Gloomy Pier

Sometimes a difficult day comes out of nowhere, surprising you with its frustrations and challenges. Sometimes, though, it’s just the last day in a line of difficult days, days that have worn you down with their bumps in the road and unexpected troubles.

Today was one of those days.

I woke up to a house in chaos, which was no shocker given that I’d gone to bed in a house of chaos. As the calendar flipped to the warmest months of the year, my second trimester and the two weeks when both my babysitter and parents went on vacation (leaving me to work from home with a five-year-old who demanded to know, every few minutes, “Are you done yet? Can we play now?”), we embarked on the desperate frenzy of house repairs necessary to get our house listed before month’s end.

It wasn’t the brightest move, I’ll give you that. But at the time (and, really, even today) it seemed necessary and unavoidable. It was also the recipe for the perfect storm.

After days of decluttering and dealing with a handyman who didn’t show up, a mortgage banker who didn’t give straight answers and a husband whose work schedule prevented him from Fixing All the Things When I Want, I was done. D-O-N-E, done! I wasn’t sleeping well, my blood pressure was rising, and the tears were close to the surface pretty much all the time.

So when Sunday included a Tantrum of Screaming Proportions from my five-year-old (WHILE WE WERE AT CHURCH, thankyouverymuch), more cleaning and scrubbing that my poor arms were used to, and a kitchen with half of the new flooring but none of the baseboard and an unplugged stove, I couldn’t handle it.

As I trudged down my hallway after putting my [remorseful and once-again sweet] kiddo to bed, headed toward the computer to finish the work I’d avoided all weekend, I slammed my bare toes into some piece of something metal that had been unplugged from somewhere.

And I just lost it.

I stood in the hallway, sobbing like a baby and thought, “That’s it! I’m running away from home. I can’t be here anymore. I. Just. Can’t.”

Of course, it was nearly bedtime by then, and the logical, grown-up thing to do was to simply go to sleep. After all, things would look brighter in the morning, right? At least my appliances would be back in their rightful spots and I could go about re-cleaning the kitchen that had been spotless before the tools and the man entered the picture. Right?

But . . . things weren’t really brighter this morning.

I woke up to semi-urgent emails from work and stumbled directly to the computer to problem solve. As I typed and thought, my kiddo – after approximately one minute of being content to snuggle next to me and watch her favorite cartoons – was repeating, in quick succession, “Mommy, what’s for breakfast? Will you get me breakfast? Can we eat breakfast now?”

Oh good, a chance to go into the kitchen.

The flooring was finished, but the baseboard wasn’t. The refrigerator and stove were still standing firm in the dining room. And the dining room table was hiding under a layer of cleaning supplies and McDonald’s cups and various fixing-the-house litter.

Super excited to see her babysitter again (Hallelujah! That 13-year-old angel is back from vacation!), my kiddo still pitched a fit over the outfit THAT WE PICKED OUT TOGETHER. The one I bought and washed and folded and NOW I’M YELLING AGAIN! Losing my temper after she lost hers only made us both cry, and then I barely had time for a shower. And my contacts wouldn’t stick to my eyeballs.

And, oh look, the salon down the street from the babysitter is having a pedicure sale, which is perfect because my toes have been neglected way too long BUT I DON’T HAVE THE TIME OR MONEY FOR THAT THIS WEEK.

As I climbed back into my car after big hugs and gritted teeth (and a promise to return that afternoon), I thought to myself, “I cannot go back to that house.”

Sure, I knew it would be quiet. But it would still be in chaos. And I simply couldn’t face it. Not yet. Not today.

So this morning, at the hour between breakfast (which I’d already eaten) and lunch (which I skipped in favor of a nap), I pulled into the diner near my house, walked in and ordered a stack of pancakes.

I sat there, eating alone and reading my Bible on my phone, waiting for peace or inspiration or perhaps a reminder that God was in control. Instead, I found an Old Testament God-will-smite-you kind of story with vague application to my life – and ended up with syrup on my glasses and my phone.

Oh, how I wish I had a clever way to wrap up this story, friends. If only I’d gotten some sort of sign on my way home from my table-for-one brunch or had some epiphany while scrolling through Scripture on my phone. Maybe it will all click next week. Or next month. Maybe.

But for now, I just want to tell you that I understand. Some days are too hard, and you need to run away. Not forever, but for just a little while.

It’s okay. Go ahead. Hide in your bathroom or buy an ice cream cone on the way home. Make time for the pedicure, or ask a friend to watch the kids while you walk aimlessly around Target for an hour. Stop at the diner and order pancakes – and don’t share your bacon.

When you want to run away from home, you’re not alone. You’re not alone in the wanting, and you’re not alone in the running.

Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.
~ Deuteronomy 31:6

Have you ever wanted to [temporarily] run away from home? What did you do?

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  1. 1

    Mary,
    Since I am 50+, I have lost track of the number of days that I have wanted to run away from home. I used to say things to myself like, “When my kids are older, this will get easier.” I hate to burst anyone’s bubble, but it doesn’t get easier, their problems grow with them. And life? well life’s problems never seem to cease. They ebb and they flow and they change, but they never cease. So I run…right into the arms of my Savior. I run into his word and I keep it simple – focusing on one scripture like you did (I will never leave you nor forsake you). I also do run out of my house and to the house of my good friend and sister in Christ who lives across the street. Sometimes I just need to get out of my mess and go sit in hers and have a cup of coffee. She’ll let me cry and we talk and commiserate and I know that I am not alone. Having an “I want to run away” kind of day draws me into fellowship with my Savior and with other believers…which really if you think about it, is not a bad place to be! Thanks for keepin’ it real!
    Blessings,
    Bev

    • 2

      Bev, your comment encouraged me this morning. Thanks for sharing the wisdom of your years of experience. As a mom with 4 young children, I can relate to Mary’s post so well, but it’s your perspective I need. Thank you.

