Thursday, September 17, 2015

When Reality Sucks

This quote hit me hard tonight as I was scrolling through some old posts and crying my swollen eyes out.
Because crying is apparently my new thing.
Just kidding---kind of. 

My car wouldn't start tonight. Actually, it started acting funky this morning but I prayed that it was just a fluke.

It wasn't. 

I cried the entire drive home {in my mother's car that she so kindly offered to let me borrow} because I was stressed beyond belief. I had an emotionally exhausting day---and then this.


My kids asked why I was crying so much and I voiced my feelings briefly about money and wanting to be the best mom for them and feeling like every time I try to get ahead, I get punched in the face. They were both so empathetic toward me and reminded me that it would be ok.

Because cars are just cars. It will get fixed and all will be well again. The car breaking down doesn't determine my happiness or my goodness or my worthiness. It is just a car.

But my goodness, if I could just CATCH A BREAK, that'd be super great. Most of the time, I feel like I'm drowning, like I'm stretched so thin that it wouldn't even be possible to fit in one more second of "life". I know that isn't true. Single mom life might be hard but there are so many reasons that it isn't hard. There are so many positives to the life I'm living now.

There has been so much growth. 

But with that growth comes questioning and doubt---it always seems to do that. I question if I'm really a good mother or if I'm just depicting myself that way on the internet. I question whether this is the real me or if the girl who heads straight to the couch after work and sits there for a while doing practically nothing is the real me---which would make me lazy and selfish. Is that really me? Or is there a greater amount of goodness that resides within my bones that once in a while needs a break after a long day of providing/school/homework/bills/parenting?

I think tonight I'll try to see myself in that second girl and not count the minutes I spend on the couch each afternoon while I tell my children to do their homework.

I always envisioned myself to be this super involved mother who sits at the kitchen table with a homemade snack for the kids and reads through every homework assignment with them. I envisioned the amazing talks we would have and the laughter that would accompany the conversation..

And reality is far different than the vision in my head of the mother I am "supposed" to be. Reality is telling the kids to get themselves breakfast in the morning or dinner at night when I am feeling too overwhelmed and tired. Reality is mindlessly scrolling through Facebook and answering random homework questions as they come. Reality is fast food and dirty clothes on the floor and not taking the time to shower for a few days because I'd much rather just sit---just sit and breathe and thank God we are all still alive.

Sometimes reality sucks.

But most of the time, the reason I think it sucks isn't because I am truly unhappy but because I have this vision in my head of what I'm supposed to be doing every second of every day. I have created this vision in my head of what the perfect mother would be doing.

And I have to remind myself that I am not the perfect mother nor will I ever be her. Part of that has to do with my current relationship status but let's get real here---I wasn't an amazing homemaker before my divorce. I struggled with cooking and cleaning and making sure everything was always in order.

But the kids? I didn't used to struggle with that. I didn't used to need so many breaks or accept the fact that independence would be coming much sooner for them than it would for most children their same ages.

I had help almost every day. I could rely on another adult to come home from work and be present in our home. I could go to the damn grocery store by myself!
Obviously these things are small and seem insignificant but they make a difference.

Sometimes I wish this wasn't my life but every time that happens, all I have to think about is the woman I am now versus the woman I used to be and then I remember that I wouldn't trade the person that I am for anything---not even for a husband.
And maybe that's weird. Maybe that seems confusing because had I not gone through all of this, I wouldn't have known any different. But the fact is that I do know different. I have learned things that have enabled me to teach my children things I never would've thought to tell a 5 and 7 year old. I look around at the people in my life who are all struggling uniquely and I can recognize that every single one of them is going through something that is hard for them.

We don't get to decide what is a hard trial and what isn't.

I might feel like a failure a lot of the time but during the small moments where my children are curled up in my arms or I witness them showing kindness toward others, I remember that I am getting some things right.

The next step is remembering those small victories during these exhausting and hard times.

I'll get there eventually...

