I’m going to be real honest with all of you. I’m struggling. I’ve been in a dark place lately and have been trying to work through some things. I have chosen to share these things while they’re fresh because I can see myself sugar-coating in the future. One of the purposes of writing this blog post is for me to learn. I believe that as I journal these thoughts, God teaches me. So welcome to my diary, basically.
Struggle number one. My whole life I’ve been a perfectionist. Before salvation, my worth came from my achievements and success. Now as a Christian, not much has changed. I’ve learned that my worth comes from my identity in Christ and not from what I accomplish, but I’m not so sure I actually live that out.
I’m in the middle of the first semester of my senior year of college and life has hit me hard. According to many people, I “do it all,” playing basketball and going to school on top of being a mom. Oh and not just a mom, a single mom. And yet I still don’t give myself any credit. My plate is overflowing with responsibilities and my perfectionism tells me I’m not doing well enough. No, it’s actually not me; it is Satan telling me I’m not doing well enough. It is Satan telling me that my mediocre grades aren’t good enough. Having to put Kendall in daycare three days a week doesn’t make me a good enough mom. Not being able to financially provide for my daughter isn’t good enough. Not making all of my shots in basketball practice isn’t good enough. By believing all of these things, I’m letting Satan win. I let Satan guilt trip me into thinking I’m not doing enough. I feel guilty for dropping Kendall off at daycare so I can go home and take a nap. I feel guilty for not completing every single homework assignment because I’m exhausted. I feel guilty for not being able to put in extra work outside of basketball practice. When I actually write these things down, I see how ridiculous it is. If this was someone else talking to me about their life I’d say, “Holy cow, Superwoman! Take a nap!” But why can’t I listen to my own advice?
There are a couple parts to this answer. Part one, I compare. I’m competing with the moms, students, basketball players, and Christians around me. If Sally over there can juggle all of those responsibilities while raising three kids, why can’t I do it with just one kid? You get the idea. The reality is, God has given me a certain level of capacity. That Sally chick may be able to handle all of those things because God has allowed her to do so but personally, I may not have the capability that she has to do all of those things. And that’s okay. God has gifted all of us differently. Part two, I don’t take care of myself. As Christians, we learn about the importance of humility and counting others more important than ourselves (Philippians 2:3). Trying to live that out, I take care of everyone else’s needs around me before my own. While that is a great thing to do, I run myself into the ground in the process. As a mom, it is more difficult trying to balance taking care of my daughter and taking care of myself because as a toddler, Kendall obviously has more needs. I can’t even use the restroom without cries and little fingers reaching under the door. So here’s where that nap comes into play. I shouldn’t feel guilty for dropping Kendall off at daycare a little earlier so that I can have time for myself. It is little steps like that that I need to take in order to stay sane in this life. In the last 20 months of motherhood, I’ve been learning how to take care of myself. I would never ask for help until I reached my breaking point, and it was not pretty (sorry, Mom). I would make excuses for not taking breaks from Kendall. I know moms get this. We don’t feel the need for a break until it’s too late. That anger exhibited toward my daughter could have never happened if I had asked for a break earlier. And when I finally realize I need a break, no one is available to help. And I’m stuck. In anger and utter exhaustion. So take that nap. Read a book. Watch an episode of a series you’re binge-watching on Netflix. Or just sit quietly in the presence of God. That works great too.
Struggle number two. I’m a planner. I plan and organize every little detail of my life. I have to be in control of every little detail of mine and Kendall’s lives. Why? The reality is, I lack trust. I’m not trusting in God’s plan. So Kelly, you mean to tell me your plan is better than God’s? That’s definitely how I’m living. Here we go again. That is Satan getting in my head. It is Satan telling me that my plan is better, so I better stick to my plan and worry about every little thing to the point of hyper-ventilation. Okay, I know what you’re thinking. I know, I’ve been through a lot in my life and when I had to fully depend on God with unwavering faith, He pulled me through. So why is it still so hard for me to do? Two words: spiritual warfare. Just because I claim to be a Christian, it doesn’t mean Satan flees. Nope. Satan works even harder to bring us down. And he’s persistent. But God is telling me, “STOP, Kelly! I have everything figured out. Relax, and trust me.”
