Thursday, October 6

Fighting The Good Fight

Pillow talk the night before I left for Texas:

Dustin: "I'm really going to miss you."
Chelsea: Very long pause. Still, pausing. Contemplating how to reply.... so I just smile with tears in my eyes and the aftermath of an hour of crying all over my face. I feel like I've just been jumped and round house kicked in the face by Sub-Zero in a very dark ally.

Sadly, my red face was not the result of a round house kick in the face and Sub-Zero was no where to be found. It was none other than my two year old who straight slide kicked my ass and ice blasted my soul... or so it felt. (I played too much Mortal Kombat as a kid. Thanks to my older brother.) Anyway.

He scratches my back and begins to pray. He asks for peace. He asks for supernatural strength. He asks for discernment in disciplining our child (Conrad). In my head I'm saying, Yeah God, where has YOUR peace been? Why haven't YOU given me the strength to be patient? Where has YOUR discernment been when I've felt so alone, lost and confused in this battle with my son? Where have YOU been?  

My heart is hard.
My heart is broken.
I feel like an empty shell of a woman.

Rewind to 7:00pm that night.

I'm on the phone with my Mom crying, begging her to come over and save me from this hell hole this no good, very bad day.... She jets on over with my favorite burrito in hand and takes my baby from my arms, plays with Conrad and I retreat to the shower. (love you Mom.) I LOST my shit again right as I sat down on the shower floor. I began replaying the events of our day. In my mind, I saw the struggle to gain back control from my two year old. I saw our relationship unraveling. I saw how ugly I had been. How I had yelled and begged him to obey, how I had given him whatever he wanted just to shut him up because of my overwhelming anxiety and need for SILENCE! How the resentment had been bubbling up inside of my heart (my eyes fill with tears as I type). I replayed the words, "I hate him." In my head. I had said that to myself that day (not actually meaning it. I hate his disobedience, not him.) I wanted to run away. Far, far away. I was losing him, I felt. Losing control. Losing my tenderness towards him. Losing heart. Losing my passion for parenting him in love, as the Lord would desire I do. I was no longer laying down my life for him, putting him ahead of my own desires. I was watching the clock waiting until bedtime so I could take a breath. When he'd wake up from his nap, my attitude was, "Oh god, here we go again!"

I wasn't thinking about how I would "miss" my family. I was thinking about how big of a burden my job had become. How overwhelmed I felt. How alone I felt.

There is no denying that my trip to spend time with my girlfriends was certainly a gift from God. I needed to see Morgan patiently disciplining her daughter and interacting with her. I needed to stay up late sipping wine and eating fattening pizza with Morgan chatting about life, our husbands, our sin, our hearts, Jesus & our passions. It was healing for me to get a break and not have an agenda of things to do. I found myself thoroughly enjoying reading Eliza (her 2 year old) flash cards and kissing her 4 month old (beck's) chubby belly. It rejuvenated me and blessed me greatly. I NEEDED that sweet time of rocking my baby on Morgans porch, nursing her and watching her chickens playing out in her yard.

When I met Dustin and Conrad at baggage claim I had tears in my eyes. I was so happy to see them. When I got home, the fridge was full, he had flowers on the table for me, laundry was done, & he has written me a letter expressing his gratitude for the job that I do everyday, taking care of the house and the kiddos. I felt appreciated. He got a taste of how hard it can be and he appreciated me.

This week though, Conrad and I began to battle again. Every hour was a new set of tantrums, giving him "choices", putting his butt in time out, threatening spanks and feeling, AGAIN like my relationship with him was slipping out of my fingers. It felt like I was negotiating with a terrorist. I had no control of him. He is a savage whose only goal in life is to make MY life utterly impossible. If I tell him that the apple is red, he'll argue that the apple is blue-and then cock his tiny arm back and launch the "blue" apple right at my very engorged right breast-engorged because I can't feed my daughter with out his little naughty butt coming over and trying to sit on her head in an attempt to squash it like a watermelon (the image of Gallagher smashing watermelons comes to mind. Lord, have mercy!) Everyday seemed like a battle.

I went away to get a break and regroup but now I'm back to zero. I'm having MORE anxiety than I had the day that I left for my trip. Somethings got to give.

Wednesday rolled around and it was 9:15. My woman's bible study/worship service (Real Woman) starts at 10:00 and we were no where to being close to ready. We jump in the car, I've hardly got a stitch of make up on and my hair is pulled into a greasy pony. Elle is still in her nighty, but whatever, we're going! I just SO needed to be around these woman and get some encouragement. I was feeling totally broken down.

