was ready to be a mommy long before my husband was ready to be a daddy. But when my son got here I felt like I was in another dimension -- I had given up my job to stay home, he was our first child so we had to let go of a lot of our selfish ways and instead of being joyful for my little boy I was so lost. And I felt so guilty all the time. And I felt like I was letting everyone down, especially my son.

I think every mother in the world feels the strain, and every Christian mother feels that she shouldn't feel anything else but joy in the midst of that strain. But being Christians, we've been given an incredible network to share with each other, help each other not feel so guilty and forgive ourselves for being human. Because we are. We need sleep. We want to feel important. We can't do it all.

Thank you for your post, and may God give each of us the strength to seek each other out in these times, share our joys and frustrations and start again the next day in this important job.
Staci said…
I have been feeling the exact same way lately. I have a 6, 4, and 2 year old and I am 33 1/2 weeks pregnant. I was looking at my reflection in the mirror the other night wondering who this tired looking worn out shell of a woman was. My two year old has been waking up screaming 4-5 times a night and the only thing that consoles her is for me to hold her and rock her in the recliner. I don't know why she has started this but I am praying with everything I have that she passes through this phase before the baby comes and I am up and down all night nursing. My older 2 also are early risers (between 5-6am)and so when I do finally get back to sleep I am waking up again too soon. Trying to keep up with the kids and the housework that needs to be done and saving what energy I have left to try to have a decent conversation with my husband at night doesn't leave a lot left for "me". Thank you for sharing your feelings here. You are speaking for so many of us and just reading your post and the comments here have made me feel not so alone in this.
Amanda said…
Wow--I second almost everyone here that you took the words right out of my mouth. By 8pm when all my kids are in bed, I just feel drained--like I have nothing to give to hubby. The house doesn't look any cleaner than when the day started, even though I did a bunch of laundry and put it away, washed the dishes twice, and vacuumed and cleaned the table--and by 8pm it's all dirty again. It's like I can't stay on top of it.

Here's my question tho--How do I let go and give it to God? I know I can pray for Him to help carry my burden, but how do I let go so that He can actually carry it for me?

Amanda
Kathy said…
Love this post, Kenzie!

Your honesty puts a voice to what mom's go through. Being on the other side of motherhood now, both kids married (to amazing people!) and having a grandchild (a truly amazing child!) I have a slightly different perspective.

Did I often feel the things you mentioned? Absolutely! Neither of my kids ever slept through the night until they were three years old. I worked afternoons, part-time as an RN. Had a husband who was working 50 to 90 hours a week as his cases required. Was I sleep deprived? YES! Did I have many, many up and down days? Too many to count!

We women have not only sleep deprivation but have to deal with our hormones that fluctuate so much monthly let alone when we are pregnant!

All this to say, you are all doing the most important job in the entire world and believe it or not, these years go by in the blink of an eye! Honest!!!

These days you are in, some feel 24 hours, some feel like they last a month, truly are the best years, the most fun and rewarding years (at least until you become grandmothers :) !!!

I do not know how mothers who chose not to have a relationship with the Lord get through a day. Each day is a challenge, some more fun than others. The Lord knows what you are feeling, what you are dealing with. You may have to have that quiet time while you are rocking your baby in the middle of the night, during their nap time, just grab it when you can. God is on duty 24/7.

Bible study with children's programs are wonderful times of fellowship and learning while your kiddos have a great time, make friends and learn about God. We had a babysitting club in our neighborhood which was wonderful and will give yourself and other moms some "time out". I often "paid back" my friends who watched my kids while I worked by watching their kids equal time. Fortunately I truly loved my job and felt like that was "my time" and we needed the paycheck.

