a week away + real life struggles

We had a wonderful little getaway last week to the Beaver's Bend area {in southeastern Oklahoma}. It was so good to leave work behind for a few days. I don't know if it's because I'm getting old or have more kids, but vacations and breaks feel better than they ever have before. :)

I know it's life with a new baby, but I've been so tired lately and it's affected me in every way. I think getting to a quiet place was good for my soul. I needed to recover. :) 

For 2.5 days straight, I did nothing but make {and eat} food and sit around while the kids played outside. :)

We picked a sweet little cabin and even with a special deal, we paid a little more than we normally would for a few special kid features. 

Specifically this treehouse, mountain trails, a horse tire swing, and a hot tub:

And the kitchen was fully stocked with dishes and supplies {though I still brought my Keurig, hahahah!}. We made spaghetti, popcorn chicken, and had lots of fun kid things like Lucky Charms. :)

I spent most of the time in here by the fire listening to worship music and reading. It was perfect. :)

Zane liked it too:

And we ended the week at my mom's house. This was the one time we did anything remotely active {and it was hard!}:

Biking 6 miles of hills surprisingly wasn't the pleasure cruise I thought it would be, but we had fun sweating it out too. The plus side of going up steep hills is that you get to coast downhill really fast!

Zane has been extremely restless at night for the past couple of months, and he was back to his restless ways by the time we went to my mom's house on Thursday, so by the time we were home Sunday I was totally exhausted after not sleeping again. I just felt so discouraged to come back to another week feeling the same way I had when I left.

And then {my hero} Rob came to the rescue, and even though he has to go to work, he has been taking the first shift with the baby so I can sleep for a few hours. On Monday, I woke up after 4 hours of straight sleep for the first time since he was born, and I can't tell you how thrilled I was to sleep that long!! :) Thank you, Lord God, for my sweet husband who was willing to stay up for his exhausted wife. 

I am so thankful for the rest and honestly, even more for the time I got to spend with Jesus this last week. It's back to regular life again, and I'm fighting to make it to summer. I know I have it easy compared to so many people, but it feels like this everyday life stuff is hard right now.

It's kind of at that bootcamp point where you want to quit but you really don't get a choice. You keep going, even when you feel like throwing up and falling on the ground. :) It won't last forever and you know it so you keep moving, doing the next thing. You set your eyes ahead of you and make each foot move one step at a time. :)

This is a season, and my goal is to focus on spending more time praising God even when I am overwhelmed and don't feel like it. I want my eyes to set their focus on Jesus, the author and perfecter of my faith, you know? He is teaching me, sanctifying me, and convicting me of my sin in these hard things, and it's good.

I'm so thankful for the Word of God, and even more so when things aren't easy. The Psalms are such a comfort to me because they remind me of how God relates to His people in both joy and in trials. I shared this on Facebook the other day, and I need to remind myself of it again today. :)

If you're walking through afflictions or hard things and you are a believer in Christ Jesus, know today that God is there with you! He is faithful!

I believe from Psalm 119 that He gives us afflictions in this life for lots of different reasons- so that we can learn to walk in His way, so that we will trust in His Word, so that we rely on His promises and learn of His love and faithfulness:

Psalm 119:50:
This is my comfort in my affliction,
that your promise gives me life.

verse 67: Before I was afflicted I went astray,
but now I keep your word.

verse 71: It is good for me that I was afflicted,
that I might learn your statutes.

verse 75: I know, O Lord, that your rules are righteous,
and that in faithfulness you have afflicted me.

verse 92: If your law had not been my delight,
I would have perished in my affliction.

verses 105-108: 
Your word is a lamp to my feet
and a light to my path.
I have sworn an oath and confirmed it,
to keep your righteous rules.
I am severely afflicted;
give me life, O Lord, according to your word!
Accept my freewill offerings of praise, O Lord,
and teach me your rules.

The Lord is always good- ALWAYS faithful, and He can always be trusted. Even when we're hurting and grieving He is there, and His purposes will prevail. We don't have to understand "why" to trust His Word and offer Him praise in the meantime. If you are afflicted today, study His Word and meditate on His righteous rules and faithfulness and sing His praise with worship, and His Spirit will bring you comfort.