    • 3

      Thank you, Bev. And you’re exactly right – fellowship with the Lord and believers (not to mention the reminder of just how much we need it) is not a bad place to be at all!

    • 4

      I hear you Bev. I am 50+ too. Instead of thinking “I want to run away” I think “Stop this ride! I want to get off!” Same thing. Different words.
      Thank you Mary for the post. Always good to know I’m not alone.

  2. 5

    This is so me, and it is so good to hear I’m not alone. Thank you, thank you, thank you for sharing this!

  3. 7
    Suzanne says:

    We all have these days!
    It’s a good time to thank God for His redemption… otherwise I imagine we’d be living like that mess for eternity!
    Thank you Mary, like Bev said “for keepin’ it real”
    Prayers for you :)
    Suzanne

  4. 9

    Oh my how I have those days. With a traveling husband and a 3 and 6 year old, I want to run away frequently. I always think of Jesus praying in the garden the night before he was crucified. He wanted to run away too. That’s the beauty of our Savior. All that we feel or could feel, He has experienced and understands. :) He is the ultimate comforter when we are at the end of ourselves.

    • 10

      Bella, my husband works nights – and long ones, at that – so I hear you! But YES, I love the reminder that even in this, Jesus understands.

  5. 11
    Laura Brown says:

    Yes, I understand about wanting to run away. Yes, I’ve had those kinds of days and today one of them. Renovations halfway finished and daily demands make my patience run thin and make me cranky. I cannot lie tile or hang sheet-rock, I must wait for my husband to be sufficiently motivated, which is admittedly hard. I move the refrigerator to get the riding mower out and break the water line to the ice-maker. I mow the lawn and run over the garden hose thus rendering the old mower inoperable. Repairs eat up valuable weekend time that should be spent on the unfinished bathrooms. There is only so much I can do physically in a day. I crave support and kudos at the end of the day (for the plants on the deck, or the newly painted light fixtures on the house) from family, including my spouse, that never seem to come and I am reminded, I can do all things through Christ, never tire of doing good and look to the Father for promotion.
    I am blessed and can share my blessings with those who ask because they see the something in me that encourages them. Whatever the future holds I can withstand as long as I keep myself fixed on the Author and Finisher of my faith.

    • 12

      Oh, Laura. Sometimes days like that can make you laugh – because it’s either laugh or cry, right? But goodness, sometimes those days DO make you cry, with exhaustion and frustration and desperation. I hear you. And I, too, am thankful that even when nobody else notices my efforts, the Lord does.

      • 13
        Laura Brown says:

        I cried out of frustration about the mower because it ran out of gas and then wouldn’t start and I had to go find a reluctant neighbor to jump start it and that was all before I ran over the hose (which WAS connected to my veggie garden watering system) Thankfully, my husband wasn’t angry at these things, just resolved to help me fix them (even better than before) I am grateful for being able to stay at home even if I have days like this, to laugh about in the future.
        Thanks for your writing!

  6. 14

    Oh Mary. Been there. Recently. So glad you get to run away with us next week for a little while at least :)

  7. 16

    Sweet Mary, I can so relate to these feelings. I do not “do” chaos well. I run. I retreat. I shutdown. Then I feel guilty, and ask God to help me see the things and life all around me are not just a huge pile of hard-messy. I still walk slowly. I’m just not wired the way others are. In this month alone, all that had been planned for over several months prior to “blast off,” my husband resigned his current pastorate, we bought a house, moved in shifts – to put away as we went along, um hmm. And…we have major projects to complete on our new house. Worn, ragged and very sore – I need a break. A run away break. Praying to hold on until I get this done (we-hubby n me). Perfect time for me to read this blog. Thank you. Blessings

  8. 18
    Lindsay says:

    Really? I read the title of this post and thought, “Oooh! Me! This post is totally for me right now!” It is. I want to run away so badly. I am super duper hormonal because I am 35 weeks pregnant and absolutely ginormous, we are in the middle of the hottest week we have had in forever, and my 5 kids are driving me NUTS! But, I can’t go anywhere. I think I am even stuck dragging the kids along to my doctor appointments today. I can’t get away. I can’t even lock myself in the bathroom to cry without the kids trashing the house and trying to kill each other. Other people think it is even more fun to pick on the hormonal pregnant lady to see if they can get her fired up. It doesn’t take much. I have no one to vent to. No where I can go. No one to help me with the kids. So, really… what am I supposed to do?

    • 19

      Lindsay, I’m so sorry to hear that you’re struggling alone – and 35 weeks pregnant to boot! Praying for respite, for refreshment, for support – and soon!! (And until that happens, check out some of the verses other readers shared in the comments. I know I was encouraged reading them today!)

  9. 20

    I used to call these days “paper bag days”. I would feel so overwhelmed I wanted to put a paper bag over my head, crawl into a closet, sit in the dark and cry…sigh. I still have this fleeting thought at times and have learned to give myself a moment to waller in my misery….but only a moment. The old trick of opening my Bible making a random flip of the pages to find great deep inspiration led to some very funny verses of some enemy of God being smitten. That would sometimes do the trick to make me laugh! And sometimes…. The joy does come in the morning…..

    • 21

      Yes, the joy DOES come in the morning! Honestly, it’s not always the very next morning…but the Lord is good, and He never leaves us in the muck forever. (And sometimes uses those “funny” stories in the Bible to snap us out of it!)

