Orphans At The Gate–{What To Do When You Are Wandering and Failing}

I’m good at ignoring reality, bad at serving others’ needs, even my own. It’s my naturally introverted personality. I really need to engage quietly with my world–bathe in sunlight, pause at a meandering brook, revel in children’s laughter, bathtime’s bubbles and bedtime’s wandering stories.

But sometimes, when I’m overwhelmed, I go too deep inside, so deep it’s unhealthy. I forget to eat. Hours pass while thinking and writing, and we haven’t done homeschooling and I marathon-race to catch up to time, my old nemesis.

I go so deep, I don’t do what’s best for me and my family. I don’t run because I just can’t bring myself to walk. out. that. door.

 I don’t go to church because the lights are too bright and people’s handshakes make my fragile soul quake. The sheer thought of the sea of faces makes my stomach lurch. Slamming doors, blaring toy horns, and the sibling screams and fighting make insides churn.

And I grow weary of growing things–flowers always so dry in this heat, children that won’t relent, thirsty for me–and I’m thirsty myself. They always need me, pull at every corner of me. I’ve given way more of myself away than I would’ve ever dreamt possible when this all began. And yet, I know that God, the Master Gardener–he never grows weary and so I pray for some of his strength, seek His face like a blind woman, feeling the grooves and crevices with her hands, desperate for some spark of recognition, some slight remembering.

It comes out in a whispered hush when I first get out of bed in the morning and Satan whispers his first words of defeat to me for the day. I hear him–“You’re such a failure, an idiot–you should just crawl back in bed.” I hate that I do this ugly self-talk, and my soul cries and it just comes out gently hushed–in barely audible groans–“God, help. Help me through this day.”

I want to find a well that runs deep, an oasis in this desert. God, He’s still gardening, though my eyes see darkly and I can’t make out the fruits–He’s preparing something like paradise. Oh, I’ve searched so hard and so long, so desperately I’ve drank blood from the camel’s side, letting it substitute when God offers real drink in this parched land.

And my eyes widen in horror at what I’ve allowed my children to drink in lieu of God’s pure goodness and sweet righteousness.

How?! How, I ask God, can I give them drink, these children looking at me, thirsting, when I am parched myself?

How do I die to self some more, because really–I get it–I think that’s what you’re asking of me–asking me to forge on, to travel through this pilgrim land searching for the Promised Land, only a cloud to follow, the holy heaviness of you pointing the way.

My eyes are hazed over with the fog of you, You all mystery, and my limbs are weary with the weight of promise and the burden of this place called Now. I groan and ache with the reality of it.

And I sojourn with others weary–I see it in their eyes, hear it in their words, read the pain in their face as they stand there and tell me that they had lost all hope. Yet, I know You’ve promised so much more–and all you ask of me is to trust that I will some day hold the promise in my palm.

For now, it is elusive this side of Heaven and Your perfect Presence, and the only real joy here, now, is getting to know You, tasting of you, yearning for you more and more until my heart’s cry is only “More of you! More of you! Christ, come! Come, and save! Part those skies and ride in like thunder, swift, mighty, fire in your eyes, take me, Beloved!”

But here I stay and while I wait, orphaned, here–in this Now–I wander under-prepared and oh so inadequate and I just beat on Your chest, God, like a confused, angry child and beg, “Why?” My heart hardens and I struggle in my own sin-stench. I have been the desert-wanderer, the chosen child, grafted into your family vine–I’ve been that one, given so much grace and refusing to see–refusing to open my mouth and eat the manna.

My stomach lurches and groans with pains and yet I refuse to see the manna you’ve provided as good. 

I don’t do what’s good for me. I go deep inside and hide in caverns of sin and recesses of bitterness and grievance. What I would see if I came out of my cave, is you standing there, gently holding out your hand, offering life–real life.

And the whole time I’m refusing what’s good for me, You’re saying “Something better is coming, child, if you will just eat–just open your mouth.”

