The Magic of the Messy Middle

There I was standing, in my kitchen shredding baby carrots…hoping and praying I didn’t shred a finger along with the carrot. And I had this really weird, yet exciting, thought:

I am so excited for the unknown…the current blank-slate-state of my life (say that 10x fast)

This thought, and accompanying excitement, was surprising to me. I am a woman who loves control. Who loves knowing what comes next. Who loves having a hand in the outcome. Am I a control freak? Um…I don’t THINK so (my husband might have a different answer to that question) but I really really REALLY like to know I have control over my life and especially my future. Yet for the past few months, I have felt like my future is completely out of my control.

I’ve been going through a ridiculous roller coaster of emotions. From fear to excitement, dread to hope, sadness to joy….sometimes all within the same afternoon. I’ve immersed myself in books, in podcasts, in prayer, working on learning how to thrive in the struggle.

And honestly?

The past year has been a struggle.

Ever since our 4th child was born prematurely last summer and we spent the summer in the NICU, the days and weeks have all held a shade of grief, stress and challenge. Some days, it felt like there was no light in my life. Other days, I was incredibly grateful for the challenge and lessons I was learning. Over the past year:

  • I suffered greatly with postpartum depression from August-October.
  • I was diagnosed with a chronic pain condition in September.
  • We went from being in the $100,000+ annual income bracket to under $30,000.
  • We’ve been on food stamps since December (Christmas dinner bought with food stamps…that was a very humbling experience).
  • Our income is so low, we currently have medi-cal health insurance (and have seen first hand a bias in the way we are treated when we go in for health services, which has really saddened me that there is a difference in the way people get treated when their income is below a certain level).
  • We filed for bankruptcy in March.
  • We surrendered our truck back to the credit union in February.
  • We went through some personal betrayals.
  • We struggled connecting to each other at home
  • We resigned from our leadership positions at the school we founded 5 years ago, knowing it was the absolute best decision in many ways, yet it was still a difficult thing to do.

And while we are still in the midst of the struggle, I feel as if we are at the tail end of it, that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Why do I tell you all this? Why do I share these depressing details? (hint: it’s not for sympathy! That’s not how I roll!)

Because I am living in the “messy middle.” The place that isn’t usually shared until it’s over and the story can be one of triumph instead of struggle. But I believe sharing our stories while we are in the “messy middle” is important.

As Dr. Brene Brown says, in her book “Rising Strong:”

the middle is messy, but it's also where the magic happens.

I am living in the magic. I am walking through the daily challenges with the knowledge that “all these things will give me experience and be for my good.” (Doctrine and Covenants Section 122 verse 7)

The main lesson I’m learning through all this? I need to focus on what I can control. And really…that’s not much! It’s basically my attitude. That’s really it. I can control how much time I spend in prayer and meditation, I can control how much time I spend reading and writing, I can control how I respond to my children and husband. Other than that, I walk in faith. I have faith everything will work out as it should. And what does “should” mean? I have no idea! But I trust that it will be wonderful and that I will be better because of it.

Moving forward on the path to abundance….can’t wait to see what this week holds!

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