  10. 22

    I just fled to Starbucks last night when my husband got home from his dinner meeting. There was no one thing during the day that was especially hard (maybe the two youngest crying at the same time about not needing naps), just the accumulation of little things. It is so important that we acknowledge those times when we are just done and need to step away. It does not make us bad parents. It makes us human. Thanks for sharing your struggle. And goodness, good luck with all that you have going on!

  11. 24

    Oh, do I remember these days!! Being 57 (and a little proud of it!), you would think I was done with the drying painting projects on every surface, the toys spilling down the hall, the table with newspapers and missions newsletters stacked on it. But I’m not. Thankfully. I have the privilege to watch 2 grandgirls 3 days a week. They are 6 years and 6 months. (Forgot how hard it is to keep those choking things off the floor!) My escape was (when raising my 4 daughters) and still is taking a walk alone and reciting memory verses. I know its hard to get away alone, but even a 15 min. walk can calm my soul when I wrap it in His Words. Cherish the time, it does pass too quickly.

    • 25

      Taking a walk is a great idea – exercise AND calming. And much healthier in all respects than stress eating! (Thankfully, being pregnant has stolen my appetite, so these days I’m actually more likely to get up and walk!) How great that you consider watching your granddaughters a privilege; I’m sure you’re a huge blessing to them and your daughter!

  12. 26
    Joanne Peterson says:

    I have raised two kids 23 and 18 years old, and long story how the Lord told us to adopt two sibling babies born 11 months apart. They are now two and three years old. Even though I have experience raising two kids, I don’t have experience raising these two, and yes I have days I want to run away.
    I have prayed, I have read the Word, I’m now reading the Book Desperate, Hope for moms who need to breathe. I lately have asked the Lord for a breather. It came once over the weekend with a friend who told me I was the princess. And it came yesterday in the form of a breakfast at a friends house with a few other friends.

    Now I feel human. I had forgotten that when I wait too long to have a break, I then get the feeling I want to run away.

    Thank you for the article! It is timely and I can relate.

    Blessings,

    Joanne

    • 27

      Time with friends is precious during these days, isn’t it? I, too, forget how much easier it is to breathe when I have that time every now and then!

  13. 28

    I am so in that spot right now. My husband who is usually traveling all the time(and uninvolved in our family life) has been home not working for 3 months. First month was wonderful, mindful of the early days of our marriage. Now he’s trying to change everything back to when my oldest of 4 was a youngster. He’s 18 now and leaving for adventures of his own soon. Life and the way we have been living it has changed. I feel bad he’s missed it because he was too busy(worse than he’ll ever know), but we can only go forward, never back. So stressed!! So in the arms of Jesus everyday!

    • 29

      Wow, Beth, that sounds like quite a challenge! My husband works long hours on the night shift, and we’ve talked about how it will be an adjustment when he finally can work days. Even now, when he “shows up” where I don’t expect him (on a holiday or sick day or weekend), I get grouchy! I’m thankful your husband has this time at home with your family now and pray you can all adjust and make the most of it!

  14. 30

    Thank you for today’s entry! I needed the confirmation that it is ok to “run away” for a bit…..just dont’ forget to come back home! Also needed to be reminded that Jesus goes with me wherever I am…He is faithful to the end and will never leave me nor forsake me as man often times does. God bless you and your ministry to women around the world.

  15. 31
    marilyn bucci says:

    I actually did run away from home! I got in My car and was going to drive as far as My car would take me but God had other plans,He dorve me to My friends house who became My boyfriend,and who is now My husband after seven Years, All I can say is isnt God amazing

  16. 33

    I came home to both of my children, ages 2 and 4, enjoying birthday presents at the kitchen table two days ago. AND IT WAS NOT ANYONE’S BIRTHDAY. All the while my husband was enjoying a baseball game in the basement man cave.

    I flipped my lid, hopped in my car and drove to my sister’s house an hour away. She left her kiddos with a sitter and we went out for Mexican food and a little retail therapy.

    Thanks for that advice, Mom! Hanging out with my sis (instead of going to the cinema by myself) was a great idea!

  17. 35

    Right now I don’t have the strength to run away. It is more of a crawl. I want to crawl toward Christ, but it is such a struggle right now. Just seeing the title of the post, I knew I would see myself today. In the post and the responses, all over. Lord, help me to turn it All over to you.

  18. 37

    This is encouraging today! Thank you!

  19. 38

    As long as the break doesn’t become a check out. There are days when it seems everything I touch turns dark brown and I can’t get anywhere. I say to myself and even out loud…devil get thee behind me! And resolve to not allow it. While I sometimes still struggle at least I find the energy to keep going. .

  20. 39

    I think this post just had me burst into the waterworks. This is the thought I have been thinking all morning. Baby has been teething, crawling, and learning to protest all in one week while my husband works so much I feel like a single mom. I dont have many christian mom friends to turn to. I want to leave, but I was thinking Mexico :) thanks for your awesome words that don’t try to fix anything!

    • 40

      Alyssa! Come run away to my house :) We can chat and hang out and commiserate :) Hang in there friend!

    • 41

      Alyssa, I hear you – I’ve written about being a “married single mom” because of my husband’s work schedule. It’s HARD and even more so on those wanna-run-away days! Praying right now that your baby calms down for a bit and you connect with other Christian moms in the coming days!

  21. 42
    Charise says:

    Thank you for this, I really really needed this. Thank you!!

