The Chaos of Nobility

Waging war against the veil of perfectionism in motherhood

No excuses.  Really, not one.  Oh, I have LOTS of reasons that I’ve been MIA, but if I tell you all of them, you would think I’m crazy.  And you would feel sorry for me.  Trust me, it’s nuts.  So… I won’t spend several minutes telling you all the amazing yet crazy things that have stolen my attention and sanity for the last few weeks.  Well, maybe one reason…

 

Life got busy at the end of the school year, and with everyday that passed without me writing, that little voice in my head got louder and louder.  You know that one.  The one that is always there, waiting for an opportunity to remind you of how much you don’t measure up.  Nevermind that what you’re not measuring up to is the impossible standard that you set for yourself.  The one that no one else expects you to meet.  Stupid little voice.

 

It started off quietly… Just a little nudge here and there.  “Are you SURE you want to spend your time writing this blog?  I mean, its hard to be that raw and honest.  You’re basically telling people what your everyday crazy looks like.”  And with each passing day it got louder and more convincing.. “You don’t have anything to say that anyone wants to hear.  You’re wasting your time.”  Then eventually it became another thing that I failed at.  “See, what did you expect?  You’ve never been good enough.  Just another failure to add to the list.”

 

So what did I do?  I’d like to tell you that I pulled up my big girl panties and sucked it up.  I’d like to tell you that I rebuked that voice and followed MY truth.  The REAL truth.  But this blog is about being honest, no matter how ugly.  I . GAVE . IN .   I gave up and I gave in and I allowed the lie of the enemy to become my reality.  I bathed my soul in lies.  And I forgot my WHY.  I forgot the reason I started this journey in the first place…

 

You see, it doesn’t matter if I’m interesting.  Or if people enjoy reading what goes on in my head and life.  This all started because comparison is the thief of joy.  It slaughters it.  Everywhere we turn, we see people doing life better than we are.  They have their pinterest drenched, facebook soaked, perfect masks on.  AND WE FALL FOR IT!!  We look at it through an already discontent mindset.  We go to these sites because of boredom or habit.  But really, the whole time, we’re comparing their “life” to ours.  “Look how skinny she is!  WOW!  She’s had a bunch of kids, and she looks amazing.  Why don’t I look like that?  That’s not fair!  I need to workout more.  That’s right, I’ll just workout and diet.  I’ll figure it out.  I’ll get there.”

 

But because we started off this whole endeavor with a spirit of discontent, instead of a grateful, full heart, we will not achieve our “goal” no matter what we do.  Even if we do lose a little weight, we still will compare ourselves to an even fitter person.  It just doesn’t end.  And we’ll always feel like a failure.  Houses, cars, relationships, it’s all just an opportunity for misery or joy.  And we get to decide, to choose.

 

That’s why I started writing.  Because this is a struggle in my life and surely I can’t be alone?  There have to be more people who feel like they never measure up, right?  And this sucks.  It feels awful.  Maybe by talking about it, we can mutually lift one another up.  Even just knowing you’re not the only one struggling against the veil of perfectionism.  Just knowing you’re not alone…

 

So, there it is.  There’s the REAL reason that I have been missing.  All the other drama that has owned my time and attention was just extra.  I’m not saying it’s been an easy couple of weeks.  Did I mention I have 7 kids?:)  I’m just saying I want to be honest.  And real.

 

So, I’m committing to showing up at least twice a week.  I’d love to up it to three, but I want to set REALISTIC goals.  I mean, it is the summer.  And all my kiddos are home all day.  And it’s REAL HOT here in Texas.  We have about a two hour window from when we wake up, before it’s unbearable.  After that, we’re talking permanent damage.  It’s bad.  Unless you’re a mosquito, then it’s heaven… 🙂

 

