The Stay Awake Challenge: Week 2

Week Two is about starting where you are. Read the entire post here.

Where am I? Where am I right now? I have to be honest with myself in this post, and that is not always easy, but one of the things I wanted when I created this blog was a place where I could be real. And this? This is about as real as it gets.

start1As a mom of three young boys, it feels like the house is never tidy for more than five minutes. These two photos represent the constant clutter that comes with having small children at home — toys all over the floor, books piled on the couch (we had just finished school and I hadn’t put everything away yet). I feel like I am constantly stepping over or on start2toys, or fussing at the kids to pick them up and put them away. We have tried to make the downstairs a “no-toy” zone, so far, with little success. Every day, the toys migrate downstairs throughout the day, and when it comes time to pick them up just before bed, it’s always a huge battle.

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Confession: We have been in Quito since April of last year, living in our house since the end of May, and our container arrived in August, and still there are boxes sitting around waiting to be unpacked. We have hung up very few pictures and other decorations. There are still no curtains in Alex and Stephen’s bedroom. Three box springs that we don’t intend to use are just taking up space in the upstairs hallway until we figure out what to do with them (that’s what’s under the window in the photo). We could give them away, but who wants a box spring with no mattress? Most of our books are on shelves, but in desperate need of organization. I have a several-month backlog of expense reports to do that has been hanging over me like a dark cloud for several weeks now. I love being organized, and right now I am far from it, and that is exceedingly frustrating.

And then there’s our bedroom, the bane of my entire existence right now. I feel stressed every time I walk in here because it is such a disorganized mess. Boxes piled on one wall, clothes that need to be put away, clutter, clutter everywhere. It pains me greatly to share these pictures (start6below), but in the interest of keeping it real… At least today, I had actually made our bed. I don’t always do even that anymore (sorry, Mom, I know yostart5u taught me better).

 

 

 

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This next picture is probably my favorite of the bunch — cloth diapers hanging to dry in the afternoon sun. It represents the fact that I have a baby at home right now, a sweet, cuddly baby who is quickly growing up and becoming a little boy. Ah, but for a few months yet, he is a baby, and those cloth diapers flapping in the wind remind me of that.

As hard as it was for me to share some of those photos, it’s harder still to talk about where I am emotionally and spiritually. I know (in my head) that my life is blessed and I have much to be thankful for, but I feel (in my heart) dried up inside a lot of the time. People are quick to suggest culture shock / stress, but I’ve moved overseas and forged a new life in a foreign country before and this feels — different. It feels more like depression (yes, I’m a missionary and I just used the “d” word). I’m apathetic and tired and most days, it’s a struggle just to pull myself out of bed in the morning.

My husband tells people confidently that he knows for certain that he’s in the right place, doing what he’s meant to be doing, fulfilling his calling. I’m glad for him, but his surety makes my own doubts and insecurities seem even more glaring. I can’t count the number of people who have said to me over the past few months something along the lines of, “I feel good about this decision, about you being in Ecuador. It’s a good fit for you guys and for your family.” I usually just nod my head and say, “Aw, thanks, that’s nice.” But inside, I’m aching to feel the same way, have the same confidence that we made the right choice. Instead, I’m just full of doubt and regret.

I long to feel deep joy and fulfillment again, but most days, I am afraid I never will. This is where I am right now on my journey to “stay awake.”

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