Sunday, November 16, 2008

Where to begin? Oh yes - I am a big jerk

I've been pretty crabby the last few days. I've been feeling overwhelmed by everything - work, family, and even God. I've been struggling with how to juggle and balance my life, and I admit that I got frustrated with God because it feels like trying to keep up my faith is taking its toll on me and taking away from my precious time with R and A. For the last few weeks, I've been going to a new church, going to a church community group, trying to find more time to pray (because prayer has been the focus of our community group and the sermons on Sunday), haphazardly doing a Beth Moore study, listening to a Joyce Meyer audio series on changing your personality, and trying to serve more at church when I can, although there are many, many ways that I would like to serve (e.g., cooking for the homeless ministry) that I know I just cannot possibly do with my schedule (and, of course, I feel badly about that). And, with all of this (which now seems ridiculous to me), I've felt further away from God than I was before.

On top of that, an issue that I've been struggling with for a couple of years reared its head again. Basically, I want another baby and A doesn't. It's complicated, and A certainly has valid reasons for how he feels. I've prayed and prayed about it - that either A's heart would be moved or that the desire would be lessened in me. And, at times it seems like there has been progress in one or both areas, but then it'll all come up again and make me upset. Yesterday, A said some things that weren't very hopeful from my point of view and then to top it all off, Pampers somehow got me on their expectant mother list and sent me a flingin-flangin' free newborn diaper in the mail. Oh, gee, thanks a lot! So now I've got this stupid teeny tiny diaper on my coffee table that is making me all weepy. Gah!

Anyway, all of that helps explain my frame of mind when I woke up this morning. I really didn't want to go to church. I starting whining in my head about having to go to church by myself. And, I started questioning whether I'm really supposed to be going to this church in the first place. It doesn't really feel like home yet, although I have met some wonderful people. I still just feel alone there.

Today, I think God was a little sick of my complaining. When I was listing in my head the reasons why I didn't want to go to church today, the messages I got back were: "That's not my problem" and "Get your butt to church, woman!"

So I did. And, of course, God was wonderful to me in spite of my miserable whining and jerkitude. I walked in, said hi to a couple of people, and sat down by myself. Within a minute, though, I was surrounded by people from my community group. On either side of me were friendly faces, and I finally felt like part of the church family. It was amazing. Then, the pastor's sermon had so many moments for me where I just thought, "YES! YES! YES" because he was confirming and answering for me several issues where I've disagreed in the past with other churches' approaches. And, I cried because I realized that God was telling me I was home - and because I was so humbled that the God of the universe would answer me so lovingly and directly even when I was grumbling and being a complete weenie.

[Another cool thing? God, in His usual way, is a great multi-tasker. He led me to share my experience at church this morning with A when I got home, and A was genuinely excited for me. Tonight, when A and R and I were talking about what a great day we had - filled with time to play together, a visit with friends, time outside - A made a point to include my time at church as part of that.]


sandwhichisthere said...

you are your Mother's daughter in so many ways. So many of your thoughts I heard for many years. The goodness and unselfishness and piety must be related to the Y chromosome. The comment you made previously about being uncomfortable in groups especially touched me. This latest post reminded me of when you were born. Only moments after you were born, your Mother looked up at me and said "I want to have another baby.". With no special effort on our part, well not an effort but definitely special, your sister Johanna came along after two years.
There is definitely a pattern seeming to be repeated here. Just in case it does repeat, I would like to put in a request. GRANDDAUGHTER!!!. Such a miracle would be the greatest thing you could ever do for Alan. Blessed is the Father of daughters,

Kansas Bob said...

After reading this transparent post I am thinking that faith is so often about struggle.. in a sense we faith isn't really faith unless it is challenged. Hang in there Kristen!

Kristen said...

Dad - I would LOVE for A to have a daughter. He needs some of that adoration that I always get from R. No one but Mommy will do for him, and it would be great for A to have that, too. I'll do what I can. :-)

Bob - I completely agree. And, I'm definitely doing better. I'm praying for God to show me the right balance.

