Friday, August 20, 2010

Walking Away - The Choice III

I cannot quit.
My parents drummed this in my brain: I am not a quiter.
. . .

When my husband deployed to Iraq in 2005, I was one busy woman. I was the leader of the Family Readiness Group (that served some 250 families of soliders). I led a group of leaders in a mom's group. I also led a small group within the mom's group. Then there was soccer and Awana's. All of that was on top of taking care of 3 kids, all under the age of 5. I kept busy while my husband was gone. I thought that was a smart way to handle the deployment. It was way too much for me. It led to my blog and the reason for my blog title. That deployment and stint as a single parent was overwhelming. I tried to be super mom. I was tired, frustrated, and over-burdened. I was stretched too thin.

When my husband and I decided to separate, I felt unforeseeable pain. (If this sentence sends you into shock, read this: Separation: The Choice II)

I found myself laying around the house. Overwhelmed. Everything was getting on my nerves.

Obedience, yes. A serving heart, no.

I couldn't figure out what was wrong, except that I felt overwhelmed and frustrated. I was sure the separation was needed but I wasn't ready.

I kept thinking~
"I will not handle this well. I cannot be the PTO President, a leader at my mom's group, have numerous responsibilities at church, and manage my kids. I can. But, I don't want to. It is going to be so hard."
. . .
Then, I realized I had a choice.

I don't want to manage my kids while juggling my responsibilities.

My heart's cry is~ "I can't quit."

I can choose.

I am choosing my dedication to family. My kids. I am choosing my sanity. Myself. I am choosing my faith. Enough time to put God first.

I am choosing to step down, step out, and let go.

It's hard. It's really hard for me to step away from responsibilities. But... I have a peace that I haven't had in days.

The choice to live. That's the choice I'm making.

I am going to live in such a way that we will become financially sound. I am going to live in such a way that I provide for my family before the activities and busyness.

Stepping down from responsibilities makes me feel weak. I find myself hearing the lie: If I were strong enough, I could do it.

I chose to be weak, because it is going to make me strong.

I dread the impression others may have of me after I step away from responsibilities. I know not everyone will understand. I hate letting others down.

I take comfort in knowing that I have my priorities straight. In some ways, I'm excited about the resolve I have. I am thrilled that I am strong enough to make this decision.

I am choosing to walk away from busyness, hand-in-hand with my faith, family, and sanity intact.

. . .
I encourage you to constantly inventory your activities. Make sure that you aren't doing too much. Even great activities can have a negative impact on you or your family if you are involved in too many of them. This is a lesson I am constantly learning.
. . .

This is the final post in a three part series on Choices. To read part 1, go here: The Pain - Choice Part I. To read part 2, go here: Separation - Choice Part II.


samantha said...

I'm so glad you have deceided to step down! Our MOPS group really really understands and I hope that it gives you some peace of mind to take more time for you and your family. You are a amazing woman!

Avery's Mommy said...

Love this post. Good for you. Let those decisions empower you!

Honey said...

GOOD...glad you are taking care of yourself in all of this...praying for all of you...Patti B.

sharon said...

One of the wisest things I ever heard was that every time you say yes to something, you say no to something else. You are saying yes to some great things, like debt and stress and saying no to overindulgence and living outside your means. You are saying no to some great things, like serving outside your family and saying yes to even greater things, like your faith and your family and your sanity! I am proud of your resolve and happy that you are feeling more peaceful! You don't even realize all the ways or times that you set a good example for others.
Love you!

Audrey said...

How true. There are some seasons of life where you can do everything... but there are other seasons of life where it's best to do nothing, or at least as little as possible. Good for you for recognizing this!

Foursons said...

I had to stop volunteering for things. Team mom, scout leader, room mom...the list could go on. It just gets to be to much and I don't get to enjoy my kids- the very people I'm volunteering for. I was asked last week if I wanted to be on a scout committee and I told them I couldn't commit at this time. It just is to much for one person.

I think you are on the right track and you will be blessed when you are out of this valley.

Beth E. said...

I don't believe you chose to be weak. I believe you chose to be STRONG. Strong for your family and strong in your relationship with God.

Several years ago, I made the same choices you just made. God impressed upon me that my biggest responsibility was to my husband and my children. I've never regretted that won't, either. :-)

Jo@Mylestones said...

