at 2 a.m.

(This post was originally written on August 3 at 1:33 in the morning. I am now posting it on August 15. I was up way past 2 last night and am struck at the irony of having written this almost 2 weeks ago when I was also up late. Last night I was caring for Samuel several times... ha ha, again, the irony.)

Okay, so it's 1:33 in the morning and Libby is yelling. Let me go attend to that and come back. Pacifier retrieved. I'm utterly exhausted and have been laying in bed staring at blogs all night. It's late. And I'm doing that stupid thing I do... compare. "Why don't I do this? Why don't I take my children there? If I was a better mom I would ______________" I kow most of you are thinking, "Um, Jenn don't you touch on this subject a LOT?" Yeah, I still keep trying to beat this thing down but it keeps rearing it's ugly head. I feel never "enough". Never complete. The perfectionist in me wants to do all, be all. The crazy thing is this, it would serve me better to sleep right now but I know I can't. Instead I'm sitting, crying in bed and pouring out my heart to what, a computer screen? Or maybe all you morning coffee drinkers? I guess it's technically Friday so I will ask a question at the end of all this but until then you are forced to put up with my ravings of madness.... or maybe just a simple woman who makes life more complicated than it is. I'm just laying this all out on the table. Getting these things of my chest. I should probably burn this later(hard to do when it's online)... but I made myself a deal when I started this blog... I'm going to be who I am. I am not going to pretend to be someone I am not. That might have sounded redundant but what I am trying to say is that I want to be honest, open, and real. I'm not pretending to have it all together... because I don't. I covet control...of my life, of other people. I want things to run smoothly. I hate dealing with pain, suffering, weakness, brokeness, etc. My concern is that maybe I'm saying too much. Maybe it's just so late that I'm willing to share the stuff I hide before... but I'm tired of hiding. Tired of hiding my imperfections like some type of chunky concealer that is failing to do it's job. My mom use to tell me that every hour after midnight was like having a couple of drinks, meaning you start to lose your inhibitions, etc. I haven't been drinking but I'm losing those inhibitions. I'm making myself vulnerable... something I hate to do, because I've been so hurt before, but here I go again....

Factors: the things heavy on my mind: AKA: struggles, weaknesses, worries, fears, etc.

Money struggles- I am not saying this so that people start a collection. It was just especially difficult today. Which in all truth is ridiculous because God has been providing for us in CRAZY ways. We've been given money unexpectedly time and again. right now we have no income. Well, let me restate that, it's been several years of little to no income and it's starting to wear on me. I'm tempted to look at other's homes, lives, cars, clothes, etc. and wish or think, "I want that (said with the inflection of the woman on Napolean Dynamite.) Today, it just about broke me. Mike lovingly comforted me that we're going to be all right but we were scraping up money to pay rent... and I was just mad. "Why the hell are we doing this? When is enough, enough?" We had been living off the sale of our home and now school loans. We had planned on some loan money coming in several weeks ago and just found out today that it won't be here till the end of the month. I keep telling God that I know He's faithful. We're doing what He asked us to do. I know we're where He wants us to be. Sometimes though, it's just hard. It's hard to trust Him. Hard to believe that He is who He says He is. Please don't tell me to go start selling something. Please don't give me ideas or suggestions or tell me what Mike "needs" to do. Believe me we've been preached at a lot. That's why I'm praying this job thing goes through for Mike. that's why I'm trying to save money and do things differently. Right now, though, as uncomfortable as it is at times we are doing what God has told us to do. It's just hard to lay down my life at times. I'll want a cute outfit for the kids or some cool toy for them, etc. etc. Or let's be honest some type of crafting supply or book, etc. I keep praying and asking God to give me wisdom and help me discern my needs from my wants. Starbucks is not a need, it's a want... but I'm blessed with many gift cards to go there (thank you!)

House- So do we move and try to save money? Where can we live that's safe? We like the area where we live and are so comfortable with the space... but what does God want? Do we move in the city where it's cheaper but more potentially "dangerous"? Do we stay and trust God for the provision? Decisions are coming up that we need to make in the next couple of months, we need to decide if we'll stay another year or go....

