this is our life | learning to be thankful through the mess

Sunday, February 23, 2022

Here’s the deal. 
I’m going to get real tonight. And I mean, really real.
 For those of you who know me personally, and for those of you who don’t, but who see my life through pictures on Instagram or occasionally read about my happenings on A Blessed Nest, this is a post that I hope you read. And if you're human...I can almost guarantee you'll be able to relate.

This is a post about disappointment, challenges and setbacks, but also about choosing happiness,  learning to shift your perspective and looking for beauty amidst the sometimes “ugly” parts of life. This is not meant to come off as complaining, but rather an honest confession that my life isn’t always perfect but I work hard to choose joy and to keep choosing it every day.

As some of you may know, I work PT in retail jewelry sales, which I love (and hope to never fully give up), but this weekend was my weekend off. Weekends are so important to us as a family, since my husband works all week and evenings are usually filled with commitments and obligations. We wait all week for our weekends together, along with everybody else I’m sure.

It started out on Friday morning, when Dustin was leaving for work but our street hadn’t been plowed. There was a massive snow storm on Thursday evening and over a foot of snow everywhere the eye could see. His truck, which doesn’t have functioning 4WD anymore got stuck in the snow & ice as he was pulling out of our driveway. While trying to get going, he ended up reversing all the way down the block. And so began our weekend.

I laid in bed on both of our phones (yes, both of them) with our roadside towing service while Dustin shoveled - the driveway, the street, around his car…I was on hold for over an hour and finally someone picked up. Hallelujah! Then I was told it would be approximately 4 hours before we could get a tow. And even then, the tow truck might get stuck because the street wasn't plowed. Lovely, I thought to myself. I was tired and frustrated, as this was all happening at 5am, I had been up late on Thursday and Dustin was beyond late for work. Knowing the timeline, Dustin decided it was up to him to shovel the entire block, street-wide, so that he could pull his car back into the garage and take my Volvo, which thankfully has AWD. Just as he was finishing -- an hour later at that point -- the tow truck pulls up. Lovely.

Needless to say, our morning was definitely not boring. It was frustrating, irritating, and all I wanted to do was crawl back into bed, bury my head in the darkness and warmth of the comforter and fall back asleep, catching a few more hours of rest before Olivia woke up. But then I opened my email and found an encouraging devotion from Joel Osteen - titled “You Can Handle It” - It discussed how God gives you the strength you need to get through every situation you face. 
Isn’t it encouraging to know that God never gives us more than we can handle?

Well, I would say that was the theme for our entire weekend.

On Friday afternoon, my neck began to bother me - I felt pain and a deep ache but brushed it off. By the end of the night, I knew something was wrong when I could barely move my neck without terrible pain. All signs pointed to a pinched nerve, as I had pain radiating down my arm and into my elbow.

Of course, this was the same weekend that we had special plans on Saturday (yesterday). My mom was so generously going to babysit all day so we could go to an indoor theme park and ride rides for free. We had received two free unlimited ride passes in December and this was the first free day we could use them, and it also happened to be the last free day we could use them...seeing as they expired on the last day of February (next Friday). Dustin and I are both really little kids at heart, so the thought of spending all day on rides, playing games and eating cotton candy is just wonderful. Being that I could barely move my upper body, we definitely could not ride any rides without the risk of injuring my neck worse. We felt so disappointed that our whole day - the plans we’d had for so long - were crushed because of an injury of mine that came on for no reason. I felt so angry. Why did it have to be THIS weekend? Why couldn’t it have been last weekend or next weekend?

 On top of all of that, Olivia had begun to get sick on Thursday night - which led to my exhaustion on Friday morning, making it extra hard to get out of bed at 5am to help my husband. 
Between a stuffy nose and cough, plus some serious teething business, we were a total mess.
As a Mom, one of the most heartbreaking things is seeing your baby sick.
Even more heartbreaking? Feeling like you are only functioning at 10% because of something you’re dealing with (aka a pinched nerve) so you aren’t able to give your baby 150% (or even 100%) like you want to. I would take on any ailment, any illness of Olivia’s so that she could feel her very best. But in this world, I can’t do that. I can’t take away every stuffy nose and her sore gums. And it's hard to come to that realization that sometimes, there just isn't anything more you can do but pray and be patient.

Being that life was a total mess this weekend, it made it even more difficult to pass up the plans we had on Sunday (today). Dear friends of ours were having their son dedicated at their church and then celebrating his 1-year birthday afterward. We were invited and of course, planned on attending as a family of 3. Being that Olivia was sick, fussy from lack of sleep, drooling everywhere and coughing germs all over every toy/blanket/person in our house, I didn’t feel it was right to bring her to a party with a lot of people, including a lot of little kids. Oh yeah, and I still was fighting the excrutiating pain of a pinched nerve, so I didn’t feel up to it either. 
Bring on another disappointment - missing a very special event that would never happen again.

But you know what? 
All of the above…that was how I saw it at first glance. 

When I chose to shift my perspective and choose joy over disappointment, I found a lot to be thankful for.

When I crawled into bed on Friday night and reflected on the day, I was thankful for:
>> The promise that God will always give you the strength you need to handle any and every situation
>> The blessing of having two cars (and one with AWD) and a warm garage to keep them in instead of having them parked on the street or in the driveway all winter long
>> The blessing of Dustin having a job, even if he was late on Friday
>> The beauty of seeing the seasons change, even if it means a foot of snow on a regular basis throughout the winter year
>> Knowing all 3 of us were safe & sound, together in a beautiful home with heat & food and so much more than we could ever need or ask for

When I shifted my perspective and stopped focusing on the negative & instead embraced the positive, I found myself feeling so blessed.

On Saturday night when I reflected on the day we had, I was thankful that:
>> I have a strong and healthy body 99% of the time without ailments or pain (because there are so many people that don’t have that, who live with chronic pain or other conditions 24-7)
>> We were able to bless another family with our two unlimited ride passes, and cut their cost of spending the day together as a family in half
>> Olivia was still in good spirits despite her cough, cold and teething
>> My mom and dad live so close and are able to help out any time we need
>> I was able to rest at home with my neck injury instead of stand on my feet all day at work

Tonight, as I reflect on the day & our whole weekend, I am thankful that:
>> We have understanding friends who -- instead of being let down and getting angry - offer prayer, encouragement and support
>> Olivia is a growing, moving, talking, healthy and happy little girl
>> Because we weren’t at the party, Dustin was able to help another friend out by blessing him with a ride this afternoon
>> Dustin heated and reheated my lavender neck wrap a thousand times this weekend without hesitation or complaint
 >> Before bed, Olivia looked at me and smiled at me, as if to let me know that it’s okay I didn’t give her 100% this weekend, and that the 10% I did give her was more than enough

My darling 9-month old daughter brings tears flooding to my eyes just by looking at me, smiling, and reminding me that this is life and that life is messy. Life isn’t always glamorous or pretty and some days we stay in our pajamas all day and don’t accomplish anything and we feel like we wasted our whole weekend because nothing went the way we planned or hoped it would…but that this is our life and that our life is beautiful because we’re in it together.

1 comment :

  1. Sometimes being a mom/wife is so so so hard. But aren't we so lucky?! When my Hannah was almost 11 months old she began a near 2 month streak of pure fussiness. She wouldn't play with anything, and I could not set her down hardly ever! I really thought I'd loose my mind. And then one week she cut 4 teeth, and got a massive ear infection because of it. It was the cherry on top! And afterward I had the happiest baby ever, who immediately learned to walk and took off in exploration mode. Love that girl! Thank goodness for hard days that make us extra grateful for the easier ones.



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