In Which I'm Real, Tell Why I Quietly Write {& Plead for Grace}

I settle a little one down whose cries awakened Husband, and I sob to him at 2 am that I feel like I'm being crushed. Panic racing through my mind--all the buzzing screens, clicks, words, conversations--play and re-play in blazing fast-forward like a bad trip.

When I lay my head on his chest, and he wraps arm 'round, it feels like being rocked.

I rock out the sobbing cry, snubbing and stammering out the fury of emotions held inside for weeks and months. I can't breathe, I tell him, can't sleep, and how I thought as I lie there that it would be better if all this was ended. It comes out in rythmic force. I constantly feel. as if the bottom. is about to. fall out. from beneath me. Hands flail in the dark and hot lava pours down flaming red, puffy cheeks. The Shadows don't let him see, but Husband, he knows me. He asks if I always feel this way. I nod, murmur a quiet yes, the waves of terror all starting to subside as his understanding and caring begin to sweep over.

The social anxiety, insomnia, and depression here since Lilly was born, I google agorophobia and, yeah, I bashfully admit to myself, the symptoms are there. I didn't know there was possibly a name for the feeling I get when I can't keep up with the world.

I don't know if this is the right name, but for me, learning that there is a name out there for this sort of thing? This helps explains the innate, powerful urge for quiet, why I run from social media in an age when "everyone" is constantly engaged, why entering the grocery store and going to church feels like I'm lying on a bed of nails. It explains the blurring mind-racing and sobbing at 2 am. My mind, my body just can't keep up.

But maybe I'm not supposed to keep up. Maybe I'm not built that way--all this tweeting and sharing comments with the world? I'd like to softly whisper it, and send it out on the summer breeze: I don't know that I'm God-built to be in constant contact, with distractions too many for me to keep my head from spinning.

Maybe that's the good news here? That God already knows what we can handle? He did create the Sabbath--so He intelligently calculated rest into the equation of time, apart of our daily routine. He worked and rested--so I should work and rest. And rest--that can take on quite a different face for all of us. For some, this means never entering the full force of social circles that overpower and leave us weak.

Lying in his arms, I tell him I'm weak, that there are so many things I want to do--grow a garden with my girls, learn to knit with that kit my Mama bought me four years ago, read that stack of books, be a loving mama to these four kids, educate these four kids, just go out in the sunshine with them--and not enough physical strength to man-up to all the work everyday.

How many things do I have to pare back, pull away so there is room to breathe?

I serve on no committees, run no charities, bake no fresh bread. I'm just a mom who has a huge pile of laundry, a grocery list I'm afraid to go to the store with, and everything where it shouldn't be--a few apple cores lying around in laundry baskets and books lying with their white-paged corners pushed just far enough, yes, smudged right there in the grape jelly on the kitchen counter.

And admist the chaos, I'm just a simple girl with a love for simple things: running, flowers, sunshine in my children's hair.

I really want to say this out loud: I need these simple things--these God-gifts--to feel connected, to feel that I belong, to feel that I'm okay in this whole wide universe. 

When all around me and underneath me feels like it's falling apart, I just want to know that I'm simply held, that it's enough for me to just be and that God gets glory through that.

So maybe this really is the important thing to know: there are just seasons of simple. Seasons when all God is calling us to do is the very basic. And in some seasons the tasks of sleeping, eating, getting exercise and taking care of our families can even be a challenge. Every. single. day.

I'm not built to do it all. None of us are. Sometimes I just have to scale back on expectations, peel back committments so I can scale up these mountain walls and peel back these shadows to see--peel back this thick, dark cloud of burden, behind which lies the stage where real life is played out. Where food and Word is enjoyed by the whole family at mealtime, water satisfies children's parched throats, and I look on lovingly, every bone in my body that cries out for heaven satiated in this small moment of God's glory felt as I rock my child, yellow silky whisps brushing my cheek in these shadows. And it's right here in these fleeting heartbeats that I know that I can't be everything to everyone, but I can do this, right now, here in the quiet where no one sees.

It's like Husband so wisely keeps telling me: "You aren't a writer who happens to be a mother. You are a mother who just happens to be a writer."

I will scale up that mountain, ask God to help me peel back that cloud, and shout out from it's very top: God has made me free in His gospel of grace, and though these weary bones cry out for Heaven in this worldly tug-of-war, He has made me the way I am to cause me to turn to Him in praise! He makes me see His excellence in making me and I turn to His arms for comfort and rest. There I am free, really, really free, in His understanding Father-arms.

And in the shadows, God, He knows me.

