Ready to Roll

Well, I'm back. You may have noticed that blogger had some problems this last week, rendering my blog inaccessible. Which was OK. It's funny; I had some posts pre-scheduled to start posting a couple days ago... but apparently, I needed a LITTLE more time, so blogger made me unable to do anything, blogwise. :) So we'll reengage in a day or two.

Speaking transparently, this summer has been simultaneously one of the neatest and one of the most difficult seasons of life I've ever walked through.

My children absolutely crack me up and make life deliciously fun. Just this morning, Ethan showed me a Lego "couch" he had crafted, and then he lifted it up and showed me the bottom, "where the dust goes". :) That's one of the sheer delights of having kids... their creativity and good humor lightens the load of adult life. And Silas started crawling... at four and a half months. Nuts! Watching the development of personality, creativity, humor, relationships, spiritual and even physical growth of our children has been a great joy for me.

I'll share some of the difficulties... honestly, there's been nothing earth-shattering. I just have gone through a season of struggling for longer and deeper than ever before. Perhaps some of it is the continuation of culture shock (for those of you who don't know, we live overseas). Perhaps some of it is missing my family, my parents in particular. I've had some of you write and suggest that perhaps I'm going through something postpartum, but I honestly don't think so. Perhaps some of it is the fact that I was spending time reading, researching, and thinking through deep things but not "processing" through them here, in writing. I think writing is very therapeutic and necessary for me. So, ironically, I think the blog "sabbatical" contributed to a difficult summer even though it has allowed me to do more running around with and enjoying of moments with my kiddos. Anyway, I'm sharing in a rambling sort-of way, but I just wanted you to know, transparently, that I'm coming out of a difficult season.

My sweet husband urged me to snag some tickets back home, so I'll be visiting my parents for a few weeks in September (woohoo!)... and (confession?) I've been writing for the past couple of weeks... so these things have helped. But, quite honestly, I'm still in a funk. I am clinging to the scripture that none can snatch me out of God's hands. I am listening to God's wonders of the Exodus. I am reading and listening to sermons about Job. I am so very thankful for my husband's steady, warm, understanding love... he is such a selfless, humble man, and I can't express my gratitude for him in my life. I am trying to fix my eyes on Jesus and look with faith towards heaven instead of getting wrapped up in the disappointments and struggles of earth.

Like I said, there hasn't been any "big" event that has caused this struggle... I am just in a difficult spot, personally. I have a lot on my mind, though, and so with that, let's re-enter the conversation we left off a couple of months ago... about home... about parenting... about marriage... about life. I look forward to reengaging with you all about the issues that are close to my heart.



p.s. By the way, now that we've "lived with" this new blog theme for a while (the blue background), what do you think of it? Is it a bit much? It reminds me of a palace harem I visited here, but tell me what you think-- is it hard to read/look at?

42 comments:

Miss Rose Virginia Butler said...

Hello! I just came across your blog, and after reading just one post, I know I'm going to be coming back for more! Just the way you write makes everything so interesting and I love reading about your family.

Oh, and I know what you mean about writing to process things. The written word is such a stress-releaver and ... I don't know the word. It puts everything in its place in my mind when I have it down on paper (or computer screen).

Anyway, I'm looking forward to reading more of your posts!

Love in Christ,
Miss Rose Butler

Carolyn said...

Hi Jess

I think all mums and wives feel the same way you have at some point in time. I'm sorry you are feeling it, but although I don't know you, I am proud of the way you have openly spoken of it. I think if more women were aware that others felt the same, there would be less pressure to be "cheery" and satisfied at all time. Keep praying and keep loving.

Carolyn

Missus Wookie said...

When I was struggling with similar thoughts my Dr. (a wonderful sweet lady) diagnosed, "Mother of young children itis" a well known but under researched disease. Something about the constant demands, broken sleep etc. can cause us to feel detached and in a funk.

My eldest learned to crawl at 4 1/2 months and still is an energetic mover. Fun isn't it?

Jess said...

Thanks, ladies, for your comments.

That's funny, Missus Wookie. :)

Actually, though, this last couple months have been great as far as sleep goes, and I really don't feel like I'm under constant demand. The kids are quite good at self-entertaining and playing together... in all honesty, this year has put up the least demand I've felt from the needs of my children since we first started.

Perhaps you're right, but I'm not sure this has to do with my kids much at all... it's the natural leap to make, but I'm really not convinced (for myself) that this has much of anything to do with my kids or their ages.

Melissa said...

welcome back!

Regarding your blog, I like it. :) Maybe one thing to add would be a line to separate the two columns? Just a thought.

Nicole said...

Welcome back!

