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Wednesday, July 11, 2018

The Shadow of the Valley of Death... Remember the Light is Coming!

This past week got dark. I guess you can say I just couldn't handle all the downs that seemed to be hitting us back to back... to back. It was pretty miserable. The first week of July saw all my children sick. One at a time, each of the older three got strep throat. The baby was teething. HARD. Total meltdowns. Screaming fits for no reason. Biting on everything. Wanting Mommy to hold her CONSTANTLY! Then the back pain and migraines had to chime in. Sleeping at night became a bygone and by 1 in the afternoon, I wanted to crawl back into bed even if I barely managed to get up by 10 AM. My husband comes home from work one morning and I tell him we have to take the kiddos to the clinic. He mumbles something about, "if the van will even start". Talk about my heart wanting to skip a beat. He hadn't told me that the vans catalytic converter had gone out the night before when he was heading to work. Said he didn't want to add to my stress just yet. This was the third part to break down in less than a month. Before that, it had been our emergency break. Followed by the AC. Yep. We had to rig the brakes and drive with the windows down. In triple digit heat. Now this thing breaks! So we sound like an old Harley Davidson. Or like those big trucks that so many Texan men feel they have to drive to compensate for their lacking in other departments. Which is funny when you consider all the times we made fun of those guys... He was driving to or from work once and this guy on a Harley in front of him kept checking his mirror and looking behind him for the other "biker". 

Mental head slap here. 
The kids commented on the sound. I told them to imagine themselves on a big motorcycle with the wind whipping through their hair. Or in a big truck that no one else could touch. My husbands imagination is lacking, but I'm working on him. We can't talk when we drive. Can't hear each other or even ourselves above the wind and loud exhaust sound. Then we went to the part store to have them check the codes. Our Check Engine light is on. As is our Brake Light (though we know why on this one). The codes said we have a gas leak. My husband looks over the van after a new sound started. The fuel pump needs to be replaced. So now the van jerks as well when we drive. 

It is so hard to stay positive right now. After all, if the van breaks down any further, we are completely screwed. No secondary vehicle. No one close by to bum rides off of or borrow a vehicle from. My husband has school Monday - Friday and works 3 nights a week. Which is another reason I have been down. He put in for more work hours since his summer classes are less than the normal semester hours. He can work more nights. But they haven't been scheduling him for more. In fact, one week they didn't schedule him at all. So on top of our normal bills that we are unable to fully meet on his check, we now have other bills pouring in. Surprise! 

Which is about when another surprise came. We had hired a tax lawyer a year ago to fix an issue that the IRS brought up. It had to do with my tax return filed the last year I was married to my ex. He did his job, or that's what we thought, and we moved on feeling confident. Until now. We got word that the issue had not been resolved. I contacted the lawyer for answers and he got back to work. Now he sends me a bill for nearly $200! 

When it rains, it really pours. 

I was so done. I did not want to talk to anyone. Not even the love of my life. Didn't want to care anymore. I told myself I had to take it one day at a time. I tried to figure out what the heck I must have done to deserve all this. Why my life couldn't be what I wanted. I mean, I know people swimming in debt who seem to have happier lives than me. I know of people that have marriages falling apart (though they can't see it) and they are moving up in life like there is no tomorrow. So why aren't we? Here we are trying to obey the rules and live our lives the way God would have us do. Why are we struggling and suffering so much more? I once asked my Dad about that. He told me, "The good die young." The wicked prevail. Good people suffer. Why? Take a look around. The world is full of evil. No good deed goes unpunished. It is not that we can't be just as happy, but that we are put to the test. Will we stay true? Or will we falter and fall into the pattern of everyone else? These trials build our character. They make us stronger and wiser. We make better choices next time. 

Enjoy the view on the mountain top. 
Life comes with highs and lows. Some times it seems that there are more lows than highs. My current life, as a case in point. When we are standing at the high peak, we see endless possibility. We see a beautiful horizon. But when life throws us lemons and things go sour, we are in the valley. Full of shadow. Worries and fears creep closer. Darkness threatens our happiness. These are the moments when we truly have to recall the memory of being on the mountains top. To remind ourselves that things can be better, will be better. That there is another one coming. It seems impossible at times. And there will be times we fall into the darkness of our hearts. When we feel no one can understand what we are going through. When even my child's smile makes me feel inadequate as a Mother. 

These times will pass. 

Good or bad, every thing passes. Nothing is a constant. It took me a couple days to get over it. A couple days to cry myself to sleep and remember that nothing will change with me being in a bad mood. Time to make the best of what we have. Time to remember that things could be worse. And that blessings come when least expected. Like our new lawnmower. Our lawnmower broke down a while back. My husband has been "mowing" the grass with the weed eater. He dreads it. We have a 10'x10' yard. Tiny, right? But in 100+ degrees, it seems like an endless task with the weed eater. Then our neighbor comes over and offers us his electric mower as they are moving and will not have a need for it anymore. God moves in mysterious ways when we aren't looking for it. It won't make everything better, but at least it is one problem fixed on our always-growing list. 

Make the bad parts funny.

I have always been a fan of imagination. Not everyone can use theirs as well as I can, but it doesn't hurt to try. Your mind is a wonderful factory. It can make the worse situations comical, which helps you get through them. We "pretend" that our van is the Harley or the big truck. We laugh at the little things. My husband and I joke about showing up to my in laws in our monster van. He talks about wearing a wife beater and a flannel shirt with the sleeves torn off. Although, he says the icing on the cake would be if it backfired when we parked. I draw a line here. If it dares backfire, we will officially be in the "white trash" category, so I say no. Absolutely not. People can laugh and make fun of how we look. We will be laughing right along with them. This valley won't go on forever. My mountains peak is coming. I just have to get ready to enjoy the view and savor the memory.


  1. Without trials we will never be strong. Without trials we will never appreciate the good times. I have learned what don't kill me makes me stronger. The older you get the harder the trials. Just celebrated 27th anniversary. I remember with our 1st 2 kids we were poor. Dug a stroller out of garbage and fixed it up for 1 kid. Getting Krystals was a treat. But after years of hard work and loving cheap we now have a house paid off and a cushion. That is why your dad offered to help you fix your van. But i understand your husband saying no to help.

    1. We appreciate your help. But it hurts to need it. After all, we were raised to work out and strive for dependence. Doesn't seem to be working though.

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