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So, my computer died… More accurately, it was murdered.  It died a slow and painful death.  I had a nice Mac laptop that I made the mistake of leaving on the floor next to my bed.  I know, I know.  When I picked it up, the entire screen was cracked, pieces of the computer falling off as I opened it.   There was a lot of emotion coursing through me at that point.  Im guessing you know which one reared it’s ugly head.  While calmly asking the children if they knew what happened, my 3 year old fessed up.  “I stepped on it Mama”.. Um, What??? “Yeah, I stepped on it and I jumped like this!”  And he proceeds to show me how high he can jump.  I don’t remember what happened after that.  That was about 6 months ago.  I’ve been nursing it ever since.  Being oh so careful when I open it, pieces of the screen falling and bouncing off the keyboard.  Eventually, there were little holes in the glass, and the screws fell out of the back, but I could still use it!  It still worked.  Until last week.  It finally gave up the ghost.  So, that’s why I haven’t been on in a few days.  I was a computer widow…

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I did about 10 loads of laundry yesterday.  Seriously.  I’m not even kidding.  My kids have the idea that if they even look at a piece of clothing, it’s dirty.  Yet, they can also wear the same clothes for 3 days in a row, take a shower, and then put those same clothes back on.  There is no order to this chaos.  Regularly, I find freshly “folded” clothes in the dirty clothes bin.  These poor clothes never even made it to the dresser.  They went straight from my couch (AKA the clean clothes pile) to the floor of their room.  And when it’s time to clean their room, they chunk them right back into the dirty clothes.  This is one of THE most stressful parts of my life.  I know that sounds crazy.  It’s just laundry.  No, it’s so much more to me.  Really, it brings out the U . G . L . Y .

 

I see these facebook memes that talk about how lots of laundry means lots of people to love.  Um, yeah, no.  I love my people.  I really do.  But I would probably LIKE them more if they only wore a few sets of clothes a day.  It would be like a dream come true.  I might actually be able to get other things done around the house, instead of washing clean clothes ALL THE TIME..  And then there’s the “folding”.  I have to work myself up to it.  Like “Eye of the Tiger” turned all the way up.  Honesty time… I don’t fold clothes for people under 18.  Josh’s clothes get folded, and so do mine.  The rest of them?  NOPE!!   I just throw them in a pile.  Each kid gets their own pile, unless you’re a twin, and mom can’t remember which kid wears what shirt.  Why would I spend precious time and sanity folding something that’s going to end up right back in the dirty clothes??  I mean, I kind of “wad” them.  Sometimes, there may even be a organized pile, but that’s it.  Maybe someday I’ll reach that level of momazingness… But not today…

 

Laundry is a thorn for me.   Really, it is.  I know this sounds silly and probably superficial, but it is my truth.  Want to know why?  Because the enemy uses that laundry.  He uses it in a silent but profound way to tangibly show me that I can’t measure up.  That I can’t do it all, be it all, and win at it all.  Every time I walk by that pile, I feel more and more like a failure.  I see it and I remind myself that I can’t measure up.  It feels like a stab straight thru my whole being.  And that leads to other “truths”.. Haven’t figured out what’s for dinner yet, still need to clean the bathroom, never handled that issue with a certain child’s behavior, etc.  And I hit my point.  My done point.  Where all I want to do is crawl in the bed and watch Forensic Files on Netflix.  Why even try?  I’m just going to fail.  I’ll never, ever be caught up.  And that means that I’m not good enough.  I’m not a good enough housekeeper, wife, mother, educator, and disciple.  I should be doing this instead of that.  I shouldn’t have spent so much time on this one thing, then I could have finished the thing I started two hours ago.  Ugh… Makes my head hurt just thinking about it.  And it’s not like once you get it done, that’s it.  Nope!!  You get to start all over in the morning.  Those clothes will be right there to greet you when you first wake up.  First. thing..  It’s not the laundry monster, it’s the laundry ENEMY.

