So I have been scrolling through all the social medias and noticing an epidemic. I am noticing how we portray ourselves to have it together. How we share the best pictures of ourselves or our family. I am noticing (and convicted by) the notion that we have to have it all together and appear to be perfect.
I know I have been passing judgements until I realized I do this EXACT SAME THING. So fasten your seatbelts- here comes a real struggle-bus-story-sharing. We just had the weekend from... well somewhere other than Heaven ;)
Seriously it was a disaster from Friday all the way until we went to bed last night. We had tempers flare up, emotions leak out all over the place, all composure was LOST. Our moto tire was flat with a nail in it- miles away from the nearest tire repair guys (which is never the case because they're everywhere). We literally had to walk at least two miles, uphill, in the snow... oh wait, no snow! Actually just some uphill but mostly downhill in the bright sunshine ninety-five degree weather. With every step I could feel the sun burning my skin deeper and deeper. Then we were stuck in another hour of crazy traffic on the way home and it is almost as if that sunshine made its burn down deep in my soul. I was LIVID at missed important plans and our day being shot after that.
Cue our Weekender coming over (as he does on the weekends ;) and he was in great spirits which helped. Fast forward to Saturday morning where we awoke to the beautiful sound of rushing water meaning we had power and our neighbors were filling their water tank. After about fifteen minutes of listening we realized our dogs had crashed into our water spout and broken it- causing all of the water in our holding tanks to spew and flood our yard (just like our emotions did all over the place this weekend)!
Good news though- we had power so once Alex fixed the piece he would be able to fill the tanks back up. He fixed the piece just after the water had emptied itself and (can you guess what happened?!) the power shut off so we had to run the generator during a gas shortage after we got power for the first time in several days and had our water already filled (OYYY)!
We finally get settled enough to leave for english class and I open the gate so Alex can drive us all over there when in walk four men there to work on some electrical stuff that was not finished, fix a window, and add screens to a couple windows. They were not even supposed to be coming Saturday morning but this made Alex have to stay back with them. Class went pretty smoothly though. Except our Weekender had some feelings about not sitting in the special chair that normally Alex would be seated in. Thus bringing out the desire to walk away a few times during class and trying to fight other kids. It was a little overwhelming while trying to lead class without Alex.
Are you over all these details yet?! ME TOO! Except they're not finished. Not even close.
The workers did not leave until six-thirty that evening and I could not even hide anywhere in my house because every part of the house was compromised with people who might see my true feelings. Have you ever had a day like that? Where you just want to hide away for five minutes, maybe ten minutes and just cry? Alex and I were arguing throughout the day about the stress and the guys working and various other things that probably were not even important. You could definitely feel the tension between us. Also- I was super sunburnt making all movements hurt and on top of that I was having "stomach issues" all day. Honest moment- just for you guys!
To end our night I was feeling too sick for bedtime routines which just made me feel like a horrible person.
Sunday- our neighbor has been asking to go to church with us for months but with only the moto we have not been able to bring her and her baby so finally this Sunday we were able to take her. I wish I could say this was a normal, easy, happy Sunday; however, that would be a complete lie. Let's be real- I HATE being late to things. And our church is at capacity for people so if you're not a little bit early it is difficult to find seats- and to me being on time but no seats is late. In the rush of trying to get ready and make breakfast for all of us and coffee to go I ignored my need to pee. Our drive to church was normal in that we hit some lite traffic and then on top of that we were stuck behind a water truck on a giant uphill climb. My stress was TANGIBLE to everyone in the car and I could not get it together. I was mad all through church and ended up not being seated with Pegguy which made me feel terrible and only added to the frustration. I literally argued with Alex through the entire service and my need to pee compiled suffering on top of all the other MINUSCULE details.
Guys- I know its nothing, all of it is nothing. I realize that... but I am showing you my human heart and fleshy weakness. Good thing God is in control and Pegguy loved the church and is set up to dedicate baby Nicky in a couple weeks- seriously ONLY GOD!!
