The Winter of My Discontent

April 3, 2013

A year ago, I never would have imagined the new adventures a mere twelve months could bring. Writing a book. Starting a blog. Surviving school. Writing and editing an amazing network of women. Owning a business. And most of all, being a day-in, day-out wife and mama.

So why have I felt so soul-weary lately? Why has this felt like the winter of my discontent?

The view out my window on a recent day
In one of our Sunday services a while back, our pastor said that every "yes" is a "no" to something else. And lately I’ve felt like every yes I give – even for good things, even for great things – is a “no” to my family, a “no” to sleep, a “no” to sanity.

The other day I laid down on the floor of my living room while my children climbed all over me, and simply basked in the sun. The warm rays were streaming through the windows, across the carpet. Beauty at 3 p.m. 

It was a moment of rest I desperately needed.

And I thought about how it’s a hard line to walk. To balance the desire to stay home with my children with the desire to feel like I matter. 

I recently explained that truth to my friends. Oh, not in so many words. But I felt it, anyway, rising up:

We're sitting, coffee in hand, children running rampant, conversation flowing. 

And I tell them I’m stressed out; I need to say “no” more often.
And inside, I’m thinking: I’m a bad parent. I’m too stressed out to be a good mom and wife.

And I tell them I’m overwhelmed.
And inside, I think: I need to work on boundaries.

And I tell them this winter has lasted forever.
And inside, I’m thinking: I need a break. I can’t do this anymore.

And the moment passes and I swallow the lump in my throat. And I’m comforted in knowing that my friends care about me, even if I don’t share every burden. 

And we move on to food and our kids’ latest antics, and I go on.

And I remember this truth that calls to me, even in the midst, even through the tiredness and the stress and the endless stream of diapers and dishes:

“'Don’t be afraid, I’ve redeemed you.
I’ve called your name. You’re mine.
When you’re in over your head, I’ll be there with you.
When you’re in rough waters, you will not go down.
When you’re between a rock and a hard place,
it won’t be a dead end—
Because I am God, your personal God,
The Holy of Israel, your Savior.
I paid a huge price for you:
all of Egypt, with rich Cush and Seba thrown in!
That’s how much you mean to me!
That’s how much I love you!
I’d sell off the whole world to get you back,
trade the creation just for you.'" - Isaiah 43:1b-4 (The Message)

The quiet comfort of these essential truths, like the dappled sunlight moving too swiftly across my living room floor, wraps me in warmth. It's a reminder that this, too, shall pass. And it's a reminder that my bad days, my tired moments, my stressed-out panic, are never too much for my Father, who loves me infinitely - just as I am. And it's enough. And with his help, I'm enough.


  1. If only we could learn our personal boundaries without trampling all over them first!
    Great post :-)

  2. Thanks, Esther! I guess the good thing is that we can (hopefully) learn from our mistakes/trampled boundaries?! :)

  3. "And I thought about how it’s a hard line to walk. To balance the desire to stay home with my children with the desire to feel like I matter." Oh wow! Can I relate to that! I've been there and felt that exact thing. Please know that what you "DO" does not define who you are. You are a child of the King and he loves you to pieces!! Praying that you can find peace in the turmoil, rest in the busyness, and the the ability to decipher when to say "yes" and when to say "no." It's such a hard lesson to learn and I think right now I lean a little heavy on the "nos" to make up for all the "yeses" I've said in the past. :)

  4. We can all relate to the desire to "matter" for the kingdom of God.I have struggled with this many times; wondering what I could DO that would make a difference. Usually during my discontent I am reminded again of a significant scripture: Micah 6:8 No, O people(O Karen), the LORD has told you what is good, and this is what he requires of you: to do what is right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.

  5. Thanks for your encouraging words, ladies! And Karen, I LOVE that verse - one of my favorites. :)

  6. Oh BOY, can I ever relate to this, Kristin!!
    I'm have an incredibly hard time saying no to things I think I can do. When it comes right down to it, I'll admit that sometimes I just enjoy showing myself and other people that I CAN do it. But *should* I do it? Can I chew another bite on an already overflowing plate? Will saying "yes" to one more thing mean that I'm stressed, unhappy, and overwhelmed?
    Yes. I need to constantly remind myself that just because I *can* doesn't mean I should, particularly when it comes to the opportunity to make a little more money for my family.
    Oofta. I'm right there with you, hon, and if you ever need to talk to a fellow over-doer, I'm your gal!


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