I swallow down the goodness of you, and I’m a stubborn child, surprised at the sweetness and delight of it. I want to be there with my children–swallow down all that goodness–open mouth wide.

I dont want to miss the moments that were designed for me to comfort, to soothe, to affirm. I don’t want to miss any opportunity because of my lack, because I’m inadequate to behold the beauty with abandon, because im shunning all the noise and racket and pounding feet that make up the song of life.

With so many things calling all around for my attention, so reckless, holding me, dangling there in their throat-choking grasp, God just keeps planting me firmly on the ground, keeps showing me that the most authentic, most deserving and most precious community is right here at home.

They are my sojourners.

I flail around in bitterness and the cold left by absence of fellowship. I grieve and what for when God has put me here with them to nurture and to talk with, to read for hours in the hammock with and play music with and read the bible with, to worship with as we bake cookies and scrub dirty counters, to explore nature with, to run through the hills and go on a life-adventure with.

The whole wide world–and the wide web–can make it seem as though what mothers do in their homes isn’t important–that the little, quiet, sacred community we’re building isn’t holy work. It all seems to scream that we need to be doing some ministry to the poor, or we need to be involved in a local church, or serving in community in some way.

The deceptiveness of culture has slowly trickled down into the church and told women that just being a mother and wife isn’t enough. But that’s a lie from the roaring hell-lion.

Oh, how the roaming lion wants to decieve us to think that the work we’re doing–the work of a mother–isn’t holy and sacred–he does not want us to think that just loving them is enough.

I know that if I’m serving in the context that God has placed me in, I will touch the lives I’m meant to touch, regardless of my church affiliation, my community and ministry involvement, or my blog numbers.

I am only human–and God knows–He designed me this way. A standard that tells me I have to constantly be reaching higher depletes me of the air and life that I could give where He has called me to give–and mostly, that is at home.

I really think this could be my oasis–the deep well of laughter and bedtime giggles and stories and living like Jesus is in the room.

This could be my strength to never stopthe eternal value of four lives that have been discipled for Christ–literally led to Christ’s feet at the cross and transformed, radically changed and devoted to His cause.

We can do that–you can do that–I can do that–that’s the burden God placed in us mothers.  When else will we get the chance to disciple so intensely? To put our mark on someone, to leave a legacy?

We have such an amazingly golden opportunity here with our children.

When else will this godly call, this priceless hour pass by again?

We must seize it with all the gusto we can muster and that takes putting off of some earthly things, some voices that call wild in the wind and vie for our attention and ask to carry us and toss us around with every new doctrine and opinion.

So I won’t crawl back into bed. Not today. I will stand with my children, Husband by my side, us all just orphans at the gate. And I will remember that. I will remember that as I mother them–they are orphans–they are His–and they are waiting for His return just as ardently, expectantly, desperately as I am.

While they wait, while I wait, I will mother these gifts well, with my dying breath, I will be a real mother to them–a mother worn for the journey–and they won’t have to journey or wander alone.

I will journey with them, and at the end, place them back into His hands.

Gratitude: {#956-976}……..

#956…a lunch in the park…women talking, children playing…

#957…the warmth of sunlight…

#958…hard eucharisteo…learning to hang in there when these social events aren’t easy for me…

#959…my sweet Bella flourishing in the classroom with her Mama after not doing so well in the other classroom…

#960…a director who gives me the week off when energy is flagging and anxiety takes over…the practical care of a sister in Christ…

#961…having the week to clear my mind, rest, renewal…

#962…patching up disagreements, how best friends can scrub you like sand-paper and make you Christ-smooth

#963…chasing butterflies, dragonflies in the backyard with my girls…

#964…watching my strong girls swim their hearts out for the team…

#965…hard eucharisteo…pounding headache and nausea, the noise of the crowd too much–giving it to God and learning to be a {somewhat} patient mama through it all, loving on my children…

#966…going out to celebrate with the girls for their first meet out of town–Husband meeting us when he got off work..

