When the Crazy Begins to Settle & the Imagined Becomes Real: Notes on a New Year

MI walk

Happy New Year! 13 days late.

Cranking up the blog after the holidays is a struggle every year. Much like cranking up the juicer and cranking up ye olde exercise routine. The older I get, the more I realize that the only way to win is to keep lowering one’s standards. I don’t feel the need to try so hard at ALL THE THINGS anymore. Think of me what you wish.

This is such a weird post and here’s why. For some reason I feel like I can’t begin writing “real posts” until I sweep out the cobwebs of my life and tell you what’s been going on with my big important self. I have all sorts of things I want to write about in the coming year but I don’t feel like I can do that until we catch up.

And by “we” I mean “I” because this is obviously a one-way dialogue. Which is technically a monologue.

Before I jump into the state of things presently, I offer notes on 2015: The Year I Almost Died. Not really. But in retrospect it sort of feels like it.

The year we tried to sell our house again. Then the year we quit trying to sell our house. Then the year we tried selling our house again, againThen the year our house finally sold and we moved. And then the year I almost died because moving is hell and I mean that with all of my heart.

Amid the whirlwind of showings and chronic uncertainty {and my minivan junked up with laundry and the dog and the kids and whatever chaos I couldn’t get put away before a showing}, some awesome stuff still came my way.

I took a part-time as the communications gal for a local non-profit. I love it and I thank God for it. Five months later, in the midst of moving, I took an additional part-time job. I also loved it. But I chose not to stay for the new year. Still, God gifted me with some beautiful new friends, 23 of whom are first-graders. I miss them but have promised to visit and read them books. I’m so grateful for all that they taught me.

On the home-front, we entered the world of three kids in three different schools — 9th grade, 6th grade, 2nd grade. I almost died again. I still can’t believe how fast it’s all going. We juggle cheerleading and teenagers’ social schedules and boys basketball and sibling squabbles and keeping our kids’ brains from turning to mush because of all the dang screens. Screens that I threaten to throw in the garbage on the regular.

Marian tried to stay strong-ish through it all, even if she did cry nearly every day and have to see her doctor about some medicinals. But moving and sleep deprivation and chaos will eventually have its way with one’s body and soul.

So when I broke my foot three weeks after moving and my kids suffered through some unsavory stuff and couldn’t really unpack or settle in, I almost died again.

ortho shoe

Who’s bring sexy back with the orthopedic shoe? Is it me?

December showed up with the flu and ear infections. January welcomed me with bronchitis.

And I realize this post now sounds dismal with a dash of hypochondria but the point is this. How long will it take before I learn that there is only so much one can carry before the mind and body says “enough?” Apparently for me it takes 42 years.

After our holiday travels landed us back home, I committed myself to the ministry of Netflix as I binge-watched {with a capital BINGE} like it was my job and with zero guilt. I finished Breaking Bad and Parenthood. For the win. I felt a strange sense of accomplishment in just finishing something. Anything.

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We’re on the second week of the new year and I’m writing this from my home office. Thanks to the steroid pack I enjoyed last week, I unpacked with an energy I hadn’t known since my 20s. And even though this week I’m back to my lethargic old self and I have a sick kid upstairs on the sofa, my office makes me feel like I’m LIVING THE DREAM.

home office

I haven’t busted out the paint or made her all pretty yet. But she’s open for business and I’m in love.

Last year was hard. I’m not gonna lie. Not in the way that cancer or real tragedy or chronic illness is hard. Not even close. It was a trip to Disneyworld compared to those things. Just hard in a very unsettled, very chaotic, so-much-stress-for-so-long sort of way. I never did get my bearings.

But the crazy thing is this. I am profoundly grateful for all of it. As I look back across the last two years, one thing is crystal clear. God fought for us and I love him for that. Loved ones fought for us too — praying for our house to sell, praying that we’d find one, praying for provision, praying that God would calm the storms.

When we’re waylaid by a season crazy, we can’t see straight and that’s normal. But now, from the vantage point of this January stillness, I look back and I could weep. I never thought we’d get here.

