Friday, October 30, 2015

Sometimes four is the loneliest number

By Mary

I try not to be too much of a complainer, though this goal is probably mostly realized only in my friendships and social media posting. My mom gets a little bit more of my crazy, the one who hears it when I'm really at my wits end or completely depressed or bewildered about a situation. And unfortunately my husband and even my kids bear the brunt of my discontent and complaints. Which of course are just as bad whether they are expressed in words or in attitudes.

That being said, I hope this will come off more as confession than grumbling.

I'm kinda lonely.

When we first got married, when I first moved away from home, it was much the same. We knew some people, there were a couple families I considered friends...we had lots of struggles in our marriage. I was lonely during the 11 hours of the day I had with nothing to do and nobody to do it with. And sometimes lonelier still when my husband was around, because marriage just wasn't exactly what I hoped.

We got a puppy. Then we got pregnant. Then we moved, and that was the best thing ever. We found a church to connect with pretty quickly. We had friends we actually hung out with. The days could still be long but our puppy really was helpful and you know, during your first pregnancy if you're a stay at home wife you get do this awesome thing called napping whenever you want which kills a lot more time than you may think.

After our little girl was born things definitely shifted. As we adjusted to being new parents (and the first in our friend group at the time) we seemed to cope with it most by pulling back. I think we both struggle with asking people for help or favors and being so far from family just meant we juggled everything on our own between the two of us. It was rough sometimes those first couple of months but soon a women's bible study started meeting in our home every week. It started out with one young wife along with me and two more experienced wives and moms (with Gianna as the only baby) and grew to be a group of about a dozen with over a dozen little ones running around by the time we had to move away. We became one of the family with a large family at church, with kids for our kids to be friends with, couples to do couple-sy things with, and families to gather in one huge group with for all occasions. I'm pretty introverted over all, but regardless of that I've learned that life feels so rich when you have others to share it with.

So let me say (and remind myself) that life is rich. So rich. Even though this first year + in South Carolina has gone by without any significant headway in meeting people or forming friendships, I truly am thankful to have my little family of four to take care of, to test me, to pour into, enjoy, and be left exhausted by the end of every day. I'm ever so thankful to be adding to this family in just a couple short months (I'm due about a month before Alanna with our third little munchkin!) But-confession time again-I was quite vehement when I said I did not want to have another baby while we're stationed in South Carolina. And I continued to say this just as vehemently until I took a positive pregnancy test.

The truth is, it feels so hard sometimes doing everything alone and living life in anonymity. And it just seems harder and more lonely the more there is to do. But there's a few things I've learned during this year of lonesomeness.

One is that God really truly is enough, and nothing is impossible with Him. When I remember this daily, the quality of the day is of course much better. But even when I forget and act like He's not enough, the truth still stands firm.

Another is the realization that after five years of marriage...we still struggle with some of the key problems we started with. Sometimes this depresses me, but sometimes God opens my eyes to ways we've grown and changed in other areas, and even how within those struggles significant progress has been made. It seems to me also that the hurts we cause each other now tend to be less frequent, but maybe deeper. Even in that I'm thankful because in the end its a sign of our roots together growing deeper. And no matter what we go through or put each other through, they hold us up.

And the third is that life is what you make of it. And even if it is just us-just wonderful little ol' us-I want to be making laughter and memories and music and peace and joy. Every day.