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So now I’m in the bed, wallowing in self-pity.  Believing “truths” that are absolute lies.  Mentally and emotionally beating myself up for not attaining some standard that I’ve set for myself.  Thinking that I should have been a forensic scientist.  I would have been good at that.  But it’s too late now.  Another lie.  They just keep coming.  I’m not comfortable here, but it’s easy to be here.  Does that make sense?  It’s so much easier to agree with myself and my failures, than it is to fight the good fight.  Speaking the real truth to myself is much harder.  Reaching into my soul, and pulling out the truth of who I am in Christ Jesus is much harder for me.  Because I can believe myself a failure.  It’s next to impossible to see myself as righteous, the way God sees me.  But I am a Christ follower.  And the Holy Spirit dwells in me.  And in the midst of my wallowing and self destruction, I feel Him pulling.  Guiding me away from my sinful mindset, into the light of the truth of the gospel.  The REAL reality.  I am HIS.  I am REDEEMED.  And I am LOVED.  Not because of what I can or can’t do, but because of what HE has done IN ME.  Because of the sanctifying work He continues to do in me.

 

OK.  Maybe I can do this.  Not all of it, and not all right now.  But some of it.  And I’m not a failure because my laundry has swallowed my couch.  I’m not a failure because we’re having cereal for dinner again.. I’m not a failure because my kid didn’t wear socks (or underwear) to school again today.  I am not a failure.  I am a work in progress.  And I will always be, this side of eternity.   An older, more experienced nurse once told me that nursing is a 24 hour job.  That’s why we staff around the clock.  It can’t be done all at once, by one person.  And if you try, you’ll just exhaust yourself.  And feel like a failure.  I remind myself of this when I things get rough and I feel like I’m living a real life Groundhog day.   This is an around the clock gig.  No one can do it all, all the time.

 

So hang in there Mamas!  Don’t let the enemy convince you that you are not enough.  Don’t listen to the lies of the world, comparing you to society’s view of perfection.  Model yourself after the One who IS perfect.  The One who CAN do it all.  The One who is making you more like Him.  Even in the mundane.  Even in the laundry…

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Remember a few years back when those “25 things about me” lists were going around?  I found mine.  It makes me laugh.  I thought I’d post it on here and update it to see how much life has changed since then..

1. Josh and I have been married 10 years this April. We have been together since our Junior year in High school.

19 years this April!  Boy, Josh is getting old! 🙂

2. I am a certified scuba diver.

Haven’t been back in the water since I was a junior in high school.  Honestly, it totally freaks me out.  I hate being totally out of control of whether I live or die… 🙂

3. I once ran out of air 70 feet below the surface of the Caribbean Sea.

This could be a part of the reason that was my last dive 🙂

4. When I was in junior high, I burnt my nose with a marshmallow that I was roasting…

Not one of my proudest moments, but one of my best memories…

5. I graduated from nursing school in 2004 with honors.

I haven’t practiced since 2007.  Sometimes I miss it, but life has changed so much since then.  And so has medicine. 🙂

6. My first son, Ashton was 11 pounds and 5 ounces at birth. He was 23 1/4″ long and the Drs “had no idea he was going to be so large”….

I remind Ashton of this every time he starts acting like a pain.  He thinks it’s funny.  I can’t believe that I had more children after this. 🙂

7. I despise seafood. I will not eat anything that lives in the water or a ditch, or anything that is in the same shape dead as it was when it was alive (shrimp, crawfish, etc).

My dad says I must be the milk man’s child because our family is SO cajun.  They all love ditch critters and anything you have to pick apart to eat…

8. I was a MAJOR tomboy growing up. I used to chase my sisters with garder snakes and break the heads off their barbies and hide them.

I know this sounds weird, but I’m sure glad I did this.  My sisters deserved it.  They didn’t like me much growing up.  I mean, one of them broke my arm for talking to her boyfriend!!! J/K

9. God saved me in January of 2007. Before that I claimed to be a Christian, because I thought I was better than most. There was no fruit of repentance and I was so lost.

I am in awe of the growth I have experienced since I wrote this.  I have grown in ways I didn’t even realize I needed to.  And I’m still struggling in so many others.  I need to have “work in progress” tattooed on my forehead.

