Saturday, January 29, 2011

The Power of Space, the Value of Things.

There are too many things in my life. They don’t only clutter up our limited living space, they clutter up my mind and feed the anxiety monster living within me. This monster only comes out to play when I am tired, run down, stressed out or have been cooped up for far too long during a Wisconsin winter. Darn anxiety monster knows when I am weak.

Pregnancy is always a great blessing for me because I have difficult pregnancies, which seem to increase in difficulty with their number. This may sound like a cross, but I can’t view it that way because I get far too much out of the experience to label it anything but positive and fruitful. I have grown (in many ways!) and learned so much about myself and my relationship each time we’ve been blessed with life.

This pregnancy has been hard. Really hard. Although I’m not sick from second pink line to delivering a pink little baby as I have been in the past, I am having many of the issues usually associated with 35 plus weeks pregnant at 26 weeks. I currently have a kidney infection, my blood pressure is up and I’m spilling protein. I’ve taken these things as a reminder to slow down and give myself a break.

When you’re a working mama, “break” is not generally in your vocabulary. There are too many things to take care of, keep up with and clean. Being blessed with the gift of being uncomfortable has given me some time to reflect and discern what our needs as a family really are.

The truth is, many of the things that need to be picked up and cleaned don’t really need to be in our living space at all. The children don’t need bins and bins of toys and I don’t need to keep every book I’ve ever read or every memento I’ve saved throughout my life.

These things aren’t just cluttering up our home. They feed the anxiety monster within me and when they run out of space in our home, they set up camp in my heart – stealing room in my soul that’s intended for honest and true things such as my relationships, dreams and faith.

In other cultures; three generations of a family live in the same amount of space we are currently calling home. It is written on a wife and mother’s heart to make a home for her family in whatever space they are living. It’s a spiritual gift ingrained within every women. Some cook great meals, some have a knack for decorating and the best of us make our homes comfortable for not only our family members, but for any visitor who knocks on the door. We desire for all who enter to feel as if our home is their home and as women we use our individual gifts to do so.

I was allowing things to steal this gift from me and turn me into a crabby mess, complaining about the space itself rather than what I am – or am not – doing with the space. This negativity was robbing me of the joys of family life in my home, and I was allowing it.

Pregnancy brings the gift of life into the heart of a family is so many different ways. For me, it’s complications have blessed me by lifting the fog in my spiritual life and reminding me that God’s granted me with the choice of how I view my life and my vocation. Tough times of stress and uncertainly are difficult when the temperature reads -4, the snow is falling and a family is cooped up in a small space. But isn’t time a beautiful gift! It is my choice, my vocation, to view this time of waiting for the new life of spring and the new life in our family as a period of preparation. We wait in anticipation and with joyful, not cluttered, hearts for the flowers to bloom and for our daughter to be born alongside the rebirth of the season of life.

In order to open our hearts and create the space for this joy, we knew there was only one thing we could do. We purged. We sold fifty percent of our DVD and book collections - only keeping classics appropriate to family life and our beliefs. We donated several bins of children’s toys and clothing and cleared a lot of space in our lives. I don’t miss a thing we banished from our home. Our wallets and our hearts are richer.

Our piles of things we sold to Half-\Price Books. The lady who paid me said she had never done a sale so big!

Tessa is all about babies right now. She has taken to building cribs out of legos for Mary and the Baby Jesus and "tucking them into bed" at night. We packed up the toys and clothing of the girls' to donate while they were sleeping and they have not noticed a thing missing!


Kara said...

Too cute! Where did you get those dolls? Adorable. I know what you mean about clutter. I'm battling all of that currently, too. Good luck with everything and I hope you feel better. High BP is not fun! Been there, done that ;(

Katie said...

Great post! Decluttering is SO cathartic. It's funny how something that only appears to leave you with a visual change really changes your inner self - that dumping physical things really opens you up for spiritual growth.

Hang in there with the pregnancy! I had a bad UTI with one that took a couple rounds of antibiotics to finally get gone. We'll continue to pray for you and your family! Love ya!

Kathleen@so much to say said...

Crisis times are often blessings because they burn away the chaff, but that doesn't make them any easier to get through. Prayers and hugs.

Roxane B. Salonen said...

Holly, we both posted about space this week! I have to say, that photo of your daughter is precious. She's beautiful. A couple years you'll be snapping a similar picture of your new baby. All of this will be behind you -- the discomforts of pregnancy. Hang in there, keep Mary close. It IS hard, but you are taking part in a miracle. Sending up prayers that you get relief soon so you can enjoy your days a little more. XXOO, Roxane