The worship music was good to hear and the message was amazing. During our tables discussion time, one of the ladies looked at me and commented on how quiet I was and how I usually don't SHUT UP! I've always got something to contribute to the conversation. Immediately, I told the ladies that I needed to confess my heart to them. The tears began to stream down my cheeks and I began to talk about how hard my relationship with Conrad has been. How I feel like I've failed as a mother. How defeated I feel. Going into Real Woman that morning, I hadn't intended to pour out all of this garbage into their laps, but boy, was it necessary.

Desi let me speak my mind for a few moments and then began to pray. She prayed with such authority and her words were SO completely healing for me to hear. She asked for the Lord to heal anything broken in my relationship with Conrad, asked for Him to give me ways to strategies when it comes to disciplining him, asked for peace asked that the rebellious heart in him would dissolve and that he would become plyable-teachable-obedient. She prayed that he'd have a cheerful heart when it came to taking orders from me and that my resentment and unforgiveness of him would dissipate. The ladies all gave me their nuggets of wisdom & it felt freeing to confess to them how strongly I "dislike" him sometimes and that he's become more of a burden than a blessing to me-how badly It hurts my heart that I feel this way. They each had stories to share of situations where they had fallen short of the mothers that they wanted to be but that God takes those situations-teaches us and redeems us back to Himself and that out of the overflow of my relationship with Him, I can be the mother that he's purposed me to be.

Desi's advice: This too shall pass. 

We drove home, had lunch, read books and I put him in bed. When he woke up from his nap, I was actually excited to see him for the first time in months (it's shameful to even admit that.) We played, I had patience with him and when he had a time out later in the day, I actually had a break through with him. He responded to it with a "sorry" heart. He climbed up on the couch as I nursed Elle and I put one leg out so he could straddle it and put his arms around my neck and cuddle. His snuggles were like salve on an open wound. We were actually "connecting" and not butting heads with each other.

I realized that I had to forgive him in my heart for the days/weeks/months of disobeying. The grudges I was keeping. The resentfulness i had towards him. I felt like the Lord was melting it all off of me. My shoulders felt light again. The joy was being poured back into me. I need to praise God even in the storms, in the bad days, in the struggles. He is still good, even when my circumstances-or child is not. I need to love Conrad through the growing pains.

Today we took our time at the park and didn't rush ourselves, watching the clock, waiting for nap time. We collected leaves & flowers and made several trips back and forth from the grassy field to the puddle of water and watched all of his treasures float on top of the surface of the puddle on the side walk at the park.

It was bliss.

I'm once again reminded how good and faithful God is in restoring and breathing life back into relationships that are broken or bruised.

Relationships take work. Even my relationship with my son. But through it all, I will continue to fight the good fight, knowing that My God is working on me and won't leave me in this "ugly" state. He is beautifying me through those shameful moments of confessing to girlfriends my weaknesses and pulling me closer to him through the pain and confusing days of parenting .


  1. This is such a beautiful, raw, vulnerable, honest post. I'm sure all moms feel this way at some point, but I am in awe of how you found your way back to God through the experiences with your son. Thank you for writing this piece of encouragement. Baby #2 is on the way over here, and I'm anticipating lots of days rebellion, but it brings me peace to know that God will work on my heart as much as He will work in the hearts of my children.

  2. Beautifully written. I love it when moms can be honest with other moms. Thank you for always being so honest with us, your readers, even though you don't personally know us. I am sure you touch and impact so many more people than you realize.

  3. Such a beautifully honest peace and I'm certain all mothers have gone through their versions at some point or another.

  4. I love how honest you are, Chelsea. Your family has gone through a pretty big change and you all are going to go through phases that are difficult to get through. I can only imagine this right now as I am not juggling a newborn and toddler. But having struggles and breakthroughs like this is what shapes us into better and stronger people. While we have certain inherent characteristics, I believe that not one us is born with the ability to graciously go through all of life's struggles without learning these things in sometimes hard ways. That is the purpose of this life. To refine ourselves with God's help. And the most patient parent of all watches our struggles and tantrums and offers His hand and guidance and comfort when we are ready for it. We just sometimes have to broken down enough before we are ready to receive it.