Fast forward to getting home and our Weekender knocking over the moto he is not supposed to be touching and potentially breaking all of Alex's work that he had just fixed. Then trying to process Sunday feelings because having two homes is hard. Not to mention dealing with us and all of our tension. It was a lot I am sure. So we are preparing for his departure and recapping the weekend and talking it all out when we get a call that it was too dangerous to take him back Sunday night because of the ongoing gang wars and gunfire. Then my heart is put back in its proper place by God himself. Ouch, the realization of what a complete butt I have been for letting my emotions get the best of me.
And right before my eyes, there goes some of Monday's plans and meetings too. We don't have a babysitter and we have things planned first thing on Monday's almost always. But it doesn't matter in the scheme of things- we got a reset night for all of us. A night where we pushed the stress aside and focused on what was important. We got to calm down and slow down in our chaos and that can be ONLY GOD.
Here is what I found myself writing out in a moment of absolute peace:
"But then I sit here after a long- very full day and watch the sun go down and it sets on me different.
Find me joyful in this moment- find me peaceful.
The breeze, strong and steady, breaks up the stale, stagnant heat.
It pushes away the pests buzzing and biting.
The leaves dance on my wall through the corner window and I sit here on the couch I prayed for this time last year.
I sit here and listen to leaves rustling and mangoes plopping. There is a sort of stillness I cannot explain.
Only God can do all of this- Only God can be stillness in chaos.
My wiggly, waggly chihuahua nuzzles into the couch- silly.
My Weekender laughs.
The people are still here, buzzing about, making for anxious big dogs but...
Find me in the moment.
ONLY GOD can create this.
Let the sunset on your chaos but be in the setting of peace."
I found peace all around me in the chaos because I took a minute despite my to-do list and noticed the moment I was in. There is so much pain to be felt here, so much guilt to push through, so much bitterness to forgive- but when I am in the moment God makes my priorities clear and makes a way for all of the above. What is stopping you from being in the moment? A busy work day? A crying toddler? Screen time? A daunting list of tasks? You only get the moments you're in now. Time does not go backward for us- only forward. Make the most of it. Find the peace and find the joy.
Last night ended with me getting pepper spray in my eye (a story for another time haha).
This morning I woke up to new moments to capture and made the best of them. We all read our bible right in Psalm 73. I encourage you to read it for yourself and find the truths in it. It is packed full of many- find them and declare them over yourself today friend.
I know social media is intended to make us look a certain way. I know I have been putting on a certain appearance but I also know I am a real human who gets mad at her husband from time to time, or who struggles with failed expectations and then feels guilty for failing to compose myself. If you are struggling to- its ok! Let's bring God glory in our weakness instead of trying to glorify ourselves in false perfectness.
I have a knack for finding myself in impossible situations- especially here in Haiti.
(Roadblocks, fundraising, beating poverty, preventing orphans, becoming a family, etc.)
I realize I am often facing mountains immeasurably taller than my five-foot stature could ever stand.
I often come face-to-face with giants and Goliaths of my day who are so much stronger and more powerful than any courage I could ever muster.
I nonstop come against problems and complexities deeper than the ocean itself, and my solutions are more the grain of sand size.
Depressing? -Sort of. Overwhelming? -Definitely. Impossible? -Not so much.
Impossible is where God likes to begin.
I am sparing you the long stories and sappy feelings this post- I just want you to understand you are NOT ALONE in your weaknesses. God is in them too. He hangs out there so that we might shine His immense Glory all the brighter.
Whatever you're up against today- cancer, hardship, loss, or whatever else Satan is intending for evil; whatever it may be I promise God will use for GOOD.
(Romans 8:28 For God causes ALL THINGS to work together for the GOOD of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose.)
I know this is not brand new to you- but a fantastic reminder to us all.
Every time you find yourself in these impossible scenarios start praising God for the way He works in these times. Praise Him through it and trust me, the miraculous will become your reality.
He makes ways where there are none.
He allowed David to slay Goliath.
He moves mountains.
He provides my needs.
He provides a way through roadblocks.
He sets the lonely in families.
He creates new hope for impoverished families.
His ways are not my ways and His solutions are higher than mine.
Trust Him to make the impossible become possible. Join me in trusting and holding each other accountable to chin up and move forward. Join me in living messy and real when we face trials and tribulations meant to tear us down. This journey is done so much better together <3
Facing your own issues? Dig into these verses:
Kristen & Alex Bradshaw