#967…watching birds, squirrels in the backyard…

#968…not going anywhere, napping in the hammock on a Sunday afternoon; Sabbath rest…

#969…my Bella asking if she is still the new girl next week, reassuring her that no, she is not the “new girl” after the first week.

#970…taking care of my sweet Bella-girl, how she lets me bathe her face with a cool cloth to bring down fever, how she sits up and tries to spoon in the ice cream, submissively puts the thermometer under her tongue, lets me hold her…

#971…Lorna making oranges for Bella, bringing them to her bed…

#972…Ivy’s concerned “Bella, are you hot?”

#973…Spider lillies splashing the whole backyard in red…

A gift cool, warm, sun-soaked…
#974…the end of my daughter’s nose…
#975…hot shower
#976…feeling the warmth of sun on my bare skin and then the first of tiniest drops of rain….

Still counting and linking up with sweet Ann and others… On In Around button

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29 thoughts on “Orphans At The Gate–{What To Do When You Are Wandering and Failing}”

  1. Hey there neighbor today @ graceful…Yes you will mother you girls well…you will be who God created you to be…you are stronger than you know right now…if you weren’t so strong there would be no wrestle. Your wrestling heart is what keep you going to the well…digging deep and you won’t stop until you taste a drop of His goodness. You will now how much He truly…truly loves you…those accusing voices will cease because you will hear Him singing over you…all His whispers of grace…love will drive out those voices that condemn…love will heal and set you free. biggest ((((hugs)))) to you sweet friend. your picture is still beside my chair:)

  2. What a sweet bunch of girls! I too have days where I just want to hide under the covers until it all goes away. But God is good and He knew you would need to incentive to get up and keep going and to not stay so long inside yourself. He knew that if He gave you something to reach for other than the inside of your brain you would reach out. It looks to me that he's given you four very beautiful reasons! 🙂 Blessings!

  3. Oh, Nacole! I know this weariness, the need to drink deep and accept the rest God offers. I remember the story of Elijah, so weary after battling the false prophets. And God sent food and drink to restore him. He longs to do that for you–to feed you so that you can do the hard work of nourishing these little ones.

    Remember the safety drill flight attendants go through on airlines: If the oxygen mask drops, affix yours before trying to assist others. Breathe God's goodness deep into your soul; eat, sleep, and rest. I know this weariness. I will pray for you.

  4. May you realize in your heart and soul that “God will keep you from falling, and present you faultless before the presence of his glory, in that day…” Yes, may you “feel” that at some deep level, even when your mind and body are tired and need to flee away to just rest. I ask God to send his blessings upon you and your family.

  5. Know you are loved well Nacole, that He knows your every thought before you think it, that He believes in you. And I can remember those days of weariness, of needing to refuel with time to myself that seemed elusive. Praying that for you today my friend.

  6. I found myself holding my breath as I read this. And I was relating and cheering you on and thinking of the state of my own soul. And I treasure your questions – how long will we have, really, to pour into our children?

    So glad to see you at SDG this week, Nacole. You are loved.

  7. I tell others with panic attacks what to do, then I had one myself !!! I love to give advice, and it was years ago but this is what I did to find some rest from my children. I took them to a church that had Sunday School classes. They were apart from me for an hour, and I could attend an adult class and soak in if not connect. On week days, at least once a week, I took them to a park where I could rest on a bench and watch them play on the swings or with the other children there.
    I allowed them to attend public school, even with all its evils, I did have several hours to rest or work (my choice.) Please do NOT listen to the devils lies when he tells you how bad you are. He is the father of lies and he has access to your mind but he cannot read your mind. So put on some music and sing along. Use scripture to pray and sign some of the new praise and worship chorouses and don't forget the old hymns. 🙂

  8. Oh, amen to placing them back in His hands and to living as desperately thirsty as they are. I have to cling to this desperation as my incentive to seek Strength outside of my resources. Yet, when He comes, He shows up on the inside. Such beautiful paradox.
    Keep reaching for Him, dear Nacole. He is found by those who seek. Even if every day wears the badge of “desperate.”

