Monday, April 14, 2014

Renewing Mama ... Above Rubies Retreat

Girls -- this is for you ...

I have to admit ... I'd reached a sort of "bottom."  With all that I have been blessed with, I still got overwhelmed, discouraged, filled with a hopelessness, and a wee bit upset at the lack of victory in my life.   The steady busy-ness of life, filling each day with the never-ending tasks of ... waking up! OK, that's a big deal sometimes. :-)  Actually, all the busy home-making responsibilities coupled with child-rearing, making a marriage, business needs, pregnancy, etc.  I tend to just push through, push through and push through -- until I finally burn out.

The realization of where I had gotten to finally hit me!  I could never get on top of the pile in front of me.  I could never get ahead of the snowball that kept barreling in front of me.  I would just be like a gerbil on a treadmill ... striving, striving, yet never getting anywhere.  Life felt hopeless.  My relationship with my children felt strained, angry, and hopeless as well.  Dwight and I were doing good for the moment (thank you, Lord!).  Business stuff always seemed to creep in and steal my resolve to be more focused on the homefront.  What was the solution???  I'm a strong, capable, skilled woman.  I can do this!  Just keep striving?

But how?  I've tried so many things.  For the past 2 years, I feel like I've been "trying" different methods of resolution.  Implementing various "tricks" or "bits of wisdom" from other moms.  Try this schedule, try this way of coping, try this way of communicating, try this way of disciplining, try to NOT try, try harder, try, try, try...

It was official!  All my trying had not resolved 1 single thing, but had in fact turned me into a more frantic, frustrated, weary, and helpless mother who desperately wanted things to be in her control or else she would go stark raving MAD.  I was a failure on all fronts. Every "solution" that I tried to implement that didn't work was added to my list of failures.  A failure as a mother, a failure as a home-maker, a failure as a child of God, a failure as a companion for my husband ( for who wants to be around a depressed wife?), a failure as a friend.

I was at the bottom.  This low I'd never felt before was surrounding me and convincing me that there was no way out.  My face lost it's color and my body lost it's vigor and I felt exhausted and weak.  Tears consumed me and a depression was beginning to set in as I convinced myself that things were hopeless.

As would be my usual course of action, I wanted to turn to the Lord.   But I had become upset with Him, too.  I felt like He had abandoned me.  I was supposed to be able to handle what was before me (so I thought), but I literally could not.  How could I encourage other younger mothers, when I was floundering myself?  How could I encourage my children to trust the Lord?  What was the point?  You could try, but ...

I am so thankful that the Lord does not give up on us - even when we give up on Him.  Slowly and patiently, like He's done so many times, He renewed my mind first, my heart, and my spirit.  One Sunday meeting, while I was in the other room with my noisy little toddler, I picked up a children's version of Hind's Feet in High Places.  As I began to read this book over the next few days, I was reminded of the journey that the Lord has us on ... a journey full of trials and challenges. A journey we embark on, and have to learn to trust God.  For our own good, we go through the fire, so that we may be purified and our faith made as pure gold.  We learn the valuable lessons of "Acceptance with Joy" and the oh-so-important lesson of not listening to the voices of the world (disguised as Self-Pity, Bitterness, Pride, and Resentment).

One night, Dwight put a book in my hands "Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire" and I began to read about my Lord.  I had forgotten all about who He is as I'd become so busy trying to "fix" my life.  I had forgotten how much He longs for us to call upon Him, to ask Him to touch our lives.  I'd forgotten that He is ABLE and capable and POWERFUL beyond anything that might be a burden or problem in my life.  He is GOD!!  How easily I had forgotten my first love.

Then, I started reading "The Power of Motherhood" by Nancy Campbell again.  Again, I was reminded of my Lord and WHO He is.  I thought I might get a "to do" list of things that I should be doing in my home as a mother, but instead, I was reminded of what GOD wants to do in our home.  No "to do" list for me to fail at!  Just a reminder that God is at work, God has a purpose and plan in all that he's been doing for the last 10 years and the next kazillion...  This was so healing for me.  I read scripture after scripture and delighted in how much God loves me and IS alive in our home.

The Above Rubies retreat in Olympia, Washington was coming up and I knew that I needed some more time for myself to continue to heal and revive.  The Lord had something special for me there and I was sooooo blessed as Nancy Campbell reminded us once again of WHO God is and how we can have VICTORY in our lives over the many battles and struggles of life.  What an appropriate topic for me ... for us.  The battle belongs to the Lord, I am reminded.  How easy it is for me to think that "I" have to be the soldier.  I may have to join the battle, but I know whom I'm going to call on for the strength to fight.  My God shall supply all my need, according to his riches in glory. Greater is HE that is in me, than he that is in the world.  I was washed in the Word and renewed beyond my wildest imaginations.

But this renewing has been different this time.  I'm not on some high spiritual mountain that I will most likely come crashing down from.  I KNOW in whom I believe, that HE is able.  I have been given the tools to live, the tools to walk, the tools to fight the battles of life.  And I am convinced that it's not MY work that will make my life better -- but HIS in and through me.  SOooooo encouraging and sustaining.  These truths are not fleeting.

And so... I've been renewed and restored.  I am so excited to share some of these blessed lessons with you all.  Stay tuned ...  And, I'm trying to get Nancy to come to Bend so that she can share herself.  We all need to hear more about our wonderful GOD.


  1. Marilee,
    Ditto on your feelings... A lot of days I walk around with an "F" on my head for "Failure"!
    Praise God that He is renewing you. I am soo glad you got to go to the Above Rubies
    Conference. It is always such an encouragement to hear Nancy share! Praise God that
    HIS strength is made perfect in OUR weakness!
    Your Sister,

  2. Oh sweet sister... So thankful for the refreshing you've had and the renewed hope in our Savior you cling to! He is faithful... hold on to His promises! Love you!!