A year ago, I couldn’t have imagined sitting here in a different home in a real office. {Not that my tiny writing nook between my bedroom dresser and bedroom wall wasn’t its own brand of tiny-awesome. I prayed and journaled and wrote my heart out in this space.}

exercise ball

I couldn’t have imagined the meaningful work God brought my way and what a gift it would be to me and to my family.

I couldn’t have imagined some of the doors God opened up — to speak and share with others.

I couldn’t have imagined some of the storms that He would settle, even though all of them aren’t settled.

I couldn’t have imagined how my teenage daughter would also begin to become my friend — that shopping and binge-watching Gilmore Girls covers a multitude of sins. Raising teenagers with gentleness and unconditional love and half a clue is one of the hardest things in my life.

camera self portrait

We are both spirited, complicated, strong-willed women. Sometimes I wish we weren’t. But deep down I wouldn’t change us. {Well, I’d probably change myself.}

I couldn’t have imagined the unlikely ways God would begin to teach me about true compassion and how that compassion would begin first with myself and then to my people. For a gal who’s always looked for the book or the formula or the checklist to tell me how to do my life, I’m learning to simply close the books and trash the checklists. Because sometimes good advice can get in the way of God. More and more, God’s Spirit in me leads me to just love my people in a way that casts out fear and sends performance to the backseat.

I couldn’t have imagined that even though this kind of compassion sounds good and I’m rocking it one minute, I’m being way too hard on people an hour later.

Compassion is a process. Each day, I begin again.

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I’m grateful for the journey but I won’t lie. I’m exhausted. And I’ve committed to easing into this year with slowness and stillness and nary a resolution in sight.

And while I couldn’t have imagined so much of the goodness God has imparted after a long season of waiting and upheaval, please don’t get the impression that life is tidy and perfect. I have my fair share of angst and unanswered questions and embarrassing issues and stupid mistakes I can’t stop making.

Hope and beauty, mess and brokenness, excitement and exhaustion — they all live under the same roof don’t they? Though I breathe in complication, I’m learning to exhale trust.

2015 offered more opportunities to trust than I could have imagined. As I consider the unknowns of this new year and the tender places I still guard with a vengeance, Trust is my faithful companion. A companion I wouldn’t have without the ordeals of the last year.

I’m obsessed with fresh starts because I always need one.

As we begin again together, I hope that this little corner of the internet will continue to be a place of real talk and real grace for everyday people like you and me.

I hope to write with more courage and less reluctance. Because we all need brave friends, at least I do, and I’d like to be a brave friend, even if it’s a friend who lives in the internet on the other side of a screen.

I hope that we’ll redeem the epic and the everyday messes here together, that we’ll be able to laugh at ourselves and find beauty in the small things, the broken things, the not-yet things.

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Whether you’ve been around these parts for a while or you’re here for the first time, thank you. And if you’d like to keep up with each new post, just subscribe in the box below!

{Curious about the most popular post here on the blog in 2015? Here you go. Also? I still need to read this post every day.}

When Motherhood Has You in the Valley of Defeat

defeat 600

One more thing: What would you love to see more of here in 2016? Favorite kinds of posts? Favorite topics? Consider this the most informal of all surveys. You can chime in here in the comment section of the blog {scroll back up to the top of the post and click “Leave a Comment”}, on the blog Facebook page, or by sending an e-mail to marianvischer at gmail dot com. Thanks a million! : )

Comments

  1. Carey says

    So I have been quietly reading your blog for some time. I almost commented on your tale of two houses post. I think I actually typed a comment out and then somehow, in one key stroke, accidentally erased the whole thing.

    Anyway, we have not moved in the last two years, but have experienced our own chaos related to an adoption and a struggle to attach (and are considering a move (from one house to another in the same town) for this year). I said not that long ago to my sweet husband, “how have we survived this?” Only God.

    Thank you for sharing your ordinary life, messy as it may be, because we all have our own mess. It’s nice to know we aren’t alone. You are already brave, my friend.

    By the way, have you read Sarah Bessey’s recent post on being brave?

    Can’t wait to read what’s new in 2016!

    • says

      Carey, how lovely to read your kind comment. Thank you for taking the time. Kinship in the mess is so very needful. And no I have not read Sarah’s post but I am sure going to now. Thanks for the mention. And thanks for hanging out here.

  2. Lynn says

    Thanks for your post. I have been following for about a year. I hope your able to write more. Enjoy what you say.