  9. my dear one… as I trace each word I feel you cry, I feel your pain, your beauty, your hope, your strength(though you feel weak).
    What a masterpiece of writing and heart…
    As a masterpiece… I say that this is a perfect write, complete and amazing. I want to share it with the many others in this same place, so they may see that they are not alone… and to see a hope that weaves through all these troubles. I want them to see that.
    as a heart piece I say I feel with you, I uphold you, I say, “hang in there, beloved!”… you have so much beauty already acomplished by Him… we see Him in your life… We see Him!
    There is so much I understand with you and I know in whom we have believed and that He is able….That is my only hope as well when each morning Satan would try to steal away God's promises from me; And through the day when the world would cry out 'not enough!', 'not enough!'. When I might begin to feel crushed, I remember His Word to me. Always, through these days of wrestling Satan's thievery, it is God's Word that delivers… from His word, through old Hymns…
    There is much I put to memory so I can call upon it for strength… there is much God simply brings to my memory as I need it. I have peace as I keep my mind 'stayed on Him', because I trust in Him. When I get lost in my disparing thoughts, I remember that I should keep my thoughts on whatsoever is lovely and pure and honourable… so I start going through my 'lovely' list and satan soon flees and I have peace…
    You are both doing the most high and lofty job… to be a mother and father and a husband and wife and to keep the home safe in His love… is the most lofty of jobs.
    Your children will be called holy because of your faith.
    You do well to rest in Him
    All your feeling 'not enough' is not how your family sees you. It is how Satan tries to deceive you.
    I know that because kids are forgiving and believing and trusting and such gifts from His hand and you are all and enough for them… even if it is to just sit and hold them. It is enough. He is enough…By His grace, what will be will be… it is enough to rest in Him and wait with him.
    We are His workmanship, created unto good works… He has given your family as an oasis, as you say. Stay and rest awhile. They are God's gift…
    Rest my friend…be a lover of your husband (and children) and a keeper of the home… Titus tells us old women to teach this to the younger… it is enough.
    Blessings. I am so enjoying how you put your heart into words for us. It is what so many have felt but cannot share. Thank you Nacole

  10. Susan! I am a little…speechless. I was unsure if I should publish this, if it even made any sense….all of the chaotic nonsense bumbling about in my head. I'm so, so glad that it made sense to you–that you connected with it on that level. I am amazed at your words, and appreciated every single one. Thank you for the correction–you didn't have to–but I appreciate your effort–I knew what you meant, though. I can't tell you how much I needed every word spoken here. I will come back and read it a few times. Blessings and love to you, dear lady.

  11. My daughter is in the place you are and in sharing your words I know she'll find blessing in knowing she is not alone. You are choosing the sacred, the best use of your moments. And something beautiful is birthing–the God-pleasure of you.

  12. All I can say after reading your post is that you ARE doing the most important job you will ever do raising your children. God has you in this place for a reason, so that you can imprint on them what they will need to thrive and face their future. It is an amazing, terrifying, wonderful job, and all too soon it will be gone and they will be grown, and you will wish you had just one more day.
    I pray that you will wake up tomorrow morning with a smile on your face, after all …”joy comes in the morning”. Satan's lies have no place there.
    Blessings to you.

  13. So much I love here… started scribbling down my favorite lines even before I was done reading. Guess I'll just say “AMEN”. Praying He will rain down on you with fresh grace and joy and hope as you continue to pour out to your precious four. And do the most difficult and important KINGDOM WORK of all!

  14. Praying for you, friend. It's when I compare my world to the other “out there” that I can feel this way–orphaned. I'm so glad you feel the oasis of love in the now, Nacole. It's so easy to get lost in the hard places. Much love to you.

