Sometimes I don’t know how to write the hard things. Maybe I never do. I had a quarter life crisis, and finally muddled my way to mid-life, and honestly? I wonder if I will ever feel like I am not just muddling through a life I don’t know how to live. Mid-life is hard.
We were what some consider a little older when we got married. So I had as many babies as I could by 35. The clock ticks and time speeds by. In less than six months, I will turn 40. I don’t feel as though I am living the life I want to live. I live a good life, but I often feel it is a wasted life. Like I am not enough and simultaneously too much for this one wild and precious life I have. Why did God make me to fit into this broken vessel with desire so big I ache and tears fall free? What exactly is wrong with me?
I do not find comfort in the phrase credited to Andy Stanley, “Your biggest contribution to the Kingdom might not be something you do but someone you raise.” My work these days? I know it is not meaningless and that I matter and that my work is important. But the nitty-gritty truth of it is that it doesn’t feel important. All my eggs seem to be in this parenting gig, and truthfully, I don’t really think I am getting it right most days. O Lord, calm my anxious heart.
I see all of my broken past. I am trying so hard not to pass it on to my kids, but it seems inevitable somehow. Like this life is controlling me, and I’m just barely along for the ride. Some days I am looking for the exit.
In Ann Voskamp’s new book The Broken Way, straight away in Chapter One, she writes of cutting herself as a teen to make the pain go away. Then she writes,
“Our oldest daughter, she’s just laid it all out in stark details, how intimately familiar she is with the very same struggle and strangle of silent anxiety and lies of unworthiness that I’ve spent my entire life wrestling.”
If Ann’s daughter is suffering, who isn’t? Maybe it isn’t about blaming myself or the past or the sins of my fathers, maybe brokenness just is? I was taught the goodness principle (be good and God will be good to you) and its lies still root deep.
I spent my days trying to keep my kids from having an emotionally unavailable mom. When I chose a spouse, I just wanted the opposite of my dad. I tried for something better. How come I didn’t realize I was still looking for a Savior in broken things and people? I could never be the mom I want to be. And marrying the right person is a farce. Trying? How about dying?
I end up carrying a weight I am not meant to carry. But there is this verse I am learning. Not just reading or knowing, but actually living it in my heart learning.
6 Don’t be anxious about things; instead, pray. Pray about everything. He longs to hear your requests, so talk to God about your needs and be thankful for what has come. 7 And know that the peace of God (a peace that is beyond any and all of our human understanding) will stand watch over your hearts and minds in Jesus, the Anointed One. Philippians 4:6-7 (The Voice)
I’ve read this thousands of times, but one day recently in my quiet time with God, it came to life. It awakened me to a truth I needed and still do. God says I get to trade my anxieties for His peace. And somehow I’ve missed it this whole time, because I am so busy trying to be my own Savior and the Savior of my kids.
My tween comes home from homeschool co-op lamenting friends. Heavens knows I have no advice to give when it comes to friends. The same day my friend tells me I’ve overreacted once ever. How could someone know me for 20 years and not know how often I overreact? Is my life so fake? Friendships so weak?
I think about texting a mom in my tween’s class, but there is a soft nudge. Trade it in first. So calm my anxious heart He does.
I practice giving him my anxious thoughts. Oddly enough His peace comes.
“Bad brokenness is broken by good brokenness.” Ann Voskamp, The Broken Way
I know God is using this brokenness to shine His glory. I don’t get it, not really, not yet. But I know that through this God I serve, who is so much better than the best husband and my frail attempts to heal myself, He is bigger than all the pain. And even these anxious thoughts, my messes, and attempts to salvation, are openings for beauty to shine through, for my weakness to show a big Grace, a God who is able to heal all the pain and calm the wildest storm.
This post is one in a 31 day series of posts called, “Broken into Beautiful.” You may read all the posts in this series by clicking the graphic below.