I’m Giving Up!

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Warning: This post is raw. Maybe one of my most vulnerable yet. But the overwhelming positive response I have received from those who have read my posts has inspired me to keep writing. Keep being vulnerable. Because I am finding that I truly am not alone. Each time I push the blue Publish button, I pray that at least one person be impacted by the words that the Spirit tells me to write.  And I hope that this post may resonate with that one person out there.

I am a wife. I am a full-time homemaker. I am a stay-at-home-non-working-homeschool mom. Everyone has a different story to share, different callings, and different convictions.  This is my perspective, my struggles, and the lessons I am learning through my lens.

The last few months have been rough. And that’s a big understatement. It’s been a really difficult time for Brett and me with changes in our current situation and the unknown of our future. Brett is seeking the Lord for direction but getting hit with brick walls and more unanswered questions. I am trying to be a supportive and an encouraging wife (which is not always the case). Then we have two little sinners in our house that thought it would be perfect timing to make Mommy miserable.  In fact, they thought it would be awesome to figure out how to push each other’s buttons so all Mommy hears all day is the older one constantly scolding and the younger screaming back. And the older….she’s 5 going on 15 with her attitude.

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I’m exhausted. Oh, I sleep through the night unlike my friend with twins who looks at me with envy because she knows my kids sleep until 8 am.  Or my other dear friend who has 3 children of her own, one being a newborn, while being the guardian of her two nieces. She had been taking care of 5 kids 6 and under.  They are exhausted.   But I’m not only talking about physical exhaustion, but mental, emotional, and spiritual exhaustion.

This wife and mommy stuff is hard.  No one can truly prepare you for it. You can read every marriage and parenting book. Read the best blogs. The 10 tips. The 5 must haves. The 3 don’t ever do’s. But when real life hits you between the eyes and you feel like you are drowning (and actually have tormenting dreams of drowning and waking up yelling for help), you have to somehow make sense of it all.  And it would be easy-peasy to be a wife and mom if life were not complicated.  No. It’s full of burdens, trials, temptations, sin, fear, disappointment, insecurities. The list could go on.

Am I doing enough? Is what I have to offer as a wife and mom adequate? Am I failing? These questions quickly turned into lies and twisted half-truths that Satan whispered in my ear. The conversation sounded a bit like this:

Serpent: You aren’t a good wife. Look at how you treated Brett when you……   You don’t seem to be a very good helpmate if everything you try to do does not encourage him.

Christina: Yes, I’m failing as a wife by focusing on myself when he needs me most right now in his own struggles.

S: Your kids are being disobedient and do not listen to you. You must be doing something wrong.

C: Yes, and they are driving me crazy. I feel like a broken record. I’m burnt out and about to check out.

S: I mean is this really what you want?  You are around them 24/7… oh look at another mom who is posting about her home business again…maybe that’s what you need. You need to do something for yourself! You are servant all day.

C: Yes, there has to be more to life than being a wife and mom!  Other moms got it figured out how to be wife, mom, and this #girlboss stuff. That’s what I need.

S: Yesssss….Because you are more than a wife and mom, right? You have goals and dreams and passions!  You need more to make you happy and satisfied. Being only a wife and mom will never…be…enough. 

Sadly, I caved into Satan’s lies.  And being deceived I took a bite of the darn apple by fantasizing a life of “what ifs”.  “What if I didn’t finish college in such a hurry and pursued more education or worked with my professor in nutrition research like he encouraged me to do? What if Brett and I waited to have kids so I could explore life more, travel more, be “myself” more? What if I worked at least part-time? What if I give up on this homeschool thing and put Kherington in school next year; then I really wouldn’t have to hear her attitude all.day.long and could do more of what I want to do!”   The what ifs kept playing on and on in my head.  Satan dangling the shiny apples of a “better” life.

The root of this apple tree was discontentment. And the bitter taste permeated my soul.  I wanted to give up. I lost hope. I was tired of fighting the spiritual race and wanted to hang up my running shoes. I was done waiting on the Lord and His timing for Brett’s and my life.  After crying and silently yelling at God in the shower one day, the Spirit revealed that deep down I was angry at God. Angry that we’ve been waiting for 3 years for something that we were 100% sure that He had called us to do: be missionaries who make movies.