  22. 43

    Love this and totally relate! We adopted a little girl from DR Congo, Africa 8 months ago and since our house has been in total chaos. She has brought a lot of disruption to our home and my 6 and 3yr old bio boys have struggled through this as well. It’s not her fault, she is a very broken little girl who has had a very hard first 4 years of life. However, it has left me exhausted in every way possible! I felt like running away for sure, I felt helpless to help her, be what I needed to for my boys and my husband and all at the same time I was struggling with fibromyalgia. I needed a break so I “ran away” to Africa, for real. I felt God telling me it was time to get away and serve someone else and get my mind off the chaos in my life. I went on a mission trip to serve a good friend and her family who are missionaries in South Africa, one of my favorite places in the world. It was refreshing and gave me a great time of reflection and peace that I truly needed. I felt guilty and like I had been running away but sometimes it takes that to renew your sense of purpose and mission in life. Thanks for your honesty, it is good for those of us who feel this way to know it’s ok.

    • 44

      Delaina, thank you for sharing some of your story with us! YES, I absolutely believe in the restorative power of serving others. Sometimes a shift in perspective is all we really need for a renewed spirit!

  23. 45

    Such a wonderful raw post to encourage others. I am praying for you! as yes, I have been there too!
    It was actually the grade school counselor who said to me “I’m am trying to figure out how you haven’t run away from home already”. Try to take mini prayer breaks and deep breaths throughout the day. I am leaving you with a more encouraging verse for today:

    “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me (2 Corinthians 12:8-9).

    Best,
    Lina

  24. 47

    Mary – I feel this way often. Between working full time, blogging full time, mothering full time all while trying to get settled and unpacked in our new home with so many projects going on… my husband and I both want to run away! We usually run away as a family to the craft brewery in town – where we all can relax and the kids play :) Sometimes, though, we most definitely need these moments to ourselves, to sit and think and just BE with God. Prayers for you, and for all us weary parents out there!!!

  25. 49
    Kimberly says:

    I can so relate. I want to run away from life. Not my home, because my home is actually what is being threatened. I wish I could run towards home. Yesterday my husband, who moved out over a year ago, told me he can’t afford to keep paying for me to live in our home and for the lease on the house he currently lives in with another woman and her child (I work full-time, but only during the school year, and the pay doesn’t amount to enough…and work this summer has been spotty at best). He wants me to move out and pay for an apartment for me (2 bedrooms so our sons can stay with me on my days to have them) so he and the other woman can move in to the home my husband and I shared for years with our sons, fix it up, and sell it. I can’t tell you how grief stricken I am all over again over what’s happened to my family. It’s not about the house itself, it’s about so much more. And that was just one of several difficult bits of news I recently received. My extended family and church family are also under attack. I’m trying to run to Jesus but sometimes he seem so far. I wish there as somewhere to run to in the flesh for comfort. I know in my mind that God is in control, but I’m feeling very sad an alone. I can’t afford to run away for ice cream or pedicures of pancakes, and they certainly won’t solve my problems anyway. Please pray for a miracle restoration for my family! It seems like each time I get close to being “okay” I’m hit with another flaming dart. I just want it to stop. Praying for all of you too.

    • 50
      Kimberly says:

      I just want to add that I know compared to others I still have much to be thankful for. I almost feel badly for complaining. My husband isn’t leaving me with no home, just without our home. He’s very involved with our children. I know many people have been completely abandoned without any financial support and many children completely abandoned by their absent parent. I do have things to be thankful for. And God always does make a way for me in the end and He will this time as well. But this has been the most difficult period of my life and I’m just weary.

      • 51

        Dear Kimberly, your comment brought tears to my eyes. I feel your pain. Praying that you will feel God’s love and that you will know He is not far away. Please, be encouraged. I pray God will make a way out where there seems to be no way, I pray that God will encourage you and grant you peace which passes understanding. I pray God will grant you wisdom and open doors where you didn’t even realize doors existed! I pray you will completely rely on God, trust, obey, and follow… I pray God’s peace, favor, restoration and joy will fill your hearts and your homes. Amen. God bless you! Hugs to you!

      • 52

        Kimberly, don’t feel bad for sharing your struggle. What you’re going through IS hard! Praying right now for God’s peace and comfort, as well as his provision and healing in your relationships and heart.

  26. 53
    Alli Ambrose says:

    Yes! As a matter of fact just this past Saturday was my perfect storm, and it was a doozie! Those beautiful senior pictures I have been dreaming of since kindergarten….it was finally the day, but I had a much less than excited “soon to be” senior! Normally a lovely girl who is never disrespectful to her mamma, my girl was miserable! Combine that with a negative Nellie photographer, hot weather and ungrateful people (me included)…well, it was a recipe for disaster! What did I do?….I did what any super irritated mama would do, I yelled and pitched a hissy fit and cried and cried more and let everyone around me know just what I thought! I even told them I wanted to run away!…… And then I asked for forgiveness! From Jesus and everyone that I offended by my tirade! I’m so glad that my God is good and forgiving…..and I’m super thankful for your timely reminder that I am not alone in these feelings that build up and, more often than not, spill over! Thank you for your faithfulness and obedience in posting…..God has blessed me with your words, may you be greatly blessed too!

    • 54

      Alli, I think hot weather and grouchy kids is just about the worst combination ever! Combined with the pressure of something like senior pictures…it’s no wonder you blew! I love that you shared this with us, from the building storm to the outburst to the asking for forgiveness. We’ve all been there – and I’m thankful for your testimony here.