Heidi @ GGIP said...

Oh, I can definitely see your struggles here.

One thing that might be encouraging is this story about myself. There definitely are things about some churches that bother me, alot! (Now, I know that all churches are flawed, but that is besides the point of this story) Anyhow, for years I ignored God's call to attend a specific church. But when I finally listened and went, it was just what I had hoped for! I don't know why I thought God would put be someplace where I would be constantly annoyed, but it was silly in the end!

blessing to you!

shaun said...

I am sorry to hear about Your struggle, but I think Bob has a lot of wisdom. Struggle is what following God is about sometimes. Don't give up on A either, because scripture speaks pretty clearly about that, and your faithfulness is probably the most powerful testimony you can give(along with just loving him).
I also have an opinion to offer, you may take it or leave it, it is only my opinion.
You should cut yourself some slack.
I doubt that God is nearly as concerned with our church attendance as He is with our hearts. Of course I am looking back from a very different road than you, But I have found that no amount of "religious" activity has much effect on my spirituality.
When it becomes drudgery I doubt God has very much to do with it at all.
I guess I will shut up for now.
I love you guys & pray for you often.

shaun said...

oh yeah you are not a big jerk

Cap'n Slappy said...

ok I typed a big long comment, and then deleted it, but here's another one, because after that someone came by here really tired and drained from watching kids and working and doing so much for the church, especially when her efforts aren't always appreciated and she has a household to run and a million other responsibilities and is feeling bad in every area of her life when her life is mainly about serving God and helping other people. And I remember a passage in a book Mom gave me(man I sound like Dad right now)by Brennan Manning, "The Ragamuffin Gospel", where Mr. Manning was counseling a mother of young children who was disappointed in herself because she felt called to a soup kitchen ministry,but couldn't find the time with the schedule of her family. And Mr. Manning told her that maybe God was pleased with her hard work as a good mother, and that maybe he was very pleased with her serving Him in that way, and teaching her children about Him, and that at this time he might want her to focus on this and may not be expecting big time church contributions from her. Absolutely, I have felt the urge to stay home from church, and succumbed to it, and felt the enormous lift once I got my butt and my kids there. But please cut yourself some slack here. You do so much as a friend, worker, sister, daughter, wife, Mommy, aunt, etc. Anyway, I know that wasn't really the message of your post, and I'm glad that God touched you and showed you your home. I hope you ease up on your expectations of yourself. You do so many good things for everyone who comes into contact with you every day, you truly radiate love, and not many people do.
And I'm totally confident that God will make your family what it should be(and am totally impartial as long as He does what I think is best-heh heh). I know it's not funny, and I know it's been your heart's desire for a long time(Mom informant).And I admire you so much for the statement" A certainly has valid reasons for how he feels". So many people divide over this issue, it truly shows the strength of your marriage that you are praying and discussing this issue, rather than turning against each other as so many couples do. You have a truly beautiful partnership.

(and, the little sister part of me wants to totally take the diaper as a sign, and makes me hope that it's a test sample of new Pampers with Prolactin to induce nurturing behavior in men!A tremendous desire to create new children! Put it on top of your Christmas tree! What a shame to let it go to waste!)

Oh, Kristen, I pray that your heart's desire is fulfilled, whatever God shapes that to be. I love you, and A, and R,hope the best for you through these storms. I know you guys have each other now. I can only dream that maybe there will be someone else to share your relationship. There will be. In some capacity.Love love love you. Hey, my verification word is sistra, let's pepper our speech with it, it's fitting.

Wanda said...

I love your honesty and transparent spirit too.

Kansas Bob... much wisdom in his words.... All of us have to have struggles to grow... it's what Paul means when he says "WORK out our salvation .... The gift of salvation is free... but there is some assembly required. That's the struggles we work through that strenghed our faith.

You are a good example... and I hope you get a little girl sometime.

Love ~ Wanda