Just a few of my Grace-Gifts from the past month, counting in thankfulness to God still:

one lone bright yellow maple leaf on the ground of the woods

hiatus leaving me refreshed and healed from so much anxiety

girls' giggles

Husband working hard on schoolroom

messes in floors made by baby girls, all of us having work and a purpose, and buckets and mops making floors shiny

a weekend alone at home--just the two of us--and a day out of town having fun together

Husband grilling salmon and eating outside in the middle of the week

jumping up spontaneously on the trampoline to enjoy being with my girls and getting a workout at the same time!

kitchen table top gleaming beautifully

the way a wash rag feels in my hand as I make beautiful

a surprise visit from a dear friend

time to sit and write a letter to a close friend

time alone to run free in the woods

how he needs me, how I need him

**Please read--Friends, I write this post with a trembling heart, not knowing how it will be received. Because of what I expressed here, I will not be able to answer comments and visit very many blogs--although I would love for you to feel a sense of community when you are here, and I hope you do feel right at home--I just think--though we all search for so much interaction and approval from others, that sometimes, maybe in some seasons, sometimes very long seasons, just a quiet place with God is what we truly need. Just a place to reflect, pray, dream. I thought of taking the comment section off completely, but I would like to give you the opportunity to share if you like. I cherish your words, and the beautiful soul God made you. You all really do add such depth to the journey here...Also, I'd like you to know that when I see you here, my heart just leaps out of my chest to connect with you--to let you know I hear you! Oh friend, I'm so glad you understand, and thank you for so much grace! I am nodding my head, teary-eyed, as I read your hearts here.  

joining with Ann for counting gifts..... and also for Walk With Him Wednesday... Shared with Emily...


  1. My Dear Nacole!!!! I could have written this. I do understand. I'm not a social person and don't do all the "friending" things well. I like home, books, writing, my dog, and this --- reading other people's hearts. I hate grocery stores and I'm crabby before I get there, anxious as I shop, and more crabby finding a place to put it when I get home. I put it off until there's nothing left or the basics (like toilet paper) are all but gone. Does God make some like this? I used to think not. But I'm not so sure any more. I can only say I understand. I can be happy and blessed this way, but I can't be if I carry a load of guilt because I am what I am. I made a bargain with God ---- I will push though if the uncomfortable thing is absolutely necessary, life and death, etc. I'm praying for you, always praying!!!!

  2. I think I could be your quiet echo. I can't keep up with the buzz of this world, of this writing, blogging, social networking world--- I say it over and over-- I've been placed in the wrong century! I, too, need slow and simple. I need time to savor and think and listen. I applaud your honesty and wish you blessings, and abundant grace. Take the path less traveled, friend. I know He'll lead you right where He wants you to be.

  3. Before i say anything, i want to first say that my heart leapt when i saw your new post sent to my inbox. I have been praying for you every day, my lovely, dear friend. You are truly never far from my thoughts, i understand the 'seasons of simple' and my heart is with you as I seek God and navigate through this desire in my own life.
    As usual, I second and third what these women above have said to you. You articulate things that beat in the deep and quiet places of my own heart, and I, too, applaud you for it, for your beautiful honesty and depth... Thank you for your transperancy, for saying what is hard to say aloud for so many of us. I know God whispers simplicity to our hearts... the simplicity I believe with you that is intended for all of us. I know He makes us all different, and embracing simplicity looks different for each of us, but I do believe we all need the nourishment of simplicity. And more specifically, every soul needs the simplicity of faith in Christ, experiencing His redeeming love through simple, quiet faith and trust in Him.
    I don't know at what point we'll exchange e-mails or letters, but I want you to know that my heart and my prayers are with you!
    Be at peace as you take this road less traveled, as Alicia so beautifully said. God orders your steps <3
    I love you!!

  4. Thank you, Nacole, for beautifully and honestly sharing your heart. Social media is hard for me, too...I recently joined Twitter but I don't tweet that much...and I am not on FB...God has blessed you with four girls, and I think you are wise to recognize that this may be a season of simple, and to recognize, and respect how uniquely and wonderfully God has wired you...I am still learning to do that, so I applaud you for taking the steps you need to care for yourself and your family.

    Praying that God will hold you close and let you hide in His love (Psalm 91)...hugs to you :) don't worry about replying, or visiting my blog :)

  5. you are on a journey not too different from many 'young mom's. I love what your hubby said 'you are a writer who became a mommy'... it is a change YES a positive one and doable on both 'sides'. Your last paragraph was dark and I had a hard time reading it, but please know I am praying for you and hoping that 'you stay close to the one who gives us all strength, and close to the love of your life'... he sounds so very understanding and full of Grace. God be with you.

