Monday, 4 June 2018

The Slog of Despond

Its been a while since I've hosted a Guest Blog but I'm delighted that Dayspring Macleod, a freelance writer with a growing reputation was willing to pen some very honest thoughts about parenting.  If you want to read more of Daysprings writings check out her blog 'The Reliable Narrator' here.  Over to Dayspring:

I write for a Christian magazine, and each month the editor sends me an email asking for my column. Well, sometimes I’m ready for him and sometimes I’m still percolating an idea, but last month when I got his email I looked back in my mental files and thought: I’ve got nothing.

          Oh, it’s not that God hadn’t been speaking to me throughout the past few weeks. It had been a month of realising my weakness. Repeatedly.

          Like when the three-year-old was going through a period of particular defiance, coinciding with my own period of particular impatience, and the baby’s period of learning how to hit really hard. That was when I realised I need God’s strength to be a parent, and I need the humility of asking for help and advice and even criticism. There were days when my primary ‘thanksgiving’ was ‘thank you the day is over’.

          And when I realised that the renovations on our house are not going to take place as soon as I had hoped, meaning that I also won’t be going home to America as soon as I had hoped. That was when I realised that I need to submit to God’s plans, not try to push mine through.

          Incumbent on this was realising that I will only see my parents for four full days this year. My parents are getting older. So are my kids. The separation hurts, if possible, more every time we say goodbye. So I made a conscious decision to give thanks for the brief period we would have together rather than mourning the time we didn’t have. A resolution that went out the window the second they left for the airport.

          And then there were the long interruptions in the night when the baby was waking up for an hour each night with eczema. There was the almost complete lack of freelance work for weeks at a time. There was the discouragement and anxiety and feelings of helplessness when I saw people I’ve been praying for for years taking backward steps.

          There were the unanswered emails, the writer’s block, the lack of time and sleep, the repetition of housework, the conviction of sin and scariness of repentance, the worry, the failure.
          But enough about me…

          Just as I was writing out my litany of woes, I read an article pointing out that, in a testimony, Jesus should always be the subject of the story.

          Do you know what kind of story sees ME as the subject? A story with a God-shaped hole. One where ME is relying on her own strength to get through the parenting crisis, the worries, the exhaustion, the goodbyes, even the repentance. And since mine is not even a particularly hard life, just an ordinary life, I’m sure many of you have been to this place too. I wouldn’t say it’s as bad as a Slough of Despond. More a Slog of Despond. We’re just slogging along some months. We’re reading, we’re praying. We’re just not relying. We have faith that he’s there, just not faith that he’ll help.

          What if there was abundance? What if some miracle-worker came along one day and said ‘Excuse me, dear, that’s too heavy for you. Give it here – I’ll carry it. No, ALL of it – all or nothing!

‘Yes, goodbyes are hard…I’ll tell you what, would it help if you knew a day was coming when you wouldn’t have to do that again? And I know it’s scary not having work; but you’re a full-time mum. If you’re working all the time, when would you get to rest? I’ll take care of the shortfall, don’t worry about that.

          ‘It certainly is hard to see people you love struggling in life – but you’re not their provider, and you’re not their Holy Spirit. I Am. You keep talking to me about them, and if I want to use you in their lives, I’ll go with you, and I’ll give you the words. 

          ‘Too heavy for me? You want to take it back? No, this yoke is mine. Just remember one thing. Look for Me. If this is my burden, this is my story.’

Jeremiah 33:6  ‘I will…heal them, and reveal to them the abundance of peace.’

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