This post is intended to be an introduction to the post to follow, entitled “creating #whitespace for our family” as well as, to be a springboard to a guest post that I will be sharing on Wonderfully Made tomorrow.
In order for you to understand even further why “whitespace” is my one word for 2014, I feel like it’s necessary to give you a brief profile of our family and our unique struggles to explain why whitespace is such a longing of my heart.
Russ is a high-needs extrovert (ENFJ or ENTJ depending on if you are asking me or him). He is a sensory seeker who loves personal attention and to constantly be touching and interacting with people. He is a talker and he loves cuddling and hugging. He is a deep and highly analytical thinker. Russ is also a combat veteran who served two back-to-back deployments in Afghanistan. He struggles with severe combat-related anxiety and mild depression. Russ is working a low-paying, fairly intense, temporary customer service job.
Ezra is a high-needs extrovert. He is a sensory seeker who loves constant and sometimes violently energetic touch. He loves rocking and cuddling and hates being alone or playing by himself. He wants constant interaction and loves to be the center of our attention. He is high-energy and loves to run and dance. He hates sleeping. He is the very definition of “a handful.”
I have chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, and severe food allergies which cause digestive distress. I function best on 10 or more hours of sleep per day. I am an introvert/ambivert (ISFJ). While my love languages technically are physical touch and quality time, with two people in the house who are sensory seekers, most of the time I would much rather be left alone and have quiet than anything else. I struggle with sensory overload and consider myself a sensory avoider even though I love hugs and cuddles from my boys. I have mild anxiety as a recovering perfectionist, as well as a lot of secondary (anticipatory) anxiety stemming from helping my husband cope with his.
I don’t believe that our family owns the corner on difficulties, but our needs and struggles are unique and our family dynamic is complex. Each of us have our triggers. Whether I’m having a bad fatigue day or Russ is having a bad anxiety day (or as he likes to call it a “bad brain day”) or Ezra is just being very energetic, defiant, or not wanting to sleep – often our home is the perfect storm of high-needs people clashing with other high-needs people. Our personalities clash, our needs clash, our sleep schedules clash. Each of us are seeking to get our needs cared for in our own ways, hoping that the others will help, and becoming frustrated when they are unable because of their own needs.
A lot of days, I don’t feel like I’m up to the task of meeting the needs of my family members as well as taking time for my own needs because it’s just too much. We are all so needy. Inevitably, all of us have needs that go unmet.
Some days, it’s sleep. Some days, it’s peace. Some days, it’s quality time with each other. Some days, my love is depleted, or I have to let my son be lonely, or I have to run away to Barnes and Noble – and it’s just the best I can do.
I can’t meet all of his needs and all of his needs while still making time for myself and caring for the home God has entrusted to me because I’m just. one. person.
And it kills me.
From the time I left college I feel like it’s been one thing after another – a broken relationship, a long-distance engagement, a miscarriage, a year-long deployment, a cross-country move, a pregnancy and difficult birth, another deployment, another cross-country move…and I just want life to stop so I can catch my breath.
But it doesn’t. Because boys need mothers and husbands need wives and oh yeah, that’s me! And so I raise my weary bones off of the couch and live to give another day.
This is why our entire family needs whitespace. We need space and time for rest and healing. We need to slow down and catch up with everything life has thrown our way.
Will you pray for us as we seek this together?
And please come back to read my next post in which I will share some of the ways we have already found whitespace so far this year.