Sometimes, a girl forgets how to dream.
I don’t mean passive dreams such as “Oh, I wish I would win the lottery!” or “I would have loved to be a ballerina.” Those are plentiful enough! I mean beautiful active dreams that get your blood pumping with purpose.
Like the ones you had during your engagement.
Before you had a bunch of beautiful kiddos...
When the bill-paying jobs, and the life sorrows, and the fatigued body and soul convince you that dream-building is for the “lucky.”
Sometimes we just have to put our noses to the ground and do the hard work; sometimes for years or even decades. But please, Jesus, help me never forget how to dream! Even St. Therese of Lesieux kept dreaming big even as disease slowly took away her physical ability. First she dreamed of being a missionary, then when sickness interfered, she dreamed of a new place in that mission field and lived that life passionately, albeit from her sickbed.
When my health was restored several years ago, I still kept my nose to the ground like a good mother and wife. But I was so used to clinging to the earth that I did forget to look up...and to give my old and battered wings a try.
Throughout my life, God has reformed the dreams of my heart. It is always startling. Always difficult. And always incomparably beautiful.
DETOX AND REVIVAL
I stepped away from this blog several months ago because I was completely saturated by all of the little diversions (not obligations) in my life which were draining me....
I had nothing left to give to my family and to myself. So tired. So discouraged. So needing to step away and find the courage again to give the next 20 years of motherhood the same passion that I had given to the first. I was more discouraged in homeschooling than I have ever been in over 15 years. Something had to give.
For the first few weeks, I detoxed from the internet beast and experienced alternating feelings of isolation and self-recovery. Ah yes… I remember how to think for myself! I remember how to allow space that isn’t given to every little and big cause, product, friendship, breaking news story. All of so good in many ways and also so fatiguing in mind and soul.
I don’t believe that God designed us to absorb the sorrows, joys, and busyness of the entire world. That’s His job! Rather, in the example of Mother Teresa, we are asked to expend ourselves serving those 1) with whom we have been entrusted, and 2) with those whom He sends directly into our path.
The internet sends EVERYONE into our path. That’s way too many someones. I needed to recover myself for His service in my vocation and I have done that somewhat. And it is from here that I share some major life changes with you.
WHAT HAPPENED WHEN I QUIT
It was a true detox. I struggled. I felt the weight of my own isolation and was forced to face the reality of my internet “addiction.” I experienced heavy disappointment when I found that quitting so much seemed to bear so little immediate fruit in my daily life.
I didn’t have more time or energy. Because there are always more dishes, more laundry, and always more people needing those precious minutes and hours. Every time I reclaimed 10 minutes from a diversion, it was quickly consumed by the great work of my life.
So I fought through and learned to ignore the irritating scratching of the mundane on the chalkboard of my emotions. I slowly began to recall the key to any success and to embrace it:
DO THE WORK FAITHFULLY… WHETHER OR NOT YOU CAN SEE RESULTS.
So I worked and worked and slowly began to recall gratitude and peace in the moments of my vocation. My dishwasher broke (and remained broken for months) and I spent hours just standing at the sink, thinking, praying, talking to my oldest daughter. I let go of all outside aspirations and ambitions and just let God work on my soul. There was a lot of work to do… and there still is.
THE MISSING PIECE
The most important realization during that time however, was how deeply I missed my husband; my hardworking best friend who gives of his time down to the last crumb in service to his family. I was no longer absorbed in distractions that helped fill the void of his absence while he worked to support our family. I was focused on his home… and on him… even while he was away.
I felt the heavy weight of homeschooling and caring for 8 children without the regular presence of my hard working soulmate. And that is really when I hit bottom. I always thought that when finances got tight enough, that we would just tighten our belts, eat cereal for dinner, and be fine. I thought that cost of living increases and saving money would always be enough.
It was true to a point. But…
I never really thought that the price of financial security would mean that I would have to sacrifice the life I dreamed of with my best friend. His presence. My husband. My love.
As I examined my life, it struck me that I had much more to give that I hadn’t been giving in the right places. I am ashamed to say that there have been times in the past when I’ve given upwards of 40 hours in a 7 day week to kids’ sports practices and events/tournaments. I’ve given countless hours to my hobbies such as sewing, blogging, crafting, reading, exercising. All good things to a point.
But if I could do it over, I would reclaim many of those hours and pour them into supporting my husband so that we could realize some of the dreams of our early years. My husband's brother died this year... and he was only 4 years older than my husband. I can't continue to hoard the gift of my life and longer.
What that means right now…
I’m taking all those gray-area hours and am going to be pouring them into my dream: the restoration of our home to first things.
I’m giving up Blossoming Joy and will be slowly transitioning over to a new site. The new place will allow me full freedom to pursue financial blessing for my family and also share the tremendous gift of healing which I have experienced mind, body, and soul in the last five years.
Blossoming Joy was starting to turn in that direction anyway but I’ve always had some scruples about monetizing this place. It is not my desire to nickel and dime the Catholic world with hobby projects. Which is why I need to move beyond. I am ready to work and to serve with no gray area.
The Essential Mother will be a place of service to my family and to my readers. It will remain authentic and Christ-serving. I pray that it blesses. It is for you, for me, and for every woman who is caught between a passionate desire to serve in her vocation and the need to heal and rest and rise.
My readers have taught me SO much about what kind of support women need. I have read your emails and comments and talked to many of you personally. My new efforts will have one focus: HEALING and restoration. For you and for my family.
We are definitely shaking things up around here and embracing the new adventure. I am going to be a homeschooling, working mother - something I never thought I would hear myself say outside of a desperate situation! It is a new season and I embrace it.
For my homeschool. For my husband. For my children. For myself. For my Jesus.
I will keep Blossoming Joy up indefinitely while I find a home for my writing and memories (many of which will find new life on the new site). And I humbly ask for your support as I enter into this new season.
If Blossoming Joy has ever blessed you or someone you know, will you please consider following my new site as well? You can follow me through your blog feed, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, by signing up for my email letter (which will be packed full of practical tips for a renewal of joy and health), or sending my name to someone looking for a speaker. And if you have a business and would like to collaborate, please send me an inquiry. I deeply desire to lift up and support other family and small businesses if I can.
If you don't like my new digs, you can always unfollow later! But perhaps just for this moment… walk with me while I get comfortable in my new wings. If I wait until I'm ready, I'll never begin... so here we go!
God bless you all. For all that you have done for me. All the prayers you have offered for me. For your emails, phone calls, and letters. And for giving of yourselves so completely in the service of Love. You are amazing. You have blessed me. Thanks be to God for who He made you to be!