Sunday, September 6, 2015

I am His

I have heard it said many times that Mormons are not Christians.

In fact, I grew up defending my faith and telling my non-LDS friends why I was a Christian. It was my least favorite thing---being told I wasn't something that in fact, I was.

I'm going to be real with you today. My goodness, this realness is a bit scary because I've kept this to some close family and friends but I feel like it's a good time to open up now.


My name is Suzanne and I am a Christian. Beyond that, I have yet to figure out what I am or who I am. Actually that's not completely true. I know who I am. I know I am a child of God. I know I am a lovable, laughable, loud, sensitive, compassionate person.

But I am currently attending more than one church---and sometimes, I venture to other churches too.

And today, I tried out a new church and in the middle of the service, they began to talk about Mormons and how they aren't real Christians.

I breathed. I breathed some more. I sighed heavily and I knew it wasn't right.

It wasn't right.

Because whether I am a Mormon or not, Mormons are Christians.
They are.

As a young girl, this argument always confused me because I was taught about Christ every week at church. My daily prayers have Jesus' name in them. I would hear about Jesus Christ and I knew He was real and that He died for me.

I've always been a Christian. I'm not a Christian now that I am attending a contemporary Christian church. I was already a Christian.

And what I know---one of the only things I am completely sure of---is that I want to be like Jesus Christ. I want to be compassionate and loving and patient toward the people who step in and out of my life. I want to see them as children of God. I want to love without judging them.

I often find myself saying "love wins". I understand that this saying became popular when the Supreme Court ruled in favor if same-sex marriage but I don't see it as a same-sex marriage quote. I see a completely bigger picture where love triumphs above all evil and harm and heartache.

There will always be people for us to love.

I can tell you how easy it is to focus inward and feel sorry for the love you've lost and the pain you're feeling. I have struggled deeply with losing people who I trusted my heart with. It is messy and hard.
But I want to pinpoint something much bigger and more powerful---loving others.

Looking outward.

Finding those who may not feel loved and loving them.

Seeing the people who look troubled and smiling at them.

One of my favorite stories in the Bible is the story of the woman who had committed adultery. I have read through this story many times and imagined how I would've felt if a group of people had found out some of my worst sins and taken me in front of my Savior to judge and ridicule me.
I read that story and I get that woman. I understand her. I feel her pain and agony as she fears for what Christ will say or do.
But my favorite part is when He walks up to her and asks her to stop, to repent of her sins. He seems gentle and loving in that moment.
Did He condone her behavior? Nope.
Did He love her? Absolutely.

And then He turns to the people ready to scorn her and He says, "He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone.

Right then and there, the chills start and I feel myself nodding and agreeing. 

Because yes! Do we all not struggle and sin daily? 

It's beautiful. So many things that I stand for can be found right in that Bible story. 

I am a Christian because I believe in Jesus Christ. I know that He was crucified on the cross for me and for you. I know that He was resurrected three days later. 

I know that He lives and that He loves me. 

When I fall short, He picks up my slack. He is my cheerleader and every day, He hopes that I will find happiness and love in my life. 

And I do! There is so much beauty in my life. So. Much. Beauty. 

This struggle has not been easy and I have spent many nights crying on my knees, pleading with God to just give me an easy answer so that I wouldn't be so scared. I didn't want this. I fought it silently for a long time. I struggled alone. 

But then I reached out. I started to become stronger and realize that I am going to be ok. God knows me and He will give me answers when He knows I am ready. He will guide me where I need to be. And if I go the wrong way or I make mistakes along the way, I know He will be there. 

Because really, what I want is a relationship with Him. What I really want is to feel close enough to my God that I can trust Him and not worry about what everyone else will think of me. 

I don't have to have all of the answers right now. In fact, I doubt they will come soon or easily. But I am a daughter of God and He is not ignoring me. I feel so many amazing things happening in my life and among the fear and the worries, I also feel so much love and freedom to be who God wants me to be. 

I am His and that will always come first.