Waving the White Flag

I’m going to just tell you straight up. This has been one of those weeks where I felt like taking a black sharpie and writing EPIC FAIL on the calendar just to remind myself of the fact that I got absolutely nothing done that I was supposed to do. We have eaten out because I didn’t have groceries so I feel like junk after we had been doing so well eating at home for a long time. My house is dirty and for every one thing I do, five more get undone. I’ve been in some type of hormonal funk where nothing is right and the tears or sharpness come quickly. And our school schedule has suffered along with everything else. We were out of town for the weekend and when I faced catching up after getting back, I just panicked and froze. There are very logical reasons for this week being this way and they are not long-term issues, but my ability to clearly analyze this and adjust had apparently vanished in a cloud of smoke.

I think I’ve discovered that I feel all the things I need to do from food, to household, to family, to homeschooling, to friendship, and everything beyond hang by a thread. I keep thinking I’ve given up my expectations and yet keep discovering that there are even more being uncovered. I can set my schedule where my floors should get mopped, clothes should get ironed, and I should look like something that resembles a put-together human being when I show up at baseball practice, but if things don’t go according to plan and then my weekends are such that there is no catch-up time, I find myself drowning in the sea of what should be done but can’t possibly be accomplished.

As I was contemplating that delicate thread between me and crazy, psycho mom this morning while I got ready, I felt the Lord speaking to me. He asked me, “What would happen if you just let the thread snap?” My response was some sort of highly intelligent and incredibly faith-filled version of, “Say WHAT?” And again, no louder, “What would happen if you just let the thread snap? Let it go. Get up every morning, admit you can’t do it (not a token ‘I need you, Lord’), and ask ME what to do today. Keep your schedule on the back burner, I’ve given that to you, but get up, admit defeat from the beginning, and just ask ME what you can make your main focus today.” So I asked Him what He wanted me to do today and He said, “Love your kids. If you can do that and clean the bathroom, great. If you can do that and go grocery shopping, wonderful. But if you can’t, drop everything else and LOVE YOUR KIDS.” Can I go ahead and acknowledge that I’m aware that this sounds like “God Explains How to be a Successful Mom – Step One,” and that it’s fully embarrassing that I have apparently gotten enough off focus that I’m needing as simple a reminder as that, but bless His Name, He is that patient and faithful with this willful child.

As I look back at this week, it has really been one reminder after another that time is short, precious, and easily taken for granted, and also that my “problems” don’t rank very high on the disaster scale. God tends to really bring home His lessons at every turn when He’s at work in my life, and this week between precious babies sick and having surgeries, and mommies and daddies saying final goodbyes to children, little boys saying goodbye to their daddy, and cancer hitting mothers and fathers…if I don’t get the message, I don’t have any business claiming to ever get anything. And just to bring it all home, the kids and I are currently reading through the New Testament in the mornings and today’s verses were on the return of Jesus. As I asked the kids questions about what would really matter to them when He returned, I found myself thinking that here I was again hearing the same message. Then to wrap it all up this evening, I took dinner to a family in our church who lives very close to us. I didn’t realize it when I signed up for the meal, but it’s a mom I met recently who used to homeschool her kids until her fourth developed severe epilepsy. The oldest daughter was far enough along and could do enough on her own that she was able to finish at home and graduate this year but the parents had to make the decision to put their middle two boys in school as she cared full-time for the growing needs of the youngest daughter. She told me the boys had done wonderfully and everything was great, but that she so desperately missed that time with them and the joy of being their teacher. She told me to treasure my moments. Today that youngest is nine, has had brain surgery a few weeks ago, and will hopefully be returning home tomorrow as they go through therapy and hope that this has had the results they were praying for.

Does EPIC FAIL just suddenly seem completely inappropriate in every way for my week? Yeah, I’m going to find a hole in the floor to crawl into. So if today in my weakness I can’t get it done and love my kids at the same time, it goes. And tomorrow, I will see what else He has for me. I made so many mistakes today, if I were Him, I would declare another day of intensive training. Yes, I know I’m supposed to love my kids every day, but I have a feeling that He will have different focuses for me as time passes. Maybe a day where His main word is to love my husband or brother or neighbor. I keep wondering whether He will declare a day where it’s absolutely most important for me to get every speck of dust off the baseboards, but I don’t see that making the cut of “if Jesus returned I’d be awfully glad my main goal of the day was cleaning my baseboards.” Maybe if He is patient enough, I can love my kids, forget myself, honor Him and still get the baseboards cleaned. We’ll see…

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2 thoughts on “Waving the White Flag

  1. Oh I SO needed to read this today! I have been fighting this same battle and trying so hard to let go of my high expectations. It’s always good to hear some encouragement on that front!!

  2. Beautifully written. Humble, vulnerable truth. I’m so glad He’s asked you to write this….and given you those children to love. You honor HIM with your life and your daily sacrifice. Praying God continues to give you these words to share and gives you strength through your days. — Amy Wilson

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