10. I’ve been bitten by a frozen, dead dog….

Not much to add to this one.  Hasn’t happened again, tho. 🙂

11. I lived on St. Charles Ave in New Orleans (with Josh) when I was 18.

Yes, Josh and I lived together before we were married.  At the time, we thought it was great.  Our views have changed on this subject, and we hope our children follow our advice instead of our example…If they ever find out 🙂

12. I love the Anne of Green Gables series, but it annoys me how overly dramatic she is about EVERYTHING!

I still watch it, and it still annoys me.  I may have a daughter that might give Anne a run for her money…

13. I once saved a litter of kittens by scraping their frozen bodies off the porch with a spatula and putting them in front of a heater while I went to school. All alive and accounted for when I got home.

I was pretty proud of this when I was younger.  I’ve done A LOT of disgusting things since then.  Frozen kittens pale in comparison to what you experience with 6 boys.  They are just gross..

14. I was a vet tech for 5 years before becoming an RN.

Yep.  And to be honest, I prefer working with animals over people.  Animals just bite you if they get mad.  And they don’t complain.

15. I totaled my Dad’s Jeep when I was 17, out driving with some friends, alone, at night… Yeah, I know..

Making a mental note never to let my kids read my blog…

16. I hate anything licorice. Especially black jellybeans!

Still hate them. Can’t even smell it without getting sick..

17. I used to rehabilitate rattlesnakes when I lived in Southern CA.

I can honestly say, as I have aged, that this is one of the strangest things I have done.  Haven’t done it since tho…

18. I am married to the most interesting man in the world. He a Marine, pilot, scuba diver, expert rifleman, and half of the places he’s been too, I’m not even allowed to know about.

Still true!  He’s the total package!  Love my husband so much!  He has stopped traveling the world and now works much closer to home.  He comes home every night now, and I try to never take that for granted.  

19. I am obsessive about germs and washing my hands. I know, I know, most of you already know this.

I wish this wasn’t true still.  But I actually think it’s gotten worse.  Now my kids are germophobes.. Yet, they’re still gross.  

20. I’ve only been spanked once in my life, and it wasn’t even my fault… 🙂

I was just talking to my Dad about this the other day.  He now admits my innocence 🙂

21. When I was little, I used to lie about cleaning my room, and then I would tell on myself. I know, how did I only get one spanking?

My room is still dirty.  It’s just that now I don’t get in trouble for it.  I really try to keep it clean.  I blame Josh.  It’s easier that way.

22. I hate needles. I cannot stand to be stuck. Pricking my finger is not going to happen. That is the worst. I won’t give blood because they have to prick my finger first. (They won’t just take the whole lot and then test it. They just have to be difficult). 🙂

Still true.  Although, after having 7 children, I can proudly say I no longer cry when having blood drawn.  I still don’t like it, but I’ve matured, and at least I don’t almost pass out anymore.

23. I love being a mom, and I hope I am pregnant with twins. After having one set, it just seems like such a waste of space to do one at a time… 🙂

This is a hard one.  I’m just going to say that I am so grateful for the children I have, and the order and quantity that the Lord gave them to me in..

24. In the last nine years I’ve owned dogs, cats, birds, a ferret and a ball python. I drove across country, from CA to North Carolina, with Spike the python in a pillow case next to me on the seat of my Mitsubishi Eclipse. I currently have NO pets.

We now have 3 cats, 2 dogs, 12 chickens and 19 chicks.  I obviously did not learn my lesson.  I have however, been healed from the desire to own a reptile at all in any form.  I’m not scared of snakes, but I do not want them in my house for any reason at all.  AT ALL..

25. I am 28 years old, but I often forget or confuse my age. Sometimes I add a year or subtract one, which is embarrasing because I was born in 1980, and should be able to remember…

Oh, to be in my twenties again…  Nah, I wouldn’t trade it.  I’ve learned and grown a lot in the last ten years.  I would like to have the energy of my twenties again.  That would be nice… And yes, I still forget my age.  I expect it will only get worse from here.

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Janine showed up at breakfast this morning.  I wasn’t expecting her, because it wasn’t way after the kids were supposed to be in bed, and I was beyond done.  It was the start of a new day, with new mercies and a new attitude, right??  What opened the door for the flood of emotion that caused me to yell at my kids and turn the morning into a disaster?? A toaster, two eggo waffles, and two little boys.