Last fall, we had the “green light” on a film project that we had already been waiting for 2 years to be funded, that would have moved us for 7 months to a different country. I had the house half packed up and pulled us out of ministries, my part-time job, Brett’s freelance business, children activities, everything. Brett and I were pumped for the awesome opportunity to be Jesus’ light on a secular film set. However, the “green light” turned red when the investor didn’t pull through.  And now it’s June. And we are still waiting. We decided to stop living in suffocating “wait mode” and live in the here and now. I just put my house decor back up last month. Yet I still have an open moving box in my bedroom taunting me that I have yet to unpack.

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My heart turned ugly.  Discontentment had made it black. Blinded me from Truth. Entangled me in deeper sin. Fortunately because of the grace of God and His Spirit, I finally heard His warning over the lies that Satan was drowning me with. I needed to change my heart or I was headed for destruction. So I pulled out my journal and wrote a 12-page honest prayer to God. Here is a small part of what I told Him…

“I have been tired of feeling like a wife and mother isn’t good enough for not just the world’s standards but even Your standards. Because I believe the lie that I have to do more for You. My biggest fear is standing before You someday and I didn’t do enough. I don’t believe that I am doing enough as just a wife to Brett and a mom. Because it doesn’t seem very radical. It’s boring and mundane some days. I see people do amazing things and other women given platforms… And I feel like I’ve been asked to do nothing but be a wife and mom.”

There’s some honesty for you.  And as I was honest with God,  I finally shut out the lies of Satan and let the Spirit, whom I had been ignoring, speak to me.  I journaled His Truth as I sat and listened…

You have an identity crisis (Ephesians 1). You are being selfish and prideful (Prov. 16:18). You have not been willing to drink the cup I have given you right now in your life (Mark 10:38). Everything you have and these circumstances are divinely from Me (Colossians 1:15-18). Nothing is accident (Jeremiah 29:11). You are who I made you to be and where you are is where I want you to be in order to be who I created you to be (Psalm 139).  You have been deceived into looking for joy, happiness, acceptance, importance in other places. 

“Yes, you want me to be pleased by you but it’s not by selfishly being noticed or being used in a “big” way that you Americans like to categorize ministry. Any selfish motive will be burned away (1 Cor. 3:12-15).  I am the opposite of Satan’s counterfeits in this world.  The first shall be last (Matthew 19:30).  The cup and baptism is suffering, not always pleasures and happiness in this world (Mark 10:35-45). You must lose your life to gain it. Take up your cross and carry it. Die to yourself (Mark 8:34-38).  Be willing to be used, but be poor in spirit always before Me (Matthew 5:3).” 

I was immediately broken and responded to the Spirit…

“I have to give it all up, Jesus. I have to surrender everything. The question is: am I willing? To take the cup and drink it whole-heartedly, no matter what? Yes, I surrender to what you have asked me to be right now in this moment: a helpmate to Brett, mother to Kherington and Damon, a friend to those around me, and to just write.  No promoting my blog or trying to be “someone.”  I hear You telling me…’just write as I tell you to.’

“My identity is who You say I am. Nothing and no one else in this world can define me. I can be free to be nothing else. You made yourself nothing! Became a servant. Humbled. I now become nothing. I am Christina Varvel, Your servant daughter. I am done trying. I am done living “for” You. I need to live with You.  Seeking You, wanting nothing else but You. To be satisfied in You, hungering and thirsting for the rest of my days.”

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I posted this picture and the following on social media regarding what the Lord was asking of me:

“Life is heavy. It’s full of burdens. And if you are a driven person like myself, you tend to keep pushing through the pain, worry, and unknown. Can’t give up. Can’t give in. Pull it together. Muscle through it. Keep trying. Don’t let anyone know you are struggling.
Yet, there comes a breaking point. I can’t do it. I’m weak. I’m not strong enough. I need help.
I carried this 40 pound baby down a mountain. I wanted to prove I could do it. But I came to a point where if I kept trying I’d only hurt myself and drop the camera I was holding onto for dear life. So I handed it to someone else. I gave it up to someone stronger. And I walked down the rest of the mountain free. No fear of dropping what I was trying to hold onto because it rested in someone else’s arms. My arms were sore still with some pain of letting go, but in the end it was worth it.
So in the heaviness of life, I’m letting go. I surrender. I’m done trying to hold onto the things in life that only weigh me down. I hand it to Jesus. Because He said, “My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” I want to run down the mountain free with Jesus and experience all He has for me. What are you holding onto? What you think may be helping is actually hurting. Stop trying so hard. Surrender. Jesus is willing to carry it all for you because He carried a cross to die on to save you from yourself.”

