I'll preface this by saying that I am not currently in this specific situation, but I have been and boy is it a Catch-22.
See, to some people I have it all together. Or at least I think they think I have it all together. Why do I think this? Because they talk to me as if I know what I'm doing and I'm somehow rocking this motherhood thing.
A few years ago I was going through a very tough time. I'm not sure what was up - I could have been depressed, or overwhelmed, or lonely, or discouraged, or all of the above. Most mornings I woke up much later than I should have, stared across the floor and thought, "How could this be my life? What am I doing here? What am I accomplishing? I can't do this! Can't someone else be the mom today?"
I struggled with finding purpose - even though I knew in my head the grand purpose of raising little ones. I struggled with finding strength - even though I knew the One who could sustain me. And yes, I was praying every moment that He would help me through the day. I struggled with being joyful - even though I was actually happy being a stay-at-home mom.
I often think of that time as treading water. I was out in the deep end, the shore was out of sight, and I lacked the strength to swim. So I treaded water, doing my best, prayer by prayer, day by day, to keep from drowning.
To others it may have looked like I was doing just fine. What they didn't know was that I was a few strokes away from going under. And even though I was as honest as I could be about it, not many people believed me. They believed only what they saw - I was keeping my head above water.
During this season, people would compliment me on my mothering abilities. And it killed me every time.
"You are so patient!"
"No, I'm really not. In fact, I really struggle with patience."
"And you're humble, too!"
If they only knew how I was actually feeling. If they knew the challenges I was facing - perceived and real. If they knew that I wasn't being humble when I said I wasn't patient. I was telling the truth. It was the only way I knew to share the fact that I really wasn't okay.
I didn't have it all together.
But when you look like you have it all together it's hard for others to believe that you don't.
In the end I didn't have the capacity to try and make people believe that I was on the cusp of drowning. All I could do was call on the Lord to deliver me, moment by moment, day by day. He knew the reality of my situation. And He was faithful to get me through.
Being on the other end of that difficult season, I see how God used it to strengthen my arms for the task ahead of me. Now that I developed all of those water-treading muscles I really do have it all together...NOT!
At least more of the stress is obvious to even the most obtuse observers. I mean, who would think that a woman who can't remember her own phone number has it all together?