Love your feelings?
Ugh. So often I don’t.
But I’m going to tell you about them anyway. There was this one time when I listened to my feelings. I respected my feelings. And eventually I came to love the whole mess of it.
I was pregnant with our second. Less than 6 months along, when I started feeling a certain way.
Panic. Desperate. Anxious. Laying awake wondering.
How was I going to do this?
How was I going to maintain my full-time job and also have 2 little ones at home?
How was I going to keep it all going? I was barely doing it with just one.
I knew it was possible. Lots of women were doing it. My friends. My co-workers. Women I respected. How did it work for them? It was not working for me.
But there was no way I could quit my job. I had to keep working. There was no way we could afford the house with only one paycheck. Brad had only been self-employed now for a couple years and we were still a little nervous about steady work (even though he had stayed busy so far). What was I thinking? This was just crazy.
But one day when we were driving somewhere – it’s always easier to have these difficult conversations in the car, right? – I just broke down. I fell apart. Sobbing I said to him, “I can’t do this. I can’t go back to work after this baby is born.”
I’ll never forget that moment. It was so clear to me that something had to change. I didn’t know how it would possibly work. I had no idea how we could make this happen. But I had to be honest about the way I felt.
My husband was sympathetic, but probably mostly because I was super-hormonal-pregnant-lady. He really thought I was nuts. He had no idea how this could possibly be a realistic conversation. But clearly we were having it anyway.
I started looking into taking a leave of absence at work. I started searching for options. We bounced ideas off each other.
Then one day he called on his way home and was telling me about Grandma and Grandpa moving to the nursing home. And what would become of their house? Their kids didn’t really want to sell it right now. Would it just sit empty?
Without thinking, I joked we should move into it. He was working nearby there so often. We could just move home.
There was a pause on the other end of the phone. And then he said thoughtfully, “Yeah…..? Hmmm, that could work.”
I was floored. He had always been so committed to the house we were in. It was our dream home. A big four-square fixer-upper in the country. What we’d always wanted. We loved it. But now he was opening up to the idea of moving… so I could stay home with our kids? It was the craziest thing I’d ever heard. And it felt like a miracle.
As plans started to unfold, the picture got clearer. My feelings were being heard. I had the clarity I had been praying for.
Clare Elizabeth was born in May. While I was delivering, the couple interested in our house called again. They wanted to come back for a second visit.
We sold for a profit in July of 2007. 3 months before the housing market crashed. Before the economy fell apart. Before things got scary. We used the money to pay off our debts. And we moved into a tiny house way too close to family. (That’s another story.)
Now, there are some more great elements to the story that follows. But I don’t want to mislead you. It wasn’t ideal really. The house was super little. The transition was brutal. The rest of the story is actually crazy and it has been a roller-coaster ride. Much of it has been recorded on the pages of this blog. But those feelings that I listened to – they ended up giving me a clarity I had never had. They were there for a reason. God was constructing a path for me to do something I had never thought was possible. It was opening up in front of me, and responding to it was one of the best decisions I have ever made. Rarely does a day pass when I don’t think of the emotions that led me to become a more available mom to my kiddos.
That day – those months – I did NOT love my feelings. I loathed them. They haunted me. I fought with them. They persisted. I stared blankly at the ceiling wondering if there was any escaping the feelings that gripped my heart… or the tough decisions that would have to be made.
But now when I look back? I love those feelings. I love that they stalked me day and night and wouldn’t be ignored. I love that God placed them on my heart and gave me sound wisdom from wise women I cried to. I am thankful for the feelings that changed my life. For the whirlwind of emotions that birthed clarity when the clouds parted and the wind died down. These days, I love the whole mess of it.
Why does loving our feelings always seem to be messy business that isn’t that fun and requires admitting hard things or change?! If you know the answer, please share!