Why I don’t have very many spoons…

by mendibpng


As I drove to a doctor’s appointment last week, I noted how exhausted I was, and how few things I had accomplished each day that week. All of a sudden, a light went off in my mind…transition is upon us again.

With 5 ½ months left before leaving the U.S., my mind is starting to absorb the reality that change is coming. There’s a work permit to apply for, a shipment to pack, support to raise, doctors, dentists, and a whole host of other appointments to set and people to see who we haven’t had a chance to catch up with yet. With all of that comes the awareness that my mental and emotional energy is more limited. I hate to admit that 1) I can’t do everything and 2) I am limited.

Even with that realization, I took four of my children to see the dentist…by myself. I could have asked Ben to go with me but I literally expected to find out that each of them had a cavity or two and that I’d need to make a few more appointments. Nope. Two of them likely need oral surgery and the two younger ones will need extensive dental work, requiring a hospital visit with anesthesia. As the emotions spilled out in the dentist’s office, the Office Manager said to me, “I used to work with Wycliffe Bible Translator members in Huntington Beach…I know what you do.” It might seem like a small thing, but to a mom sitting alone trying to absorb all of the overwhelming information it was a little piece of comfort that I clung to, that this woman who I had never met knew something about the work we do.  I asked myself later, “why oh why, knowing the state I was in, did I go there in the first place on my own???” Because. I keep thinking I can, even though I have a partner in life who is ready and willing to share the load. Those closest to me know that this is a common problem I have: thinking I have everything under control, and that I don’t need help. Usually by the time I am asking for help, I’m in a right mess.

At the beginning of our year here in the U.S. when I was overwhelmed with adjusting to life in the First World, I came across this idea of The Spoon Theory. It was developed for people with a long term illness, to help them realistically plan what they could do in a day. Even though I don’t have an illness, the fact that my life is overturned by transition frequently (and have I mentioned I have five kids?) leaves me with little energy for things I would consider ‘normal’ for someone to be able to do in one day. And that day in the car when the light came on, I realized, “I don’t have very many spoons left.”

No matter how many times we pack up our family for a big trip, or prepare to leave the US for a few years, the work of transition hits me every time. And often, it’s a surprise….which is in itself a surprise if that makes any sense!

One of the things that I rest in, with this transition ahead and all of the unknowns, there is a Strong Tower where I can go to anytime, day or night (night time is when my mind doesn’t want to stop planning, scheming and organizing!).

You’ve always given me breathing room,
a place to get away from it all,
A lifetime pass to your safe-house,
an open invitation as your guest.
You’ve always taken me seriously, God,
made me welcome among those who know and love you. Psalm 61:3-5 (The Message)

8 Comments to “Why I don’t have very many spoons…”

  1. Hi honey. We so wish we lived closer to you all so we could be a bigger support. Just remember we are cheering you on and praying for you continually. Love, Mom and Dad.

  2. Yup. I did the U.S. to Australia transition okay, and even the Australia to POC transition okay, despite the rigors of POC. The thing that smacked me like a truck was the POC to Ukarumpa transition. I think I’m pulling out of that now, after three months here. Just in time to go to Arop in less than 48 hours.

  3. Yes. Spoons. Yes.
    I am sure it is hard to keep measuring out your strength for each day and setting limits. But the times when you are “all there” are so meaningful for those you touch. So thankful for you and your insights!

  4. Great post, Mandy. I’m there with you! :/ I love the verse from the message. He accepts us in whatever state we’re in – with no spoons or many. Love you, Brena

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