Jane Anne--I appreciated the comment you left for me on my blog, and followed you back here, to read about the separation. And oh how my heart goes out to you. This is such a difficult thing (something I've been through only in spurts of months at a time--never a whole year), and it is hard not to grow weary. it's tempting to ask God for an easier way and to grumble when He doesn't provide it. I just wanted to leave a word of encouragement here, that you are doing what's right for your family--and what God's called you to do--and He will give you strength for each step, each day.

Jessica said...

Jane Anne, you made the best decision for you. And even though it doesn't matter, I think it's a great one. If you need ANYTHING, let us know. Derek is quite good at lifting things. :) Really.

Martin Jones said...

At times like this I like to remember a sermon a friend gave one time on the Good Samaritan. We usually think of ourselves as the samaritan and the lesson is about helping other regardless of who they are. Some times we are the wounded. Sometimes we lay injured and need help. Pride, confusion and stubborness can keep us from accepting help. First we must turn to God and surrend our pride and let him help us through this time. During Michelles coma, no one could give us answers to our real questions, we had to trust God. But we also had to trust others and accept and ask for help. We are not alone. We are not weak. We are not a lesser person when we say, I am in a difficult time, can I lean on you? You will have our prayers and you can lean on us.

MiMi said...

Oh, I'm happy for you. Really. You are making the right decisions for your family, your children, your marriage, your future and for God.
That peace is God telling you you made the right decision.
That little voice telling you that you're quitting and that you can do it all?? You know that's the devil, right? He WANTS you to put the other stuff at a greater importance. Then he can work on your family. See? He's a jackwad. You know that. :)
If you need anything just message me on FB, okay??

Jeanne said...

I understand completely where you are. I made a very similar post just the other day on my blog about letting go of things and how it was the right decision because it led us to where we are in our lives. So proud of you!! Continuing to pray!

McCrakensx4 said...

stepping down is hard, but kudos for you to know what you need to do. My hubby and I have lived apart twice in our marriage for jobs and financial was hard but we did it. We were 2100 miles away from each other. Prayers and blessings to you and your family my friend as you travel forward. ((hugs))

Pam said...

So, so impressed with your wisdom and your choices, Jane Anne. God is smiling over you as you make these sacrifices on behalf of you, your family, and your future.

"I chose to be weak, because it is going to make me strong."

The very best of this post, friend. You are inspiring, and I am motivated to take stock of my own responsibilities and choose to be weak so that in Him I may be strong.

Lou said...

Hi Jane Anne. Love this post. Something we all need to consider from time to time.

A few of my blogger friends directed me to your blog and I'm glad they did! Been reading some of your past posts on food allergies... I have a three year old with a peanut allergy that started pre-school today. It intially looked like it was going to disappear... but then we got ImmunoCap results last week and it skyrocketed. I can very much relate to your allergy-related anxiety.

I hope your decision to let go eases your burden. Looking forward to reading more.

Love, Lou

Alea said...

Since becoming a mom, I have tried to only volunteer in activities that directly benefit my children and/or that I can do with my children. But even then there are times I have to step back.

My last pregnancy was high risk and my husband was deployed to Iraq. I tried to step down from everything. It was hard because people kept trying to get me to keep volunteering. I wanted to yell, "What part of high risk pregnancy, single parenting while Daddy's in a war zone do you not get?" :D But that is not my style, I just kept politely insisting, "I'm sorry but I am not able to do that at this time". The kicker was when I received a phone call (on my for emergency use only cell phone) while in the delivery room asking me to bring snacks that afternoon to a recital.

I will be praying for you and your family while you are seperated!

Liz (Loving Mom 2 Boys) said...

It sounds like you really are doing what is best for yourself and your children. Sure there will be those that don't understand, but you can't worry about them. You are a strong woman and are making tough decisions to do well by your children!! Good for you!!

Deairdre said...

My heart is going out to you and yours and I really, really wish you didn't have to do this. However, your words and thoughts on the matter are things I NEED to be hearing in my life. Thank you so much Jane Anne.

Anonymous said...

Jane Anne,

I'm just catching up on your latest news! I have been trying to take the more balanced approach in life during our deployment. I've found that even saying "Yes." to one extra thing this month totally stressed me out so I've learned from that. I tend to not be the mother to volunteer a lot anyway but I'm being extra "selfish" this year and taking care of my family and myself this year.

Going to work part-time in the past year has been such a blessing to us too. God had perfect timing with my layoff last August.

I'll pray for you during this time. We'll be going along with you!