And if you need to confess your sin or lack of trust, do it- don't delay! There is nothing that won't be revealed in the end, sweet friend. Don't let it hinder your heart from knowing and seeking after the Lord. He is worth far more than all else this world offers you. Seek Him with all your heart and He will not turn you aside.

And if you want to know Him but don't know what holds you back, ask Him to reveal your sin to you and when He does, REPENT from your sin. Holding on to our sin keeps us from approaching the throne of grace. It's never worth it, I promise you that. Seek Jesus with all your heart. Love Him with all your soul. Turn from your sin and humble yourself before God, and ask Him to teach you His righteous rules so that you may obey His Word. Because of the sacrifice of the Lord Jesus, our God will do it in us- He is faithful, and He will give life according to His word!"

I'm so thankful our God gives life to our soul, and even when we are weary and feel like giving up, He will give us the strength to keep going. :) 

It is so very good to know He has a plan for us. Even when life feels like bootcamp, He is there and we can find find hope in His Word at all times. That's what I'm clinging to right now. :)

How was your week? I feel like it's been forever! :)

Are you in a "bootcamp" season right now too? :) What motivates you? 

What's your favorite Psalm?
I love Psalm 34, 119, 27, and 145...okay, okay- all of them, hehehe. :)


  1. After 3 years of battling prostate cancer and seemingly beating it, we found out last week that my Dad is beginning a new journey with colon cancer. I've been clinging to God's Word ever since I found out about the diagnosis, it's been my life line. In Him I find that place where the light of hope is greater than the darkness of my greatest fear and I find rest in the knowledge that even though our circumstances are bigger than we are, God is bigger than they are! I just wanted to say thank you for being transparent today and sharing your heart. These verses have added even more encouragement as we start this journey with my Dad once again. Whether he chooses to heal my Dad here on earth or heal him victoriously with a new body in heaven, we are choosing to praise Him in this storm. Two verses I've clung to are: "The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in him, and I am helped: therefore my heart greatly rejoiceth; and with my song will I praise him." Psalm 28:7 and "When my heart is overwhelmed; Lead me to the ROCK that is higher than I." - Psalm 61:2

    Thanks again for sharing! God bless you and your sweet family!

    Susan Taylor (NYC)

  2. Oh yes!!! In general it has been a hard season with a 3year-old, a 16month-old, 6 months pregnant and searching for a home to move in the next two months! But right now on top of that I have two sick kids with a virus that does not seem to want to leave any time soon!!! And it looks like I may have caught it too. I'm just trying to take things really slow, resting as much as I can and doing the bare minimal at home. Once we all get better I can start putting things back in order. But what has helped me recently is taking my time to enjoy sweet moments of day-to-day with my kids, instead of just focusing on what needs to be done!

  3. I am with you on the sleepless nights. My 13 month old has been very restless and doesn't seem to do much actual SLEEPING at all in the night. Thank you for this post. I have a 5- and 3-year-old also, and struggling a little to get through the day keeping my patience etc. *YAWN*

  4. Mandy I LOVE that version! Is it ESV? Also, have you tried young living essential oils? The peace and calming as well as lavender has helped my kiddos soooo much and this mommy too! Gentle baby would be great for Mr. Zane. I am getting it for my lil buddy. check this out. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0RcdXOjul-U&list=PL957EBF0C99F30797
    Sarah B.

  5. I loved reading this! Inspiring! I am in an long-term substitute position at my preschool for high risk children at the most difficult classroom and I am struggling. I won't be done until the 20th of May... and I feel this way, though thank goodness I am getting sleep. :) This looks like a sweet little vacation spot! My husband and I were lucky enough to take a road trip from Kansas to New Orleans and back. We really enjoyed walking around the city together and trying the fun foods! It was very laid back, miles of walking, but so great. It was a much needed break for us too. I am going to keep this location in mind for the future though! :) -Alexandra