Baby- For those of you who don't know, I had been wanting to have another baby since November of last year (2006). Crazy, yes. Absolutely. Do we have money... no? We do have insurance coverage. Mike and I have gone back and forth on the idea of bringing another child into the world. The funny thing is we have never had the opportunity to "plan" before, God just let it be. It's weird actually having to think about when would be a "good time". I went through so much with my last pregnancy/birth/baby but I love children and pray that we will someday in God's good and perfect timing will have more. It's a trusting God issue. sometimes I get afraid and think, "What if I'm pregnant?" I really can get freaked out by it. But so far, no pregnancy and we're trying to wait until... I don't know when. But for now, we're waiting. And yeah, I know my kids can make me crazy... but I love them...and yet in my insane moments think, "how could I handle one more?" Complex.

Weight- One of the reasons I would like to wait (on getting pregnant) is to deal with my health.... and to lose weight. Oh this struggle of mine. I try and try and get frustrated and give up. I feel very motivated for a time and then just forget about it. I feel afraid that I can't change. Afraid that I will always "be like this". It is such a seriously deep struggle for me. sure, I could lose weight fast by doing weird diets, etc. but I want a lifestyle change. I exercise regularly but it's not enough. So much of it is my heart. I turn to food instead of God for comfort. I'm stressed so I eat. I'm sad so I eat. I'm angry so I eat. Catch the pattern? I need a heart change.

Panic Attacks- Oh these sad but true issues. I really struggle with panic attacks. Right now I'm on no medication for anxiety or depression but we'll see how that pans out. It's horrible when they occur. It can be over something big or small. My chest tightens my breathing becomes labored, I feel like I'm going to die, and I can barely move or function. My body goes into fight or flight mode. this has been a re-occuring struggle since Libby's (my sister's) death. Sometimes I can go weeks without having one. Sometimes it's a couple times of day. I try and fight them. I repeat Scripture to myself and pray out loud. Sometimes it helps and honestly, sometimes it doesn't. I know God is bigger than my fears and I tell myself that often.

Church- We're going to a new Church. We still need to tell our former church that we're switching. Awkward. Hard. Uncomfortable. Our home group really disbanded last month but we feel awkward telling them we're trying someplace knew. They were so good and kind to us. Mike and I are longing for community and I think we've found a new home church for us. We feel guilty leaving our old church because we really liked it. We prayed about whether we needed to "stick it out" and if God was really calling us to go. We feel led to go. confirmation after confirmation... but still it's another change.

Suicide- You're probably thinking suicide? What's up with that? I'm revealing myself deeply here. I have long wrestled with the idea of suicide and have at times thought of ways to kill myself. Sounds terrible doesn't it? Before you all have me committed let me share the issue. Sometimes when the pain is too bad, too much I just want it all to end and stop. I just want to be with Jesus. I just want to see my sister again. I just want to meet my nephew. It's rough. It is. I know ending my life isn't the answer, at times it just seems a convenient way to make the sin, sadness, tears stop... but wouldn't I be creating that for so many others?... my family, friends, etc. I remember a time in my life when things would get so busy that I would pray to be in a bad car accident so I could be in the hospital and my life would slow down. Sometimes my life seems so crazy, hard, out-of-control that I just want it to slow down. I'm tired of being responsible, tired of doing what is right, etc. etc. Since my sister's accident/death I have stopped praying for a car accident... instead it tends to lean towards suicide. All that to say, Thankfully, this is not a struggle at the moment. But it's a fairly recent struggle. So pray for me if you think of it. This struggle seems especially hard during the winter months.

Grief- to follow-up. I have not stopped grieving. I don't think I'll ever stop here on earth. The pain is sooo much at times. I wish I could put it into words. It's like living my normal day to day life and something I remember just makes me stop. Maybe I found an old photo. Maybe it's just thinking about ice-cream (which always leads me to thinking of my sister). Maybe it's just seeing my daughter do something my sister used to do. It can be something simple or complex. Hearing someone on the radio who sounded like my sister's voice. A movie she used to love to watch. Because my sister was so vibrant and loved life it's hard not to find something that reminds me of her. I miss her so bad. There aren't words for it. I'll leave it at that.

