We made it. Barely.
Truth be told I slid into March 1st with bloodied fingernails, a bruised ego, and a garbage can full of emotions that need to go to the dump. (Figuratively speaking of course.)
Despite my best efforts it's inevitable it seems that February gets the best of me. Maybe it's just February.
It seems unfair in a way, to blame February. It's not really February, after all. As I type this, on March 2nd, it seems almost silly now how utterly upset I was last week at the season. As if the weather singlehandedly was out to insult me. We took a huge dip into single digits again and the sun didn't visit for (what felt like) weeks. Was it days? Why did it seem so horribly long? So dark? So cold? So miserable?
I arrived at my gym on Friday with tears in my eyes. After a solid workout, my head felt better and slightly-less-implody. But it didn't take long for the “seasonal devastation” to wiggle back in.
How do I make this go away?
Do I need more Vitamin D?
More walks in the fresh air?
More exercise? Less exercise?
Was I getting enough sleep? Too much? Would getting up earlier help so that I can have some quiet time?
Does my monthly cycle affect this? How much? When?
Should we go out? Try to do something fun with the kids? I don't want to go anywhere.
Why am I feeling so hopeless about everything?
I arrived at church on Sunday with tears in my eyes. Before service, I greeted my dear friend Audrey. This past year has been indescribably difficult for her and I knew she was a safe soul to confide in about my struggles. Providentially, Audrey was the exact person I needed to talk to right at that moment. I asked her how she made it through her deeply difficult days – the days when the stuff that should bring you joy isn't. When the depth of life swallows you up. How do you turn it around? How do you prevent this from happening?
(I've been through these emotional surges enough to know they pass. I know that. But when you're in the middle of them, you feel helpless. Like you're lost at sea forever.)
Audrey shared with me a quote from a mutually favorite theologian, John Calvin himself, that helped her to make it through those hard days: “It is as if the Lord has assigned us a post, which we must maintain til he recalls us.”
One more time for those in the back.
“It is as if the Lord has assigned us a post, which we must maintain til he recalls us.”
Audrey has been called to a hard post. She lost her young (and positively wonderful) daughter to brain cancer March 11th of last year. She's had to make it through 356 days without her. 356 days of a job assignment she didn't want. 356 days of having to get up, put in her time, and simply be at the post. Audrey explained to me that this concept was deeply comforting to her – to know that it wasn't some grand journey she was on. There wasn't a path out of her pain. There wasn't anything for her to “do” to fix the depth of her grief. It wasn't a problem to solve. There wasn't a missing piece – something she could or couldn't do. It was, instead, a call to be faithful for the post she'd been given. (We'd be silly to think that a God who created the heavens and earth would allow time spent manning a post to return void – that is to say, we are profoundly changed by our act of manning the post – but that's for another day).
I cannot comprehend the pain of what Audrey feels at her post. I'm at mine – I know what that feels like. And you, well, you my friend know yours. We have been called to our own.
The idea that I could simply be at the post. Just there. This lifted the burden I'd been carrying around on my heart these past few weeks unnecessarily almost instantly. Audrey further went on to explain that on her hard days, her job is simply to make it through – to get through the shift. God has called her to man the post of a mother who has lost a child, while simultaneously being a mother who has other children to care for. This is her work. Some days can cut so deeply, the work is just getting through the next five minutes. I don't get to the five-minute-marker very often, but I've been there before. Maybe you have too.
I was given such great comfort from this simple perspective shift: I'm not conquering my ___________, I'm acknowledging what my post is and baring that hard work faithfully.
But first, does this mean we can just sleep on the job and do nothing? Surely not. There's work to be done at our post. It's our assignment, our task.
What does baring that hard work faithfully look like?
For me, minimizing the collateral damage. That means, given my assigned post, I'm not allowed to thrash those around me as if this their fault. That doesn't mean I can't (or don't) share with those around me. My husband is strong and skilled at helping me carry my heavy load. Sharing is one thing. But lashing out is unfaithful to the work at hand. We all know how easily our husbands and kids and friends can get caught in the cross fire. We should not allow any harm to innocent bystanders.
