When your big kid texts, “Can I come home for the weekend?” you jump at the chance and say a resounding “Y-E-S.”
17,000,000. The number of apps to manage to-do lists.
TOP priority. Get ‘er done.
The feeling of accomplishment.
Promised peace at the end of the day when it’s all crossed off.
I was trained from a bitty girl to spend time at the day’s end confessing my sins out loud and asking God for forgiveness. “I’m sorry I lied.” “I’m sorry I said mean things to my friend.”
No matter how much good I had given to the world, my final thoughts as I said my bedtime prayers were how I had MESSED UP and what I had NOT done well and who I had offended (in many cases, this happened to be the God of the universe…yikes). NO peace for sure.
Fast-forward to my adult years. Same. Same. Same. Just different stuff. “I’m sorry I screamed at my kids.” “I’m sorry I took a too-long lunch at work.”
One night, my little rebellious self changed it up. “What did you do right today?” I quizzed my husband as we collapsed into bed after wrangling four kids into their beds.
“I smiled at the store clerk,” he mumbled at long last.
I shook my head. I knew he had probably been kind, sought justice, served those he worked with, treated everyone with dignity and respect, along with all the daunting tasks he had crossed off his “to-do” list.
Realizing how much of our day (and night) was taken up with negative thinking, we decided to make this a best practice in the moments before we fell into slumber. “What did you do right today?”
We still began our days with a “to-do” list, but we ended them with a “ta-da” list.
It was STILL NOT the peace we were looking for, but at least a step in the right direction.
Help came in the form of what usually happened right before we crawled into bed, wiped out from the day.
Most nights, the last thing on my never-ending “to-do” list was to slip into each of my kids’ rooms and just watch them sleep (something I still do from time-to-time, even though they are giants at this point).
No matter what had happened during the day, both good and bad, it didn’t seem to matter any more. I would just stand there, gazing at their cute little heads barely visible above their comforters, completely and utterly in love with them, happy.
Yes. Yes. This must be how God feels about us.
While the “to-do” lists and “ta-da” lists matter to us, they don’t seem to matter much to Him.
At BOTH the beginning and end of each day (regardless of either of those lists), he gently reminds us, “I will quiet you with my love. I will rejoice over you with singing.” (Zephaniah)
TRUE, UNADULTERATED PEACE.
Twas the end of the summer,
It just wasn’t right.
Every beach chair was packed up,
And so were the kites.
Last grains of sand,
Shaken out of the flip flops.
With dim hopes that fall shoes
could be found in mall shops.
The children were crying
all mad in their beds,
With visions of homework
crammed in their heads.
And papa in his lounge pants,
And I in my shorts,
Were ready for anything,
Definitely done making “forts.”
When checking our phones,
To see what’s on our plate,
We couldn’t believe it,
It was already past 8.
Away to the kitchen,
I made a mad dash.
To see if we had snacks.
“Oh no, forgot the trash!”
The moon was all shiny,
Its man poking fun.
“Summer is over,
caput, gone, YUP, done!”
When thoughts to my wandering
mind did come clear,
The fall is upon us,
There are things we can cheer.
Like football, Like pumpkins,
Like lattes, Like scarecrows,
Like apples, Like sweatshirts,
Like cider, Like warm clothes.
To the ice cream truck songs!
To the fireworks all night!
Now dash away! Dash away!
Dash away! That’s right!
Make room for the soup
The outdoor fireside chats.
Make room for the leaves,
Thank God, no more gnats!
As I came to my senses,
And was settling down,
A smile snuck to my lips,
No longer a frown.
I’ll be dressed in all manner of
sweatpants and hoodies,
I’ll feel so so cozy,
All ready for some goodies.
That Halloween will bring,
It won’t be just eats,
It’ll be lots of hugs, true.
I spoke no more words,
But went straight to my bed,
Said a prayer filled with thanks,
For what lies ahead.
And laying my head,
And closing my eyes,
My heart felt more settled,
“My goodness! Time flies!”
I rose one last time,
To check on my crew,
“Happy Fall, my sweet ones,
I’m thankful for you!”
“With fear strangling me from the inside out, a soft gentle brave Voice kept wooing me to something different, something scary, yet something satiating and life-giving.”
Thank you, Becky Beresford, Author, for publishing my story.
I only have 9 more hours until my 24/1. Can’t wait.
Find out more by clicking HERE.
- JUST DO THE VERY NEXT THING. I am not in any kind of position to plan ahead because my world is changing at break-neck speed. Don’t add anything extra to my plate right now. Add my best version of LOVE into the mixture and trust it will be really okay in the end.
- DIG DEEPER TO FIND OUT WHAT IS GOING ON BENEATH THE SURFACE. Is it fear? Is it bad boundaries? Is it people-pleasing? Is it comparison? Maybe it’s something good. Faith? Good boundaries? Being true to myself? Take a minute to listen.
- WATCH HOW MY BODY RESPONDS TO EACH OPTION. Do I tense up or do I sigh with at least some measure of relief? Check myself again and again until I sense which direction my body is sending me.
- SINK DOWN INSIDE OF MYSELF WHERE GOD DWELLS. He is filled wisdom and love, goodness and life, healing and hope and SO AM I. Trust my God-filled gut.
- GIVE MYSELF PERMISSION TO CHANGE MY MIND. The decisions I make do not have power over me. I have power over them. There is not one right one choice and everything will go to “hell in a hand-basket” if I make the wrong one. Change is often a good thing. It means I am learning and growing.
Me? Not my kids’ savior?
But I’m a mom and I want to be. So very much.
I like saving them.
From bad choices.
From all that’s wrong with the world.
It feels really good.
For the moment.
But I know it’s not good.
For their hearts.
Because when I am their savior,
I am also “saving” them…
From good choices.
From all that’s right with the world.
Doesn’t sound like much saving in the end.
Then what’s the point of this motherhood gig?
If it’s not for saving?
Hang on a minute.
Wait for it.
Wait for it.
What’s that still small voice whispering inside?
What’s that “aha moment” I can’t deny?
Has motherhood saved me?
bringing me JOY that I’ve never known before
revealing PATIENCE as I stumble along in the unknown
breathing HOPE when I need it the most
reminding me of BEAUTY in the ordinary moments
granting KINDNESS when I can’t find any in myself
allowing me to experience unconditional LOVE
opening my heart to see the tenderness of good good GOD
The question persists, but the answer comes.
PERHAPS IT HAS.
PERHAPS IT REALLY HAS.