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  • Writer's pictureMollie Talbot

Step-motherhood, justification, laziness. How do we stay awake?

In this moment I am drenched in sweat as I write. Not the pretty kind or the gathering of moisture at my bra line from a vigorous, endorphin slamming work-out, not from a hike or any of the other outdoorsy things that inspire my soul- but from laying on a towel. . . in a swimsuit. . . in the sun.

I have been a MESS recently; one of unchecked selfishness, frustration with my selfishness and the inevitable isolation that follows. My step-son is here and with that comes mental spiritual warfare whispering that no matter what good I do with the rest of my year, it’s cancelled out by the ugliness that rears its head in these two summer months. I have been TIRED, emotionally and physically. I have withdrawn from the intentional way of living that gives me life under the guise of “self-care.” Justification has taken such deep root in my soul that I’ve binged an entire season of Grey's Anatomy in two weeks. Maybe that doesn’t sound like a lot but to a full time mother of a one year old and a ten year old who doesn’t normally watch much TV unless its with her husband- it saddens me. Where have I found the time to do this? And at what cost? I haven’t written, I haven’t read, and yet I have been sitting on these pillar truths from Jesus recently. Just sitting in my fatigue waiting for something to come of them.

This past year I underwent more growth than I have in my life and that’s including a hellish season of being completely stripped of my identity as an addict and rebuilt as a daughter of God- so that’s saying a lot. Opportunities were breathed over me that I had only dreamt of, speaking my truth and Jesus’ redemption of my life in front of nearly 100 women, being offered a leadership position within a church ministry, sharing my story on a podcast, ghost-writing a BOOK! These are things that my soul craved before I knew how to put them into words let alone into motion. The words of Esther 4:14 in this season of growth were my talisman and mantra- not just to recite in low times to draw encouragement, but words that shook me to physical action. Sending emails, details of my story and redemption to strangers, reaching out to people making an impact for Jesus and saying “Hey, will you help me? I want to reach people for Jesus too,” reading my bible and praying and writing and living a fully present, inspired life.

But this past month I have settled into stagnancy offering excuses and self-talk of “I’m exhausted” and “summers are just crazy with Kyle working so much and Brady here” “I need to recuperate so I wont write today.” Truly convinced all the while that I was making the right decisions! Self-care is important to a mother, a friend, a wife, and someone who has a desire to shepherd others, right?

SO I lay in the sun, in a pool of my own sweat and call it just that; “self-care.” Last week and the week before, you could’ve found me doing just this with my headphones in watching Grey's while Banks slept and Brady suffered through independent play time. And inevitably, when I heard the coos of my slowly waking gift from God, disappointment hit. Why didn’t I feel recharged at all? I was able to shut my brain down and that was the goal. Why wasn’t it working?

Turns out that at this time, I’m just not called to stagnancy or shutting down So when I dive into it, I come up desperate for the only air that satisfies. His.

Change is slow, the enemy loves to operate in justification. I see that more than ever in my addictions. Needing a fifth of vodka before 4pm to function every day isn’t something you’re thrown into overnight. It’d kill you. The fact that home-brewing and enjoying craft beers turned into this over a span of years in my life shows the power the enemy holds in justifying just a little more sin here and there. “It’s a special occasion, shots are warranted.” “Its just a little bit earlier than yesterday.” “You look mysterious and intriguing if you’re the only girl who orders Jameson on the rocks.” Or maybe you just look like a trainwreck.

It’s fair to say that the same freaking things can happen with Netflix. With saying “I just need to shut down for a little while, Mommy is really tired” or “I deserve a TV binge day, the things God’s encouraged me to do will be there tomorrow.” And maybe you’re one of the people who can truly allow that one day and charge back into life more fully the following. More power to you. I’m just not there yet.

So speaking of slow change. I didn’t take Meredith Grey with me today as I donned my swimsuit and headed outside to sit in my own filth. I took a book I randomly bought while checking out at Hobby Lobby because the author is the speaker at our church’s upcoming women’s conference. I made a vow yesterday to take advantage of Brady being in VBS all week- Banks and I went on a walk in the morning, I tried to write during his nap time, unsuccessfully but hey, I wrote. I felt energized when Kyle came home and we were able to spend time as a family during the day. Annnnnd then. . . my sweet infant woke up four times last night, and then Kyle didn’t shut the door to the bathroom and my clingy Maine Coon woke me up a fifth time with hot cat breath in my face and then this morning Kyle left Banks in a dirty diaper, didn’t empty the bathroom trash and didn’t replace the trash bag in the kitchen. The frustration and fatigue and selfishness returned with a vengeance, I deserved a lazy day. But by goodness, if I didn’t have two stories posted to Instagram by 9am. The fact that I opted for this book over my cell phone and Netflix is a Lazarus level miracle by Jesus himself. And here I sit in my swimsuit writing with the fluidity I’ve lacked the past couple weeks and the heart and vulnerability to back it. All because Jesus, through Lisa Bevere said to this exhausted mom, wife, sister, friend, and Christ follower, “You are DANGEROUS when fully awake” and then asked “Will you, like the fierce lioness, awaken from a tranquilized state and rise up to defend your family, your community, your world? Are you awake?”

My answer is yes. Lord help keep me here.

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