It also means manning the post without grumbling. Without a complaining heart. Don't like the post you've been given? Tell me someone who does. As Stuart often says: it's not that you're not where you should be, it's that you're not who you should be where you are.There is no life without grief, no love without loss, no story without challenge, no gain without burden, no glory without sacrifice. Someone's post is harder than yours, someone's is easier. Yours is harder than someones and simultaneously easier than others. Comparison is unnecessary – your post is yours. You can have no one else's and no one else can have yours. As Jerry Seinfeld hates to say: it is what it is. We should all expect to be changed by our assignments – we cannot man our posts and remain unchanged anymore than a soldier can return from a deployment as the same man who left.
I realize (especially since I sat down originally to right a hopeful post about spring) this may come across as a bit, well, depressing? My apologies if it's so. But I find this understanding of our work to actually be a huge relief.
I don't have to fix my post. Hard as it is, it isn't broken.
Be relieved of the burden, my friend. Of solving it. Fixing it. Changing it.
We can stop fighting it. This is the post where we are meant to be. Your job is simply to be there.
And you're there.
Needed to hear this, thank you.
This was exactly the message I needed to hear! Thank you!!
I feel like you wrote this just for me.
Truly needed this. Very well put. My condolences to your wise and strong friend. Your insights are always appreciated. Bless you both and all.
This is the kind of wisdom that while hard to hear, is also comforting. Thanks for sharing.
This was a balm to my weary heart. Thank you, Shaye.
Oh so beautiful.
And possibly one thing left out: you’re not manning the post alone. The Creator of the universe joins you for breaks. He holds you while you sleep. And he controls what you can’t.
You are never, ever alone.
Beautiful addition to a beautiful blog post.
Today! This is what I needed right
This minute! Thank you
You grumble yet everything has been seemingly handed to you through the many years I’ve followed you- what do you have to be upset about?
I disagree Susan, if you’ve followed her you’ll recall that Shaye has mentioned really struggling early in their marriage financially. She has said they were very poor, and she’s worked hard to create her cooking community and homemaker chic podcast all while taking care of her home, farm and family and putting God first. It’s easy to assume that things have been handed to people, but one should never assume or compare. Give grace, and love as Christ loved us.
If….IF everything was handed to her, perfect, etc – she would still have hard days and it would still be ok to acknowledge those feelings. We’re all humans here and none of are exempt from feelings. You might re-examine the source of yours.
Susan, Shaye has worked diligently through the years to get where she is, and God has indeed given her a special post to man, a post that more often than not includes encouraging others.
One of the main ideas I took from her post today is that we ALL have times that feel hopeless, where our emotions seem almost out of control and too hard to bear. No matter how blessed one’s life might be, we all face discouragement. In fact, the enemy of our souls makes sure to serve that up to us, and we have to do spiritual battle to maintain our joy during the onslaught.
I didn’t perceive her as grumbling so much as that she was stating she had no right to grumble and that the Lord had provided her relief and comfort through her friend.
What do YOU have to be upset about?
Amen to everything you said. It doesn’t matter who you are in this life, young, old, rich poor, rich, famous, etc. As Jesus said, “here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows.” Period.
Susan’s comment is not helpful. I prefer to be supportive instead of judgmental. Many people struggle. Love and light to you, Shaye.
Wow, you are assuming a lot. I know very few people whose lives are easy. Shaye obviously works extremely hard for everything she has
Dear friends responding to Susan, be kind or move on. You don’t know what she’s going through that caused such a reaction. Pray for people and remember that the devil uses such tiny things (like a negative comment on a random blog post) to get us to argue amongst ourselves.
Agreed. Seems overly dramatic to me. To compare herself to someone who LOST A CHILD?
Maria, you totally missed the meaning and intention of the post. She’s allowed to have feelings about her friend’s child. She knew her well and loved her too. She’s not however, saying that is equal to the feelings her friend has. Quite the opposite, she is saying her lot in life may be easier than some and more difficult than others. I don’t understand the cruel intentions of some of these comments. Mind blowing.