  6. i come here, and every time i want to leave with my arms wrapped tight across your waist. i feel it too. sure i can keep clicking the keys, but my heart doesn't need the constant flow and processing at such a rapid speed. i desire connection, i crave community, and i love like crazy - but i am learning to do those things at a pace that allows for me to connect with my family, to tie into my own community and still love every chance i get. keep listening to your intuition. know that we are here and loving you whenever you bring your chair to the table. no pressure. i'll keep the door unlocked....come over anytime :)

  7. I feel you, friend. My link-up post for Imperfect Prose this week was titled "Blessed Are Those Who Don't Do It All" because I needed to hear it. I get the pressure to be the mom who does everything, who keeps up, but slow and held are seasons we all need. Praying you find peace and comfort and healing for the hard spaces of what you're going through, that you attach to the lovely and the beautiful and find rest there.

  8. I have been her (((hugs))) I'm writing through tears because I know so well. Brene Brown says courage is honesty. You have blessed me with yours today :)
    I promise it will get easier. This is not the way it will be forever, even though it feels like it is.
    I have suffered from anxiety, had problems with agoraphobia. This was hardest when I had 3 under three.
    Motherhood is such a lonely job at times these days. We need each other, we need to reach out, hold each other up.
    God is really close to you right now. Hold onto Him. Let all that is unessecary fall away. I'll pray for you today :)

  9. "here" not "her" blame the wiggly baby on my knee for the typos :)

  10. Yes, God is so gracious to give us Sabbath. Praying you'll be able to receive a season of simple with nothing but thanksgiving--no pressure, no guilt. That's not His way. His way is love. Blessings, Nacole.

  11. oh nacole. prayers for healing and shalom. yes to simple and sabbath, letting go and asking for help. we mamas and caregivers may need it most of all, since there is nothing to give when we are poured out and dry. blessings, friend, and prayers for wise counsel, quiet, and rich healing.

  12. Beautiful and wise.
    Each paragraph I relate with, and nod a hearty "amen"
    Blessing on you:
    Mother first, writer second.

  13. We all live moments like this...kids. I love your gratitude list. wise

  14. I am back to say 'thank you' for the words, in a lighter text. I can understand your need for space but please don't be gone long, every writer must continue in some form. Praying for you. Sharon O

  15. I simply wonder why the sweet ones suffer. Here you are, swept by fear, anxious and trembling while inside is such a heart FULL of love, wanting so badly to divvy it out to everyone you meet, but you can not meet others. I simply don't get it.

    On the other hand, here I am: mouthy, outspoken, self-righteous and condescending and I confidently go out the door to spread my dissatisfaction to everyone I meet. Is this not the strangest configuration?

    I believe temperament is the driving force. Temperament is one's God-given way of interacting in the world. You are naturally quiet and introspective. You need the Holy Spirit to draw you out so you can accomplish the everyday things you need to accomplish. I, on the other hand, need Him to reign me in. This is too simplistic, I know, but I'll meet you halfway for starters, ok?

    Blessings, Dear Child of God,

  16. Oh, for being real and being raw, I applaud you.

  17. "seasons of simple." yes. nacole, you are perfect, just as you are, and you don't need to be anyone else. God loves you. he loves you. he loves you. and nothing--nothing--can separate you from him. praying like heck.

  18. you are beautiful and brave. thank you for opening your heart for us.

  19. Thank you for your bravery in being honest and real. That takes real courage. This parenting life thing is hard, but you are willing not to wear a mask of "I'm fine" and that is a step in the right direction.

  20. Oh - I, too, love that "seasons of simple" - I also remember the season that I was so overwhelmed, I thought my heart would give out, that it just wasn't strong enough to do.it.all.

    We are not called to be everything. We are called to be who He created us to be - and you explain that so beautifully, poignantly, honestly. Learning to create individualized healthy boundaries takes courage - and you are all graceful courage to me because it is real.

    You are a cricket by the hearth (little women) singing a moving ballad!

  21. Your post soothes my soul. Do you know how many moments of every day I feel inadequate? Inadequate because I just can't fit it all in? Because I forgot to follow up with this person or that person or I only got to 10 SDG blogs? Because...because...because. But your words -- words about being God-built -- those hit my heart. I can do what I can do because God gives me so much capacity. Thank you for these God-breathed words.

  22. Dear Nacole,
    Thank you for your post. You are courageous. You have not idea how many like you walk this world every day... it is only his mercy that gives us the strength to get up in the morning, the strength to go on. I said a prayer for your and yours. Thank you for being who you are. You bless many through your honesty and through your words.

    Blessings ... always,

  23. Thank you for your courage in being open about your struggles. I too feel discouraged and overwhelmed at times and can relate to the feeling of wanting to hide from the world. May the Lord be close to you and to your husband and give you strength and new grace for each day.

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  25. Nacole, I just read this for the first time. Thank you for your honesty. I can relate to so very much of what you've shared here. Love to you, and hugs from one shaky mummy to another. You are a beautiful person, thank you for continuing to share your writing. The world needs it!



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