It’s been 40 days since I shared anything here.
Biblically speaking, 40 is generally significant. The rain on Noah. The temptation of Jesus. Easter to Ascension. Moses and Elijah on mountain tops waiting to hear from the Lord. It’s often seen as a trial period or a time of temptation.
That’s been true for me.
I’ve wanted to write. I’ve even put together fantastic posts in my head. Somehow, I haven’t been able to get anything on paper. (Ironically, I don’t actually use paper, since this is an electronic blog, but you get the idea!) But it’s just been too much.
I wanted to tell you how awesome my friends were on my birthday when they threw me a fiesta, complete with a donkey piñata and sopapilla cheesecake. Because you guys, my friends are the best.
I wanted to tell you about what should have been my 21st wedding anniversary. How tempted I was just to wallow in my aloneness. How I went to therapy but cried big, ugly, probably-shouldn’t-have-continued-driving-since-I-couldn’t-see tears. How I could hardly get out of the car once I got there. How it took a group text with two of my best friends to even get into the therapy office. How another of my friends texted to check on me that day, without me reminding her of the significance of it, just because she made it a point to remember. How very much that meant to me and how it came at just the right time. How I stopped for chocolates and cheese dip. How I got my nails done and the nail tech asked about my kids and then my husband. How when I told her he had died she asked me if I knew about Match.com. How it made me laugh.
I wanted to tell you about how after that I tried flirting for the first time in decades and fell flat on my face, looking and acting like an idiot, because I’m 44 years old and this is not something I should be doing. Seriously. Won’t be doing that again anytime soon. Not even tempted to try again. *face palm*
I wanted to tell you about how I finally got a headstone ordered but how it’s still not here because, you know, Covid or something. That is testing my patience in big ways.
I wanted to tell you about how I very last minute applied to grad school, got in and started classes all within a week. Apparently if you are willing to fork over the cash, colleges will let things like deadlines slide in 2020. Who knew?
I wanted to tell you about how hard solo parenting is. How I have no idea sometimes how to best help my kids. How I miss them being little and all of us together. And how very tempting it is just to give up when it’s hard. To give in when they push back. To not have another person to back me up.
I wanted to tell you about watching my grandpa go through hospice. About watching this giant of a man become skin and bones. About watching my mother care for her daddy at the end of his life. About how that made me feel about someday walking down that road myself. How tempting it is to just be angry that this is how a well-lived life ends.
I wanted to tell you about watching a friend go through the loss of a dear one, about feeling helpless to do anything for her. About how much I wanted to be there but fell short. About her strength in all of it. About how once again, how much death being a part of life just sucks.
I wanted to tell you how I cry every single time I tell someone that I decided to go ahead and send all four kids to public school. How two weeks in, I sent the youngest. How it’s best for all of us. How he will thrive. But also how it’s just one more thing that didn’t go as planned and how hard that is. How hard it was to lay aside my pride and go ahead and send him. Ironically leaving homeschooling in a time when so many are just starting it.
I wanted to tell you about how complicated family relationships are. How you can both love someone dearly and also never want to see their face again. How sin makes all of us behave like monsters and how pride keeps us from admitting that. How there are people we can love but need to have boundaries with. How hard that is. How tempting to respond with hurt and anger instead of love and grace.
I wanted to tell you about how hard the idea of parents’ night at the kids’ school is, even if I don’t have a senior yet. Of how terrified I am that I might not be able to hold it together, even a year from now, as that will be another milestone Vance will miss. Keeping bitterness from creeping in there is a full time job.
There is so much more I’ve wanted to say. So much I wanted to share, to write down, to process. But I haven’t. Instead I’ve let anxiety and fear and just plain exhaustion keep me from it. The enemy is real and he has been pushing at me these last 40 days (and more).
In Phillipians 4, Paul writes, “Don’t worry about anything. Instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need and thank him for what he has done.”
So, here I am, 40 days later, trying to do that. I’m trying to worry less. To be less anxious. To trust in the one who created it all and to let go of what I cannot control anyway. To be thankful. So friends, I am thankful today. For friends who throw birthday fiestas, for ones who call or text or message at just the right time. For spontaneous lunch dates. For knowing my limits (sometimes) and realizing when I’ve stretched too far. For my homeschool tribe and the public schools that are taking care of my kids in this season. For the rain, even though it makes for long football games. For families even when they are chaos and headaches. For the chance to learn new things and to fight temptations. For the chance to not just survive but to really live.
Just as I finished uploading the photo and was about to publish this, my phone rang. It was the health department. One of my kids was in close contact with a school staff member who tested positive for Covid. That means two week quarantine for him. I had to go to the football game, not to watch him, but to pick him up and bring him home. It was parents’ night. Not gonna lie. Feels like maybe this time of trial and testing isn’t quite over yet. Pray for us.