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Blowing Prayer Bubbles Up From Under Water

alec vanderboom

This is me.


Blowing prayer bubbles up to God.

Saying "Help!" and "SOS" and "You've got to get me out of the mess, right?"

I'm in week eleven of pregnancy. Which means it feels like I'm on week nine of perpetual flu sickness. Fatigue. Nausea. Dragging my weak body along after four older kids.

I told my husband yesterday that "I've invented a new game. I drag my sorry body into different positions around the house for variety's sake. This morning, I laid down on the rug in my son's room for an hour. I talked to him about his new Lego creations with my cheek pressed against the floor. Then I went to the girl's room watched Mimi cut up chunks of our newspaper with safety scissors."

I'm reading about St. Elizabeth of the Trinty writing about suffering being a "purging fire that brings us closer to God." I'm not there yet.

Then I had this intense experience in the parent waiting room during my kid's gymnastics practice, where I'm asking God "when am I going to experience real joy?" Because I looked around at the other home-schooling Mothers (Hannah has a special home-school P.E. class) and they all look terrible! Depressed. Anxious. Sickly. Either overweight or overthin. And none of them appears to be pregnant or have young kids in the house. (Because I'm the only idiot who shows up pregnant with three kids to entertain while my oldest plays in a gym class meant for 6-18 year olds. Most Moms appear to have wisely waited until their YOUNGEST was six to enroll in an optional P.E. class).

In my green in the gills, awful state, I match the exterior stress of these Mothers completely. I prayed "Please God, I don't want to still look like this when my youngest is six!"

It really shook me up, because I think so much of my sadness, my "lack of joy" comes from simply not sleeping well because I have so many young children in my house. There is always someone who is teething, or someone who has nightmares. But what if all my lack of joy isn't physical? What if its because I'm not yet centered truly on Christ? If so, my kids are going to get older, but I'm still going to be their same sad, tired Mom.

In sharp contrast, the only guy in the room was a work-at-home I.T. father. He looked jolly. He looked together. He spoke cheerfully. One of his jolly, cheerful comments was "Yes, we only have two children. I was afraid to have more!"

At the exact moment that he said this statement, Tess and Mimi were both crying at the same time. I held the hands of two girls while trying not up chuck myself onto the shiny clean floor. Those words hit my ear and I thought "You were right to be afraid. This stuff is kinda hard."

I took my sobbing girls outside. Alex immediately saw a black, mud spattered jeep in the parking lot. "Look Mom, a jeep!" he said excitedly.

"Yeah, your Dad used to have a red one of those. See the doors are even off. Your Dad used to drive me around town with the doors off back when we were dating. Go check it out!" Alex went over for a closer inspection. Dad's old jeep that got traded in for a family car when I became pregnant with Hannah is a source of endless fascination for my only son.

Twenty minutes later, I watched happy I.T. guy load his two children, one girl and one boy, into the back of his mud spattered, doorless black Jeep. He looked happy. His kids neatly folded up into the back seat his Jeep--which was really a symbol of his family neatly folding up into the back of his formerly single life.

As I watched them drive off, I prayed hard. "God I know this is an illusion. I know that the whole idea that you should limit your babies to a number that your life can easily handle is a complete lie. BUT YOU HAVE GOT TO HELP ME MAKE IT. You have got to help me find real peace and joy as a Mother of five. You've got to help me make it, on this Christian path.