    Im convinced that is the case for ALL of us, no matter how good of a front we put up. In which case, you are doing great on the road to being an even more AWESOME Chelsea.

  5. thank you for sharing so honestly!

  6. You honestly is refreshing!! Loved reading your post and praying things are on the up.

  7. we all have those days. my mom is always having to remind me that this is just a phase in my life with my girls. these kinds of attitudes and tantrums are not forever.
    i have such guilt too and most days i go to bed with a heavy heart, confessing to zac about what a horrible mother i had been that day towards my 2 year old. with a baby in the mix it's just HARD. i can't even tell you how many times i have had to put olivia in her room and walk outside for a few minutes to catch my breath. but GOD IS SO GOOD and how awesome that you have Him to fall back be the strength in your weakness. hang in there :)

    oh, and i am doing a weekly women's bible study also and it is so refreshing to sit in a room full of adults for 2 hours during the week and be encouraged!

  8. You know, when I was praying for you on Saturday, I saw this happening. All I kept begging for was strength for you, peace for you, wisdom. And girl, you did great.
    I'm so grateful you have a plug in, so grateful that you have women who speak truth into your life. And a husband you is so supportive of you.

    Bless you chels, and praise the Lord for a break through with Conrad. He's a luck boy to be raised under your womanly influence.

  9. I've been reading your blog since you had Elle. I wish we could meet! We have very similar parenting views and also our views about the Lord...I don't have any christian friends like me (or you, I suppose) Your insight and honesty is so refreshing. It makes me feel like I'm not the only thinking the way I think or feeling the way I feel. And I really appreciate you for that. p.s. your kids are beauties.

  10. such a powerful post........ thank you for bearing your heart, your honesty is beautiful and SO're truly a witness, pretty momma :)

  11. Katie, what a blessing your comment is to me. I SO appreciate your kind words. If you lived in my city, i'd TOTALLY be down for a play date/coffee date with you any day of the week!!! Be encouraged girl. God will bring you that perfect-like minded girlfriend who loves the lord-in the most unlikely places.

    Thanks again for your sweet words girl. It means a lot!

  12. Your honesty is so humbling for me. As a SAHM you think you need to LOVE what you do when in reality it's a lonely, confusing, hard, hard road. When you work 24 hours a day all day every day any person would break, well, any normal person.

    I was talking to a friend who has twins (kinda like 2 kids :). She said the only way she survived was putting each in daycare several days a week, so she got alone time with each and together time as a family. So while Baby A was in daycare on Mondays she spent time with Baby B. I thought she was nuts, I've worked in daycares they kinda stink. BUT for two days a week and your sanity. Maybe?

  13. Chelsea,
    how honest and raw, feels most mothers have felt at times just don't know who to tell .. it takes a lot to admit hardships.. especially with small children.

    I have only 1 babe but she is and always has been high maint., she walked early, talked early, climbed out of her crib early.. everything has been much to fast and behaviours on top of each other. I can only imagine adding a babe to the mix what I would be dealing with. I'm a bheaviour therapist by trade so everything I help parents with I have had to do myself which is challenging. Just last week it took my 96 times to put her back into her toddler bed. It was grueling but this week it has been worth every penny. If you ever need any help or someone to talk to please girl feel free.

    it is so true this to shall pass...

  14. As i read this blog tears ran down my face. You are so transparent and i appreciate it so much. I have days like this more often than not. I struggle to keep my sanity....most days i lose it and yell. Then i feel horrible like a failure as a mommy. Then ibtake it out on my husband on the phone when he calls from out if see he is never home. He drives a train. When he is home its to sleep then go back to work. Railroading is not a family friendly career. I am envious that you have your mom. My mom is not walking wih the Lord. If i called her crying or in a panic or even for just a litle help she would tell me that its not her responsibilty and that i should have thought about how much work it is to have children before i decided to have them. She is not supportive at all. I guess where i am going with all this is that i never get a moment alone. I know this too shall pass....but the light at the end of the tunnel just cant be seen here yet! If u have noticed i barely blog because i have no time. I feel like i ama 24/7 service completely unappreciated. The one thing i am ever ao grateful for is the Lord. Without Him i know i would have cracked already.

  15. Thank you so much for being real, and unafraid to post this! You are so not alone.. I have felt this way too with my 2.5 year old. Boy is it tough... yet every day forgiveness is key! Thank you for reminding me to put aside my selfish desires to get down and play and explore with my child.. THANK YOU!