Dishes Won’t Wash Themselves!
A tribute to the mil spouse whose service member just deployed.
Your servicemember just left? You have little kids that rely on you? Away from family and friends? Well, please do me a favor right now… I want you to throw off every single expectation that you have placed on yourself. Do it now. Take a deep breath and repeat after me. Say out loud… “I give myself permission to not have it all together, and that’s more than ok! I give myself grace in this difficult time. I will not beat myself up because the house isn’t clean, or because the children won’t get a bath tonight. This is but a moment, and it will pass.”
Mental Health Tip: Box Breathing I encourage you to take 2 minutes to do some deep box breaths to help you relax (somewhat). Inhale deep through your nostrils (if they aren’t stuffed with snot) for at least 10 seconds and hold your breath. Feel the air in your lungs. Then exhale slowly out your mouth, and then repeat 3-4x. Be in the moment.
When your loved one leaves, it is emotionally taxing to say the least. The stress and anxiety alone, take a physical toll on your body. It can be debilitating to the point where you can no longer take care of yourself the way you ought to. It’s like you’re searching for air to breathe. It’s as if the separation alone feels like they have died, even though that’s not true obviously; but it’s the trauma of being separated and the weight of it all. The possibility that they might not even return home. It kills you. We weren’t meant to do life without our loved one. Kids weren’t meant to do life without their parent(s). It’s hard on everyone and affects everyone differently. I wish I could take this from you and make it go away, truly.
You might be thinking, “yeah well Elyse life doesn’t stop just because they leave! The dishes won’t wash themselves! My kids still need me to be mom or dad here! I must keep going, even when all I want to do is hide in a ball on my bed and disappear!” I get it. It’s not easy. You’re grieving, not just for you but for your children. You’re hurting. You’re broken. Your world feels dark right now. There are a couple of things I’d like to bring to the table here.
First off, give yourself time. You are doing a good job. Be in the moment. Be in the moment with your kids. Give yourself time to “adjust,” in these first couple of weeks. Pause and take a big box breath. Nothing has to be done right at this minute, take all expectations and chuck them out the window. You are doing a great job mama/dad!
Honestly just that first week alone, leading up to sending your loved one off is excruciating! The goodbye, it drains your soul, I swear. Then you rip the Band-Aid off and say goodbye, thinking, “surely this will feel better soon, right?” Give it time. Order some take-out. Eat the ice-cream. Leave the dishes for a night. Go for a drive. Go shopping. Whatever it is that can help you relieve some of this crushing weight. Have a moment.
Adjust Your Sails
He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm. He said to his disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?” They were terrified and asked each other, “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!” Mark 4:39-41 (NIV)
It's funny because I can actually see myself and my lack of faith in the Lord’s disciples so often. There was this huge storm happening (much like our situation, a big storm) and the disciples were terrified, and when they ran down to Jesus, they were shocked to find him sleeping! “Yo, wake up Jesus, how can you be sleeping? We’re going to die!!!” That’s how I hear them in my head. You know what absolutely shocked me though, was reading this scripture again, I could almost feel how irritated the Lord was. Like, “how dare you wake me, from my PEACEFUL sleep?” So he gets up and shuts up the storm, and turns to his friends and says, “why are YOU so afraid? Do you still have NO faith?” This part cuts me to the heart every time.
Jesus was able to see the storm for what it was. He had a perspective that often times we lack.
It’s easy to lack when we are laser focused on our pain. It’s ok to have a moment and be in that sadness, but it’s not ok to remain there every single day, to the point you can no longer function. If that's the case, I recommend counseling. No shame, I've been here myself too. Sometimes we need outside help, and that's more than ok!
Every day I’m praying, “Lord help me have great faith to trust in you, even when I don’t know all the why’s-you do, and that is good enough for me! Give myself and my children perspective, to see this storm through your eyes Lord. That we could lie down in peace and take our rest in you fully. In your presence Lord everything changes. Take these emotions that come in waves, and give us something steady in your Word, to be ever so rooted in. You alone Lord are good, and through the hard times, and through the good times- every mountain and every valley, I will CHOOSE to praise you. You are good. You are holy. Be high and lifted up in my life! Fill me with your life-giving power, fill my children. Less of me and more of you Lord. Amen!
With that said, Adjust your sails military spouse. You can sink, or adjust and swim. Not just swim- but adjust and set sail to new things, good things. May the dreams God put inside of you come to fruition! The Lord will never leave you nor forsake you. He will not let you sink. You are worthy and you are everything to Him. Trust Him in the process. Cling to Him. Draw close to Him. He will cause you to flourish.