Susan, do yourself a favor and stop following the lives of people you clearly judge, without much background to their stories. It makes you look really immature and if you are a Christian, less than charitable.
The internet doesn’t own you. Move on.
Thank you for this post. My 7 year old granddaughter died of brain cancer in December and then my dad passed away 3 weeks later unexpectedly and the pain has been indescribable. Most days I have felt guilty for feeling so sad and lost in my grief. I am trying to move on and have continued with my duties but without joy. I felt like there was something wrong with me as if by being sad I couldn’t accept God’s will for me. God expects me to be sad and it really is ok.
Those are such special things you have shared thank you
We can’t know for sure what another person is going or has gone through, but sometimes in the bitterness and struggle of our hearts, we assume that we do know. I’m sorry that you feel that way, Susan, and I pray the Lord touches you with His love and peace.
My life might be considered “easy” in some ways, but I have struggled with significant depression and anxiety. I haven’t known any devastating abuse or trauma personally, yet I do know what it’s like to feel like I don’t want to face to another day. And I know what it’s like to feel long stretches of sleepless nights and pain and fear and panicking anxiety. And I know what it’s like to feel angry at myself because there was no noticeable and horrible “reason” for that! And yet the Lord’s grace is sufficient for me… he has led me through some difficult times and proven himself trustworthy and we keep growing. ❤️
Susan, this is the kind of comment that tears people down. It is not helpful to the conversation. It should be deleted.
Thank you Shaye for this post! It encouraged my husband and I so much this morning as we “man our difficult post” of waiting for a much needed job change. <3
Thank you for this message and perspective. I too needed it ❤️ Well said and amen.
Pain and grief is subjective, we can not judge others’ hurt or know their circumstances. Shaye’s comments, and what I read as words of encouragement, are for anyone. I am grateful for this. Love one another.
Audrey Blankenship Graves
I feel ya, hun. I’ve been through seasons such as this, and it feels like way too many times. But, I’m not the one that gets to decide how many refining moments God will place me in, nor how many there’ll be. And I’ve finally come to be at peace with that.
As I commented on your fb post, I’ve been there myself for much longer than I care to admit this time around.
When you’re struggling with the pain that comes from having estranged adult children, and helping your 4 younger children navigate their own confusion, anger and hurt from that estrangement, it can suck the life out of your soul. Add on to that the stresses we’re all going through in the AG industry, and it takes its toll on you.
You find out just how strong you are, and how strong your relationship with God is when you can gather the strength to get through just one more minute… just one more day… just one more week. And then you finally realize just how strong God is, and that He’s carrying you through.
Thank you for this – I have been feeling the exact same thing for at least the past six months, and it has been exhausting. I am praying for you and for Aubrey, as well as for your whole families. The Calvin quote is uplifting. I’ve personally been reading a lot of Spurgeon, Chesterton, and Hannah Whitall Smith, and it’s done much for my mental wellbeing. I would recommend “The God of All Comfort” to you and Aubrey
Wow. How exquisitely you have written about this high calling in life: to endure, to press on…to walk through the valley.Thank you and Audrey for reminding us of Calvin’s wisdom and that perfect imagery. In the midst of your own struggle, you have bolstered many with your words, Shaye. Prayers for the perseverance.
Last summer my 2 sons went out on the boat and only 1 came back. Both grieving and grateful has been my post the past 9 months and it has been hard to maintain the balance. Thank you so much for this. It helps me more than you know.
I am so very sorry for your loss. There are no words to assuage that kind of grief.
Thank you Melody that’s so kind
So sorry to hear of this horrible loss! My prayers are with you!!
Kate..I am so deeply sorry for you loss. Ten months ago, we lost our precious 17 month old daughter, Charis Noelle. It’s been extremely difficult. The dichotomy of grief and joy is inexplainable. My grief overwhelms me most days, but the joy of knowing I will see her again brings me comfort and joy. The balance is so hard indeed. Praying for you, Mama!
I am glad to know it isn’t just me! The anticipation of Valentine’s day being the one year anniversary of mom passing and not knowing our 91 year old dad would be was rough, but it was horrible after. I didn’t want to be with anyone, including myself! I was just so out of sorts.
