The Incredible Sulk


My prayer this new year was “Lord, teach me to suffer well…” I’m not kidding – that is what i actually asked for (stupid, stupid woman…!)

So, for the last couple of months i’ve been having a pretty hard time for one reason or another. We all get times like that right? When you are getting the living daylights kicked out of you from all sides of life it never comes in a nice ordered fashion does it? It comes as several massive bombshells all at once.

Well, i’ve been coping pretty well (or so i thought) until a few weeks ago when i started letting it get to me and then fell into the most incredible sulk. Since then I have been officially hosting my own mega pity-party for the last 3 weeks.

I wake up, i look like this…

by lunch time i look like this…



by dinner time i still look like this…



and i go to bed looking like this…


How can a 34 year old woman possibly get into this terrible state? I’ll tell you why shall i? Shall i? SHALL I???

EVERYBODY gets enough sleep, APART FROM ME!

EVERYBODY gets their pre-pregnancy figure back within weeks of the birth of their 3rd child, APART FROM ME!

EVERYBODY gets to work on their computer without constant, CONSTANT, interruption APART FROM… (wait someone’s calling…) ME!

EVERYBODY has a perfect marriage APART FROM ME!

EVERYBODY has perfect, well behaved children who do not push their mothers to the brink, APART FROM ME!

NO-ONE has to visit the terror dentist 5 TIMES in 2 months, APART FROM ME!

NO-ONE ever feels lonely or depressed or worried or overwhelmed or completely rubbish, APART FROM ME!

EVERYBODY gets to go to ROME to watch the double mega Pope canonization, APART FROM ME!

You get the picture.

(Notice that so far in this post i have mentioned myself 21 times, my children 2 times, my husband once and the Lord once.)

It was time to face it – i was having a 3 month long tantrum. Time for me to go stand in the naughty corner…


I repeated my new year prayer: “Lord teach me to suffer well, because all i have been doing is suffering badly and its getting worse. I can’t take it anymore…”

“Clare, it’s not about you. Praise Me while you suffer.”

WHATT???!! Another cryptic answer i didn’t want to hear. Why would i want to praise God during times of suffering? Suffering hurts. It sucks. It sucks big time. I don’t like to suffer. Why does God allow suffering anyway…?

This is why. Suffering achieves stuff. But suffering on it’s own is useless unless it is done with Love. Christ suffered for us on the cross, but wouldn’t it also be true to say that He never loved us more that when He was hanging there dying for us?

Love and suffering go hand in hand. For the Christian, they are inseparable. This is another major feature (apart from personal relationship with Jesus) that separates Christianity from other world religions. It is a mind boggling, mysterious, wonderful paradox.

When we accept it out of love for Christ, our suffering becomes a gift. It is a gift to us that we can accept with love and then offer it back to God as a gift to Him. (I am not saying this is easy to understand.)

In this way we actually get to participate in the redemptive suffering of Christ. 

And i’m not just talking about the big stuff like having cancer, losing a child, or a failed marriage. I’m talking about stuff like not getting your own way all the time, not taking out your tiredness on your husband and kids, and accepting that following Christ with real love means that you don’t get to do stuff that other people do a lot of the time because He wants you to be doing other more important things at this point in your life.

Giving up meat on a friday each week is easy peasy lemon squeezy compared to giving up your own personal life ambitions, to stay home and change nappies right? It gets us all in different ways.

We do it out of love.

So what about the “Praise Me…” thing? Well i had no idea what this meant (as usual) and i had no idea of what i was doing (as usual) but that evening i decided that bedtime prayers with the kids was going to consist of singing. ONLY singing.

“Gloria! (clap, clap) Gloria! (clap, clap) in excelsis deo!…”

“Ave, Ave, Ave Maria!…”

“Gospa Mijka Moya” and Zdravo Kraljice Mira (“Mary you are my mother”, and “Hail Queen of Peace” – Croatian)

and finally… “Give me joy in my heart, keep me praising…!”

The kids loved it. Dancing all over the room – purposefully jumping on and bursting the balloons we blew up for the Canonisation earlier in the day! Singing at the tops of their voices. It was one of the loudest most raucous prayer times we’ve ever had and it was great!

And do you know… I feel much better now. Try it for yourselves… I know you grump just as much as i do 😉

“Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” – Romans 5: 3-5

9 thoughts on “The Incredible Sulk

  1. How is it that we’ve just met and you already have such a mirror on my psyche? 🙂 I always feel foolish when I realize I’ve fallen into the “I’m the only one struggling with this” trap…Again! Thanks for the perspective adjustment!

  2. What a fabulous article! My kids were in a play last year about praising God even when times are rough, not only when things are going well. I think it was a hard concept for them at that age -actually for anyone at any age! – but so worthwhile and necessary. Thank you for sharing.

  3. One of the best gifts God ever gave me was the desire to sing. Even when life is at it’s darkest, my heart wants to sing. Sometimes the songs feel like dirges but there’s always a phrase about how great and loving God it. He’s also given me the heart of a child so bubble wrap is for popping and balloons are for batting, first, and then popping.

    This is such a wonderful post. I love the picture of your family singing and breaking balloons. Sing while suffering: the perfect thing to do. Drusilla

  4. Ah Clare, I throw my toys out of the pram on a regular basis, but the beautiful thing is that God our Father is big enough to take our little tantrums and our sulks! And when we realise that we have been acting up, like a good parent, He is already smiling and rejoicing when we come back to Him. I love the idea of singing as a way of bringing us to our senses. As someone who struggles a bit with depression, singing is a beautiful way of elevating my heart and mind to God.

  5. I used to belong to a Pentecostalist house church that recommended you praise God you have cancer and suchlike. That to me is so false, and I wouldn’t do it, but I recommend finding ONE thing in the situation that is good and thanking God for that. I had to go to the doctor for antibiotics today (nasty little hassle, though not the worst fate ever, by any means) and I can thank God that the practice nurse was able to find time to dress my leg so I didn’t need to go back, and the pharmacist had the antibiotic I needed so I didn’t have to delay taking it. Added to that, I had the opportunity to get a repeat prescription that I would otherwise have had to spend time ordering.

    I love St Theresa of Avila’s sense of humour! She is reputed to have said: “Lord, if this is the way you treat your friends, no wonder you have so few of them!”

  6. Reblogged this on Deaconjohn1987's Blog and commented:
    Here’s a great read for today: as St. Paul says: “Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” – Romans 5: 3-5

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