“I don’t have a grace for it anymore.”
I used to think of this statement as a Christian euphemism for quitting. I heard it in the context of people leaving jobs and breaking promises. Or simply complaining about things that require effort.
And I was critical.
Life can be challenging. Just follow through on your commitment, I thought. Admit you don’t want to feel obligated, that you would rather give up — instead of playing a victim to your lack of dedication.
But now I’m sorry I was so judgmental.
Grace: favor, mercy, and empowerment to do what needs to be done
- I’m an extrovert. I get energy from being around people. My husband usually wakes up at 5:30a to leave for school. We share a car, and he has it during the week. He often has long days and gets home late. (Apparently it’s tough, this PhD stuff.) I don’t have many friends, and it is more complicated to connect with people without my own transportation. Still, I try to schedule at least one playdate a week (for myself — Atlas doesn’t care yet) and that keeps my people-tank adequately full. I would have thought I would feel isolated, just the baby and me all day most days, but I feel loved.
- I adore sunshine, especially paired with a cold beer on the beach. I used to live in South Florida and I miss it so much! A daily dose of vitamin D is so healthy: increases bone density, reduces cancer risk, improves sleep, and enhances mood and brain function. Colorado is pretty sunny, but I live in a garden-level apartment, i.e., basement. I could spend more time on the main floor or outside if I chose to, but for now it is easier to stay in my own little space. Days are darker down here, but my heart is light.
- I receive fulfillment from professional accomplishments. I am motivated by public recognition and opportunity for advancement. I’m competitive. I love winning, no matter how small a prize. In the right timing, I will pursue a career again. Being a stay-at-home mom is a full-time job, but there is little praise and no promotion in sight. I may not be earning any rewards, but snuggling with my smiling baby is priceless, and spending my days with him is a treasure. The routine can be monotonous, but I am surprisingly content.
This season is hard — relationally, financially, logistically. It takes time to make new friends, to build mutual trust, to feel at home. It takes sacrifice and investment to stay at home with a baby, to go back to school, to follow my dreams.
This is a season of hiddenness, generally feeling unknown, misunderstood, and unappreciated. But I am confident I am where I need to be, that there is a wealth of growth in store for me. I imagine I could have felt lonely and frustrated, perhaps even discouraged. But I am full of hope. It’s a hard season, but it’s a good season.
There’s a grace for it.
Photo credit: Reagan Denine Photography