Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Peeling Me Back

I am learning that when I feel the most inadequate, I am the quickest to find fault in those around me. I go looking for it. And if it's not there, I conjure it up.

It's so ugly, this trait of mine.

Here's one thing I am learning - A prayer to be stripped down will not go unanswered.

Here's another thing I'm learning - Being stripped down makes me feel exposed. It makes me turn ever-inward. It makes me pay attention. I start to notice things.

So, it seems it's not enough to give the best of myself to the littles then glare at my husband the moment he walks through the door.

I am a fool if I believe for one moment that *they* don't notice.

I have been trying hard with my kids. And in the trying, I have fancied myself a martyr. Of course, I don't let them see me with my hand to my forehead, eyes downcast. The me I show them is the patient, roll-with-the-punches, singing in the kitchen, surprise Easter candy, smoochy-pants Mommy they love. At least, that's what I'm trying to show them.

And it's all well and good. We live our days and they are mostly happy.

But then 5 o'clock rolls around, six follows. Seven. We do the bedtime drill. I descend the stairs awash in the relief that quiet brings me. I yank off my Mommy face and throw it on a pile of laundry. I catch a glimpse as I walk through and notice that my Shannan face is not very pretty.

I wonder, what if I tried just as hard when the kids were sleeping? What if I stopped "trying" altogether, and sought harder the purest grace that comes from only One Giver?

What if I believed that what the Bible says is true, that I am to "Let everything I say be good and helpful, so that my words will be an encouragement to those who hear them"?

What would my family look like if the Mommy/Honey spoke only words that were good and helpful and encouraging?

It seems like it would be worthwhile to find out.



*Photo courtesy of my husband, the Saint.

48 comments:

  1. You know, I can almost time it - on the hour, when I start to get those feelings rising up inside. Poor me, woe is me, why won't he do more - blah blah - yuck. I hate that it"s something I have to work so hard at so continuously to keep under control. But if I ever wonder if the enemy wants to attack the family, I just think of that crazy hour or so before my husband comes home and how shifty my mood can be. Great post - so true.

    Love your blog, btw - sweet kidlets!

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  2. I know exactly what you mean! It's hard to give the best of yourself 100% of time time. I'm striving to be better at it! I feel like my co-workers get the best Annie, and my poor husband and kids get the rest some days! I've been praying about it as well. It's my biggest struggle, and not one I'm proud of!

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  3. This post really touched me today. Last night, for whatever reason, baby hughes wasn't sleeping well... and it was hot upstairs and he wanted to snuggle. Well, the mommy in me was fine with the comforting but I wanted to lash out at my husband who didn't adjust the temp before he went to bed... the husband who looked up at me and huffed when he heard the baby crying. I was upset that he rolled over and went back to sleep while I was up sweating with a crying toddler. And, I had to be up super early for work. I too try to be positive, but in the middle of the night, when you are sweating, it is hard to be sweet to the one you married.

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  4. Great post.. I think you spoke for all of us.
    Have a good Thursday

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  5. If you strike closer to home I'll be on fire... wow. what if I quit trying... and just did it... martyr.. there's a word I like to pretend doesn't exist. We're a little maxed out around here as of late (we just made a 1/2 cross country move, & I've been sick(incapacitating flu bug) 3 times in the last month.) & I just want to call 'the maid'. ... thanks for reminding me, to pray to God, Almighty. Not to the crevices that might be holding an ouce of adreneline.

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  6. Thank you! Thank you ! Thank you for your absolute pure, unabashed honesty! You have no idea what a breath of fresh air you are to all of us other "real live" mommies and wives out here. All too often, the blogs only reveal the nicest, prettiest sides of people...the sides they are proud of. It's so refreshing to know that there ARE indeed others who have the same daily struggles that I have...and who turn to the same One I turn to for guidance, comfort, and strength. Please, please share more with us about this journey...I am taking it right along with you as this is a change I am trying to make in my life right now also. Thank you...just, well, thanks!