My husband is out of town on business (things always seem to happen when he’s gone..), and I was trying to get the kids out the door for school.  I work a few days a week at their school, so on those days, I have to get myself ready too.  Well, I stayed up too late on Netflix watching girl movies Josh doesn’t like, and might have woken up later than I planned.  And I might have woken them up a little later too.  And I might not have had a breakfast plan because I’ve been too busy to meal plan.  Behold the make up for the perfect storm: husband out of town, tired mom that happens to be running late, kids not wanting to move, missing contigo for the little one for school, nothing easy for breakfast, and major time constraints.  I mean seriously… One kid got dressed and then got BACK in the bed.  One was fully dressed but laying under the coffee table in the living room.  I could only find two different shoes for the “baby”, and one kids pants looked like he had lost a wrestling match with the dog.  And he had just put them on!!

So you would think that eggo waffles would be a good thing on a morning like this, right?  So would I.  IT WASN’T.  Listen, I know that there are a lot better things that my kids could be eating than processed frozen waffles.  And used to, I would make eggs and smoothies and all kinds of healthy stuff for breakfast.. Enter school…  I’m just grateful for those waffles.  And instant oatmeal in packages.  Anything that does not require me.  I have a big, beautiful 4 slice toaster that my sweet hubby bought me a while back.  It makes mornings like this just a little bit easier on my already throbbing brain.  I’m in the bathroom, putting on my makeup and getting myself dressed, when I hear shrieking and shouting coming from the kitchen.  I wait a minute to see if it will pass, cause, seriously, it’s not uncommon.  No luck.  Now because I waited, it got louder and more intense.. More kids got involved and more yelling ensued.  It was the 20 foot walk to the kitchen that did it.  I just couldn’t get there fast enough.  In the 5 seconds it took me to get to the source of the noise, I was all worked up.  And so were they.  There are now 4 children gathered around the toaster, three of them yelling and one just taking up space.  I just can’t.  I just can’t understand why this noise is coming out of these children this early in the morning.  So then I yell, because, well, now I’m mad.  And I don’t even know why!  I just know they’re yelling!!  And I don’t like it!  So I yell too!  Makes sense right??

After the yelling stops, I very calmly(?) begin the interrogation.  And of course everyone waits their turn to gently explain why my house sounds this way this early in the morning.  This is after school yelling.  It shouldn’t be happenin yet..  A certain two little boys were the source of the “discussion” with a certain older boy acting as judge and jury.  A certain girl was just standing there, watching it all unfold, holding her waffles.  So after the yelling stopped, and we could all hear again, I found out what catastrophe had befallen my children.  Seriously yall.  My two boys did not want their two waffles being heated up next to each other…  In a four slice toaster, they did not want their waffles to be near one another.  I just stood there.  I was expecting something so much more life changing than this.  Someone had hit someone, or called them an ugly name, or stole their waffle.  Something remarkable.. Nope, no such luck.  I don’t remember exactly what I said.  I just remember being unable to really process it.  It was too early.  And honestly, who can really make sense of this??

The rest of the morning proceeded in a similar fashion, and we may have gotten to school a little late.  I would love to say that I repented to my children and it was a great time of discipling and instructing.  It wasn’t.  It was survival.  And now I feel guilty.  So when we get home today, I will apologize to my kiddos for the way I behaved.  And they will graciously forgive me like they do every other time Mama gets frustrated.  I wish it happened less often.  I am trying to be more patient, and not react before I slow down and process it all.  I have been working on asking the Lord to help me respond in situations as He would, to physically stop myself from speaking until I contemplate how He would have me respond.  It’s a work in progress.  And it’s slow.  But it is my heart.