Sorry to hear you haven't been feeling great. I can relate to what you're saying about writing to process things. Hopefully, now you're writing again you'll starting feeling a little better - and a trip back home will probably work wonders too!

Tracy said...

I like the look of your blog, as there's really very little of the blue showing anyway.

Welcome back! Writing is good for thinking out loud on paper. Maybe that will help!

Lisa said...

Hi Jess,

Welcome back. You have been missed. I must tell you, you hit me right where I struggle and have convicted me on more then one occasion in the areas of parenting and marriage but lift me up as you do it.

Praying for you
Lisa

Terry, Ornament of His Grace said...

Welcome back!! The blog design is fine. Silas is crawling already?! That's got to be neat.

As for your recent funk, I'm sure visiting your family will help. My personal opinion is that you are doing the right thing: immersing yourself in the word. We are, after all, frail human beings and sometimes we just get tired. Sometimes there's no deep mystery to it. We just get worn out and need to be refreshed. I hoe your vacation and family fellowship provides that for you.

Amanda said...

Welcome back!!

I like the blue myself. :)

Mrs. Anna T said...

Hi Jess - welcome back! Sometimes we go through difficult periods without any "obvious" reasons... just flow with it. God will gently and faithfully carry you through, I know.

The blog design is lovely in my eyes. But then again, blue is my favorite color.

MiPa said...

Although I am more of a lurker than a commenter, I am glad to see you back! My heart often beats with the same themes you are speaking into. I know that "funk" that doesn't seem to be anything related but is there. I blame mine on English sunless summers, probably not the case where you are. Hope the writing and a visit home helps you emerge.

Mrs said...

Glad to see you!

The first chapter of James continually comes to mind as I read of your latest trial. I pray you will be able to "consider it all joy."

My pastor once described going through trials like baking a cake. Though we're tempted to stop baking half-way through the process, we know the cake won't come out right if we stop the baking and then try to finish it later.

Same with trials . . . we tend to want to bail out rather than see it through! We won't come out right if we do.

We can't have a bunch of half-baked Christians running around! ;-)

Jess said...

I've been getting a lot out of this song by Sovereign Grace, called "As Long as You Are Glorified":

Shall I take from Your hand Your blessings
Yet not welcome any pain
Shall I thank You for days of sunshine
Yet grumble in days of rain
Shall I love You in times of plenty
Then leave You in days of drought
Shall I trust when I reap a harvest
But when winter winds blow, then doubt

Oh let Your will be done in me
In Your love I will abide
Oh I long for nothing else as long
As You are glorified

Are You good only when I prosper
And true only when I’m filled
Are You King only when I’m carefree
And God only when I’m well
You are good when I’m poor and needy
You are true when I’m parched and dry
You still reign in the deepest valley
You’re still God in the darkest night


Just thought I'd share. This song has been a sweet blessing to me this week.

Britt said...

Funks are no fun! I find that when I get in a funk, it's because I've tried to do so much for others (meaning my kids) and I've forgotten to take care of *me*
I bet your trip will help :)

SOOOO glad you're back and I look forward to reading your thoughts more :)

Ashley said...

So glad to see you're back! I always really enjoy your thoughts.
Sorry you're not feeling fab; I always tell my husband I'm just feeling gloomy...like Eeyore...not for any reason, just because. Constant prayer and meditation on God's word is the only thing that ever gets me through/out of it. I don't know if this is an issue for you, but I tend to get overwhelmed by the things that COULD happen, and I always remember a teaching I heard once where the Pastor talked about living in reality; that's what God has equipped us for, not all the what ifs.
I don't know if that even relates to what you're dealing with, but I just wanted to say keep going; it WILL pass. And I'll be praying for you:)

Catherine R. said...

Good to see you pop up on my google reader! Which I was prompted to learn by a post I read *here* : ]

Maybe since you're in a funk you can listen to funk music like Parliament. I know some of that 70's stuff is not the most Christian thing ever but I'll be darned if it doesn't make me just feel good in all it's upbeat grooviness. Sometimes sappy contemporary Christian music makes *me* depressed. I am still searching for Christian music I can listen to without feeling annoyed (sorry, confessions of a bad Christian!)

I wrote you an email probably a couple weeks ago now, FYI. Don't feel bad if you are busy and can't respond, just wanted to make sure you know.

Prayers & blessing 2 U

Jess said...

Oh Catherine, did I never write you back? I really thought I already had, but come to think of it, I think I started the e-mail twice but never finished it.

About what you wrote: I agree. But we can continue the conversation there... just didn't want you to feel ignored-- I really did think I'd already responded. Tsk, tsk to me! Sorry about that...
~Jess

Brenda said...