So now, that I've let it all hang out, now that I'm sitting here vulnerable, I guess you see more sides of me. The ugly side, the weak side, the struggling side. But please know there is hope, even for me.

2 Thessalonians 3:13 says, "As for you, brothers, do not grow weary in doing good."

Psalm 9:18, "For the needy shall not always be forgotten, and the hope of the poor shall not perish forever."

Psalm 33:18, "Behold, the eye of the Lord is on those who fear him, on those who hope in his steadfast love,"

Psalm 39: 2-8, "
2 I was mute and silent;
I held my peace to no avail,
and my distress grew worse.
3 My heart became hot within me.
As I mused, the fire burned;
then I spoke with my tongue:
4 “O Lord, make me know my end
and what is the measure of my days;
let me know how fleeting I am!
5 Behold, you have made my days a few handbreadths,
and my lifetime is as nothing before you.
Surely all mankind stands as a mere breath! Selah
6 Surely a man goes about as a shadow!
Surely for nothing [1] they are in turmoil;
man heaps up wealth and does not know who will gather!
7 “And now, O Lord, for what do I wait?
8 Deliver me from all my transgressions.

So though I be just a vapor, I know my hope is in God. And this vapor is going to continuing seeking, trusting, and knowing God for the rest of her days.

I hope I didn't put any fear or alarm in you. I just ask for prayer. I ask for your understanding. I'm being vulnerable with you and trusting that this was the right thing to be at this time.

I also hope that by exposing myself you can realize that you're not alone with whatever your struggling with. You are not alone. God walks beside you and is with you. I hope that you realize we all have problems, and weaknesses, and struggles. My hope is that somehow by sharing I can make your load a lighter or encourage you in some way. Blessings on you dear friends.


Wendy said…

Hi, I will pray for you and with and whatever you need, but I know that God is your first love. He is who you turn to and who you finish with even if there is despair in between. You are a true refreshing hope for us (me) who read your blog.

My email is (doesn't have to be caps just wanted it to be clear). I would love to be an encouragement/help anyway I can. You have helped me more than you know.
Ashleigh said…
Jennifer, I'm praying for you. Love you!
Michelle said…
Whew. I admire your vulnerability Jennifer. Lots of love! ~M
Bethany said…
Oh I am praying for you too. Big Hugs
Katherine M. said…
Dearest Jenn, My heart goes out to you. I can relate to your musings on grief. When our ten day old baby girl, Katelyn, died in 1987, I was devastated. I felt like dying, even though sucide wasn't an option. I remember my friend's older sister, someone I didn't know well at all, told me I needed to put that thought out of my head---that I didn't feel like living--once and for all. I heard the Lord through her encouragement and begin to fight to keep it out of my thoughts. God helped me and those thoughts stopped tormenting me. Jenn, I know your struggles are real, but be encouraged by the faithful and loving husband you have in Mike, your beautiful children, and the great number of friends who love you with great devotion. You are loved, and God will help you to overcome in these areas that seem so overwhelming to you. We all struggle, and no one has it altogether. You are in a hard place with school and all, but I can hear God's santicifying grace through your blogging words. I wish you could get a hug from all those who love you. You'd be feeling very loved right now.
hosanna said…
You probably don't remember me, but I met you and Mike a long time ago at NA. But I have had the privilege of reading your blog through my dear friend Erin. I just wanted to thank you so much for being so open and vulnerable. I am so challenged to live my life transparent, but so often I am overcome by fear of what others will think if I let the true colors out.
Thank you for spurring me on...
Anonymous said…
Wow Jenn, well done for being so honest and vulnerable, and like the others, I'm praying for you too.... Love ya xx
Anonymous said…
Romans 15:13

"I pray that the God who gives hope will fill you with much joy and peace while you trust in him. Then your hope will overflow by the power of the Holy Spirit."
Jenn said…
Psalm 139:5-6

"You HEM me in, behind and before, and lay your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high; I CANNOT attain it."

A recent precious promise (as one of my dear friends call them)from the Lord to me. Hope it encourages you my friend.

I love reading your blog, even though I don't always comment :) Somehow, three changed my life hee hee :) LOVE YOU!
Anonymous said…
thank you, jennifer leigh napier, thank you.

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