Monday, March 3, 2014

An Unwelcome House Guest

It's been pretty quiet here in my little corner of the blogosphere. I know. We've been in a hard season with things. This season has been exhausting. Frustrating. Desperate. Isolating. Painful. Exhausting. Draining. The pace of our household has hardly relented in deference to the hard season. It couldn't.

I can tell you exactly when it started.

Let me tell you the story.

In early December, Trauma came to visit. He snuck into the house, bringing Control, Anxiety, and Fear with him. They are the kind of house guest that rolls into your pretty little guest room unannounced. The kind of house guest that brings his unpleasant friends stowed away in his suitcase before you can even process that his suitcase has been tossed on your guest bed. On the good linens no less. They are the kind of house guest the adage speaks of: "Company and fish start to stink after three days."

Let me tell you, it stunk way sooner than three days.

It seems as if Mei Mei's first surgery brought Trauma out of hiding. It's totally understandable and we knew to expect it from lots of previous experiences - Trauma lurks in those hospitals for lots of kids. Kids from great, loving, nurturing beginnings. Kids from hard places. Kids with serious sicknesses. Kids with simple playground accidents. But it really feels like he was waiting for her in that room. Hiding under that oh-so-institutional crib cage. Hovering under the ugly, rough blankets.

Worse, he felt it necessary to follow her home from the hospital. He toyed with her, making a game of randomly waking her. He got his buddy to help. Fear clutched at her throat. Trauma whipped Control into a frenzy of raging tantrums over peanut butter and jelly sandwiches that weren't cut "just so." He'd whisper in Anxiety's ear a teensy little musing, thus starting the "Telephone Game" of insecurities repeated and grossly warped beyond recognition by the time they got to my girl's ear. It took us a few weeks of muscling through our own sleep deprivation and the dirty laundry of these unwelcome guests to figure out that they thought they were here to stay.

When the awareness took root that these weren't visitors, but squatters, The Boss and I dug into our bag of spiritual warfare tactics and started making things very uncomfortable for these intruders. It's been hard work, this remediation of the damage they sought to inflict. It's taken all of our energies. Certain Fruits of the Spirit have gotten extra work-outs, through the muddle of sleep deprivation.
{Really, moms, isn't the irregular sort of sleep deprivation the worst kind of all? I think I could probably get used to 4-5 hours of sleep if that was the new norm. But 8 hours, then 4, then 6 then 4 again? Oh.MY.WORD.}
Scripture is being spoken, sung, hummed, and prayed. The new rocking chair is logging many, many miles. Old hymns of Truth and Promise are being called to mind, used as lullabies, even if the verses are mixed up and tunes are badly mangled. The security and anchor of The Word that my folks encouraged me to memorize and sink deeply into my heart as a young believer are pouring out when I'm too tired to coherently put together my own prayer.

Practical things had to be tended to, to aid the eviction of the unwanted tenants. So January was spent re-establishing household routines and my beloved systems. (Gasp! Yes, even I was shocked at how long it took me to get back on that bandwagon I so love!) I grocery shopped multiple times between snow storms. I baked and cooked whenever the snow dumped on us, and we were snowed in. Menu planning, preparation of the daily dinner, and laundry days all were re-instituted. Many days those tasks were literally ALL that I could handle. But handle them I did. Anxiety had no choice but to pipe down in the wake of the loud, proud boasting of permanence and structure that our return to routines gave. I much prefer when Security and Confidence hang out with my gang, don't you?

February was focused on establishing some kind of social schedule for the little extroverted Mei Mei and her extrovert momma. Too many unstructured days staying home all day gave Trauma and Control way too much freedom to wreak their havoc. Play dates here at home and busy mornings out to do our errands made way for Joy, Cooperation, and Peace to hang out with us. It continues to amaze to me just HOW much of an extrovert this little girl is!

And while we aren't certain that Trauma has left the building just yet, we do feel as if he's recognized that his days are numbered. When he slinks off into the darkness and muck from whence he came, he will have no choice but to pack up his traveling mates with him. The foundation upon which we have built our home has made Trauma's stay an uncomfortable one and he's learning that we cannot, WILL NOT co-habitate with him.

Since our name is on the mortgage, he's the one that's got to go.

Special thanks to my lovely friend, Amelia.
Her keen eye for detail, spiritual wisdom,
and excellent writing skills
helped me pull this metaphor
together with far more eloquence
and consistency of voice
than I am capable of in this hard season!


Kelleyn Rothaermel said...

So beautifully written, but so sorry you had to go through this season.

Beth Templeton said...

I lOVED this! So glad to have seen the link on Facebook. The analogy is wonderful, but what I loved most was your understanding of your authority as a parent to decide what guests are welcome in your home. Well done! I so agree with you about this. I am writing about changing the atmosphere of my home for our Hope at Home blog today, so the timing of reading this is perfect. thank you!!

La Dolce Vita: The Sweet Life said...

so sorry that you had to go through this. Glad to read that you attacked it with hope and intention.

Tessy Fuller said...

I just feel like I want to say You go Mama, way to defend and fight through. I know you must be weary but I am thankful that your anchor is secure and held you through it all.

a Tonggu Momma said...

Intentional parenting at its best!

abby said...

I love this! Would you be willing to let us share this on the Sparrow Fund's We Are Grafted In blog? I think it would be encouraging to many families. If you are interested, you can email me at abby@ sparrow-fund . org Blessings...