And I also need to be wise and recognize situations that may contribute to a more stressful environment.  Like not having a firm breakfast plan.  And just handing them their waffles on paper plates. 🙂

So, not much encouragement offered today.  Except that maybe you struggle in this way too.  And maybe you need to ask the Lord to help control your tongue and your actions too.  And just maybe you need to repent to your kids.  And at least now you know that you’re not the only one who yells over waffles. 🙂

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Welcome everyone!!  I know that this is probably only making it to a few people right now, but I thought it appropriate to start off with kind of an overview of my heart in this blog.  I’m still working through how I want it all to go, but there are a few things I am certain about.  Oddly enough, at this point, I am only certain about what I DO NOT WANT…  

  • LARGE FAMILY LOGISTICS – I am not writing a blog about large families and how to keep it all running.  I do happen to have a lot of kids, but I don’t pretend for ONE MINUTE to know how to do it all.  The truth is, I feel like a failure a good bit of the time, and I have to remind myself of who I am in Christ in order to just do the next thing.  If you were coming to this page for a bunch of how-to’s, I’m afraid you’ll be disappointed.  Mostly I can just tell you what NOT to do, from experience.  🙂
  • HOMESCHOOL HELPS – Yes, we homeschooled for several years.  To be honest, I had a love hate relationship with it.  Do I still believe it is an amazing way to disciple and train your children at home?  ABSOLUTELY!  Would I ever homeschool again?  YOU BET! (If the Lord led me down that path)  Am I glad that my children are now attending a private Christian school?  YES!  My mindset has changed over the years regarding education, and I am so grateful for the freedom we have in Christ to make these decisions for our family.
  • MOM SHAMING – JUST NOT GONNA HAPPEN…  Listen, I’ll be the first to admit that I struggle with a lot of the aspects of MOM LIFE.  I’m not a sing-you-lullabies-as-you- drift-off-to-sleep kind of gal.  Sometimes, I wish I was.  But most of the time, I’m just relieved that they all made it through the day and into their beds… and hopefully they have pajamas on.  Brushing their teeth is a close second.  When it hits 8 o’clock around here, I morph into something ugly.  We’ll call her Janine.  Janine doesn’t care if you forgot to make your lunch, or you’re thirsty, or you remembered that you left your favorite need-it-to-go-to-sleep toy outside and you just HAVE to have it.  Janine is tired.  Her brain has shut off and all she wants to do is crawl in the bed with her man and watch The Office for the fourth time around.

WHAT I DO HOPE TO RELAY….

  • THAT I AM BROKEN- I will never try to convince you that I am further along in the motherhood journey than you.  I will never try to convince you that we are even on the same one.  I will, however, always try to be clear that CHRIST ALONE is the reason that I get up and endeavor to tame the crazy every day.  He is my rock, I am frail, and so very tired.  But He is perfect, strong, and oh so willing to carry us.  Even as I write this I feel convicted, because I know that I should be praying more, reading more, and just being with Him more.  And to be honest, it feels like those are always the first things to go when times get rough.  I know it’s wrong, it’s just the truth.
  • THAT I UNDERSTAND- I just do.  Whether you have 1 child or 20, this journey is all consuming.  It literally takes every part of you, and that doesn’t leave much left over.  I once believed that I had to die on the altar of motherhood, that I couldn’t serve God well unless I gave up everything that might compete for my time and attention.  And I did just that.  I quit my job and stopped taking care of “me”.  I don’t mean physically, but emotionally, and personally.  It was like I hit pause on my life, and slowly but surely, everything that made me who I was, drained away.  I didn’t realize it was happening at the time, but I sure realize it now.  And I’m having to learn who I am all over again.  It’s really weird, to not know who you are at 38.  But God is gracious and is showing me that my identity lies in who I am in Him.  Daughter of the King.  Oh so fallen, but righteous in the Father’s eyes, because of Jesus.

So hopefully I didn’t scare anyone away.  I really just want to be a voice speaking out against the lies the world tells us moms.  When I start to doubt my ability to do one more thing, I remind myself that God does not make mistakes.  He did not accidentally give my THIS husband and THESE 7 children.  When I got pregnant with number 5, he was not shocked.  THIS life was designed FOR ME by HIM.  And I can rest in that.  That when all else fails around me, that He is there, with me, helping me through every day of this crazy, chaotic, broken life.  One He makes beautiful and whole.

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