    Lynn

  3. Tracy says

    Marian, I was glad to see 2015 come to a close. It was a tough year. While I don’t want to be in that place again, I am grateful for it. You were the first person I was able to share with that I was struggling. Your honesty in your writing gave me the courage to be honest with myself, my hub and eventually a few close friends. Please keep sharing the real!

    • says

      Tracy, what a treat to see you here in the comments. I’m honored to have been a safe person. I hope 2016 will be a place of rest, clarity, and blessing for you and yours. God bless you, friend.

  4. Kim says

    Marian,
    I’ve missed your words, your insight, your circular thought processes…(I follow along well, because I do the same.) I’m glad you are back and I pray you simply continue Writing the Real because that is what resonates with me most. When you admit you are struggling with the same thing you thought you finally had a handle on, I feel, “Ah, I’m not alone.” And that is so nice. The older I get, the more I realize we are all more alike than we are different. Thank you for your honesty and vulnerability.

  5. Linda says

    I love everything you write, your frankness is so refreshing. My word for the new year is ‘brave’, and I look forward to sharing in your journey as you bravely share it.

    • says

      Linda, thank you, thank you. It’s been so hard to find the time to get to this space. Comments like yours are such an encouragement. Brave on, sister.

  6. says

    From one Marian to another, honesty IS courage in this age of “only flawless is good enough”.

    I keep coming back to your blog, because by reading your unvarnished thoughts, I am able to ground my own voice and mind. I am so grateful that you are taking the time to rest and ponder. And that your office is a place of peace and wonder for you. My year is shaping up to be not one of peace, but heavy lifting, yet I am ok with that. My problems, like yours are of the daily life-becoming a better human variety.

    I have recently been divinely gifted with the knowledge that though my tasks look simple and straight forward, they feel heavy because I am solving more than one problem as I work through them. This has brought me great comfort, as I was feeling inadequate because of the weight I was feeling from things that on the surface really aren’t that big a deal. But it turns out my attempt not to diet, but rather to get all the nutrition I need to eat each day is helping me break a life long food addiction. And my two weekly, recently started yoga classes are really intense training in awareness on a microscopic level, something this poster child for ADHD needs desperately. And my work “Kondo-ing” my house is the gateway to being able to open my home to others in large, meaningful ways. It has been incredibly empowering to see how deep I am actually working, how many layers of my life are moving. Maybe as you sift through things, you can find comfort in discovering what you felt the load of, but couldn’t see at the time.

    Embrace this healing season, my friend. You’ve earned it,
    The Other Marian

    • says

      Hi Other Marian! Wishing I could come with you to yoga class. : ) Thanks so much for sharing your beautiful thoughts and inspiring efforts. Always a joy to have you here.

  7. says

    Hi! I read this blog last week. It was so timely and encouraging to me that I wrote some of it down in my journal… to give me some hope. I have been in a season of upheaval, that seems long to me. We moved in the fall, and crazy amazing things just happened to cause us to be moving again to a different house in May! Oh man! The Lord really provided and we are kind of blown away by it all, but moving again! It was not something we were looking for, but dropped in our laps. It will mean a good school district and a safe neighborhood. Hooray! But it needs total renovation. Anyways the part I wrote in my journal; “A year ago, I couldn’t have imagined sitting here in a different home in a real office. {Not that my tiny writing nook between my bedroom dresser and bedroom wall wasn’t its own brand of tiny-awesome. I prayed and journaled and wrote my heart out in this space.}I couldn’t have imagined the meaningful work God brought my way and what a gift it would be to me and to my family.

    I couldn’t have imagined some of the doors God opened up — to speak and share with others.

    I couldn’t have imagined some of the storms that He would settle, even though all of them aren’t settled.

    I am holding on to those words for some hope, that He can calm the storm, even though it may take a LONG time! I just wrote a post about Jesus calming the storm, and so this really felt like such a person word of encouragement for me! Also….then I found out you were going to be on the artist bench with me too! I love your writing!!!!! Hope you don’t mind the very long “comment”!

    • Marian says

      Melissa, thanks so much for that kind comment and for taking the time to write it. Keep holding on, my fellow bench-sitter. I’m so glad to “know” you. : )

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