I said a prayer for you this morning, Jess.

4 1/2 months? Seriously? My kids were slugs at that age-didn't crawl until 8 and 10 months. Wow.

The blue is beautiful--I've never even seen it b/c I have you on Google Reader.

Prairie Chick said...

Hi Jess. I just started following your blog shortly before you went on hiatus. I have totally been where you're at (living overseas, loving to delve deep, getting myself in too deep and not being able to process) although I admit that the hardest thing ever was not living overseas but coming back to my own culture and not feeling it was my own anymore.

Anyway, after battling mental, emotional, spiritual demons for many months, what finally lifted me from the funk was to get my feet busy and keep my my mind easy. God really shook me and said that His way wasn't about brain cells and neatly categorizing and compartmentalizing everything in my head. It's about putting one foot in front of the other and walking in the fruit. Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, self control. This is my homework as a believer. This is my hard (heart) work. It was such a relief for me to realize that. That if I am concentrating on those simple, practical, concrete things, my life is full, and I don't have time to worry or over analyze the abstract, which distracts.

Now don't get me wrong, I haven't arrived, my brain still produces smoke on a regular basis, but now that I am conscious of this my heart and head are so much more at peace. Praying His peace for you.

Mom Of Es said...

Yay!! I was so excited to see a new post today. I look forward to all of your insight (on topics that always seem to fit right in to what is going on in my life). I am sorry that your going through a rough patch right now. I have had that kind of time in my life as well, and it always makes me feel guilty as those close to me try to do everything to lift me up. I try to pull myself out of it; I pray without ceasing. But, sometimes, the strange feeling of an unhappiness without apparent cause sticks around. I'm praying that the Lord will soon lift you from your "funk". I'm like a little child waiting for Christmas morning as I wait for your next post! Is that a little sad? :-)

Anne

flyinjuju said...

Hi Jess,
It is nice to have you back.
I am actually in a "funk" myself lately. I also have a 4mo old little guy. I wondered if my funk could be postpartum related, but I really don't think so. I do find however when I am postpartum I am more sensitive to evil as well as the promptings of the spirit. My struggle right now is fear. I usually have more fear after having a baby (I think the whole protection thing), but in the last couple of weeks this has been greatly magnified. These fears are being easily triggered and are being responded to vividly in my head. Does that make sense? Anyway, it is encouraging to hear how you are dealing with your funk, as I have felt the need to saturate myself in His Word. (namely Psalm 91) I am also truly blessed for a husband who has been amazingly loving and gracious during this time. For me I think this might be a time to fully take hold of every thought and bring them unto the obedience of Christ and Trust Him. The song you wrote about is amazing as most of my fears are based out of a lack of trust and a lack of understanding of God's infinite love (perfect love casts out fear). It is all based on my thoughts & understanding and yet I can't quite seem to get past them.
I feel as though this is not clear, but it isn't totally clear in my head.
It is nice to know that I am not alone in the struggles that can't fully be identified but are definitely there.
I will keep you in my prayers as I continue to pray for myself. :)

Bobbie said...

Hi Jess
Glad you are back.

Can't wait to see you, when you get here. Can't wait for you to meet my little big guy.

Hope you get out of that funk soon. We'll be praying for you.

Tami@ourhouse said...

Hang in there, Jess. It's good to see you back. The new design is nice- reminds me of pretty fabric.

My husband and I have also recently gone through a difficult patch. I read Joni E. Tada's book , The God I Love and her thoughts about suffering and knowing God more made such a difference for me. We are also reading a Spurgeon devotional to suffering people, and a Sovereign Grace CD on the same. I also camped out in Philippians.

Anyway, thank you for sharing your struggles. I am glad you are 'back' and look forward to 'hanging out' more in the future.

Kelly said...

Nice to see you back at blogging Jess. I missed you.
I love the blue color I think it's easy to read.
And I hope that your down season is really ending, I know what you mean. Sometimes I think God just lets us simmer a bit to get us to think of things, that maybe we're not thinking about.
God Bless,
Kelly

heather said...

It is good to have you back. Sorry to hear you are struggling, but thankful to hear how God is drawing you to Him in the midst of it. So often, it seems, that the darker times also come with the sweetness of feeling the presence of God in unique ways.

MInTheGap said...

Welcome back, Jess. We've missed you. I look forward to reading more from you!

IMO, The blue is a little distracting, but I can get used to it!

Christine said...

Glad you're back! I like the new look. I feel like I'm in a fort with my kids!

Jaime said...

welcome back! I do like the blue.

I'm glad you are sort of coming out of your funk. good luck in finding the path once more.