Give it up Mom, friend, wife, Dad, lady boss, homemaker, whoever you are.  That was my first step. Then to praise Jesus for who I am and what I have instead of drowning into discontentment and the comparison trap.   I wanted to give up being a wife and mom, but I gave up my selfish desires in order to be a wife and mom. Because this is my highest calling and where I will have the most eternal impact.

So if you are looking for me right now, I’ll be at home.

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11 thoughts on “I’m Giving Up!

  1. Love you you know dear friend 🙂 you know I never truly envy you for your late to wake kiddos!! And I’m so very thankful for all 4 of you- your example, your friendship, your encouragement! We are always, always here for you, even if we can’t be literal neighbors. Yet.

  2. Carrie Roach

    Christina,

    This hits home, and brings up all the emotions and feelings I had as a young mother as well. David and I were raising three small children while I was attempting to homeschool one of them, deal with the special needs of our second child, and and keep up with a toddler, all while digging out of a massive amount of debt! It took us seven years to get out of debt. Had it not been for the Lord and his provision of daily bread and family connections ( we didn’t even have many close friends during that time before we moved) I think I would’ve fallen into a very deep dark place. It took a toll on our marriage and I felt like I was in a pit. I remember counting the months until we dug out of debt thinking that that would solve most of my problems. God showed me gently and tenderly that it was about the journey and not the destination. What a hard lesson to learn! I’m so thankful we stuck it out and did the hard things like homeschooling and taking the time to discipline our children and investing in them and our marriage so much. It really does pay off in the long run.

    Thanks for being so transparent. In our culture where we just post the best of everything on Facebook and other social media- – I fall prey to this myself – – it is refreshing to hear the grittiness of the truth about life.

    Miss you guys so much! I’ll be praying for you!

    • Thank you so much Carrie for sharing your story!!! I love how you said it’s about the journey not destination when I’m such a driven/Type A person.

      I’m willing to be vulnerable because my desire is for women to start being more open to their struggles so we can encourage each other since we have different journeys yet similar struggles!! Satan wants us to feel alone when we are far from it in the Body of Christ!

      Thank you for your prayers! Miss you too!

  3. Dianne

    Christina, What an honest and humble post. I love where you ended up in your processing. It took me too many years to gain the insight that you have in these words. I’m glad you are giving up angsting but not giving up trusting.

  4. I never can figure out which blog posts cross my screen and when. But in this case the timing was perfect. Just last night Lydia and I stayed up way too late discussing what we could change to make our work and world stable. Like you, we too are 100% sure of what God’s big call is on our life. Its just that what we are doing right now doesn’t seem to be working. We are tired. Part of our conclusion last night was to give up: Give up our Schemes, our Pride, and (most frightening) our familiar friend Fear.

    During lunch devotions, God lead me us to 1 Peter 5:6-9, which roughly says, ‘Humble yourself before God, give him your worries. The devil wants to eat you, but remember that you aren’t alone in standing firm.’

    Then this crosses my screen. It is 1 Peter 5:9 confirmed. Both of our families have been “stuck” standing still for awhile now but the facts remain: 1) We ARE still standing. 2) Neither of us are standing alone. And 3) God will be glorified. I will share your blog with Lydia and we will add Discontentment to our list of Public Enemies to be resisted with Extreme Prejudice.

    Thank you for being the voice of wisdom today, crying in the streets.

    • Wow Nathan! Thank you so much for sharing. I had Brett read this. You are right that we are not alone, we are standing firm and God will be glorified through us and our situations. Thank you for your encouragement to us always. We are blessed to have you as a friend and support!

