Life in the demanding spaces

My inner voice was speaking seductively;

‘Just stay here. For a while. Maybe forever. You don’t want to go in the house.’

She was so right. I wanted to stay in the car. The four minute drive accompanied by half decent christian radio was an oasis in the day. I hadn’t needed to talk to anyone or care for anyone. There were no needs to anticipate, no subtle changes in mood or conversation to look out for. No one who needed fed or wanted me to play the most mind-numbingly dull maths homework game we have ever had.

The car was parked in the drive. I’d already sat there for a minute with the engine switched off.

It’s so much easier to be in the undemanding spaces.

The sealed, insulated, my music choice is playing, spaces. It doesn’t make me tired or sad or frustrated.

But it’s not my life. It’s not where I’ve been placed.


I got out of the car (super reluctantly) and went into the house. The next hour included one genuinely unwell child taking an interest in something (good) but wanting me to take an interest in it AT THAT EXACT MOMENT too ( not so good); a perfectly healthy and energetic child having the most over dramatic reaction to a tiny cut that I’ve ever seen, so I had to patiently calm the fears about death from blood loss whilst hunting for a band aid. Another child had me worried because I couldn’t remember what she was doing, but then I remembered I’d been in the car because I’d dropped her to a class.

My husband’s plane home tonight has been delayed. I’m comfort eating rice cakes ( and believe me you need to eat A LOT of them to gain any comfort). There is a pile of washing to put away and dishes still in the sink. The day isn’t over and there is still plenty of interacting to do, even though I’ve nipped into the garden for 10 minutes with my laptop to write this.


And why am I writing this? Because some friends of mine have started this thing called #wholemama. They want to spend the summer seeking wholeness. I didn’t think I would join them. My children are older and we have pretty big, scary things going on right now, and I’m too busy to be whole.

But then I realised that I can only do what I need to do this summer if I am whole. If I am wholly myself. If I am wholly who God intends me to be. That includes being the person who doesn’t want to get out of the car, and the person who managed to stay patient in the face of an almost hysterical over-reacting seven year old.

I have a sign up in my house. It says ‘Do small things with great love.’ I think that is my wholeness manifesto. At the moment my life has fairly small parameters as I take care of my child who’s not so well, but within those parameters I want to find wholeness.

I also believe that when Jesus said ‘I’ve come so that you can have life in abundance’ he didn’t then add, ‘but that only applies when everything is going well and actually most difficult life circumstances will invalidate that claim.’

He meant it for always. Every day. 

So this summer I would really like to live abundantly on the good and the bad days. I will do small things with great love – as much as I am able. There will be days when I do small things with bad temper or a frustrated sigh, but I will not berate myself for that. I’ll just say – hey – you could do with a rice cake.





14 thoughts on “Life in the demanding spaces

  1. For someone who cooks so much delicious food I think the rice cake is an interesting metaphor for where you are at… Get baking some of that chocolate stuff..!!


  2. I love your sign, “Do small things with great love.” That sounds like a great “wholeness manifesto.” I might just take it myself! 🙂 My kids are all grown, but I need this #WholeMama as much as the younger ones. It great to see how people are joining in and all encouraging each other. Loved your post!


    1. Thank you . And I love your name. Does it indicate that you are familiar with Caramac bars ( kind of like chocolate but not) because if you are I think we should be friends 😉


  3. “I’m too busy to be whole.” Right? I don’t shrink from your hard places, friend. The cracks are (somebody said) how the light gets in. And whether we admit it or not, these conflicts/struggles take similar shapes in small and in big — in very urgent and in not such a big deal. I’m cheering for you, and learning from you.


    1. Esther you’re right – the underlying tensions/ struggles have the same roots don’t they? Thanks for the reminder of the light through the cracks 😉 . And thanks for persisting with #wholemama and scooping me up into it despite my resistance !


  4. “It’s so much easier to be in the undemanding spaces.” This seems like it should be so obvious, but I found this sentence so wise. Thanks for gracing us with your words as we journey the wholemama path altogether. 🙂


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