Cat said...

I really like the blue, and am so glad to see you back! Sorry to hear about the funk, though I do that too and understand what you mean.

And wow, crawling already? My little guy is seven months and not there yet. But none of my four have done anything physical early so far.

Mary said...

I'm so glad you are back! Totally understandable that being away from home and extended family could result in the blues. What a blessing that you can afford to come back for a visit!

I love your blue blog! And the pics of your little ones, are always a treat. That quote of Ethan's about the dust under the lego couch is priceless!

Hugs to you, and keep writing! I agree that it's therapeutic. As are all the great ladies on the blogosphere! It's like family at your fingertips, right?

Tanya said...

I like the blue.

That song you wrote in your above comment is fantastic.

I've been praying for ya.

Welcome back!

Anonymous said...

Dear Jess,

Welcome back!

I was just writing someone a couple of days ago about the last several months in our lives, that they've been the hardest ever, it seems. With problems piling on top of other problems and other problems, and all of them beyond our ability to solve... but then the Lord delivers each time, though we found it happens predictably at the very last moment :-). And He doesn't deliver from all at once, but only enough to keep us going, and then the next thing gets resolved, step by step. So in a way it's been a very good time too, because I think it's helping us learn (even if slow) to trust God more and to expect to really see Him work, and to make Him more of our Treasure. I've listened a lot to John Piper recently, and that has fed my soul a great deal and blessed me so much. If you allow a couple of links, these two conference series of messages are just the best, in my opinion. They were very helpful to me, inspiring and heart-penetrating. http://www.desiringgod.org/ResourceLibrary/ConferenceMessages/ByConference/40/ - Don't Waste Your Life - and http://www.desiringgod.org/ResourceLibrary/ConferenceMessages/ByConference/14/ - God is the Gospel

As for your blog's look... I'm in a minority, I guess, I think the old was definitely warmer, and the blue background tends to distract me. Not a huge problem, I just preferred the old look.

Mrs. P

Jess said...

Mrs. P,
Thanks for the links- I love, love, love "Don't Waste Your Life", and I haven't yet had the chance to listen to "God is the Gospel"... Piper really is one of my all-time favorites, though. So thanks! Hopefully someone can benefit from your links here.

Mrs. Amy Brigham said...

It's nice to see you back, Jess. When your blog was down over the past few days, I was honestly a little concerned and hoping nothing was wrong. I'm very glad to see you back and know you & your family are doing well. :o)

Mom said...

I love the design! It's beautiful! The color is pretty also. I've been praying for you, and I'll be so happy to see you!

Gina@Chats With An "Old Lady" said...

Jess,
I have been going through a similar time and God is teaching me some hard things...but it is still hard! Have you heard the CD from Soveriegn Grace called "Come Weary Saints"? If you aren't able to get it where you are, please email me your address and I will buy it for you! It has ministered to me incredibly! My email address is bgbcsmith@juno.com

I'm serious. I would love to buy it for you. Music sooths the soul!!!

Johanna said...

Welcome back, Jess! I missed your posts!

I'm really glad you get to come home for a bit. And you'll be back in the "Promise Land" just in time for the "It-should-be-fall-by-now-but-it-is-still-hotter-than-hades" weather of September!! :) Doesn't that just make you even more homesick???

Domestikate said...

Yay, Jess is back! I got a little worried when I stopped by and couldn't get your blog up. I thought you might have enjoyed your time off too much and decided to stop blogging. I am glad that's not the case. I look forward to your challenging posts. Welcome back!

I am praying for you in this difficult time. I know a trip home can help me sometimes (and I am only a 4 hr. drive away). Enjoy!

CG + E3 said...

Welcome back, Jess. Looking forward to some more of your insights!

I still enjoy the theme. :)

I'm sorry to hear you are in a "difficult spot", and I hope things improve for you, as I'm sure they will with the beautiful way you look to God for your help.

- CG

Lylah said...

yes, i tag on to all these "welcome back" expressions.

ahhh...culture shock. our daughter is in spain and i understand that shock. actually spent 4 weeks there and strange enough experienced some counter culture shock. guess i'm getting ready for heaven. ya know, this life is just a training ground anyway. blessings on you!

Amy said...

I really enjoy reading your blog, and I'm glad you're back in the swing of things. Hope you continue to feel better and better.

Since you asked...
I feel like I'm going against the grain, but I prefer the colors you had in your previous blog layout. I don't even remember what the colors were, but I did feel like it was harder to read once you switched to this one.

Once I get started reading your posts and links, I forget what it looks like anyway (too focused on the content), so keep it how you like it! :)