I tuck my little ones in to bed, silent, the air thick with tension. We all mumble “I love you’s” under our breathe as tears sting at our eyes. Remorse and regret fill my heart at how our day unfolded. As I tug the door closed behind me, relief overwhelms me. Relief that my children are on their way to sleep, relief that the day is winding down so we could put it behind us.
My husbands deployment has loomed over our household like a black cloud, dampening our spirits and taken a toll. My patience has run thin as I contemplate the busyness of my day ahead….of my days ahead without my husband.
This disaster of a day started at three am when the dog sought me out for a late night romp outdoors. Stepping outside in 30 degree weather will rouse even the sleepiest of mama’s. Three short hours later, I’m staring at my alarm waiting for it to go off. Sleep deprived I walk through my morning routine in a fog, silently rattling off my to do list, half listening to my girls excitement about their field trips that day. My mind whirled as I thought about the logistics of my day.
When would I have time to get to the grocery store for some much needed staples?
How would I pick my daughter up from girl scouts at the exact time my son needed to be picked up from high school?
Why did I volunteer for this field trip?
My husband interrupts my silent conversation to request his much needed uniforms from the dry cleaners. An innocent request met with bitter reluctance.
The day lived up to my expectations. My nerves frayed a bit more with every passing hour. Innocent requests for me to sew girl scout patches on to vests, were met with angry words and exasperation. A dinner thrown together met with gags after just one bite.
Peace and tranquility went out the door with the trash (actually the trash is still sitting by the back door waiting for someone to take it out…..but peace and tranquility have definitely left the building).
As I sit down for the first time today, I quiet myself before the Lord and ask forgiveness for my behavior. I am struck by how quickly I forget to rely on the Lord.
How easy it is for me to mess up in a big way, when I am to busy for the Lord.
How hurtful I have been to those I love the most.
I crumble as I ask the Lord to fill in the gaps of my parenting.
Sitting before the Lord, contrite and humble, He brings to mind four principles He has been teaching me over the past months:
1. Focus FIRST on HIM: The Lord is teaching me what it means to give the first fruits of my life, including my time, to Him. To stop for even a few minutes first thing in the morning, put aside my list of things to do, and be still before He who fills my cup, so that I may have something to pour out upon my family.
2. Break the Cycle of Busyness: The Lord has been teaching me to humble myself enough to know when to say no. To allow the people pleaser in me to swallow my pride and recognize my limitations. See, the Lord has been showing me how to be a good steward of my time. How to prioritize my commitments and activities so I have the time and energy to pour life and joy and myself into the lives of my family.
3. Forgiveness comes in failure: Don’t wallow in your failure. Seek forgiveness from your children, spouse, Lord and whomever else you may have negatively influenced today.
4. Rest comes in Him: Seek God out, talk to Him, intentionally find Him amidst your day. ”Come to me all you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
As I look back at the day, I realize I stole so much joy from my family today because of my over committing, over scheduling, and unnecessary to-do lists. I want to be a joy giver, not a joy stealer!
Thank the Lord that tomorrow we get our Do-Over!