I do not agree with Calvin’s pre-destination concept, but I am glad it brings you peace. Much love <3
Thank you for sharing, Shaye. I so needed to hear this. I have a 16 month old and another baby due in May. I love motherhood and homemaking, but man…is it challenging. Thank you for reminding me that this season of mothering littles is my post to man. God bless you!
You have no idea how timely and needed this post is for me right now. Thank you for the honesty and the encouragement. My post to man hasn’t been easy the past few months, but I will continue to maintain it. Thank you for this! ♥️
I love reading through your comments that I’m not the only one who really needed this. Does it necessarily take away all of the stress and all of the worry? Certainly not, but your words and accepting the is-ness of it all helps me regain a sense of power. Shaye, you have literally changed my life, thank you for everything that you gift to all of us, we are all truly blessed xoxo
Marta Montenegro Martin
Thank you so much for posting this. I had that sinking feeling today … and I wonder, is it the weight of everything going on AROUND our post? Its been 2 years of pandemics, separations, stress, anxiety, and now the possibility of nuclear war. I lived my life freely during these past two years, but the stress, sadness, anxiety were all around me. They were palpable. There is only so much we can take before we get weary. But then, lets not forget, Christ is with us. At our post. For which we were created. Thanks again for sharing.
I am reading this after doing my Bible study for today on confidence and endurance. Yes… We have our post to man or lane to run in. We have to press on, even if we have a horrible leg cramp and it is raining. Just, keep going forward because God has a good plan and our reward is worth it. February was tough for me, too. Actually, the last several months have been. I’m working to find the help I need, and learning to grow in what jobs God has for me (rather than what I think everyone else thinks I should be doing).
I am reading this after doing my Bible study for today on confidence and endurance. Yes… We have our post to man or lane to run in. We have to press on, even if we have a horrible leg cramp and it is raining. Just, keep going forward because God has a good plan and our reward is worth it. February was tough for me, too. Actually, the last several months have been. I’m working to find the help I need, and learning to grow in what jobs God has for me (rather than what I think everyone else thinks I should be doing). Let’s all do our best.
Thank you for sharing your heart Shaye! The Lord used it to encourage mine!
I’m not one to usually comment, but I just had to say thank you for sharing this. I’ve been quite overwhelmed lately and this is just what I needed to hear. It goes right alongside what the Lord reminded me of this morning when my children and I were studying the story of Job for our Bible reading. His faithful words were such a comfort: “For I know that my Redeemer lives, and at the last He will stand upon the earth. And after my skin has been thus destroyed, yet in my flesh I shall see God.” I suddenly was overcome by the grace of God in giving us His all-sufficient Word. It truly is what we need for every hurt and every trial!
As someone who succumbs to depression every summer in Deep South TX, thanks for the reminder.
The problem is that some times, i simply don’t like my post.
There are a lot of things happening all at the same time and it can simply be overwhelming.
We are living in dangerous times here in Europe and we need to be in a state of alert for pretty much everything.
Still, i try not to complain.
May God strengthen and bless us all.
Didn’t know I needed to hear this, but definitely did! As a former Army sergeant, I totally get this. It takes courage, resilience and fortitude to hold the line. Praying for all of you!
Nikki Lynn - The Faithful Farmer Momma
❤️ I too am trying to man my post! Thank you for sharing this Shaye. So many think it isn’t right to be down or sad and always want to make ya joyful and happy. Sometimes we just need to man our post. ❤️
This was really needed today. Going through pregnancy nausea (my first) and for someone in the health realm it’s been frustrating. Going through all the “do this” and “not this” stuff and still puking through the day causing me not to be able to get to work. Just giving up the control like you talked about and just being strong through the post is very encouraging. Thank you for writing such an honest post that encouraged me to just be strong and that’s all that is needed.
Wow, I needed to hear this! I’ve been in the same frame of mind lately as well. Thank you!
Life is filled with ups and downs. These last two years have been so difficult for many.
I hear the birds singing, I see the bright blue skies and yet I feel stuck unable to acknowledge this new season. It seems that love and kindness has disappeared. Has the internet and the media turned us into judgmental uncaring people?