  15. I bookmarked your blog because whenever I read your posts I nod my head with a Holy agree-ance(that is possibly not a word). I need to visit you more often. You always state what I know is true, what is wise, deep inside where truth lies, but often forget.
    Thank you for writing brave.
    Remember, there is a remnant of holy Mothers who are right where you are…and though tired and often defeated for a time, are being held by The Savior, just as you are.
    Cheers,
    Leah

  16. I hit publish too soon.

    Oh, Friend. I really can empathize with so much of this: the feelings of inadequacy and lack…the feelings of being overwhelmed. I am not an introvert, but depression can turn me into a look-alike. It's so hard to get through the days, sometimes, not to mention to avoid placing unnecessary pressure on ourselves.

    Saying a prayer for you, this night.

  17. Oh my goodness, I think you are too hard on yourself… My goodness! Motherhood is NOT easy…. But, you are on the right road to be sure. Give yourself a little me time to reflect but most of all remember – GOD LOVES YOU FOR WHO YOU ARE!

  18. These days of being that grain of wheat buried in the ground that dies will be over before you know it and in those precious ones you've nurtured with come a hundred fold harvest.

  19. oh my friend. you are not alone. you're not. but it feels that way, no? so hard, when so many are leaning on you for strength and you feel you have none. may God rise up in a powerful way and give you the break you need so you can continue to serve. and never, ever be afraid to take care of yourself. love you, e.

  20. Sweet friend, {and sister introvert} I stand with you, with Him, hands outstretched, saying 'yes', You are here. You are here with us NOW. You are not far away, even when we can't hear you. You are not hiding from our gaze, even when we can't see You. We do hear you, in all the ways You've made us to hear, with Your ears, Your love making our hearts respond to the music You create within us, around us. And we see with Your eyes, and feel Your arms around us, holding us up, for we are adopted now. We are Yours now. We do not stand alone, even though we are weary. You are our strength. Our weaknesses, Your strength. So thankful, for all the way you care for us. . .And I am so thankful, Nacole, for the beauty you share of Him, so abundant and glorious, with Him.

  21. Standing in the strength and love of Christ with you today, Nacole. Standing with my huband, my little ones… my heart was pounding in agreement and encouragement at the close of this post.
    Thank you. So very much. For being the real woman you are, as I've always known you to be. I really can't tell you what this meant for me today, how it was exactly what I needed to hear, your brokeness, your reflections, your fervent faith and encouragement and all.
    I have been battling that hell-lion lie recently and today, asking God for the peace to walk in faith, to walk in His strength any way- He has been faithful to help me love on my family, to teach, to nurture, to support, to serve- but your words struck that place in me that has been crumbling in fear and doubt, I hadn't sat down at His feet and fully surrendered this to Him. God exposed the lie that was crushing me in defeat today through your words here, Nacole.
    Thank you with all my heart.
    I began reading this a couple days ago and didn't get to finish it until today- His perfect timing. 🙂 I am so thankful.
    Love you, my dear friend ❤

  22. I so understand this introverted feeling-like-I-can't-do-it-all. I'm in a completely different life place from you, but the frustration is still the same. I feel like much of my energy is actually spent determining whether something deserves my spending of energy, or if I should let it go. It's not always obvious, is it?

  23. Beautiful, just beautiful. Every time I read your words here I glimpse a bit of my own heart too. And I find strength in your strength, to fight against those same whisperings of failure and to find the “sweet spot” of introverted-ness–a place where I can feel peace while interacting with the world, and also not to pressure myself or berate myself when I DO need to hide away. Love the way God finds way to connect us to each other and uses our stories to encourage one another! Thank you!

  24. *sigh. I get this. I'm struggling now with this wicked tug-of-war between serving and loving my children and also taking care of myself. We need to drink from the Well, too, before we can be of any service to them. Thanks for sharing the struggle with the rest of us.

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