Last week I was fighting a monster called discouragement.  On Monday little whispers in my soul began tearing down my joy and hope. Questions swirled around in my mind that morphed into doubt, and  then worry.

I was doubting our decision for me to only work part-time even though full-time nearly wrecked our home two years ago. I questioned the time I spend writing this blog wondering if the message was even needed or appreciated. I was discouraged in my role as wife and mother, feeling that everyone needed me but nobody wanted me. 

Now, throw in some whacked out hormone levels and it was the perfect storm.

By Thursday afternoon, I was barely keeping my head above water. If someone looked at me wrong, the dam would break and my people would be running for cover.

Apparently, my adopted son’s pot was on simmer before he got home and when he began to boil over, I tried so hard to redirect his frustration, anything to avoid a melt down. I kicked it into Pollyanna mode desperately needing him to escape his familiar spiral, but it didn’t work. All because he couldn’t learn to skateboard like he wanted. After my last shot at encouragement failed and he looked at me and said, “I have nothing”, I felt the crack form in the dam.

He couldn’t escape fast enough.

I managed to talk myself into just doing the next thing. I finished making dinner. Just as I pulled the chicken pie from the oven, Trent walked in and asked, “how was your day?”  I had to get out. Fast.

My favorite spot for a big, ugly cry is my bathroom. I sit on the edge of the tub, look out the window and let it go.

Knock. Knock. “Mom, I need to use your tub for an epsom salt bath.”  I opened the door and explained my need to be alone to my 18-year old. She will understand, right?

Ten minutes later she texted me. “When can I take a bath?”

What happened next might have resembled lunacy to some, but our house could not hold my mess another minute. I walked out mumbling something to my daughter about her need for a bath, grabbed my keys and my purse, avoided eye contact with three other children in my path, and climbed into our 15-passenger van.

Barefoot.

Where could I go? I couldn’t walk back in for shoes and face any of my freaked out kids. So I cranked the van and drove down our street and across to an empty lot by the lake. I put the windows down, turned off the ignition and let the sobs come. As I cried I wondered if someone would hear me and call the police for having a breakdown on private property.

I was a runaway mom. A runaway wife. A woman who needed to fall apart for a while.

In a moment of clear thought, I texted Trent to let him know where I was, and being the wise (scared) husband that he was, he asked if I wanted  some company.

I started to ask if you have ever been in my shoes, but I wasn’t wearing any. Have you ever been a runaway? Walked out of your house to escape the chaos or find a place to fall apart? It’s okay if you have. Really.

We all find ourselves overcome with emotions at times. Sadness, anger, discouragement, fear, or an ugly combination of all of those. Trying to stuff it all down can often cause a bigger breakdown later. It’s okay to melt down sometimes. I was so thankful for my sweet husband who listened and didn’t act like I was crazy. Which I am sure was hard when he found me crying by the lake barefoot.

We all need someone to call when we unravel. Someone who won’t try to fix us or shame us, someone who will be just be present. I hope you have that someone.

It’s healthy to run away sometimes. Just don’t go too far or stay too long. Let someone know where you are and what’s going on.

Don’t forget that Jesus loves runaway moms. He will be down by the lake or by the window in the bathroom or wherever you decide to go. He sees your heart and he loves you and he has the hope you’re desperate for. He never asks us to get it together before we come to him.