We did something really, REALLY stupid two weeks ago.
WE GOT A PUPPY.
Now, before you get all PETA on me, puppies aren’t stupid! They’re pretty awesome.
Getting a puppy when you have a six week old baby? THAT’S the stupid part.
Of course, it’s also adorably adorable.
RIGHT???? So stinking cute. (His name, by the way, is Vader.)
But this has put my already-overwhelming world of baby + four other kids + running two blogs & a podcast into HIGH ALERT INSANITY mode. We’re talking Defcon Five. Actually, I forget if Defcons are worse as they get larger or smaller…so whichever is the worst Defcon, that’s where I’m living.
There is so much pee. And poop. We just potty-trained a two-year-old, who 90% of the time goes in the toilet. The other 10% is in the floor of our house. Now add in a dog that goes on the floor maybe 50% of the time. Make that 60%.
There is also so little sleep. We have two girls who keep waking up being scared of the dark and wanting to eat at 3am. A baby who still nurses during the night. And now a puppy who wants to pee and then play at 4am. Sometimes he howls and wakes everyone up and then it’s like a middle of the night party except no one is having fun at this party.
NO SLEEP IS BEING HAD IN MY HOUSE.
But…it feels hard to complain. Because we INVITED this chaos into our home.
We chose to have a baby. And then another and then another and then another and then just one more.
We chose to get a puppy (did I mention he’s a great dane?) when our baby was six weeks old.
We chose this life. So how can we complain?
I hear this same thought from other friends. It sounds like this:
We struggled to get pregnant. So now that I AM pregnant, I can’t complain. Even if I’m barfing every five minutes.
We waited two years for a baby to adopt. So now that I have this much prayed-for baby, I can’t complain. Even if I’m struggling with being a mom.
I have one kids and you have five kids. So I can’t complain to you about the struggles I’m having.
Can I tell you something?
YES. YES, YOU CAN COMPLAIN.
You have my permission. Not that you NEED my permission, but I want to convey this permission because I think it’s SO important.
We all know that no one’s life is Instagram-perfect. We suspect that other people might be struggling too. And yet we are still crippled sometimes by this idea that we must cheerfully embrace every hurdle without complaint. ESPECIALLY when the hard times surround the blessings we have or asked for or chose. We think:
I SHOULD be thankful.
I SHOULD think of all the good things I have.
I SHOULD realize so many people have it worse.
Which often leads to this devastating thing:
I SHOULD act like everything’s fine, even when it’s NOT.
Now, hear me on this: there is a point where we circle the complain drain (I just made that up) in a whirlpool of discontent. We are miserable and we make everyone around us miserable because it’s just whine whine whine. I don’t want to encourage you to get sucked into the complain drain.
I also don’t mean you should dump on every person you kinda know or your whole Facebook wall every afternoon or that kind woman at the grocery store who said, “You have such lovely children.” We never know what other people are going through either, so it’s always good to think of that.
But I am giving you permission to struggle and to share that struggle honestly. Maybe sometimes it IS on your Facebook wall. Or in an email like this to thousands of people. Probably it’s BEST in a conversation with your really great friends who can support you, listen, and tell you when you’re starting to circle the complain drain so you can get the heck outta there.
If your life is hard, that’s OKAY. Even if you chose it. Having a hard time doesn’t mean that you don’t appreciate what you have.
When my kids drive me nuts, it doesn’t mean I love them less.
When I have hard days, it doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate what I’ve been given.
You have my permission to struggle. Because you are not alone.
And you have my permission to share that struggle. BECAUSE YOU ARE NOT ALONE.
The big lie that we sometimes believe is that we can’t struggle and be thankful too.
We may not always FEEL thankful, especially in the really painful, difficult, exhausting moments. That’s okay too!
The Bible doesn’t tell people to feel thankful always, but to give thanksin all circumstances. Which means: you can participate in the act of giving thanks for what you have even as you are feeling totally overwhelmed or sad or depressed or exhausted.
I hope you remember this in the moment of overwhelm, if you’re down there with me. Struggling and telling people about that struggle does not mean we are not thankful. I can give thanks (and do) for my amazing, wild, insane family and also be in tears at how hard this particular season is.
This is not a BOTH/OR thing. It’s a BOTH/AND.
I’m struggling so hard, y’all, AND I’m so very thankful for this crazy life.
I hope that’s an encouraging word today for you. I know I needed this reminder this week. It’s been kind of embarrassing to tell people that it’s really hard, because WE BROUGHT THIS CRAZY ON OURSELVES.
But it’s hard. I am giving thanks. And I am also struggling.
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