Yes, I will pray with you Kenzie for you and for mom's in the "trenches" today. You all ARE doing the most important, life changing job in the world. In thirty years even if you were the CEO of a huge company your decisions would no longer matter but when your children are grown, with families of their own and becoming fantastic parents this will continue on for generations (unless the Lord returns first, of course)! I promise you all you will never regret it! May you feel His face shining upon you as you love and care for your little ones.
Inkling said…
Thank you for posting this. I am so there with you. My little guy is one month behind your daughter in age, and he just gave up his whole routine two weeks ago. The only way any of us get sleep is if he's in bed with us. That doesn't give me any down time with my husband or time to catch up on all the household things I don't know how to do when he's awake. It is hard, and I find myself losing who I am and losing who I am with Jesus in the midst of piles of laundry and lost sleep. Thank you for expressing these thoughts and feelings so well. It's nice to know I'm not alone.
mrsrubly said…
o kenzie i am honored to pray for you my sweet friend!! it must be in the air the feeling your having! i have been in that darn funk for a long time now!! i just take everything one thing @ time. B/C MOM CAN NOT DO IT ALL BY HERSELF! (i am not screaming) you physically can not do everything by yourself. i just take everything one thing @ a time. if the dishes don't get done, i don't beat myself up. if the load of laundry does not get done, well that's ok. if the trash, well you get my drift! yes we live n a clean house, but again momma, being worn down can not go at all alone! your just spent. worn. get closer to God my friend. bring him close to you. i know you such a wonderful mother wife etc. i pray that the devil lifts this ugliness out of you and your home and you regain your well your being back and the goodness comes. b/c that is what kenzie is about your spark. it will be over momentarily. pete has been waking up in night terrors lately and inconsolable around 2AM every other night. hang in there. your a wonderful mother i am honored to pray for kenzie!!! hugs...remember let go and let god!!!!!!!
Katy said…
Just tonight - in our home group - we learned to find an encouraging word in the Bible and write it on a 3x5 card. Then on the back, write how it applies.

"God is love"...God loves me and will see me through the good time and the bad. He loves me as much today in my ugly mood as he will tomorrow when I reflect his son!

Try it for a few days. Baby steps. Read them before you go to bed. And know I'm praying!!!!

~Kate
jen said…
Wow.. if I would have written a blog entry, it would have been this. I, too, have read your blog for some time now but felt compelled to respond to this one. I'm a new mom to four month old twins.. something I waited and prayed for years and years.. we went through so much to get them and we're so blessed.. but it's SO hard. I quit my teaching job to stay home with them which is what I've always wanted to do - I couldn't wait to be a SAHM.. but had no idea I'd be so exhausted and so unmotivated to get much else done besides the all consuming job that two babies can bring. Since I have no margin in my life, my husband gets the brunt of my exhaustion as I find myself snapping at him all too often. He is working so many hours, trying to make ends meet so the little time that I do see him is filled with taking care of the kids, the house, or some other immediate task at hand. I wouldn't trade a second with my two precious children - they are a huge source of joy and I thank God each day for them. It's the balancing act that I'm struggling to maintain right now.

I feel like I have an ongoing conversation with God all day long - praying for strength, energy, enthusiasm..and more.. yet still feeling so distant from Him. I find little time to myself and need to get motivated for quiet times but it hasn't happened. It's so good to hear from all the moms on here that I'm not the only one experiencing these feelings and emotions.
Anonymous said…
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Kirsten said…
Kenzie,

I love that you are so real and honest in your posts. It is so helpful to so many. Thank you for sharing your life and your heart in such a raw way. I'm just starting to understand what you shared about. Sophia is 5 weeks already and thankfully since I'm still recovering from the delivery I give myself grace when everything is less than perfect. But I know my expectations of myself will be off the charts soon. Prayer and a Godly perspective will get us all through.

You are in my prayers as always. Wow - I can't believe how big Faith Clare is. They really do grow up fast.

Blessings,
Kirsten
Erika said…
Gosh, I could have written that post. I am so grateful for my newest little girl, and wouldn't trade her for anything in the whole world. She is our "rainbow baby" after our identical twin daughters were both stillborn last year.

I think the grief is something that adds to the stresses of motherhood- just when you think you are fine and better, something will remind you of the child (or in my case children) who I wish were sitting at our dinner table.

Losing a child is something no one can really understand unless they have walked that walk. So...as much as having a new baby to care for is such an amazing GIFT, there is also a host of emotions that go on the background. The missing, the longing, the sorrow...

Praying for you...and for all the moms out there (including myself!)

sending you much love...