  27. 55

    Oh loved this! So sorry you had a bad time, but I too have wanted to run away. I’ve gotten in my car and driven on the highway to ‘go home’ to my Mom’s. Not packed and not thinking, just wanting to go home – the 7 hour drive. After 30 minutes into the drive, after crying and relaxing a bit, I realized I was not going to go to Mom’s, but turning around and going to my home. We all need an escape and time to think. Bless you and your blog. I hope things turn around and get better soon.

  28. 57

    Thank you so much for sharing ~ It’s always good to know we are not alone. Mega Hugs to you:)!

  29. 58

    Mary,

    God must have known that I needed to read your (in)courage email today because the last 2 days for me have been just like what you described and I really needed someone to just understand…not try to fix it and just let me be. I’m getting ready to send my second baby to college. Teenagers are coming and going at our house, laundry piles come and go with mission trips and camps (of which I have to practice letting go of my kids every other week!) and I waste too much time comparing myself to other moms, women, people who seem to do everything better than me and look beautiful while doing it all! I actually drove through Dairy Queen to get a Buster Bar on the way home from running my husband’s office errands yesterday, ‘just because’ (I never do that!). It was a real pity party! Thank you for sharing your not so perfect moments of wanting to run away for those of us who try to be perfect too, but fail miserably all the time! I know that God is always faithful to me and I have been talking to Him a lot lately, too. Thankful that He puts up with us! As I pray, He has been showing me to live a thankful life…be thankful for a husband to run errands for and a car to do it in, healthy kids who can go to camps, mission trips and college, thankful for a washer and dryer that work, etc.

    Here is my verse of encouragement…Phil. 4:6-7 “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” I will pray that you will have that kind of peace and you can pray that for me. :)

    • 59

      Gratitude is truly a cure-all, I think. Remembering all our blessings is a sure-fire way to snap out of a meltdown. THANK YOU for that reminder, Susan! And thank you, too, for the verse and the prayers!! Praying you find peace even in the most chaotic days at your home!

  30. 60
    Eileen O'Brien says:

    I want to just not run away most days but completely disappear. Today is one of the disappearing days. I’m done. D-O-N-E! Done trying to understand what God’s plan is for my life. A life of constant fear that the sheriff will be coming to my door today to throw me and 3 dogs onto the street. This life I’m living that is filled with physical and emotional pain. A life that is a series of job applications with no answers.

    There was a time, really not too long ago where I remember saying out loud, “God my life feels so complete. I would be okay if it was my time. Thank You for all that is in my life, for all the love and experiences You giving me.”

    I was so happy, so content, felt so complete.

    I can’t tell you when that was…..but I know it was less than 10 years ago. Maybe it was even within the last 5 years. Yet things got bad, really bad in my little world. They just seem to be getting darker and darker and I’m losing my faith that the Light at the end of the tunnel is still going to shine and show me the way out.

    I lost my job a few years back. I wasn’t upset when I got fired. You see I had just rededicated my life to Christ a month earlier. I was fully in love with being back in the bosom of my Lord and Savior. I fully trusted His timing and plan for my life. I believed everything was going to be fine.
    But I had made a royal financial mess out of my life before I even lost my job. I bought a house in 2006 which the bank should have never allowed me to buy because I didn’t have enough income. I was a 46 year old single woman with over $50k in Federal Student Loan debt from Uncle Sam for a Bachelor and Master degrees that I couldn’t find work in my field so in 2004 I ended up working in a hospital Drug & Alcohol detox unit. It was a good wage considering I had no experience or education in that field. I was a team player; I was always looking for ways to help and situations to improve upon. I quickly endeared myself to many Doctors, Nurses and staff members throughout the hospital. I felt secure and happy in my job but was missing something.

    So I began a quest to find a home of my own. I worked lots of overtime and cleaned up my credit. I was so excited but not sure I could ever find something as my price range was low. What the realtor showed me was one dilapidated structure after another. I needed something move in ready as my Dad was dying and I knew I could rely on his handyman skills. I wanted him to know I was going to b okay and safe before he died. I’ve never been very good at being a grown-up, standing on my own two feet and being responsible. I wanted to give him that peace of mind before he died.

    His last financial help came in the help of $5000 for my down payment. I’ll never forget him laughing as I was crying on the phone telling him, “I found it Daddy, I found my house. But I’m so scared of making a mistake.” He said to me, like he always did, “It’s going to be alright baby, just keep the faith.” And whether it was my faith or my stubbornness I forged ahead on that path, signed on the dotted line and had a home of my own. My credit was great and the cards came rushing in and I used them to fix up the many problems I didn’t know were everywhere in this new old house. I was lied to and deceived my the seller, my realtor and my mortgage broker. Within a couple months I knew I was in way over my head but I said nothing to my Dad, except good-bye as he passed away 3 months after I bought this house. He never even got to see it. I know he would have loved it as much as I have. He would have seen all the wonderful potential and areas for creative expression that I saw and still see.

    But after he died I fell into a terrible depression, gain 100lbs on a body that was already 200lbs over weight and was on the verge of dying. You see I am a stress eater and a stress shopper. Those credit cards all the banks were giving me were soon all maxed out and I was drowning in debt and ‘stuff,” and I was on a downward, suicidal spiral. I had not yet looked to the Lord Jesus to fill my emptiness, remove my fear, lift me up….I was looking at the outside in, rather than the inside out!

    I never lost my faith but was desperate for some Hope. I found myself on a path that led me to having weight loss surgery in 2008. I was once again feeling hopeful and trying to figure out how to get out from under a mountain of debt I had amassed with credit cards while depressed. I was still focused on the outside however and was losing lots of weight and feeling beautiful for the first time in a very long time. I started to think that the one dream that still eluded me – to be a wife and mom might still be possible. Although I could not have kids of my own I would be thrilled to marry a man with children or better yet one who would have or soon to have grandkids! I was almost 50 years old.