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  7. Well said girl. what would the world look like if all Christians followed the scriptures and let our words be pleasing and encouraging, full of grace and mercy to others. When I feel insecure I point out the ugly in others.

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  8. yes. very worthwhile indeed. :0) I was just thinking something similar earlier.

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  9. Being married only five short months, this isn't a constant struggle (and I pray it isn't) BUT TODAY... I must confess today really was. It was a day I wish the little no-authority secretary (myself) had the authority to fire a couple people... then I came home, and just because of my day at work, was disapointed and upset at my hubby, making him worried and sorry! Thanks for the honesty!
    and... your name IS in here!

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  10. You took the words right out of my mouth!

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  11. Keep pressing on love - as my ma says, he comes to steal, kill and destroy. She's so blunt - she calls him a pig. I love her.

    Philippians 4:8-9

    Thanks for this. Hugs, The Lady of the House

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  12. The bewitching hours. It's tough. I too sometimes feel I act the martyr poor..the oh look what I dealt with all day...the you had a moment of peace today and I haven't had one in months face...I get it sister. Fact is our emotions no matter how good we try to be, how encouraging, how positive, their are still the moments where we fall off that wagon. Hopefully our Honey's can understand our moments of weakness and brush off the scowls we throw and know we are good Wives and amazing Mommy's. Strive to be you. That's all you can do. Oooh...I think that's my new motto. :)

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  13. Holy mackeral, you're good! I read this to my husband, and for the first time he was able to really understand that the woman, mom, and wife, that I am are 3 different people. Way to put it into words! This parenting season of life is such a gift, yet so very testing at the same time. All the better to see the gift with, I suppose.

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  14. Wow! How I can relate to this post. Why is it that I can try so hard with my children and then give my husband the most unappealing parts of me. Aaaaagh!!!! So glad to have found you. This is the first time I've been to your blog, liked it so much, I'm following. Please feel free to drop by for a visit: http://mercybee.blogspot.com. I'd love for you to follow, if you'd like. :)

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  15. I suffer from this affliction occasionally myself. Okay maybe more than occasionally. Part of it is this feeling that I have to do everything myself and then the inevitable resentment that follows. I'm working on it. We are all a work in progress, right? P.S. Miss you.

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  16. Awesome post. I have found myself turning from mother into Wicked Witch of the West...I'm sure I look like that too!...at around bedtime.
    You are not alone!
    And by the way, can we give ourselves a little break because of the miserable grey awful depressing weather we've dealt with this week? It's hard being cooped up with the kids all day...by the end of the evening I feel like my head is going to explode if I don't step foot into another realm besides my house.

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  17. Ouch! Did you have to step on every single last one of my toes AND kick me in the shins?? lol. Thanks for being transparent and for speaking the truth with grace and humor. You aren't alone (and I'm not even cooped up with kiddos all day!).

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  18. You are right on the mark as usual. You should write a woman's devotional book, I'm sure it would be a best seller! More importantly though, it would be a wonderful help for many of us.

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  19. Oh girlie in your quest for perfection remember that NO ONE is perfect. I think we all struggle with days like this, especially when our little ones were that little. And top it off with having three! That's a lot of being "on" for your babies. I love how your heart is seeking that pure place, and I'm sure because you are giving it over to the Lord He will bless you with it:)

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  20. I can so relate to your words... I just tune out at 8:00. I am a vegetable without any personality/words to say. I do feel like I can win an Academy Award during the day...looking like I have it all together when really inside I am just struggling to make it to the 8:00 comatose phase. Where's the joy, right? Thanks for the post. LOVED IT!

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  21. What a post! Just what I needed this morning. Really, were you in my house yesterday?
    -FringeGirl

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  22. Evening is a tough time for me. Unfortunately, that is the time my family is home! Ugh. Our families seem to be the ones to get our leftovers. Shannan, you have the toughest job on the planet. The best job, yes, but it's not an easy one. I also happen to think it's the most important job a girl can have.

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  23. Ouch. Get off my toes. JK! I needed to read this today. Thanks!