  5. taisophia

    Thank you for posting this. It was really just what I needed today. I have been having a rough week — well, honestly, the past year has been pretty hard. haha. I had my 2nd child around this time last year….and suddenly things got a LOT more complicated.
    My husband’s family has a music ministry which travels a LOT, and all of us who married in have been going on tour along with our spouses. But this past year has made me want to give up….on life…parenting….ministry….marriage….that God can do anything with our situation. Yeah, you name it, the devil has whispered it in my ear.
    And I’ve been feeling just horrible when I can’t do everything that people want me to do, when I can’t help out as much as I think I should, when I spend the whole concert just watching my kids instead of ministering to people — I’ve just been feeling so worthless, fruitless…..and like all I ever do is cause problems with my husband’s family, because “I’m not as stalwart as the rest of them”…etc.
    Anyway, it is much more complex and deep than I can possibly explain here.
    BUT…you post was a blessing. It gave me some good things to think and pray about.
    It gave me a glimmer of what I’ve been wrestling and crying in prayer for.
    Thanks for being so open.
    🙂

  6. I love your transparent post, that is so needed as too often some Believers are told if people know the struggle we go through they will not be able to hear from His Holy Spirit within us (a lie). Many a Pastor has said that to me back 1978 and gave me a hard time about ‘spilling my guts’ as they were concerned it would affect ‘my Ministry’. I kept sharing from my heart as Father led, because otherwise for me I would have made an Idol of being in Ministry and my dead works would have been burnt up as hay as stubble when all was said and done. It is His Spirit ministering through us after all … ultimately it is not about us.

    It has been my observations over the years there are far too many people who are under the misconception who they are being in their Present through a Living Relationship with our Father is not enough and we are a big Disappointment to Him or more than likely to ourselves (I too had to forgive God). Many have sat under legalistic Teachers and believe Father expects more and we are not living up to His expectations, ‘should’s, ought to’s have to, suppose to, and the like’ torment our thoughts and leave us discontent with what is or a feeling of……………… (we are not to allow our Feelings to Rule us). Father told me to let go of these mindset (strongholds) so I can Be who HE created me to Be as I walk with Him in the Spirit as His plan unfolds in His timing and way and for a Purpose I know not of yet, all is preparation for that which is yet to BE. (I did not hear His Call to Write until 2000 and my first Book was only Published 26 June, 2017 and I am able to Give it away for Free as an Ebook … my heart’s desire because a Publisher approached me and said Father told him to help me get it out there for free after reading my website, which few found.)

    Father’s love cannot be earned nor destroyed and we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us through our union, but not at the expense of Not loving as He loves and that takes time to learn and develop as we grow in HIS love through spending time together. There is no condemnation through as we go through this process of Grace.

    There is a Call on each of our lives, it is His Highest Calling and it is to LOVE as He Loves… to be an expression of our Father’s Love, just as our Brother was … this causes us to be Ministers of Reconciliation, especially as His Fruits, Wisdom ect is being developed in us, teaching the observer it is Okay to Struggle, (that is what happens as a child learns). I am sure I do not have to tell you (even though this is the first Blog I have read of yours) this maturation process begins as we are transformed within as Father uses us to touch the lives of our Husbands, Children, extended Family, Friends and Strangers in our day to day living as they see inner Peace resting upon our Souls no matter what the Chaos is about us. As His Spirit matures us through our having found His Love and power to BE who HE created us to be as one of His Own, we grow Line Upon Line in our understanding and in relationship to Him and become an Overcomer (of which your Testimony shows you are). Perhaps all of us have to go through a season of thinking we are not doing enough ‘for God’ and are unaware of what HE wants to do through us through our Union, in answer to Jesus’ Prayer in John 17. Being a wife, a mother is a Gift many only dream of … it is a Honor to have Children put into our care for a season. I miss those days… but am grateful that I am a Grandmother so I can impart wisdom that I did not have when I was your age with a transformed way of Being, that comes with time. I have become a better wife over the years too, again that comes with training and there is no condemnation in that, so enjoy the process sis, it is
    a true blessing that only lasts for a season too…

    May you all enjoy who you are day by day hon… as you and your Hubby allow HIM to unfold your lives as the Gift it is while you cherish those HE has put into your Life, even those His Spirit within you will ‘love to live’, through your Ministry of Reconciliation, as His Heir. You received MUCH wisdom when you sat down before Him in surrendered prayer, I did not receive such at such a young age, it was not a part of His unfolding in my life… but what I have received, I freely Share.

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