    When I turned 50 I was on top of the world…..that may very well have been when I had that conversation of contentment with God; as only a couple weeks before on Easter 2010 I rededicated my life to my Lord. I began to let go of all the worldly, flesh desires and focus completely on His Word and His will for me. It was rough going for the first few weeks but a month later, to the day, when I lost my job I just knew that this was all part of God’s plan to teach me to trust in Him. You see the Sunday before I was fired over a paperwork issue, first and only time I had ever been reprimanded on my job; I had asked my new pastor to pray that I would find a new job that didn’t require I work weekend, as two week between Sunday services was too long. Well whether he prayed that for me or not I don’t know but God is always listening and He knew I was ready for change….and that Thursday I was sent home and the following Tuesday I was fired.

    That was 3 years, 2 months and 11 days ago. Since that time my home is precariously on the foreclosure cliff. I am being sued by so many creditors that I now have liens on my car (which I lost in January to repossession but was able to get back – ONLY by the Grace of God) which I still have 5 payments left on before I own it and I have two liens on my checking account so I cannot use the banking system. I have no credit except bad. I am a total liability and my life is a complete wreck.

    Although I apply for jobs daily, I have literally had no interviews and most times not even a response for the jobs I have applied to. I am either over educated, or under qualified. Yet the creditors call me and speak to me like I am an ignorant, lazy, criminal. I didn’t ruin my life on purpose. I never charged purchased with the thought that I would never pay them off. Life just kept showing up without a job, without enough financial finds to cover my debt and keep the lights on and some milk and bread in my refrigerator. There have been many times; today is one, where my menu consists of cereal, eggs and PB&J sandwiches and unless someone invited me over for a meal that is my menu until August 2 when I get $120 in food stamps for the month.
    Yesterday I got another letter from attorney’s that are suing me on behalf of one of the several creditors which I owe several thousand dollars in total. I can’t even afford to file bankruptcy so I try and believe that something is going to change, a miracle is still coming and I will be able to make all this mess right….but with each day that passes, with each application that returns void, I lose a little more hope and I just want to disappear….completely. Completely cease to exist, as I am finding it harder and harder to see my worth and purpose here in this world.

    If you read this to the end thank you.
    Please pray for me, for a miracle.

  31. 66

    Oh, my word! I have SO been where you have! As a mom of 4, who once were all under 5 1/2, I used to BEG for alone bathroom time! Or ANY alone time! And, older moms would look at me & chuckle, then tell me that it does get better.

    LISTEN to me: it DOES get better!!!!! They won’t always be so needy, so diva-ish, or so loud! Yes, with each age comes another set of different problems, but – with each age comes more maturity (experience, God-support) on your part, making you more able to handle them. I look back on the way I was, & think, was I really like that? Yes, I was. We all were. But we make it through, our kids make it through, and we all love each other – and some of us even like each other!

    • 67

      Elaine, I love the way you mentioned that WE grow as parents while THEY grow as children. Yes! I know, deep in my heart – the part that longs for more time with the Lord, more peace, more reflection – that is part of what I’m yearning for. Thank you for encouraging me – us – that it DOES get better! :)

  32. 68

    I’ve been there and done that…many times. A few years ago, a wise friend told my husband and I, we were to be human beings, not human doings. Meaning there are times in our life, we should find a quiet place to wait on the Lord. So we got in the car and took a drive. We found a beautiful, serene place on a dirt road – a creek/damned pond on either side, with trees reflected in the water. I’ve been back to that place a few times; as well as other places. I don’t call it running away so much anymore, I call it “just being.”

    Thanks for sharing your day, it took me back.

    Kathy

  33. 70
    Jennifer says:

    “I sat there, eating alone and reading my Bible on my phone, waiting for peace or inspiration or perhaps a reminder that God was in control. Instead, I found an Old Testament God-will-smite-you kind of story with vague application to my life – and ended up with syrup on my glasses and my phone.”

    I laughed at this only because I know this. And the toe-stubbing when you’re already frazzled. And my multi-tasking isn’t effective because as a saying goes that I once heard “I’m so busy that I can’t get anything done.” I don’t have kids or a husband, but there are plenty of other frustrations and demands. Many of them are internal, I suppose.

    Sometimes I do run away because I get sick of the same four walls. I drive through a rural area. Or I walk. Even that sometimes gets old.

  34. 72
    Elizabeth says:

    Yes!!! I absolutely have days like this.
    Thank you for sharing!

  35. 73

    I laughed and “hmmm mmm’ed” my whole way through this. I used to find the toilet the most comfortable room in the house because it was behind the only door in the house that locked… My kids are older – and there are still days when I want to run away from home!

  36. 75

    Wow….I, along with a lot of others, found this so right up my alley! It must be universal! And I agree with so many of the posts…that’s what God and the Kingdom of God are for. We hold up the arms of the one in the battle, until they get through it. We sing the song they’ve forgotten and they sing it back to us, when we forget. I love how that works. And sometimes, I just need to get alone, for just a bit…and breath. thanks for the post!

  37. 76

    I’m here right now – this moment when my husband is fighting with my son and I’m trying to ignore it with 2 seconds online. And I want to run away. Thanks for the reminder that I’m not alone!

  38. 78
    Virginia says:

    yes yes yes, I have wanted to run away and fully intended to do just that. only God never let me, He popped appointments, friends, kids or whatever in my way. like last month, I said I’m going in July, really going. meetings for a committee I work with were scheduled all thru July and a revival conference….meetings I had to attend. He has let me run away for a weekend, just to be, just to settle, to be at peace. I marvel how He says NO, but fills my time. I love to watch Him at work….

