Ideas spilled out of my head onto paper. The nature walks, the science experiments, cooking lessons, reading and writing practice. I planned the weeks out carefully hoping I could make our summer full.
After a week of plans that I thought were simple, I realized that it wasn't going to work. I simplified even more. That didn't work either.
I began to struggle. I knew that many of the things we could not do were because Elias was not interested. Or it was a safety issue. When a nature walk turns into me running after Elias to save his life (twice) from a busy street, with a three month old baby strapped to my chest, I crossed nature walks of my list.
This summer was hard, but really good. I could see the discontentment in my life as I cried over the things I wanted to accomplish with my kids. I battled jeolousy over other families that can do things that I cannot. I would catch myself mumbling under my breath all my irritations with the woman who would walk by my house with all of her well behaved children that never ran from her. It seemed like she was walking by my house anytime I walked out into the front yard, like she wanted to rub it in my face...I can go on walks and my children stay on the sidewalk!
This summer I changed. As I sat in the backyard watching my tan children play in the blow up pool (where Elias can't run from me.), I thanked God for reminding me that this season is good. The days that seem unbearable, where all I feel like I'm doing is keeping my children alive, those days are good.
I thought about how I looked content to people on the outside looking in. The lady who goes on walks with all her children probably thinks I'm a very content mother as I smile, wave, and give her a happy hello. But she has no idea that my heart does not match my warm smile. Really I want to squirt her with my hose and throw water balloons at her.
I don't remember what day it was, but I'm sure I was sipping on iced coffee, (my survival drink of choice) when I realized I needed to change. I remember feeling broken, but also free. God was faithful to remind me that my life is rich. I may feel like I am struggling most days, or at least part of the day, but it's a good life that I've been given. It may look different from others, but that doesn't mean it's less of a life. It doesn't mean that these days are less valuable.
This summer looked very different then what I had planned. Most of the days ended with me in tears as I battled the struggle in my heart. But it is helpful to know, no matter what the struggle, I can ask God to help me be content. There may be days I look like a mess on the outside, but there can be contentment hidden deep inside my soul.