Like a vice-grip pressing in on my temples, head blasting, brain foggy, body heavy, our two-year-old’s voice rises increasingly. I turn over to look at the clock, 5:00 a.m. Awake. An hour earlier than our usual.
- The heat starts burning. I feel my head, “temperature, for sure”. But stumble out of bed, anyway.
For what can stop a mom from driving onward? I mean, whose going to keep the children fed, the school-aged children; lunches packed, off to their day? The babies changed, the grown ones feeling supported and encouraged…if a mother doesn’t do her job?
- I stumble downstairs. The cat starts meowing, despite me feeding her. Rhythmically, she echos in my ear like Chinese torture tormenting my pounding brain.
- The dogs start wrestling, it is not even, 6:00 a.m. yet.
I wake our eight-year-old, get her off to school on time. Smiling pleasantly, secretly praying the hours of this day might tick by faster…so I can get some sleep.
- Our little ones special blanket seems to be playing hide-and-seek. Yes, the same blanket she has been attached too ever since leaving her mama. Where did it go?
- Like a tornado, I sweep through the house, uncovering cushions and furniture. But it’s as if a blanket snatcher somehow ran off with it. I have to put toddler to a nap, without it.
I pick up my eight-year-old from school. Still throbbing with a headache, ibuprofen not working. Then, the day starts really excelling…
- I pull a Barbie shoe from my toddler, she grips my finger between her teeth and won’t let go. I hold back tears…trying to nonchalantly tell my other children, “that’s just what toddlers do”. But inside I feel like her teeth are weapons pursuing me..and I don’t have a chance.
- The transporter calls, insists on a last minute visitation. I get my little one ready, shocking her with the reality that her life is like a yoyo in the hands of a system that must check off, “visits” with the same disconnect a militant worker might go about their morning business. I do what they tell me…though our child screams, “nooo”.
- I still can’t find her blanket, and her restless nap now turns into a “goodbye” without any form of physically security. I try not to panic, reminding myself that some days just go like this…no big deal.
- My phone dies sooner than expected. I scramble for the charger, trying to connect to the world again. I plug in, scroll down for encouragement, but only get advertisement and “happy” responses about how wonderful everyone’s day is going. Am I the only one whose day’s in chaos?
- I help my daughter get ready for her daddy and daughter date. But like the blanket, now I can’t find her bow…the sparkling purple one matching her purple sparkling dress. It is a perfect fit. One I just knew God allowed me to purchase just for this very occasion. Drawers get dug through, toy buckets get dumped out…but I can’t find it anywhere. It’s just a bow, but at this point, it seems to represent something more…quite possibly, my success (or lack of) as a mother. I get frantic for just a moment…making this bow my identity, in a world of perfection and Pinterest perfect mothers. My sinus infection and fever taunting me….”I am only human”.
- I finally give up the hunt. Talking out loud, “It’s o.k. She can live without the bow”…But then, like an earthquake rumbling harder the second time, I scour the house again. First the lost blanket, now a lost bow? No!!!! I MUST find out who is snatching my happiness by stealing what’s needed today! I never thought I had OCD, but this hour…I clearly showed signs of it. Why was this bow soooo important?
- Exhausted from the hunt….my tired, weary, five o’clock waking self tries to high tail it right over the baby gate. (Yes, probably still looking for the bow) My foot catches the top of the gate and I fall smack dab on my left arm and leg. Splat. Completely sprawled out like a white-chalked, New York City shooting victim, belly down, arms and legs outstretched across our wood floors.
I try not to cry….not because I ached so, making my headache now seeming minor….but because my pride shined in such humility…and I just felt so defeated. Still knowing others are watching, I stand up anyway.
I check to make sure my arm isn’t broken. It swells big. My sweet husband ties an ice pack to it. I check my leg too because my knee hurts so bad. The stairs only aggravating it, as I limp now, descending them hesitantly, like a criminal stumbling to her execution. I hobble away, quite the sight, moving forward anyway, despite all my trials in this no good, rotten day.
Then, night finally roles around. My eight-year-old and husband go off to a father/daughter dance…and the hope of a calmer evening rings in my ears….
But then, my toddler starts playing with something I see toppling from her diaper. I get closer, and a volcano seems to be erupting from the surface of her now gaping covering, out over her belly, like Mount St. Helen’s…decades of preparation. She explodes upon blankets, carpets, all over everything. Her hands covered in the most disguising substance I can barely stomach.
Did I mention…I don’t do gross things well?
I clean it up. Finally. And I think…where did this day go wrong? A fever, lost blanket, last minute parental visit, hidden bow never surfacing, tripping over the baby gate almost killing myself, getting bit by my toddler, phone dying, baby waking at 5:00 a.m., cat meowing, dogs wrestling, sinus infection and bruises, while having to face an explosion of the most disgusting kind? I mean, someone please tell me…what exactly went wrong?
And I have heard it said, “We are not just meant to survive…but thrive!” We are conquerors! We can turn our lives around simply by believing in an earthly abundant life. But I tend to think…some days life is just hard, despite whether we deserve it or not. Some days are rosy or pearly, but some-days the victory can be just in the getting through…not winning great battles, but pressing in, standing time and time again…when things don’t go our way.
And I find often life tests us most…not when our world is formed and molded into pictures of perfection, but on days when we stumble, and trip, and fumble along, needing grace in greater portions; His hand dependent through sickness or in health, standing tall, rising again, in weakness or in strength….trusting He is near through all our experiences, good and bad.
And we have a choice, don’t we? To go on or give up and give in because let’s face it…sometimes throwing in the towel can just seem way easier.
But I want to encourage you friends, we don’t have to have Pinterest looking lives, lives Facebook worthy to be a testament to Christ! We don’t have to smile all the time, put on plastic presentation of how our lives are “great”, we don’t have to cave to the pressure of defeat or live apathetically either….
We just step on, move forward, keep our heads up, purpose our eyes fixed on the Perfector, place our hearts humbly before Him….because even tides retracting will come landward, eventually. Winters always promise to precede Spring-time. Because God shines the sun and sends rain on all of God’s people….regardless of what they are deserving of.
- Will we let grace find us?
- Will we except our weariness?
- Will we strengthen our spiritual muscles instead of fleeing to higher ground when things don’t go our way?
- Will we bend low when the world tries to slay us, trusting a bruised reed will never break?
- Will we know God sees us in seasons when we find ourselves face down on the floor?
- Will we lean on Him over and over again? Despite what happens? Without de-characterizing or defaming God? Trusting Him despite how life looks now, through these temporary, physical, human eyes?
My daughter had a great time with her daddy that night. We eventually found the blanket, my finger healed…and well, my arm and leg ache less days after my uncoordinated flight across the propped up gate on my way to find that bow…
In fact, the next day couldn’t have gone any better. So was then next. And the next. And looking back, I think it stands true….some days just need more grace, which is available if we ask?
The measure of our life not determined by our wisdom, our education, our strength, or how many mountains we face on our own…
But by how we bend low and allow grace on those days we feel small, insignificant, unglamorous, during all those small moments nobody sees…..but us and God.
Yes, will we rise, and keep loving, serving diligently, while still trusting….His grace is sufficient….not just during big trials, but now, every hour, here….on those days we most need it?
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