My husband has been working longer hours than usual.  It started out as a season, but then that season seemed to never know its own end.  When it should have stepped aside to let the next one take over, it strengthened its roots like a weed that won't be pulled.  During this season, several other weeds put down gripping roots around me.  We had our 4th child, whose duplicated kidney needed some extra medical attention.  We began our 10th year of marriage, which highlighted some lagging relational values that in our early days we envisioned looking...different.  I started a small photography business, which has increased my vitality but decreased my time.  And I started reading Chasing Slow by Erin Loechner.  

With every page of Erin's book, my soul was screaming yes as it breathed huge sighs of relief, yet the life around me was full of contradiction.  I was full.  In some ways, beautifully full.  In other ways, overwhelmingly full.  

This week, I met a good friend at the park, whom I unraveled myself for.  We laughed as we shared stories about our kids.  We agreed as we shared desires for healthy family.  We, or she really, extended empathy for the difficulties in our days.  Our time together was refreshing, encouraging, and full of hope.  

Then, on the way out to a session on Friday, I listened to a podcast with a woman who shared her own experience of raising kids with a husband who works long hours, long days, long weeks, long months... As she shared about the challenges, her words always honored her husband, while giving grace to her family to function differently, and hope to still thrive.   

Then...today, I began the last chapter of Erin's book, and found this:

Through my seasons of slowing the pace, of subtracting the expectations, of compartmentalizing and tidying and decluttering and choosing, I have made every attempt to manipulate my life.  I have made every attempt to tame my lion, to outrun it.  I have made every attempt to pad my jungle- the leafy world of ambiguity--and I have made every attempt to control the style, the terms, the circumstances of my life.  I have chased more and I have chased less.  I have lived large and I have lived small.  I have sped up, slowed down, traded up, pared down, built myself up, fallen down.  But have I looked up? Laid it down? Perhaps we were never meant to change the pace.  We were meant to surrender it.  Still...we attempt to change.

Wherever you find yourself in this season, whether it's really a season, or whether season is an incredibly unfair word for the length of time you have pressed forward towards the change, may you be encouraged by this: Perhaps we were never meant to change the pace.  We were meant to surrender it.  As women, may we find the grace and strength to look at what's before us, in all its contradictions, and surrender it.  Whether you are trying to chase more or chase less, may you find the hope, the rest, the peace, and the support to choose wisely, to give fully, to forgive freely, and to change slowly.