PREFACE: I wrote this post one week ago today. It’s all still as true as it was that day, but MAN OH MAN that evening was tough! I didn’t publish the post immediately after writing it because I wanted to check for typos and by the time I had time to post this, all hell broke loose. I had a crazy evening, planned wrong and missed a meeting, felt completely overwhelmed by the upcoming wedding, everything I was trying to control, and handling the kids completely on my own. I’d love to say I turned it all over to God, but instead I had a pity party and watched Mad Men on Netflix while drinking wine and eating pretzels and cheese dip. #SoHuman
God in his ever abundant mercy loved me as much then as He does when I think I’m rockin’ it. Today I’m neither here nor there. Just kind of in the middle and still feeling all of the stuff in this post…
We’re on our 16th day with Andy being gone. Boy we miss him! We’re trying to FaceTime most days, but unless it happens in the delicate window between dinner and bed time, it’s not worth it.
FaceTime with young children is a special form of torture! The lighting is always off, the kids never stop moving, someone is always shoving their face into the camera or hitting the kid who’s doing that and the baby pretty much just wants to crawl away. Meanwhile, I’m constantly trying to angle the phone or iPad to show only one of my chins.
Yeah, no thank you.
But we want to see Andy everyday and keep him up to speed on what’s happening and make sure Drew doesn’t forget who is dad is. LOL
So we press on. In that little post-dinner/pre-bedtime window.
Managing things by myself has actually been going better than I expected. The regular feeding/changing/wiping/bathing/nail-clipping/story reading/fight breaking up/homeschooling of these three sweet blessings has a tendency to be exhausting. When Andy is around, we try to tag team a lot of the evening and weekend stuff, and it sometimes still feels a little overwhelming, so I thought for sure I’d be swamped when I was doing it by myself.
By the grace of God I haven’t been swamped. He’s poured out an extra measure of patience and perseverance upon me that I honestly can take no credit for. I tend to have a prickly, no-nonsense, compassionless knee-jerk response to challenges, so this is ALL. GOD.
I’m so grateful.
We’ve been finding new rhythms and rituals that have structured our days so nicely. The kids so well when we’re consistent with our routines and they know what to expect.
Right now that means we wake up and have breakfast, the kids play for a while, Drew goes down for his morning nap, Grace and I do kindergarten at the kitchen table and Avery is thrilled to participate in everything with us, the girls go outside for “recess” (which they LOVE and which CRACKS ME UP since they’ve been “recessing” outside all summer and it hasn’t felt so novel!) while I make lunch and get Drew up and fed. A little more playtime and sometimes and errand or two, then nap time for Drew and Avery (and sometimes “rest time” for Grace) then back outside for a walk or bike ride before dinner, then reading and bedtime for the kids. That’s when I clean up dinner, work on laundry, straighten up the house, plan school lessons for the next day, shower, and read blogs on my phone before hitting the hay.
Day in and day out, it’s pretty much the exact same thing.
This is what is working for us right now and as long as it does we will continue. I’ve been resistant to routines much of my life (Just ask my mom! I’m always picking on her for all of hers) but there is something comforting and peaceful about them. I always want to leave room for promptings from the Holy Spirit or helping someone in need or abandoning the entire plan for fun and adventure, but on the very quiet and ordinary days, I often smile as I’m coming full circle on one of our daily rituals. I find gratitude in those moments.
It’s like my heart and mind aren’t cluttered from worrying about what’s next or getting the kids on board for whatever needs to happen, so I have space to think and be thankful for this life I have. For God’s mercy on me and all of my shortcomings. For the way I get to stay home and do this work day after day. For each of my beautiful and healthy children.
We aren’t guaranteed anything in this life, except God’s goodness and his presence and the promise that He will make all things right in the next life.
There’s no promise that things will be easy or people will stay healthy or tragedy will be avoided. Those things happen and they’re no respecter of persons. I want to be thankful every minute for these beautiful things in my life that I don’t deserve.
On the flip side, I want to grow in intimacy with God so that I will continue to be thankful when the hard times do happen, knowing He is good no matter what the circumstances of my life are screaming at me.
Part of growing toward Him is maintaining margins in my life. Not overcrowding every day, but rather leaving room between the kindling so that His spirit can circulate and feed the flame of my relationship with Him.
I find that lately I’m obsessed with how I’m spending my time. Anxious about what to say yes to and what to turn down. Worrying about not spending enough time with friends and worrying about how to make time to spend with them. Worrying about not texting or calling people, worrying about what to be involved in at church, worried about missing things God has for me.
I know I can’t miss the good works He has prepared in advance for me to walk in, but, practically speaking, I must believe I can miss them.
I keep reaching my heart to Him, asking for wisdom, remembering how much He loves me just as I am, over-extended or hermitting at home.
He loves me.
What good news!