My Mom died in 09/20, my Dad died in 12/20, their house was sold, possessions divided to me and my siblings. Maybe we didn’t grieve enough since we couldn’t gather. Then the great divide between me and my siblings over vaccines and political views and to wake up in a World that seems familiar and yet so very different.
Maybe I can’t figure this out, maybe I’m just suppose to be still and be. Thank you for this post. I needed to hear it. I send blessings to you and a cyber hug. You are loved. You are a child of God. BTW I need the above photo. It is so beautiful. New life, a rebirth. Simply beautiful.
❤️ May God’s love fill you up with peace and hope.
My Mom died 10/20, officially making me and my siblings adult orphans. It has been incredibly hard for me to lose her so unexpectedly. There she was until she wasn’t. In addition to missing her, it made me realize that I was no longer someone’s daughter, already having lost the title of someone’s granddaughter about a decade prior. I’m still manning that post, reflecting on family and legacy, wishing, in ways, to go back in time. Certainly wishing the world wasn’t the way it is, unpredictable and angry. It is hard to reconcile this imagery with the beautiful aspects of life.
Thank you, I Struggle with discontentment. Constantly wondering Is it that or do I need to fix something?…. I’ll just man my post. Your an answer to prayer, your an inspiration. I needed this.
“Peace I leave with you, my peace I give to you, not as the world gives, do I give to you… Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.” I’ve been quoting that to myself a lot, lately. There is a lot going on around us, but God has all things in his hand.
When you have anxiety or depression, certain times of the year, certain things we face, bring those feelings to the forefront. I know because I have BEEN THERE and it’s TOUGH. And I still have to battle it. It is somewhat irrelevant what exactly we’re facing, but we still have to learn the Lord’s peace and contentment and the faith to face the road the Lord has us walk!
Thanks for the encouraging post.
Shae…thank you for this. I’m manning my post, and I lift you up in prayer to be strong in yours.
You make me want to try harder and push myself farther.
I don’t know you, but I owe you a great deal, my friend.
I sat down to read this after a day of lashing out at my kid because of exactly this type of struggle. Winter is tough on us man. Winter and the devil, they’re after us. Praying for all you fellow women warriors
Amen. And amen.
You are lovely. A wonderful example and a woman I admire. Sorry you’re going through a difficult time. Thank you for sharing. Saying a prayer for you tonight. Much love to you.
Thank you for writing this! My post right now is caring for my husband who has stage 4 metastatic melanoma. Difficult indeed!!
I discovered your YouTube channel recently whilst searching through gardening videos. Finding you, reading your beautiful writing and wise words are indeed a gift, for you have helped me in more ways than you could ever know. You see my darling son, whom has been unwell for his entire life due to a rare genetic disorder has recently become seriously ill. I have been completely lost and finding it so hard to put one foot in front of the other. Reading this tonight across the big pond, has helped me have a different perspective. So I thank you so much Shaye and thank you to your beautiful friend Audrey. God bless you both and your families.
Elizabeth Meeks Hornback
Wisdom, wisdom, wisdom! Thank you, Shaye!
So. Beautifully. Written.
I am going to do my very best to remember these words the next time I try to kick my Cross down the road.
Shay, this is an incredibly beautiful + relieving truth. So thankful you were vulnerable and shared this, it is really going to be something I come back to for help. Bless you and your family, you inspire me so much and I just love watching your content.
I firmly believe in the sovereign providence of God. That’s the only way I get through the hard things . My post has been a difficult one for about the last 5 years so it’s a season of suffering for me. I know that it is not for nothing ; that it’s a time of refining for me. My humanness says it’s hard and why have you put me at this post Lord? I know it is meant for my good and His glory. Thanks for speaking this out loud . May the Lord bless thee and keep thee
This is an absolutely lovely post. Thank you.
Dear Shaye, thank you for your honesty and transparency, and your incredible gift of writing. Your words were a balm to my soul and helped me describe my current place in life, that before has seemed indescribable. I pray your burdens are lighter and God is near to you during times like this. Blessings!