I was losing the joy. That's what my husband said. That was his diagnosis for his severely grumpy, tired, overly stressed out wife. And there was nobody to blame but myself. Let me back up a little and give you a better picture of what was happening on that Sunday Evening...
I had just finished helping Cosette on the potty. Being the typical two-year old that she is, she insisted on doing everything herself. I can pull up my own big-girl pants. I can shut the potty lid. I can wash my own hands. I can dry my own hands. I was losing my patience! It was twenty minutes past bed-time, and I was one tired mommy. "Cosette, let mommy do it!" I had snapped louder than I had originally intended. My husband, who happened to be walking by the open bathroom door, raised his eye-brows and gave me a questioning look. I groaned. "I think I'm a little stressed out!"
Later that night, my husband and I sat at the kitchen table together. I told him how I'm always washing dishes. I told him how I had spent all day Friday doing laundry, and now there were three more huge piles waiting on me. I told him how the kids mess up the room before I even finish cleaning it. I told him how Cosette was driving me crazy, how she won't let me help her with anything! And on top of all of that, my stuffed-up ears from a recent ear infection were driving me crazy, as I couldn't hear a thing (or so it seemed). "I just can't take it anymore!"
My loving husband let me talk. He didn't criticize. He didn't tell me I was being childish. He didn't tell me to pull it together. He didn't tell me that every other mother has just as much work as I do. He said four simple words: "You're losing the joy"
He went on to say that I was actually a good mother, that he was happy with the cleanliness of our house, and that he hadn't once had to go without clean socks :) He simply thought that I was losing the big picture--I was losing 'the joy'
I reflected on what he said. And I realized that he was right. The problem wasn't too much work, a 'do it myself' two year old, or even my stuffed-up ears. I was simply failing to find completeness or joy in the every-day tasks set before me. I was failing to rejoice in the blessed children that God had given me. I was doing everything with a 'let's just get it done' attitude.
So I made a conscious decision to enjoy life more, to pray for help more,to rejoice in my children, and to love my husband. I decided to no longer strive for perfection in everything, but to do what I could, and be content with that. I wouldn't worry if Cosette needed to do everything herself, and if a simple bed-time routime happened to take forty minutes instead of ten. I decided to really try to have a more peaceful spirit, and a 'light' about me that even my children could recognize.
But I couldn't do it myself. It was only through the help of my blessed Lord that a change has occured. For every other person that knows me, they may not notice a difference. But to my family, the improvement is immense. I am a much happier, easier person to live with. As my husband quoted, "When Momma ain't happy, ain't nobody happy!" And as for myself, I am relieved at the difference. I no longer 'sweat the little things.' I smile at my children more. I rejoice in living every day with them. And I am so glad to finally feel a peace within myself, the peace that only God can give.
The laundry hasn't changed. There are still huge piles waiting on me. Cosette still insists on doing everything by herself. It still takes me two hours to get ready to go somewhere. My ears are still stuffed up, and my favorite phrase lately is "What did you say?" But inspite of all of that, I have found the joy again! Through the daily love of my Jesus, I can rejoice in this life that He has given me.
" ...I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly." John 10:10
And for those of you who are wondering, yes, this is where my new blog title came from :)