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  24. Girl, you spoke right to the heart of me. I feel like I turn into Mommy Dearest around 5 in the afternoon. I'm holding it all in til I get the kids in bed, but I'm boiling underneath with a short temper and no patience - not the person I wanna be.

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  25. I hear ya sister. You are not alone in this.

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  26. I have had very similar thoughts as of late. Thank you so much for blogging about this, it's so nice to know we're not alone.

    Have a good Thursday! :)

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  27. Seriously, this is the daily battle.

    "What would my family look like if the Mommy/Honey spoke only words that were good and helpful and encouraging?" Ouch, ouch, ouch. That hit hard and you are right!

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  28. Oi or Hi!!!
    I understanding all that you are saying. Thank you for your honest and i cant believe, how many women out there, related to you. including me.
    Sorry for my poor english! Good Luck with all youre adorable kids. Oh, you are adorable too.
    Bye

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  29. I had this big revelation last year that I purposely make my days sooo hard when my husband gets home so he'll feel bad or pitch in quicker or something... it's the martyr syndrome for sure!! You aren't alone.

    I like how you said you take off that mommy face and throw it into the laundry. I so get that! Good post today, Shannan!

    :)

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  30. whew. i guess i'm not the only one. thanks, for being honest.

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  31. I have the martyr stance down pat. I like the idea of praying to be stripped down.... but it SCARES ME. Uplifting words are hard for this type A personality, control freak! Your post today reminds me to lean on the grace of my savior, Jesus Christ.

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  32. You speak of humanity. I too have found myself battling similar personal traits over my life only now I want to fix them...The inward reflection brings me comfort but the acting on the revelation is horribly scary. I love you cous, and will pray that we find our way to be all we hope to be.

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  33. You mean everyone doesn't smile like June Cleaver when their husbands come home? =)
    Though perfect we can not obtain ~ the spirit of Christ in and through us we can seek and surrender to! My prayer for many many "issues in my heart and mind" lately is that I can finally go back to the place where I was fully surrendered to Him and He was ever flowing from my heart and lips! There a June Cleaver likeness may exist a little! (ha ha) =)

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  34. great post. taking a step toward intentional, purposeful joy even before we feel it. thanks for sharing!

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  35. Oh I have struggled with this the past few weeks. I had to stop myself the other day when I heard the words "Hurry up" come out of my mouth when I was trying to get my girls to bed. Seriously? I don't want them to hurry up or grow up too quickly but with hubby traveling for a living, I also cherish those moments of peace and quiet. It is a something I am working on.

    Hang in there. We will get through it together!;-)

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  36. Your words totally unraveled me. I so get what you are saying and I so feel what you are feeling.

    Wow.

    Such honesty. I'm still taking it all in and trying to figure out what to do about it all.

    Tracey

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  37. It's amazing. This is amazing.
    You're starting to pray for refining FIRE, and those prayers are the hardest and best, huh.
    He is strong when we are weak and even though He refines us through flames, (it's very hot), He's gentle beyond imagination because he doesn't make us do it by ourself. YAY!

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  38. this is so true and honest...I love that about you...and yes something that is definitely worthwhile to find out, right? xo

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  39. powerful. i too wonder who i am beneath this mommy-face and wonder if i truly want to know?

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  40. Amen. Nuff said! Amen, amen, amen!

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  41. This really spoke to me. It is TOTALLY worthwhile to find out.
    Everything that you wrote about, walking down the stairs, the face off, the laundry....reminds me of myself at 7 after the kids go to bed. This inspired me.

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  42. Thank you for the inspiration tonight. Mommy and wife life is the life I longed for since I was a mini munchkin following my mommy around. but i find that my actions are not always consistent with my childhood dreams. i am living my dream life....why am i not the dream wife? i love that you are about truth. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

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  43. I often feel like I'm my best around my kids and Big Jim gets my grumpy left-overs. It's most certainly not fair, but I think part of me must take comfort in knowing I can vent/grouch to him. I haven't given a thought to his take on this.....hmmmm. :)

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