Growing Experiences We Don’t Want

Right now I’m going through a growing experience I don’t want, and I haven’t blogged about it because I’m struggling to talk positively about it. “I don’t want this situation,” I keep thinking, keep telling my husband and God, but so far no rope ladder has dropped from the sky to rescue me. What does an inspirational writer who writes about her own life say in such a situation? Just this: I don’t want this, but ultimately it will be good for me, because in order to survive, I have to grow.

What is this situation that has me spouting negativity from my first waking moments these days?

Outwardly, it’s embarrassingly mundane.

I’m in Texas again for a two-week business trip, sharing a house that puts my husband and me in separate beds, each in a room with one of our children (FYI, Sam is 2 1/2, and Seth is 4 months). Outwardly, I don’t have my vehicle here to jaunt off when I want; I don’t have my own stuff around me, I don’t have the baby equipment that makes life with a four-month-old a little easier. Outwardly, I’m doing a tricky, recurring trip with two kids instead of one, we’re out of our routine, and I’m getting less sleep. Outwardly.

I want to say the situation is outside of me.

But after all that I’ve learned about roots (our negative thoughts and feelings, which lead to our behaviors–and which rear their ugly heads when we are put upon or pressed), I know the situation is deeper than that.

My Roots

The real situation has to do with a woman who loses it when things don’t go her way.

The ugly, inward situation is a woman who wants to be in control realizing, blatantly, painfully, that she can’t be.

And yes, if you’ve read my book, this should be a lesson I’ve already learned. It’s in part 3 of my book, where I relinquished (some) control of my life’s plans, deciding to “just stay home and write, and have some kids” instead of pursuing a PhD and job security (which I then viewed as Life Security). Well, here I am. At home (but not at home for these two weeks)…with my kids…writing (very sporadically)…and realizing I still have a lot of control to give up to God.

Guys, internally, I’m a mess right now.

I’m facing the fact that when I said I wanted to stay home and write and have some kids, I wanted those things on my terms–impossible terms that no parent gets, unless they are rich and famous and can afford around-the-clock help. I didn’t want to stay at home and, I guess, actually parent 24/7. And I sure didn’t want to keep having to readjust things I’d already figured out for these annoying, recurring, every-two-month trips that always throw us out of our pattern. Especially when there’s a baby afoot.

But guess what? This is the outward situation right now. And it’s here, I think, to expose the inward situation. The woman inside me.

My Rope Ladder?

Brief pause here. A month ago, I thought maybe my rope ladder had dropped. An old professor from my alma mater contacted me to tell me about an opening in the English department here in Texas; he wanted me to apply; he gave me reason to hope. The month before that, I’d been struggling just to “woman” the home back in Missouri with my own two kids, and then with two more whom I’m babysitting for the summer. I’d been feeling like a failure, a bad SAHM, a woman who wasn’t meant to stay home. Was this job my green light to move back to Texas–to the helping arms of family–and to go back to “work,” where the work seemed so much easier?

I waffled back and forth, thinking maybe this could be a good thing. I submitted my resume and we prayed that God would open or close the appropriate doors.

In the past month, I also read Dr. Laura’s book In Praise of Stay-at-Home Moms (one of many books I checked out about all types of moms and work situations). Dr. Laura makes a convincing case for staying at home with one’s kids, and she uses a lot of the same arguments I used before living the difficulty of staying home with kids. Long explanation short, I felt increasingly convicted over the past month that staying home was and still is the right thing for me to do in this season of life.

And then, as if to punctuate my findings, I didn’t get the job. Door closed, prayer answered.

So here I remain, at home (yet not at home), in this (on some sleep-deprived days) excruciating growing experience. This past month of pondering going back to work has taught me I wouldn’t choose to be anywhere other than at home with my kids (most days). It is the best job I could have, I have to agree with Dr. Laura. But that doesn’t mean it’s easy. It doesn’t mean I always want it; it doesn’t mean I want to talk positively about it, or even find it within myself to do so.

So how do I wrap up this post on a positive note?

I guess this: God doesn’t always ask us to like our mission on earth (think of Jonah in Nineveh, think of Jesus in the Garden); he just asks us to accept it. So no, I don’t like this situation–being not-at-home in Texas, and, at the root of it all, being never-in-control of my life–but I am trying to accept it. I am trying to accept that I need to grow, and I need to let go of control, and maybe this is the best way God could design for me to do that.

Lord, help me to remember that you are in control, you know best, and you have my back. So I will praise you, Lord, even though I don’t feel like it. I praise you for what you can see and I can’t; I praise you for the work you are doing in me and in my family right now. May my words and thoughts center on you today, my hope and my salvation.



3 thoughts on “Growing Experiences We Don’t Want

  1. Paul Coneff June 22, 2016 / 10:27 am

    With appreciation for your authenticity, inviting others, to be honest about the ups and downs of their situation. I do not enjoy living out of airports and hotels, constantly changing time zones, being gone half the time from home, even as I enjoy seeing people receive hope and healing. And it is where God has me now. And I really appreciate your writing gifts in the book we co-wrote, “The Hidden Half of the Gospel.” Last week I shared your book “Ending the Pain” with two different people who stayed up half the night reading it, because of the way they were relating to it and the way it was ministering to them, so your ministry continues even when you are at home with Sam and Seth.

    • lindseygendke June 23, 2016 / 9:47 am

      Paul, thank you for this encouraging message. You understand the difficulties of frequent travel. But you are doing such an important mission with your ministry. Thanks ever so much for sharing my book as you travel. I am so glad it is still getting “out there” while I am home bound. It has been my pleasure to be a part of Straight 2 the Heart and spreading the Hidden Half of the Gospel.

  2. ccyager June 25, 2016 / 10:06 am

    Wow, you sound so NORMAL, Lindsey. Letting go of control is a major growing up challenge and it continues for a long time. I still deal with it and I’m middle-aged! 🙂 One thing that helps me is to remind myself that I have control ONLY over my own thoughts, emotions and behavior. I can change others or the situation ONLY by changing my own thoughts, emotions and behavior. The rest I have to let go. Are you familiar with the serenity prayer? “God, grant me — Serenity to accept the things I cannot change, Courage to change the things I can, and, Wisdom to know the difference.” Another thing I have to remind myself of is that 99.9% of situations do not last. They pass. I was unhappy yesterday because I had to work in the evening later than I like so I arrive home much later than I want to (and I would miss the first show of a new season of a mystery series I love), but I realized it was only 4 hours plus commute time. That’s a very short time out of a life. As it turned out, I enjoyed the shift because of the people.

    Being a Mom is huge. You have such responsibility for your two boys. Being a mom of young kids and traveling with them is hard. Accept that things are not going to be the way you want them at least 90% of the time, and enjoy the craziness. Go with the flow. You have control over what you think, feel, and do. And you already know what is truly important on a daily basis.


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