    Simply Alexandra: My Favorite Things

  6. Hi Mandy!
    I can't believe how close this post is to what I've been trying to get into my head and heart this week! Psalm 119:71 was one of my verses! God lets us go through certain situations because He knows where growth is needed in our lives. So often we can't see it when we're in it! I have been going to counseling for family issues that have haunted me for years and this post just came up alongside what my studies have been about. God never, ever ceases to amaze me at how He brings things like that to be. :') Thank you so much for sharing! It's so encouraging that, even tho we come from two different walks of life (I have no little ones yet!), faith in God and His Son as Savior relates us to each other!
    I'll pray that God gives you more opportunities to catch up on that much needed rest - like the blessing from your hubby!
    God bless,

  7. I also have a very restless 8 month old. I never knew what tired was befor my daughter was born. And she's my only one - can't imagine how it must feel to have more! :) It's very encouraging to know my little one isn't the only one not sleeping. It seems like everyone else's sleep straight through the night. I guess ours just want extra snuggles.

    1. Sophie from FranceApril 2, 2014 at 2:28 AM

      I have six children and none slept before 6 months (yepee!) and 1 year ! You're not alone! Courage, one day they end up sleeping, I promise!

  8. I needed your verses today...God bless you

  9. Right now in this season I keep meditating on John 1:1. I love the fact that "In the beginning..." meaning before:my fears, worries, concerns, tiredness...ever came along, He was--and still Is--and forever Will Be. I have found so much comfort in meditating on His presence before life wore me out temporarily.

    Your blog is beautiful. I clicked over here from Pinterest to print your lovely Day Planner. Thank you for creating it and offering it as a gift. It looks exactly like what I have been looking for.

  10. Looks like such a peaceful getaway. Thank you for sharing these verses. I can totally relate and I'll be praying for you during this season.

  11. What is with these boys of ours and sleeping? Owen is so restless at night. I feel like the problem might be that during the day he plays so hard that he only takes quick nurses. At night in the dark when there is nothing to do he realizes he is hungry and just wants to eat. Then he eats and eats. I am so tired some days I actually am having trouble functioning. I don't think it has helped that my mom has been going through breast cancer treatments. They live next door and I feel responsible for her. Cooking meals for her and my dad and cleaning. Did I mention I am just so tired?

  12. http://24.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_lq4ws1EZq21qf4qpho1_500.jpg - I wish I could post images to you but your situation with your little guy made me think of this! Been through that with my ten month boy, he just started sleeping through the night again two nights ago, praise the Lord! My husband and I woke up in the morning and asked each other if the other person had been up with the kids, neither of us had, and then we smiled. :) ...it's the little things!!

  13. Love your scriptures today. Pinned one and copied the other for myself. =)

  14. Stephanie ToepelApril 2, 2014 at 9:01 PM

    Mandy, you sweet and precious lady, I'm keeping you in my prayers. When I read that you were happy with a solid four-hours of sleep, my heart sank. I begin to pray for you for some deep inner rest and peace. I'm praying for little Zane to sleep solid and I'm praying for the daddy to get his sleep also. I know the Bible says rest and sleep are a blessing and is good for the soul, so please know it is coming. Sound, deep sleep will be given to you and restlessness will no longer enter your household. I pray it and declare in Jesus name. Rest. <3

  15. Mandy, I have read your blog for a few months now, but this is my first time commenting. We are in the same stage of life, the same age, the same amount and age of kids. I too and a mom of five and I am in this same season right now. My baby just turned one and is still waking during the night, but it is now starting to get better. You are right, the lack of sleep will make so much difference. And it means that the days are left for the mere basics, but even that feels like way too much. I have wondered how in the world I will make it to the end of the day, let alone the end of my life with all the children feeling the way I do sometimes. BUT, God is very truly faithful and he is teaching me so much. Humbling me, showing me where I was prideful and wrong about so many things. Teaching me that it is not wrong to care for myself, that I NEED to do those things that bring joy and also needed to let certain things go. I pray you are strengthened during this time. Much love to you. Rebekah

  16. Beaver's Bend is wonderful and not very far from us! I am a mother of five, too, ages 13 down to 1. It is draining dealing with the range of ages and stages. Homeschooling adds even more on top of regular stresses with parenting. I just finished a nice book about this that I think you might enjoy ~ Treasuring Christ When Your Hands Are Full by Gloria Furman. See my review here: http://rsohmystars.blogspot.com/2014/04/a-mothers-hands-are-always-full.html. However tired and weary I feel, there is nothing else I would want to be doing :)


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