April 16, 2009

The Biggest Smallness.

image here.

Yesterday was rough.

Actually, this whole week has been a bit rough.

Let's just say I haven't gotten to leave the house a whole lot in the last few days. The two times I can think of stepping out of my house, it was to be around a whole bunch of other kids and babies. Which normally is a lovely break for me... the brief snippets of conversations with other moms are usually enough... but this week it wasn't. I've been holed up with these kids for days on end and I'm starting to go a wee bit crazy.

On Tuesday, I was so excited to drop Ezra off at school so that I could be (SOMEWHAT) alone that I did one of those hoppity joy jumps in the parking lot after getting Myer in his car seat. I pulled open the door to my car, all but leapt inside, and felt like singing. I've had a little bitty gift card to forever21 that I've been trying to spend for weeks now, but every time I attempt it, I'm foiled. Usually by a certain crying baby butt. (Not naming any names... MYER.)

So, Tuesday, I decide I'm going to attempt it again. He cried the whole time. And then, while attempting to browse the clothing like I wasn't bothered by my son's fussiness (I was... it was making me all sweaty), my phone rang. It was Ezra's school calling to see if I could come get him because Ezra wasn't being his normal "chipper self". In the two years he's been going there, I've never gotten a call to come get him. OF COURSE it happened now... the day I needed a break more than I can ever remember needing one.

So, I went and got him. He had been sitting on the couch in the front foyer, waiting for me, and he hadn't moved a muscle. He was looking very tired and grim. My mommy heart broke for him. Yet, somehow, by the time I got him out to the car, he was miraculously... HYPER. Again. Bouncing off the walls and feelin' grand. I looked at my watch. It was going to be a looooong day.

Then yesterday, Ezra was acting really mellow. We had plans to go to dinner last night at a friend's house- plans that we were both looking forward to very much- but due to a voicemail message that disappeared off the face of the earth, it didn't end up happening. Also, Ezra woke up from his nap on the couch HOLDING HIS EAR.

Oh... lord have mercy.

Every mom knows that sick children = days upon days of (you guessed it!) not leaving the house.

My attitude was tanking hard at this point. Tears were just at the surface- one or two leaking out every time I knew someone wasn't looking. My arms are sore from baby holding, my ears hurt from Ezra's constant sniffling, and I'm tired of being covered in goo all the time.

I feel like every single time I've tried to make plans for myself the last few weeks, they never end up happening. Because no one can watch the kids. Because the kids are sick. Because I am required to be at my baby's beck-and-call 24/7. I somehow forgot how suffocating this all can feel. I forgot that now, my plans/needs/desires come last. I forgot how it feels like life is suddenly a movie... a movie that you are watching in the dark while everyone else gets to live it and act it out.

So, later last night, when I got a text that some friends were getting together for drinks, I fled. I got dressed in regular clothes and I all but RAN out the door.

At this point, it sill hadn't occurred to me that God may have been trying to get my attention this whole time. When EVERYTHING seems to be going awry, it probably isn't just a coincidence.

I was so excited to be out of the house, that when I pulled up to the restaurant, I hopped out of the car without even turning my headlights off. I noticed my mistake and went back and switched them off before heading inside.

After being there for about 4 minutes, my phone rang.

It was my house number.

My heart sunk. Because I wanted to be doing what I wanted to be doing. And going back home was not in that game plan. I tasted anger and bitterness in my mouth. I DESERVED this break.

It was Chris. His voice was shaky. He asked me to come home.

There was an emergency at my friend/neighbor's house and she needed my help. There was an ambulance in front of their house, and their 3 year old daughter was being taken to the hospital.

My hands and feet went instantly numb. My stomach lurched. I ran out to my car and raced back to my neighborhood, back home, praying like I hadn't in... maybe forever. She had had a seizure. That was all that I knew.

I stayed at their house with their sleeping baby while my friend and her mother went to the hospital to meet the ambulance. After they left, everything was eerily quiet. And, just like that, my bad attitude slapped me in the face.

How selfish I've been. How privileged and entitled I've felt. Yeah, it's one thing to need a break, but it's another thing entirely to feel like the world OWES you one. Like you have the right to throw a giant pity party when things don't go your way. I've chosen this life and been blessed with these kids, and it wasn't until I was sitting in this quiet house- faced with the reality that it is all so fragile and delicate- that I finally got the message: "It's not all about you."

No matter how much I want to be the center of the universe, it's not going to happen. Expecting people to bend to my every whim and passing thought is unfair. Immature. Gross. I don't want to waste my life living that way. If I allow my heart to continue on in that, it will wither. It will get smaller and smaller, until there is only room for me in it, and I will be all alone.