-Erika

littletinyfootprints.blogspot.com
Anonymous said…
I too have been reading for long before Faith at anyrate and never commented before but tonight I have to.
I am in the same boat! Feel so blessed and thankful for my 2 mos old, 2.5 yr old, 5 yr old and wonderful husband but so overwhelmed. I can not keep up with the laundry, cleaning, shopping, meal making nevermid extras like christmas coming. I am not enjoying my kiddos like I used to. I can't seem to get up for my quiet time with my Saviour like I used to. I have yelled at my kids, which I never had done before. I leave clothes in the dryer for days...I haven't cleaned the shower in weeks... I'm just putting in the hours until bedtime...and then can hardly keep my eyes open for my husb. And am so hard on myself for doing/not doing all the above. I don't like the "new me", but don't know how to find the old me. The only good thing about it is I keep discovering how kind the Lord Jesus is to me - verses of encouragement instead of condemnation... "Sufficient for you, is the grace of me!' is what I am trying to have as my refrain these days - when the older two strip naked and colour on themselves with marker and leave the tap on and flood the laundry room and the baby cries for no reason I can figure out and every room I walk into has fallen apart since I was last in there...and my husb has to work late again.
I am so looking for HOPE and JOY - and it is in Him only. I just started reading Elizabeth George's "Following Him With All Your Heart"(or something to that effect) while I nurse the baby once a day (read to the kiddos for the other nursing times usually) and it has helped me focus....
Praying for all of us....Mari
Kenzie said…
Thanks y'all so much... not thankful that you are in this place but that we are walking through it together and can pray for one another. It feels like a day to day thing sometimes, even moment by moment. I LOVE what StephG said about writing "choose JOY" on my hand and I swear I'm gonna do it on the days that I feel me losing myself. Amanda, I wanted to let you know that the more I thought about your question about how to actually let go, the more I thought about StephG's response. I think she answered it most simply in choosing joy. I guess it sounds so cliche but I really can control the atmosphere in my home most days and by my attitude of choosing joy and allowing God to deal with the heavier stuff is it. Yep, I still have all the dishes, laundry, baths, dinner, etc. but not feeling the PRESSURE and the weight of my own negative attitude allows God to carry the burden of all of it for me.

Anyways, thanks girls so much... for you here with me and those of you mamas that have been here, remember it so well and are here for encouragement and prayers. Y'all are AWESOME!
Rachel said…
I don't know who it was that came up with the quote: "They days are long, but the years are short" but it definitely applies to motherhood. When I feel like you do (which is quite often) I try to remind myself that one day I will really miss these times of sleep deprivation, poopy diapers, and non-stop commotion. One day the house will be too quiet.

One day I will be able to drink my cup of coffee in peace. :) But until that day comes, I hope I don't wish these years away, but choose to see the fun and joy amidst all the craziness.

Praying for you and all the other young moms out there in the same boat. :)
Tonia said…
Wow, you are definitely not alone! I can relate. It's interesting because I just had a conversation about this with someone yesterday. And with my mom a while ago. I told my mom that it seems about 2-4 times a year I just get totally overwhelmed by it all. I feel inadequate, I feel low. My mom mentioned that interestingly enough there is scientific reasons even behind that (not to take away from giving everything up to God - that is number 1). It seems that a few times a year all your cycles and such kind of reach a point where they are all their lowest. If anyone knows differently I would love to hear it. But I just had to comment to say that I am right here with you!! Hang in there MOM. Turn your face to the Father and let him enjoy you and instill his peace and his strength in you!!
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Anonymous said…
Wow. I can so relate!!! Thanks for being willing to share.
Sarah L
Megan Brueseke said…
This is exactly where I'm at today! Thanks so much for sharing your heart. With a 2 yr old and a 3 week old, my sleep has been minimal to say the least and I find myself being short with my very spirited 2 yr old and not just enjoying him for the wonderful blessing that he is. Thanks for helping me put things in perspective and I too will be praying for you and all the other mamas going through these same things.
Donna Beard said…
Kenzie,
Thank you so much for sharing your story at the NILMDTS training. I had bookmarked this particular post of yours because it just so perfectly suited me one day...and had a friend who was discussing the same stresses...so I shared it.

You have an amazing gift for the written word.

Thank you.

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