Almost seven years ago, I put on a white dress and some flip flops (yes, truly!) and marched down a flower-littered aisle to my college sweetheart's waiting grin. I wasn't prepared to be a wife- who is?- and at almost 29, I still don't feel ready to be a wife some days.
Four and a half years ago, after all day labor that I didn't feel prepared for or good at, and a C-section anyway, I was handed a nine pound pink bundle of little girl. I felt like I was guessing and playing the trial-and-error game as we faced breastfeeding, diaper changing, mobile baby days, solids, sickness, and getting pregnant again not too long later. At the end of most days I can look back and point out some way I failed as a mother- yelling, cooking from a box, not disciplining, disciplining too harshly, letting a teachable moment slide, forgetting a promise, letting the kids eat candy, turning on the TV so I could have a moment to myself... you get point.
Two years and some months ago, we moved overseas and I became a language learner. "Language learner" might sound like an exciting title to you, but it actually sucks when it's yours. At first I survived everything- the grocery store, visits with friends, the pharmacy, riding a bus, putting money on my metro card, ordering at restaurants- with pointing and grunting. Humbling to say the least. Nowadays I know some words and sentence structures, but often my words tumble out in the wrong order with wrong verbiage I has kids three and wife at home stay. I even ask my four year old vocabulary now because she has surpassed my language skills. Embarrassing, right?
When all three of my "main jobs" are suffering and stuff feels out-of-whack... Hubby and I have a disagreement, the kids are acting like lunatics, and my tongue is too sluggish to say my name much less share a spiritual Truth with someone, it's easy to feel plain ol' down and depressed.
Sometimes I think that's exactly where the Lord wants me.
For some reason, when things are going my way, I tend to think I had something to do with it. I get this big ol' head thinking that life is going just right because I am some kick-butt awesome wife, mom, language learner. I actually think that things are smooth and cool because I am somehow good and can do all my jobs on my own. I stop seeking and trusting the Lord and start to juggle everything on my own strength. Usually that lasts all of about three days before I find myself back in the valley gazing up at the sky.
I try to be thankful for my down days, my days in the valley, because words have never been truer than these I read often in The Valley of Vision:
Lord, high and holy, meek and lowly,
Thou hast brought me to the valley of vision,
where I live in the depths but see Thee in the heights;
hemmed in by mountains of sin I behold Thy glory.
Let me learn by paradox
that the way down is the way up,
that to be low is to be high,
that the broken heart is the healed heart,
that the contrite spirit is the rejoicing spirit,
that the repenting soul is the victorious soul,
that to have nothing is to possess all,
that to bear the cross is to wear the crown,
that to give is to receive,
that the valley is the place of vision.
Lord, in the daytime stars can be seen from deepest wells,
and the deeper the wells the brighter Thy stars shine;
let me find Thy light in my darkness,
Thy life in my death,
Thy joy in my sorrow,
Thy grace in my sin,
Thy riches in my poverty,
Thy glory in my valley.