When You Wake Up and Realize that Real Life is {just that} Real


The librarian with kind eyes and a voice that shakes cheerfully stamps another book and pushes it across the counter towards me.

Kyle’s hopping on the stool at the desk, digging in the Treasure Chest for a sticker, and Leo’s flailing wild in my arms, bouncing.

I feel it warm, the curdled milk on my neck and across the hood of my sweatshirt. Leo looks up at me and smiles, bouncing.

“Ohhh,” I reach for his burp cloth, affectionately dubbed “the spit rag”, and start mopping myself up. Leo keeps bouncing and Kyle’s hopping from one foot to another and I stink like throw up. Again.

“When don’t I stink like baby puke?”  I think this dryly.

I’m past the honeymoon stage of motherhood and why don’t I just say it since I’m thinking it?

I’m past the honeymoon stage of life.

What do you do when your divine privilege has lost its divine flavor?

You know, you bundle up the kids in their winter clothes and make sure the diaper bag is fully packed and go banging out the front door with all your paraphernalia and the car doesn’t start?

You know, getting much less than forty hours of sleep per week and feeling so exhausted you fall asleep sitting up.

You know you can fill in the blank with your own very un-storybookish, raw tale.


What do you do when your divine privilege has lost its divine flavor?

And this doesn’t go solely for motherhood. Your divine privilege is living out whatever calling God has given to you. And what do you do with that disconnect of believing that you are where you are doing what you do, by the divine placement of a sovereign God, when you just don’t feel it anymore?

What do you do when you wake up and realize that real life is actually real?

Not Pinterest perfect.

Or Anne-of-Green-Gables nostalgic.

Just real life with baby puke and carpet stains and smudged windows. Lots of laundry. Chapped hands and broken fingernails. Burnt suppers and sleepless nights.

How on this earth am I supposed to live?

That’s the question I keep asking, the one spinning through my brain.IMG_7247IMG_7342IMG_2287IMG_7252

I have no idea how other women like me have time to take care of their nails. I think I might have a nail file – maybe two or three – but some days I hardly have time to go to the bathroom.

I want to read books and I know that behind every good writer is a great reader, but the last time I tried reading I fell asleep sitting up. True story. It takes me a long time to get through an easy-read and I read fairly fast.

I see people sew really cool things like cute dresses and beautiful quilts and Pinterest-perfect pillow covers and I thank my lucky stars I hate sewing because I might be tempted to guilt myself for not having time to sew too.

Most days, these days, I have enough time to get dressed and fix my hair. The rest of the day I am wiping bottoms clean and tickling piggy toes and reading story books and rocking baby to sleep and playing truck-sound-guessing-games. I’m doing good to have uninterrupted time in the Word and sometimes I want to cry because I don’t think I pray one prayer in a day that isn’t interrupted by someone crying, the phone ringing, or someone at the door.

I’m asking what you do when your divine privilege has lost its divine flavor, but I’m thinking that the demise of divine flavor begins at the commencement of my divine privilege if I see my divine privilege through Pinterest spectacles.

It’s all about how I see. 

It’s far too easy to fall in love with the idea of marriage, and forget that marriage means forging life with another human (a man to boot) with their own set of opinions and ideas.

It’s far too easy to fall in love with the idea of motherhood, and forget that motherhood interrupts your sleep, your routine, your agenda, and your ability to go to the bathroom in privacy. It also, might mean that you perpetually stink of baby vomit. You may luck out on this one. 

It’s far too easy to fall in love with the idea of a career, and forget that a career is just like everything else in life – the excitement fades and the paint chips, driving to work every morning gets old and having a career can get just as ordinary as washing dishes.

It’s far too easy to fall in love with ideas.

So when you wake up and realize that real life is just that, real… you feel the emptiness of a life out of focus.

Your head and your heart never melded on this one and you’ve been spending your time at the surface, repairing the holes in a shiny veneer. 

Marriage doesn’t unfold like it was expected. Or motherhood. Or that career. Expectations falling short of those wild hopes and deepest dreams. This isn’t cynicism, this is reality.

Disenchantment happens to us all.

So when we wake up and realize that real life is real, that motherhood is messy, true love is gritty, a career is demanding, and all of it can often just be plain boring, how do we move forward from here?

“What made you start writing this?” Ryan looks at me with his deep brown eyes.

I sigh. “I think it’s where I’m at…” I wait for the right words to come. “I think in a lot of ways, I thought life would hold more than it does. I feel surrounded by the common things and they aren’t very exciting.”

Washing dishes.

Potty training.

Soaking spit-up out of clothing.

Sweeping floors.

Dusting the mantle.

Mopping wet stains off my hardwood floors.

Making the bed.

Cooking supper.

