A Tale Of Two Sundays (Part One)
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times...actually, it was pretty much just the worst of times...
I don't know about you, but getting my kids out the door in time for church on Sundays is pretty much the most stressful part of my week. I know, I know, it's a 1st world problem and I am blessed in so many ways (I can worship in public, we have food to eat, we have decent clothes to wear, we have transportation to church, etc). Sometimes I forget how blessed I am in these ways. But even when I remember to be grateful, man, that doesn't stop it from being a challenge!
I mean, I feel like I have improved some over the years. And my husband does help with what he can do, but he has to leave early to get the church ready for service, so I'm without him for at least the last hour of the morning.
Anyway, I want to share the story of two of my Sundays and what God is teaching me through them.
Sunday #1: I start the day exhausted because the baby is wanting to nurse all night, but I get up and get the kids fed. As I'm dressing the baby someone drops a giant pickle jar that is filled with glass beads and it breaks in the hallway. It's normal for us to get to church a little late but this morning we are like 15 minutes late because just as we are all ready to go I ask where the toddler is, and he is on the potty...pooping...which takes forever. Once we actually get to church my toddler is acting up and my 6-year-old is acting like a toddler, too, so I spend all of worship time wrestling a nursing baby and the two of them. I lead children's church and still have to deal with my toddler's behavior while trying to teach a meaningful lesson to the older kids (and failing miserably because my heart is not in it). At one point I give up, tell the kids they can free play, and leave the room to ask my husband to step in for me because I just don't feel like I can take it anymore. I almost get to him and see his crutches leaning against the sound booth and realize I can't ask him to fill in because he injured himself the day before so I turn around and go back to the classroom. Honestly, I pull out my phone to try to read some scriptures, and I do read some, but end up scrolling on my phone while keeping an eye on the kids and repeatedly correcting my toddler for the rest of church. We often visit another church after ours is over, but I don't want to be around anyone today so decide to skip that. We are out of milk, so I swing by the store after church. For once the baby seems fine in his car seat so I leave the kids in the car but when I am finished shopping I come out to him screaming. Apparently he started crying about halfway through and neither of my big girls thought to get him out of the car seat and try to sooth him or bring him to me. I get home and open the back hatch and a bag of groceries comes flying out. One of the milks has busted open. Once we are in the house my oldest uses the jar funnel to try to save some of the milk but doesn't realize when the mason jar is full and the milk overflows onto the counter. At the same time I reach up to get a plate for the veggies and it somehow slides right out of my hand and shatters onto the floor. Into, like, 2 million pieces. One of the last of my grandma's plates (Corelle really should hire my family to see how long their dishes actually last...it isn't very long around here).
Up to this point, I had allowed each one of these stressors to wind me up tighter and tighter. Imagine a balloon that is about to bust, that is what I felt like. As I stood there with my foot surrounded by ceramic, I stopped and looked at my daughter. I knew it was super important for me to set a good example for my kids in stressful situations and I had not really been doing that so far today. It's true that I had not had an outright explosion, but it was also true that they could without-a-doubt sense that mama was tense.
So I looked at my oldest as she looked at me, the milk sopped towel that she had been using to clean the counter still in her hand, and I laughed. I probably sounded like a lunatic, but I laughed anyway and then reached for the broom that my sweet youngest daughter had already brought me and asked her to grab my phone so I could take a picture (I just knew this day was going to be blog fodder). After shop vac-ing the floor to make sure all the shards were up I told the kids to forage in the fridge for the rest of lunch because I was going to go pray and try to get the baby to sleep. I grabbed that fussy little guy and cuddle up and alternated between praying and nursing and dozing with him, in spite of the fact that some of my younger kids didn't seem to get the memo and kept barging in and out of my bedroom.
After I got up I threw the baby on my back and worked in my greenhouse a little bit. Dinner was scheduled to be spent with extended family that evening so I grabbed the green salad I had made for it that morning and we spent the rest of the day visiting. I still felt a bit out of sorts and exhausted, but we made it through.
That day was a "good enough" kind of day. I don't feel like my way of handling all the inconveniences of it was the best, but I've done a lot worse. I don't know if I would count it as a victory, though, and I will explain why when I tell you about Sunday #2....
Next week I will tell you about Sunday #2, I've taken up too much of your time already. I'm just going to add that, reading over my description of Sunday #1, I can see a lot to be thankful for besides the obvious things that I listed above.
I'm thankful that no one got cut by all the breaking things. I'm thankful that my big boys carefully cleaned up all the beads for me so I could sweep up the jar. I'm thankful that my toddler is potty trained (a poopy diaper while heading out the door would have been more frustrating, I think). I'm thankful that my husband's injury was miraculously healed during that service. I'm thankful my big girls kept my boys safe while I was in the store and fed also them lunch. I’m thankful for a patient husband who understood that I needed time alone in my greenhouse. I’m thankful that I was able visit with family.
I feel like gratitude is the way to combat discontentment. I want to encourage you, mamas, to count your blessings. It really does help when you are going through a tough day.
Much love and I will see you next week!