Reporting To You From the Trench

Friday, May 22nd, 2020

My plan was to talk a bit more about self care in quarantine but as I was writing away – I realized it was feeling inauthentic because right now – I’m struggling.  So here goes…

I wrote recently about getting back on my feet after making some mistakes early on in this quarantine life.

Welp – it appears I have taken some steps backwards and I’m lying flat again.  Are any of you there with me?  It’s called quarantine fatigue and it’s a real thing.

I was driving to our office yesterday to shoot some videos with Jason and I was reflecting on all the balls I am dropping – I was thinking about all the roles I play and how I am feeling like a failure – as a wife, mom, friend, teacher, daughter… the list goes on and the voices were loud.

This post is challenging for me to write because I truly feel like I am in the thick of being down in the trench.  It’s so much easier to share after we are back on steady ground versus from the depths of despair.  Especially in this over-edited world we live in.

As I literally process this all out loud here – I am trying to sort through – what isn’t working?  What happened?  How did I end up here yet again?

Maybe this is a good place to start – reflection – and from there we can create a plan for how to work our way back out of the trench.  This isn’t the time to fix – rather, this is the time to explore and listen to ourselves.

Identify How The Heck We Ended Up Here

(Do you like how I am saying we versus me?  Maybe I feel more comforted knowing there are others out there in my shoes.  I also think I am desperately needing community and to know I’m not alone.)

#1 – So as I look back over the last 2-3 weeks, one of the things I am identifying as a challenge has been not having some rest and reprieve over the weekend.  Over the last two weekends, 3 of the 4 weekend days has been taken up with good things (Jason did an on-line EMB, Mother’s Day, Jason’s birthday) – but things that prevented me from really being able to rest and recoup and have white space on the calendar.

#2 – I’m also noticing this need for in-person connection with others outside my little family.  I am desperately wanting to socialize with friends.  I see photos from before quarantine and I see the way people are close together, without masks on, and something in my heart pauses and yearns for those days to return.  I don’t just want this, I need this.

#3 – This is WAY personal – but I decided a couple of weeks ago to taper once again off of my anti-depressant.  (I have slowly been tapering off some meds for the last couple of years following this lovely episode.)  I usually take it super slow when I start the taper but I didn’t go so slow this time.  I know this is playing in.

#4 – Margin – I didn’t honestly have much margin prior to March 13th when this all started impacting my day to day.  Instead of intentionally taking things off my plate – what did I do?  I ended up just adding on-line school and full-time parenting (versus having 30 hours a week of space) into my already packed schedule.  This is causing the days to run together because of the constancy.

#5 – Another vulnerable area for me to share – body image.  I really didn’t think I would be impacted by the quarantine-15 but I’m afraid that’s not the case.  This is week 11 in quarantine and let me just tell you – it’s impacted me physically.  Because of my history with an eating disorder; crash diets / fad diets / almost any diet doesn’t work for me.  And while I have done a lot of work to heal in this area – there are still times when it will rear it’s ugly head.  And this is one of those times.  I’m feeling frustrated, flabby and powerless to change it right now.


I’m thinking about Joseph’s life right now – specifically the time he spent in prison.  In my mind, the prison was dark, musty, cellar-like – a place where he truly had little to no information as to when his time there would end.

He was in the trenches.

And it’s scary in the trenches because we don’t have that 360 degree view.  We have less control and can’t see what’s around the corner (or in trench speak: he didn’t know what was coming from up above).  I hate this.

What I love, however, about the story of Joseph is that even while he was at his lowest point – God was with him.

In addition, I love what Kelly Minter says in her Bible Study – Finding God Faithful – she says – We can’t always see what God is doing, but just like Joseph –  we can choose to be faithful and trust in Him (p53).

This is my hope for all of us – that we would remain faithful and continue to put our hope and our trust in Him.  God will show us the way.

As always – I would so love to hear from you!  We are in this together and if you are standing on level ground – I want to celebrate with you.  If you are in the trench or making your way down (or back up), know you are not alone.

xo – Shelley

Photo credits here and here

5 thoughts on “Reporting To You From the Trench

  1. Holly

    May 23, 2020  |  12:51 pm

    Oh Shelley, how I love your transparency and vulnerability Thank you for sharing where you’ve been! I, too, have been in the trenches. Def needed encouragement today! Amen!! We are not alone and we can CHOOSE to to be faithful and trust in Him.
    Hugs to you

  2. Karlee

    May 23, 2020  |  01:17 pm

    I haven’t been on your blog in quite some time but today I saw your email pop up with this post and it was exactly what I needed. I have been in the trench all week with this being the week of the anniversary of finding out the truth. Plus all the added stress of the world. My triggers have been out of control and all of your recent blog posts are identical to how I am feeling. I feel in the trench. I feel trapped. I feel like things are going no where after 3 years of recovery work with my husband. I feel like I can only see the negatives. I feel like I have no purpose. Just lost and hopeless. What you said about anti depressants has been on my mind too. I tapered off mine in February this year and I always feel attacked about it. I didn’t like being on them- didn’t want to feel like I had to rely on something else to heal me. Now since I’ve been off them and the triggers are so much higher I just feel insane and I’m constantly wondering why I can’t function like a normal human without them. Why I can’t let God heal my mind instead. It’s comforting to see you are struggling with similar things like me. You are not alone. And I’m so thankful for you and your ministry! If I didn’t have one of your support groups I wouldn’t have gotten through this week. So just remember, you matter!

  3. Joy

    May 23, 2020  |  01:30 pm

    Love the Joseph reference, Shelley. Such an apt analogy, and as tired (and confused, and grieving, and angry) as I am of all the irregularity and uncertainty, surely he was in a worse situation …. and although the Bible only records his faith and trust in God, surely even he occasionally despaired. But ultimately he chose trust, and so can I.

  4. Suzi

    May 23, 2020  |  01:44 pm

    Love this and love you! Whew, way to go for being vulnerable and transparent! “Trench speak”…what a great comment there. He is with us, before us, beside us, all around us. Immanuel=God with us…will we be with Him? That’s His invitation every day. Praying for you, dear one!


  5. Jessie

    May 23, 2020  |  03:58 pm

    Youer willingness to be vulnerable in real time is such a gift to others in the trench. I was just telling someone yesterday what a shame it is that so often in recovery we only share our struggle to rise once we’ve sanitized it and made an inspirational story of it like Brene Brown talks about. But what is equally if not more powerful are the people brave enough to share while they’re actively right in the middle of the struggle to rise. Be it a small struggle or a big one. Something related to betrayal or not. Because that’s relatable. And so encouraging to others looking for someone to relate to when they’re not able yet to relate to the sanitized inspirational complete story. When it seems like that sanitized story could never be their own story. You do vulnerability and relatability so well Shelley. You’re a beacon of realness and hope in a fake sanitized world. I salute your messy, frustrated, flabby feeling, isolated, overwhelmed self. I see you.

    ~Currently Laying Amidst Laundry Mountain In My Unmade Bed Feeling Like A Human Trash Heap

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