I was reminded that I need to be faithful with what's in front of me if I'm going to ever have an impact on anyone or anything else in this world. And being faithful with these things doesn't make me small or insignificant... if I can't handle what's on my plate well now, how am I ever going to handle more? It would be a disaster.

This all seems so basic... so why do I forget it every 5 minutes?

My friend's little girl is fine. They came home a couple of hours later. Her fever had risen really high, really quickly, and caused her to have a seizure. It was absolutely terrifying and awful and gut-wrenching, but she is going to be okay.

I walked slowly back over to my own house. The street was quiet and I looked up at the stars. And I felt small. And wretched with myself. Like my heart was nothing but a warty toad. It's such a strange dichotomy, all of this... feeling like I have God inside of me calling me towards great things, but also being so unbelievably SMALL, and TEMPORARY on this earth. How does all this bigness and smallness wrapped in skin fit together in the end?

I'm not really sure. All I know is that, last night, I felt the GOD of the UNIVERSE whispering to my heart... and all He was calling me to do was walk through my front door, go to my babies rooms, and hold them tight.

And that felt plenty big enough for me.


Laura said...

Thanks, Emery. I needed this one today. :)

sufferingsummer said...

again with bringing on the tears. Thanks...I needed that.
I forget every 5 minutes but I blame it on nursing brain...hope when I'm not nursing anymore the memory will be easier to hold onto.
This is a beautiful representation of the paradox we face as people living with eternity in sight but outside of our daily reality. Love it, love you.

MOMMY-MOMO said...

All I can say is that I LOVED THIS! I needed too needed this today :)

MEGAN said...

Thank you for this! This changed my heart (I was reminded that I need to be faithful with what's in front of me if ...It would be a disaster.)

There are so many things I don't understand about life, the journey, the difficutlies and struggles. I thank God for all that I have though!

Peanut said...

I have following your blog for about a year now, maybe longer. And I LOVE IT! Your posts are amazing and you have a gift with words.

This post touched me today, as have most, but I felt compelled to tell you.

Thank you for writing it. I needed to hear it.

Meghan Elaine said...

Thank you for your honesty. I am a new mom of 6 week old twins and the last couple of days have been rough for me. I've felt many of those same feelings of feeling trapped and YEARNING for me time. I've resented that grocery shopping is supposed to be my "fun time out." But I feel like I can't talk about it. Our babies are miracles from God through IVF and I had prayed desperatly for two babies. Motherhood is beyond incredible but right now I feel tired. However, I found myself reading the beginning of your post and saying to myself, "I feel that way too! Yeah, why do our plans for ourself always fall through?" But then your post ended just as it should. It's not about me. My sacrafice in motherhood is peanutes compared to Christ's sacrafice for me. Anyway, thank you for reminding me to simply take joy in nurturing my babies.

Leanne said...

awwww, Em! I was crying by the end. SO TRUE, all that you said.

And don't you worry, we will hang another time!!!! Thank you for being such an amazing neighbor to Phil and Nik.

Love you!

molly june. said...

gosh, this post was a punch in the face! (a good, much needed, just-what-God-was-trying-to-tell-me, punch in the face) thank you for pouring your heart out like you do...i think every mom can relate, but it is so good to be reminded that this motherhood gig is no small task, & God is calling us to be faithful warriors for our children! your honesty gets me every time. so thank you.

lorieloo said...

yes, you bring me to tears, more often than you know. as mom's don't we need this? to be reminded that we're building cathedrals. that it's a marathan. that we are being called to a bigger purpose than we can fathom.

hugs friend. know you're not alone in those days when you feel the most lonely=)

Catherine Gikas said...

dang it emery jo. catherine

hunnybeemay said...


Jiff said...

I work in a children's hospital so everyday I'm reminded to quit feeling sorry for myself because I'm exhausted; there are parents out there who are exhausted with SICK babies. It makes me go home every night and spend every waking moment with Bayley.

But you DO still need your YOU time.

kim said...

thanks for sharing yourself emery. you are always an encouragement.

Candace said...

wow!!! What more can I say? Thanks Emery!

daylightrising said...


That was convicting.

I soo relate to this post except the part where you do the right thing and stop complaining and being bitter. I'm not so good at that part.

Kristin...though some still call me Dott... said...

i definitely know that burnt out feeling. i have three sons (4 yrs, 3 yrs, and a 9 month old nursling). the kids alone can be draining, but my husband just left to spend a year in korea this past week as well. it's so easy to get sucked in to focusing on the lemons and not the lemonaide. *hugs* from one sister in Christ to another.

Amanda said...

This is one of THE most beautiful things I've read recently.

The feeling is so universal, yet so personal, and you managed to capture it perfectly and with such grace.

Kelly said...

Humble pie is a bitter, but lovely taste to the God-fearing, refining-desiring mouth.
Thank you so much for the reminder.