The Night Before

In college, I used to freak out the night before each new semester.

The stress of what was coming did me in. I would cry and rant and get a tad hysterical about all the papers, tests and projects prepared to fall on me. And then there was my volunteer role in the youth group, my editing position at the school magazine and my part-time job waiting tables. How was I going to balance it all? How was I going to manage under the weight?

Gloom. Despair. Agony on me.

My roommates loved these regularly scheduled mental breakdowns. But like good friends, they would talk me down and make me laugh and hand me Kleenex and spoonfuls of chocolate peanut butter ice cream in equal measure.

And I would wake up the next morning a new woman. I would square my shoulders and say a prayer and face the new semester with grit and a grin. No more freak-outs, at least not for a few months. Because the fight had begun, and there is not time for self-pity on the battlefield.


I reminded myself of that collegiate cycle last night, as I sat bowed and heavy hearted over my immediate future. Corey is starting his own company, and with the new job comes some serious travel commitments. He'll be on the road five of the next six weeks, which means I'll be solo parenting the last few weeks of the summer and the first few weeks of the school year.

I am already worn as thin as a favorite t-shirt. We have stayed home all summer, which has lent an unexpected air of relaxation and length to the season. It's amazing how much one can soak up when every minute isn't spent preparing for or unpacking from yet another trip.

But it's also meant the kids and I have been together almost every waking moment, and all our edges are frayed. I fear the next few weeks of togetherness, to be brutally honest. The bickering, the whining, the constant needs and demands are crumbling my ramshackle mental state. I have no blessed idea how I will survive the next few weeks with my children, much less enjoy them.

Deep sigh.

Gloom. Despair. Agony on me.

It was then that I recognized it. This is the night before the battle begins. It is the night when the darkness descends and the task looms large and the weight falls on my shoulders like a load I cannot bear.

But this morning, when I stop anticipating and start advancing, I bet I will be OK. I will say a prayer and pick freshly-fallen manna and know grace anew. It is easier to swing my sword in battle than to endlessly whet its edge in dread. I will wake up and feed the kids breakfast and make the beds and vacuum the carpets and keep putting one foot in front of another and before I know it, a song will spring up in the well of my heart.

Time to stock up on chocolate peanut butter ice cream. Night does not stay, and this is a fight I intend to win.


  1. love your post :) yeah my edges are becoming frayed here too and school won't start in Malta before October 1st!

  2. "It is easier to swing my sword in battle than to endlessly whet its edge in dread." This is a great line and so true, Kelly. I will be praying for grace upon grace for you, friend, for the unknown that lies ahead. And for some friends to step in and bring an extra spoon to share your ice cream and encourage you during your 5 weeks without Corey!

  3. These are the times I wish I lived closer to I could spoon-feed you the ice cream. Or fix you up with an IV drip of chocolate. There is never such a thing as solo parenting when the Lord's by your side, but I do understand that need for a flesh-and-bones teammate to get you through bedtime. I'll be praying for you, Corey and those cute kids. It won't be easy, but you'll make it!

  4. Wonderful perspective, Kelly. I'll be praying for you these next few weeks. Call me if you need me to talk you off the ledge. You can do it!

  5. This is SUCH a timely post for me, Kelly. you have no idea (well, you do, I imagine). Right down the regularly scheduled breakdowns.

  6. Wow - it sounds like you've got a strong awareness of what you're going through right now, but you know what?! You've got can handle this stressful time and I know it will just fly by!

  7. OH man. How many of us are nodding our heads right now? Mine is, furiously.

    I wish I could commune with y'all for the next 5 weeks so we could pool resources and share brain cells for just a minute. Praying ahead for the glory in the mess, and that you'll see all the beauty in this journey. <3