Thursday, April 21, 2011

“I cry aloud to the Lord; I lift up my voice to the Lord for mercy.
I pour out my complaint before him; before him I tell my trouble.
When my spirit grows faint within me, it is you who know my way…
Set me free from my prison, that I may praise your name.” ~ Psalm 142.2-3, 7

Time moves very slowly as we await Hessel’s return. Whatever attempts we’ve made to venture even a little distance from our rented “home” have more often ended in disaster: a burned hand, a hailstorm, crying, and losing our way.

I am very tired.

Nap-times, which I usually reserve for restorative activities such as reading, writing, and exercising – are now typically spent laying prostrate in bed, reading the Psalms, or staring listlessly at the shadow-patches on the blank beige walls.

Again and again, my mind goes back to the analogy Cynthia Heald offers in one of her books – how being a mother of young children is like being in the trenches. I was pleased to discover several intriguing facts about trench warfare this afternoon, while hiding my head beneath the quilt that is spread across Audrey’s bed, and conducting painstaking research on my i-phone:

1. Trench warfare is essentially a defensive, not an offensive, type of warfare. Platoons of soldiers used to literally camp out in trenches which were dug directly into the battle lines. Their goal was simply to endure by staying put - and keeping the enemy from gaining any of their ground.
2. Because trench warfare was essentially a battle of endurance, “winning” required wearing down the enemy’s resources – food, supplies, ammunition – or organizing an assault on the trench that was discovered to hold the brunt of the supplies.
3. Disease due to poor sanitation or a lack of proper supplies was often as big a killer as an enemy assault.
4. Trench warfare was so taxing on soldiers (physically and psychologically) that they were typically only relegated to serve in the trenches for 15% of their overall deployment time.

Mothers of young children will doubtless find myriads of metaphorical “gems” in these facts, as I did. My four take-aways: first, Christ fights – and wins – the battle on my behalf; my job is to stand firm, not letting the enemy overtake my ground; second, “merely” enduring is an incredibly valuable component in winning a war – I may not be called to actively fight, but I must have enough spiritual grit to hold out until help arrives; third, it’s not enough to keep the enemy from assaulting your trench – I must be properly equipped inside in order to endure successfully and fend off disease; finally, no one can sustain the kind of acute pressure that is called for when in the trenches – it’s temporary, and relief will come eventually!

“He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities - all things have been created through Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.”
~ Colossians 1:15-17


lindsaybrooke said...

oh how my mommy-heart needed to read this right now. oh the trenches.

My husband and I try to remember often that our time as parents of young children is so very short when we look at life as a whole. Another dear friend of mine gave me wisdom God once gave her, to just 'lean in' to it all... the fatigue, the hunger, the constantly needing-to-change discipline tactics, the minute time alone with our spouse... all. And Christ did, is fighting and will fight... and always wins! amen.

Lindsay said...

This was just what I needed! I'm literally bawling my eyes out! I am dying for the day when I can see you face to face whenever I want!!!

our family said...

This analogy has come to my mind frequently since I first read it. Thank you for sharing. While I cannot literally share a trench with you, it's somehow comforting to know there are other strong, graceful women in "it" with me. I love you....

Celia Jimenez said...

Heather...I have not ever commented on your blog before...but I have to now. I am a friend of Sommer's and Mandy. I can't remember who told me about your blog. But this spoke to my heart in such a time that I needed it most. We just had our fourth little one and she is suffering with colic at the moment. Ugh...long days and short nights! But I appreciate the wisdom and insight you shared! You have such depth in your posts!! I appreciate reading them wholeheartedly! Thank you!!!