Case in point. Here is a real scenario that my mom and I still laugh about to this day. A couple weeks after finding out I was pregnant, Kendall’s father came into town and wanted to meet with me. Things were rough between us so I was a little scared. I wanted my mom to be there for support but he made it clear that I wasn’t allowed to bring anyone with me. However, my mom is also a planner and we decided to be sneaky. Kendall’s dad and I agreed to meet at a Starbucks which was in the same shopping center as Target. So here was the plan: I was going to drop my mom off at Target before meeting Kendall’s dad at Starbucks so I could have her nearby just in case and he wouldn’t know she was there. We strategically planned this event in such a way that my mom wouldn’t have to cross paths with Kendall’s dad. So I dropped my mom off at Target and I couldn’t find the Starbucks that was supposed to be in the same shopping center. A couple minutes later, she sends me a text saying, “Just ran into Kendall’s dad.” Turns out it was a fancy Target with a Starbucks inside. Super awkward. Thanks, Apple Maps. Your map clearly showed the Starbucks NEXT TO Target. Not INSIDE Target. God was laughing at us that day. He taught us both a valuable lesson. Stop planning.
Struggle number three. This is about to take an emotional turn. A single mom reached out to me on social media over a year ago after randomly coming across my blog. She and I have similar unexpected pregnancy stories and our babies are about a month apart in age. We kept up with each other’s lives on social media and I felt like I knew her and her son very well without actually meeting them in person. About six days ago, her son was admitted to the hospital due to an incident that happened at daycare. I found out that her son was in critical condition and doctors said he had a 5% chance of survival. I was a wreck on the inside, while doing pretty well at keeping it together on the outside. I consistently prayed for them every second of every day and checked my Facebook frequently for updates on his condition. Two nights ago, I found out that he went to be with the Lord. How could that happen? He was such a healthy, young boy and didn’t deserve that. And my next thought was, that could have been Kendall. The last six days or so, I’ve constantly had a pit in my stomach. All I could think about was my friend and her son. Because she and I could relate so much, I felt like I could feel her pain. Kendall is the same age. Kendall goes to daycare. Kendall could be gone at any second. My whole life, my world, gone. In an instant. I have been overwhelmed by that fear. How do I process something like this? I know that it is normal and important to grieve, which I’ve done a lot of. And I know it’s normal to have those fears when an unexpected death happens so close to you. These fears have sparked some more guilt in my life. I feel guilty for dropping Kendall off at daycare where the same thing could happen to her. I feel guilty for not spending every second with Kendall because this life is so short. I feel guilty for taking Kendall for granted. I feel guilty for everything I’ve ever complained of, when my friend is dealing with losing her son. Again, I know these thoughts are normal following death but I need to figure out how to move forward and not live life in fear. The truth is, we can’t predict tomorrow. Anything could happen to anyone. The Lord can call any one of us home at any time. While that is scary to think about, God doesn’t want us to live a life in constant worry.
Like I said earlier, I have been through a lot in my life; an unexpected pregnancy, my parents’ divorce, etc. During those trials the Lord was faithful. He is always faithful. He brought me through those trials and was glorified through them. In this life, I know that trials will continue to come. Whether that is death or something else, I know that the Lord will be faithful to bring me through it like He always does. This situation with my friend has also grown my love for the Lord. God sacrificed His only Son for our sins (John 3:16). Thinking about the pain that my friend is enduring, I think about the pain that God endured. He chose to sacrifice His Son for us. He didn’t have to. He chose to.
My friend announced that she was going to donate her son’s organs. This morning I found out that his organs will be donated to four different children. FOUR. The Lord is using this little boy’s life to save the lives of FOUR children. While this whole situation is awful, God is still good. And He is still glorified.
So here are my final thoughts. I’m human. I’m not perfect. I struggle. I have guilt. I have fears. And that’s okay. It’s normal. If God created us to be perfect beings, we wouldn’t need Him. The more imperfections I have, the more I need God. Realistically, it’s simple. Of course I want to be the perfect mom, the perfect basketball player, the perfect student, the perfect Christian. But I am physically, emotionally, and mentally not capable on my own. Ouch. It kind of sucks to realize that I am not capable of doing those things perfectly. But there’s also peace that comes with being aware of my imperfection. There is no pressure to be perfect! God knows we’re not perfect. Duh, He created us. What God wants from me is my full effort in all things and full dependence on Him. He wants to help us. So let’s let Him!
Thanks for reading that whole thing.
Another purpose of this blog is to create community. I pray that my honesty encourages you to be honest about your struggles. If you need prayer or someone to confide in, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me! God bless you all.