  39. 80

    Thank you so much for this, Miss Mary! Seems like my life has been out-of-control crazy for the past several months. One minute I’m over-the-moon with excitement, the next I’m yelling at my wonderfully patient sister, and then I’m bawling my eyes out and thinking that I gotta be losing my mind.

    Thank you SO much, because it means the world to me to know I’m not alone. I know Jesus has got it all, really, but sometimes I just don’t FEEL that, you know? So thank you for sharing–you’ve made my day :) :) :)

  40. 81

    How many times … ? I have wanted to run away from home many times because, like you, home was too distracting, too frustrating, too … everything. Then last year I wrote a blog post about how one day I wanted to run away simply because I felt drawn to run away. I realized, as I wrote it, that this yearning to run away has more to do with our yearning for a home that we will not find here on Earth. Truly we are not home yet (Steven Curtis Chapman).
    Carole

    • 82

      Carole, that is truth, right there. No home improvements or behavior chart or soft music will turn my crazy, chaotic house into my Eternal Home. Until then, though…pancakes will have to do the trick! :)

  41. 83

    Thanks for sharing this story. Here is my “running away from home” story. It is a reflection in my new book “Sixty Days of Grace,” which will be out in September:
    41. Grace for a Runaway Mom
    Raising a child with an undiagnosed brain disorder was severely stressful. For seventeen years, I couldn’t convince a doctor, psychologist, teacher, pastor, or counselor that my child was extremely ill, not just misbehaving. Her mood swings were rapid and intense, changing every few minutes. My hopes for a better future soon evaporated.
    One morning, I was so distraught that I decided to become a runaway mom. Thinking that I couldn’t live under the stress one more day, I packed up a suitcase, a toiletry bag, my Bible, and my guitar and set them near the back door. Before my husband returned home from work and the kids came from school, I would be gone.
    The balance in my checking account was $487.00, a meager amount today, but in 1981, that was enough money to get by for several weeks. I was positive I could secure a job long before running out of cash. Fortunately, there was one supernatural interruption.
    About 9:00 a.m., a friend called saying she was in a jam. She had to leave for an important meeting in fifteen minutes and her babysitter had just cancelled. Could I watch her son for two and one-half hours? Because she was always available when I needed support, I felt compelled to come to her rescue. Confident that I had enough time to help a good friend in crisis and still get out of the house before my family came home, I declared, “Yes, I can do it.”
    However, there sat my bags at the back door. Not wanting to explain the obvious, I quickly moved them out of sight. As the morning wore on, I interacted with her son, did a few household chores, and sat down to scan the Bible for answers to my confusion. Opening it to Psalm 139, I read…
    Where shall I go from your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence? If I ascend to Heaven, you’re there! If I make my bed in Sheol, you’re there!
    Enter—God’s grace.
    Ah, yes, where could I go to hide? Where would I make my bed that night? No matter where I went, God would surely be with me, but if I ran away from my troubled family, I still couldn’t escape from myself. Could I live apart from being a wife and mother? From doing what God had called me to do?
    Psalm 139 went on to state that God would surely uphold me; He would hold me in His right hand. The darkness that covered me wasn’t anything to Him. Conviction washed over me. I had to stay—I had to bloom where He planted me. Vowing not to tell anyone about my foolish impulse, I tearfully unpacked the bags and returned the guitar and Bible to their places. God’s grace was enough—enough for an almost runaway mom!

  42. 84

    Oh, Mary! Been.there.done.that. Going there I am sure at some point, again.
    As the old song says, “Where could I go but to the Lord?”
    Between homeschooling, DH working 1-2 hours away daily, no relatives nearby, and ‘friends’ too busy to watch my “so polite and well-behaved” (not my words but compliments from others who know him) first grader, I have been to the brink.
    Where do I go? To my knees, sometimes more ‘virtual’ than literal (picture pulling car over to side of road). But ever to my Lord & Savior Who cares more about my circumstances than even I do!
    My Mom used to sweetly, calmly, knowingly say, “This too shall pass.” How true.
    But now, I am learning to view these times in the light of eternity. On the timeline of Eternity, my life will be but a blip on that line. And God is allowing these trials to finish His work in me. So I cry out to the Lord and remember that anxiety is not from Him, and am reminded that I need to cast all my anxiety on Him because He cares for me. Taking a deep cleansing breath and slowly releasing it, like blowing out all the yuck, and allowing my body to once again come under His control.
    Ah, sweet peace and victory remembering that, “surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life…” Even in the midst of the chaos…HE is in control. (if.I.will.let.him.) Keeping you in prayer Sis

  43. 86

    I’ve certainly been where you are Mary, in fact many many times. This was a timely post (they always are) because I know I need to carve out more time for me. More quiet time with the Lord, more ‘being’ time for me without the kids, more time for rest and relaxation. What I really liked and what resonated most with me was that sometimes there is no epiphany. Sometimes we simply need to ride through the storm.

    • 87

      Oh, thank you, Amanda. I struggled with leaving this post epiphany-free. But the truth is, that’s just how life works sometimes. And sometimes we’re still living the struggle…and yes, riding through the storm.

  44. 88
    Annette says:

    I do believe you were reading my mind this morning!! God meant for me to see this post. Yesterday, YESTERDAY was my day for wanting to run away and run away hard from work and home. I thank you for your last comment “When you want to run away from home, you’re not alone. You’re not alone in the wanting, and you’re not alone in the running.” God is telling me that I am not alone in this. Thank you for letting God speak through you!!

