Last night the boys scrambled up into my bed at the end of a long day. Tired mommy limbs were smooshed and smashed by precious little boys wrestling about, pillow fighting and blankie snuggling. They pressed stuffy noses against mommy’s cheek and whispered wishes for bedtime stories. Just as the boys were nearly over their gazillioneth illness of the year my throat turned sore and scratchy. With stories read and goodnight kisses sealed upon their heavy lids I set my alarm for way too early o’clock, pulled the thick, fraying comforter up to my chin and let my body sink deep into the mattress. I thought about the next day with its to-do list a million miles long. I considered not setting the alarm, but things still have to get done around here. All.The.Things. Besides, who needs sick days when there’s Dayquil?
I shifted under the covers and stole a small piece of pillow from sweet, snoring preschooler. Hubby was traveling again, stolen away by another work conference- the fourth since the beginning of the year. I loved the chance to cuddle my littles, but dear sweet hubby was surely missed. Dozing off to sleep I mentally reviewed the day: homemade pies were baked, the meal plan planned, the groceries purchased, the floors cleaned, two closets organized, and the volcano science project with my boys was a hit. I half expected to hear applause. Well done mama! Way to go! What a busy day! Instead of applause, hushed tears wet my cheeks, followed by the silent heart cry of a weary mama.
Busy outsides covered up empty insides. I had faked my way through the week. I cleaned the house: the scary kind of cleaning where mommy wields a toothbrush and does battle with the baseboards. I baked all the things: ooey-gooey pies from scratch, bright lemon poppyseed muffins, chocolate chip cookies. I laid thick paint strokes of Kelly-Moore’s Swiss Coffee to my dining room wall. I stitched slices of rose-studded, navy calico into a new skirt. It was a super-duper busy week.
Er, um… actually, since we value honesty here, the week wasn’t busy: my calendar was clear. I was choosing busy, rush, and hustle.
Would you rather someone ask you, “How are you doing?” or “What did you do today?”
I would much rather choose the latter. It’s easier to ramble off a list of doings that make me feel accomplished and valuable and worthy, than to sit and discuss my being when that forces the conversation to hard places that invite me to admit weakness and longing and shame. In my sin of pride I don’t want anyone to know.
When my heart aches or my soul struggles or I wrestle with loneliness, exhaustion, and emptiness- common symptoms of these early years caring for little’s- I hide my lack and camouflage my need instead of embracing vulnerability. I overproduce. I struggle with wanting to look good and strong and capable from the outside to the point that I don’t have much left to give from my insides.
Thank God that His kindness leads us to repentance. I am able to confess my sin and repent. I am offered a clean slate to begin again. “Or do you show contempt for the riches of His kindness, tolerance, and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness leads you toward repentance?” Romans 2:4 NIV
These days when I feel the urge to bake pie number 3 or organize my sock drawer, I will often turn the worship up and take my focus back to where it belongs.* My socks remain mismatched but my heart is set right as I sing songs of praise and dig into God’s Word. I dwell on the promises of God and remember that “…He who began a good work in [me] will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.”** As a redeemed daughter of the King, I know the value and necessity of uncovering, opening up the threadbare places to the Only One who can mend and restore and fill.
Mama, today might be a good day to unlace your running shoes, stow away your rolling pin, or lay down your needle and thread. Before stacking the day end on end with busy and make and do, before pouring out to fill up the hearts, minds, and bellies of your kids, be filled- take a time out with the very One who knit you together. He will fill you up, unrush your busy, and make a way for you to parent from a place of rest. ***
*Check out the theversesproject.com. It’s purely God’s Word set to music. OH.SO.GOOD.
**Scripture taken from ESV Study Bible Philippians 1:6 “And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.”
***I love to begin my day in prayer and worship in the Psalms. Speaking of the Psalms as songs of worship to our God the ESV Study Bible states, “… the Psalms do not simply express emotions: when sung in faith, they actually shape the emotions of the godly. The emotions are therefore not a problem to be solved but are part of the raw material of now-fallen humanity that can be shaped to good and noble ends.”
For more of Brienne Myers, head over to her blog at adeepmercyandgrace.com