Seriously, though, no one chooses heavy things to happen in their lives on purpose. But they do anyway. Life is heavy. Life is often hard. Trauma and tragedy abound in our fallen world.
I’m thankful for the light times though, because they do come pretty frequently. Yet I wrestle with the heavy times. The heavy issues.
For me personally, I wrestle with the heaviness of life on a daily basis. Healing from PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) is all about trying to remain functional and staying out of the “heavy zone” aka “I-can’t-function zone”. It’s like depression on speed. Everything is amplified and sort of crazy feeling. Triggers abound and are often unexpected.
Most people that I know have no idea that I’m dealing with PTSD (though I’m sure this blog post will change that to some degree). Most of my friends don’t know. And the ones that do know, don’t really “know” if you “know” what I mean. It’s hard to truly understand someone’s journey unless you’ve walked a 1000 miles in their shoes (Forget just a mile!). Or as Harper Lee put it in To Kill a Mockingbird:
“…until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.” (Much more accurate!)
I think the biggest reason why people don’t know of my daily struggle is because I live by grace, so I probably don’t look like I’m struggling. The only thing that some of them may have noticed is that I don’t hangout as much anymore. I’m not as available as I used to be.
But my life is a current juggling act between the wearing of two backpacks: the backpack of heaviness and the backpack of grace. I wear both every single day of my life. I alternate between these two backpacks all day long, and it is an exhausting journey sometimes.
I usually start the day off right with my backpack of grace on. “Good morning, God. This day is yours. I know I can’t do anything without your help. So I’m starting it off by giving it right back to you.”
That’s my daily morning prayer before I roll out of bed, get dressed, and head downstairs to take care of the four rambunctious ping pongs that my husband and I are raising.
And by the time my feet land on that last step, I can already hear it:
“Hurry up! We can’t be late again!” says my firstborn.
“I haven’t finished my breakfast! Stop telling me what to do!” says another.
“Mommy, will you fill up my water bottle for me?” says the 3rd,, “I still have to pack my lunch.”
“I am NOT going to school today. I’m too tired”, says the 4th.
Each morning, the scenario looks different. But I can usually count on two kids bickering, one kid rushing around frantically looking for something they need for school or else they will have to sit out for recess, and one kid that is just in a grumpy mood and can’t be coaxed or reasoned with at all.
That’s just normal life for any Mommy with four kids. But for me, it’s like wearing a backpack of bricks. It’s especially heavy. Sometimes I just practice that Lamaze breathing that I never actually used during labor. Just breathe, I tell myself. In and out. In and out. I seriously have to do this a lot. Because somewhere in this morning exchange of dialogue with the kids, I realize I’ve already switched backpacks and have put on the heavy backpack of bricks–again. So I scramble around, trying to locate the grace backpack. How did I lose it so fast this time?
Parenting has been my greatest challenge in the journey of healing from PTSD. It’s extremely heavy and hard for me. The emotional rollercoaster that is parenting four children, never ceases to amaze or trigger me. I’m in constant awe at the ways God enables me and gives me strategies to parent each particular child. But I usually feel exhausted and overwhelmed as well.
Before I plunged into the depths of PTSD, I managed four kids and two dogs pretty easily. And I mean that. It just wasn’t that hard mentally. Yes, it was a lot of work, but I enjoyed the crazy multitasking that it entailed. Parenting back then was like working four different assembly lines simultaneously and never knowing what you were putting together on each assembly line until you jumped into your place. I never knew what task, question, crisis, or spill would come next. But I had gotten pretty good at rolling with the punches. I enjoyed the thrill and busyness of it all. I even helped babysit and carpool other kids.
However those days feel pretty distant to me now. I know I will get there again…Someday.
But for now, I live on daily grace. “Give me this day my DAILY bread” (Matthew 6:11).
I continue to exchange my heavy backpack for his light load. “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:29-30).
I take life one day at a time. “Sufficient for the day is its own trouble” (Matthew 6:34).
I heal one day at a time. “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28).
I rely on His strength/ grace. “…My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness….”
(2 Corinthians 12:9).
This is how I choose to live Lighter.
This is how I choose to exchange my side of Heavy—for a side of Light.
So I’ll ask YOU again:
Would you like a side of Heavy or a side of Light with your order of Life?
Because although you can’t pick what happens to you, you CAN choose whether to live Heavy or live Light.
I pray you choose Light.
It’s so much…well…Lighter.
My life has become all about grace. I live BY His grace. I live IN His grace. I live THROUGH His grace. My life is a DISPLAY of His grace. I AM walking grace. His grace in me.
Lighter and Lighter I go on…
“In Him I live and move and have my being” (Acts 17:28).