“But I’m wrangling through, because maybe it’s not that life holds less than I thought, but that what life holds is overflowing with more than I ever thought, if I would only look and see.”

It’s all about how we see.

Jesus came as a common man and brought His holy self to a common world.

There were no fireworks and no New York Times Bestseller lists. No Noble Peace Prize or Caldecott Awards.

Just a simple man who spent most of his life doing the common thing of carpentry, who bowed low and gave His own life for the glory of God.

Real life is real and the glory of God is man fully alive. 

All of life really is a bit of mess that manicured dreams fall short of capturing, but when we wake up and realize that real life is real with dishes and dirt, loose ends and disappointments, we awaken to all that life isn’t at the same time as realizing all that life holds.

There’s holy in the common thing, glory in the smallest form of service, beauty in the simplest act of kindness, blessed hope for the ordinary life.

Awake and embrace life for all that it is, not all that you dreamed it to be, and the deepest place in your soul will rouse from slumber and the shades will fall from your eyes.

It’s you, coming alive to all that life is – so much more than you ever dreamed.  Leooncouch


9 thoughts on “When You Wake Up and Realize that Real Life is {just that} Real

  1. Yes!! Somehow the grass is greener at home for those who work and out of the house for those who work at home. I can really relate to this and I strive to alway remember to cherish right where God put me and to water that grass we are in because that is where it will always be the greenest. Thank you for pointing me upward!!!

  2. Even if you aren’t reading, you are doing some awesome writing, girl! I read this yesterday after I spent 45 min. getting everyone ready to leave, lugged all out to the van, then found out it wouldn’t start. The story ended well for me because the neighbor man jumped the van. It seemed like you wrote this just for me.

    I am wrestling a lot with the fear that life is passing me by while I pick up the toys and make suppers, and babysit. Surely I am not doing all I could/should so I can be all God intended me to be. If I could just be a missionary. . . It sounds foolish when I write those words, but, oh, it is the truth about where I am in life. Your reminder about Jesus spending most of his life in “normal living” is something I need to ponder.

    Geryll once told me, “Just because you’re doing what you always wanted to do, that doesn’t mean you are having fun.” Dreams often don’t reveal all the pain of real life
    living them out.

    Thanks for wrestling through this, taking time to write, and being vulnerable by putting it online. You are often in my prayers. When I wake at night, I think of you possibly up with Leo.

  3. Thanks Renee. You did it again. =) It seems your posts always come at just the right times…Makes me think of these excerpts from a book I’m reading right now (“grace for the good girl” by Emily Freeman.) “There is a becoming that happens as we walk with Jesus, but it isn’t under a system of achieving. Rather, it is in the art of receiving. In order to receive, we must first let go, to honestly release our right to hold onto those things we trust in for life, those counterfeit sources of truth and security, those false hiding places that seem to offer peace, but leave us feeling restless.”
    This on how we find life in Christ:( Colossians. chapter 3) verse 15 RECEIVE: let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts” (that rule is like an umpire. He umps in disagreements between our feelings and truth. but the key is we have to LET HIM.) Verse 16 REMAIN: :Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly.” (so much more than just reading the word. but a relational LETTING HIM THE WORD, JESUS, DWELL IN US RICHLY.) verse 17 RESPOND: Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.” (these flow out of the first two…the relationship naturally leads to worship and service on our part. the worship and service that come by simply BEING in the mundane or exciting, FOR HIM.) and verses 2-3 REMEMBER: “Set your minds on things above, not on the things that are on earth. for you have died and your life is hidden (hidden here we are totally safe!) with CHRIST in God.” (Setting or renewing our minds is where transformation happens. Our Spirits have already been made alive, but our minds have not yet caught up. We have to decide with our wills to TEACH our minds about what is already true IN CHRIST. We must form new patterns of thought and not recycle the old.” In other words HOW WE SEE LIFE IS A CHOICE.) Anyhow…not directly but indirectly your post linked with the whole concept of how we view life for me. Thanks again and bless you for being real and HONEST and beautiful! I’m cheering you on girl as you embrace right where God has you!

  4. The words that you shared from Geryll have been rolling through my head the past couple of days… I think they encapsulate so much of what I have felt as I mother Leo. I am doing what I have always wanted to do — be a mom — and there are MANY moments I am not having so much fun…

    I’m glad to know I am not alone, either, when it comes to things like a car not starting. Today my car started and then I got stuck as I backed out of my driveway.

    I guess, there is still a lot for me to learn on this subject… 😉

  5. Renee, so glad I came across your blog! You have such a way with words… I am right with u in this whole “real” life mothering.

  6. Cindi, I’m glad my blog has blessed you! The cool thing about getting “real” with “real” life mothering is that all these women start coming out of the “woodwork”…and you start realizing how you are less alone than you ever thought! You are welcome here.

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