If I know one thing about marriage, it is this: marriage is hard.
Marriage with children is even harder, I think. Parenting has made our marriage simultaneously stronger and weaker, mostly better but occasionally worse. We are constantly vying for each others attention in the midst of a tiny blue-eyed boy who seems to willingly take every ounce of energy we have left at the end of the day.
And yet, that same tiny boy is our second strongest bond after Christ—flesh of our flesh, blood running thick with both our genes. He is determined and impatient like me, easy-going and cautious like Brett. He has my eye shape and Brett’s eye color, and every time I look at him, I see both of us. Every thing he does, every new habit he develops, every response he offers to a situation, I see both of us. He is, quite literally, a physical representation of the love between Brett and myself.
Since the day he was born, Everett has been wrecking our marriage and making it whole—breaking us apart and putting us back together like play-doh.
We argue about whether or not he needs to wear a sweatshirt (and don’t even get me started on socks). We laugh hysterically at every tiny thing he does that nobody else would find even remotely funny. We argue about our roles, our responsibilities, who does what and who does more and who is the most unappreciative. And then at 10pm every night we walk into his room and put our hands on his back, feeling steady breaths, dismissing previous arguments and exchanging a knowing glance. We love him so much it hurts. Everett is our biggest challenge, and also our greatest joy and shared accomplishment.
It’s both obvious and surprising how much work it is to raise a child. Some days I think it is exactly what I imagined, maybe even better, and other days the sheer burden of it is so shocking I want to run for the hills screaming, THIS IS TOO MUCH FOR ME RIGHT NOW.
I am peaceful and stressed out; grateful and resentful. I’m on top of mountains and at the bottom of valleys; experiencing my highest highs and lowest lows. I feel loved and unloved, noticed and invisible. Having a child gave me duel personalities and I am still trying to figure out that mysterious thing people call balance. Sometimes I think I have a personality disorder but then I google “hormones” and realize that I’m probably just as much of a mess as any other woman my age, maybe slightly more.
I don’t know how to do all of this. I don’t know how to raise a baby and be a wife and be a friend and use my gifts and serve other people and most importantly, love Jesus all the while. It almost always feels unstable, like there is too much of something on one side.
Because in times when I feel like I am trying to be everything to everyone, it feels like nobody is trying to be anything to me. And that leaves me feeling broken. And alone. And desperate.
When it all becomes too much, and I start to feel invisible, I hear God reminding me of the same truth, over and over again.
I see you, all of the time.
I notice you, all of the time.
I love you, all of the time.
Today, I am soaking in that truth and letting go of the expectations and disappointments that I’ve been carrying around the last few weeks. I’m giving all of that to God—the One who sees, the One who knows, the One who cares, the One who heals.
I don’t know where you’re at today (hopefully you’re feeling like less of a hot mess than I am), but in case you are also feeling a little invisible, I want to remind you: God sees you, God notices you, God loves you. Today, tomorrow, and every day that follows.
Lift up your eyes and look to the heavens:
Who created all these stars?
He who brings out the starry host one by one
and calls forth each of them by name.
Because of his great power and mighty strength,
not one of them is missing. – Isaiah 40:26