  45. 89

    Oh, how I needed this! I’ve felt like running away from home all week! Thank you for sharing, Mary. Your honest words are so encouraging. :)

  46. 90

    many days this summer I have wanted to run away…thanks for letting me know that it is okay!

  47. 91

    YES! For me it went as far as thinking about how to get the airline tix to go home to NY from Washington. We moved in with my in-laws when my husband’s grandfather passed away (we were living with him to help us and him out after we moved here from Alaska) & family couldn’t wait to sell his home. At the time that we moved we had a 2 y/o & a newborn. It took forever for my husband to find work and it still isn’t enough to get us on our own which i want so badly! I have been looking for work with a broken heart because I (although I never thought I’d want to home, I do) I’d have to leave my 1 & 3 y/o. I’m still looking…oh and I’m diabetic. All that to say, while i don’t think about it daily but it still enters my mind. My husband is amazing & our relationship is great which helps! Thanks for the ear (s)! I know God has a plan its just super hard to wait especially when it’s uncomfortable.

  48. 92

    I am so sorry that you, Eileen, are going through this. You sound so confused and beaten down. Please do not give up; your life is so precious. I understand about trying to soothe ourselves with material things – an entire multi-billion dollar industry counts on that. You are not alone. I understand.

  49. 93

    Oh Mary,
    thank you for your words!
    5 weeks ago we, my family and I, came back from our holidays in Italy. I really enjoyed this wonderful time that we had there. After coming back home I started working again. I’m a paramedic. I worked week after week, every weekend I slept at my guard and at the hardest time I was only at every second day at home. I really love my work as an paramedic but I had no free time anymore… since weeks. And suddenly the time came where I had no longer a problem to work so much. Sometimes my friends asked me how I am but everytime it was the same answer: “I’m okay. I’m at work.”
    And I felt good about working hard. It gave me the feeling of beeing important.
    Last week my parents said to me that I have a bit symptoms of a burn-out. I was shocked. Me? No!
    And since I realized that they are right I feel like I want to run. Run away. Feel free. Filling my lungs with fresh air. Having time for things I enjoy to do. Not that I have to do. Meet friends and not to be too tired to go to bed when I opened the door of my private room.
    It is quiet hard to brake this rythm. This never ending “I am needed. I have to work.”
    I slowly come back to what I was. The Me that enjoyed every little moment of sweet peace at doing what I want to do.
    Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I feel more free!
    Rosie

  50. 94

    Hi! Just today came across your website and amen and thank you for your words, scripture…left me feeling better through my mommy meltdown of thoughts or feelings that I thought I was alone feeling. greatly need this. Thanks god bless

  51. 95
    Too sad to care says:

    My life was difficult to begin with, 3 little kids, a husband who in his heart i know loves, me, but is too busy with work and church to show it, I have to do every single thing by myself. I tried not to show it, and I try to bare it all, but I am now at my wits end because he now insists n having both parents stay with us for 3 months. They are too lazy to help even themselves, not to talk of helping me. They are adding significant amount of stress into my life. They are always in my space. I feel like running away and not coming back for ever. But I know that I have it much better than most people. My life is not as bad as I imagine it to be, so ifeelungrateful and unappreciative. On the one end, I feel so stressed, on the other end, I feel so selfish and ungrateful. I love my children so much, this is only thing that prevents me from wishing i had stayed single. I question in my heart whether i was built to be a wife and a mother, or whether I was created to be single. I don’t think life needs to be this hard. At times i wish I was never born. If my kids were grown and independent, I would have prayed for God to take me away early, since as a Christian wuicide is it an option. But I do not want my kids to suffer without me being there for them, so I must keep trying until they are adults. After all they never asked to be born, me it would be unfair for them to have to grow up without the love and nurturing of their mother.

  52. 96
    Too sad to care says:

    My life was difficult to begin with, 3 little kids, a husband who in his heart i know loves, me, but is too busy with work and church to show it, I have to do every single thing by myself. I tried not to show it, and I try to bare it all, but I am now at my wits end because he now insists n having both parents stay with us for 3 months. They are too lazy to help even themselves, not to talk of helping me. They are adding significant amount of stress into my life. They are always in my space. I feel like running away and not coming back for ever. But I know that I have it much better than most people. My life is not as bad as I imagine it to be, so ifeel ungrateful and unappreciative. On the one end, I feel so stressed, on the other end, I feel so selfish and ungrateful. I love my children so much, this is only thing that prevents me from wishing i had stayed single. I question in my heart whether i was built to be a wife and a mother, or whether I was created to be single. I don’t think life needs to be this hard. At times i wish I was never born. If my kids were grown and independent, I would have prayed for God to take me away early, since as a Christian suicide is not an option. But I do not want my kids to suffer without me being there for them, so I must keep trying until they are adults. After all they never asked to be born, it would be unfair for them to have to grow up without the love and nurturing of their mother.

    • 97

      Oh, friend, I am so sorry you’re feeling so defeated and discouraged. Please know that you are here on purpose and for a reason – and you are loved! I understand what you’re saying about feeling the pull between stress over your own, very real and difficult situation and gratitude for a situation that’s so much better than many others. But just because you are blessed doesn’t mean you don’t also have challenges. Do you have anyone in your life you can reach out to – for friendship and conversation and encouragement, for relief and help? A moms group (or MOPS group), a church group, something like that? I pray you find at least one friend to connect with who can ease your burden, whether emotionally or physically. And I pray you and your husband can make time to spend together, to reconnect and enjoy each other. I know your family is glad you were born, and I know God created you and loves you. Praying you find comfort in those truths today!

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