Monday, February 22, 2016

It's Official. I Am Jessie Spano.

Y'all. I really am 

For all the people and all the pets and all the lesson plans and all the dishes and all the laundry and all the urine soaked clothes (BECAUSE POTTY TRAINING NEVER ENDS, y'all.) and all the things that need my attention there really isn't enough time for me to successfully and completely take care of them all. There just isn't. 

A friend asked me yesterday if everything was OK because she hadn't heard from me in a while. I met up with another friend at the park just last week for the first time in MONTHS. I have had plans to take the kids to story time at our local library since 2014. I am becoming a professional plan maker/canceler. It's almost a gift.

It's funny, this season of life I'm in. I'm the busiest I can ever remember being, but I accomplish almost nothing of consequence at the end of every day. (Unless you count keeping all three kids and the dog and the cat alive for 18+ hours. Which, on some days, I DO.) There are lesson plans that get pushed back and towels that get tumbled for the fourteenth time and there is currently a basket of socks sitting on the floor of my bedroom that have been there since LAST Tuesday. 
Sorry, Mom. I know I was raised better. 

I've heard the adage quoted to Moms like me who are feeling stretched too thin: "Just remember, God won't give you more than you can handle." ::cue my respectful and internal eye roll:: I know what they are saying, and I can appreciate the loving place they are coming from, because I too believe that God will never crush me helplessly beneath the stresses of my life. What I have to take issue with is the presumptive place a phrase like that puts me in. It's almost saying that by being overwhelmed and overworked and overtired, I'm discounting my faith or that it's not strong enough to carry me through. 

Ummm. NO. 

When people remind me that 'God won't give me more than I can handle', it can feel as if my faith is cheapened. As if to say that if I'd have a stronger faith, then everything would come up roses and I'd never burn supper or forget to pay the water bill or have three kids turn a sofa, four pillows and a dog bed into a trampoline-gym-set-bonanzaville. And y'all, this is where I have see a difference within that phrase. While I agree that God will never give me more than I can handle, I do believe He will sometimes give me more than I think I can. Do you see the difference there? 

I think that's the sometimes unseen benefit of the humility motherhood gives me. When the days are easy and the laundry gets folded while it's still warm and the kids act like angels- I BEGIN TO BELIEVE I CAN DO IT ON MY OWN. I get my act together, I vacuum my floors and scrub my toilets and teach my lessons and go to bed feeling rather smug and self satisfied. Accomplishing tasks and having a freshly mopped kitchen floor are nice and all, but when I allow completing them to take my focus off of my total dependence on Jesus- that's where the trouble starts. 

When the days are hard and the dishwasher is backlogged because I forgot to turn it on the night before (groan) and the towels sour for the second day in a row and the kids act like rabid wolverines- I BEGIN TO REALIZE I CAN NOT DO IT ON MY OWN. I fall to my knees, crawl into my closet, close the door and pray for mercy. I plead for patience and strength and forgiveness and can even still go to bed feeling drained and incomplete. Falling apart, losing my temper and having to face the emptiness that can reside at the core of my being is sometimes just what I need to remember how much I really require Jesus to complete me. 

So, during this Jessie Spano season I'm in- I'll still work hard, but I'll rest assured knowing that even on the days that I feel like a failure, there's still a blessing to be found within them. (And I'll try to get the kids to story time at our library sometime before 2017.) 

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

I'm Just Like Joseph

As I read through Genesis 39 this morning, the idea of God's continuous care for and rememberance of Joseph throughout his life really stuck out to me. 

Bad things, awful things, HORRIBLE things happened to poor Joseph this morning. He was sold BY HIS BROTHERS into slavery in a foreign country. Then, after overcoming that he was wrongly accused and thrown into prison for a crime he didn't commit! 

Now my days may not be as bad as Joseph's (HALLELUJAH), but they can still have their low moments. My kid may get cavities and my coffee pot may explode onto my kitchen counter at 5:07am. My school plans may completely flop and leave me feeling like the worst homeschool teacher/Mom on the entire Gulf Coast. My daughter might spill the last third of a gallon of milk into my freshly mopped floors right on the heels of the 17th potty accident of the day that just so happened to occur on top of a freshly folded basket of laundry. 6:47pm may come and my husband may still be three hours away from coming home, leaving me to feed all the mouths and floss all the teeth and say all the prayers and clean up all the things BY MYSELF for the third night that week. I may unknowingly wash and dry a fabric markered Tshirt with my big kid's laundry without heat setting the ink and then therefore stain EVERY SINGLE THING with smears of purple and orange and navy blue ink smears. (By the way, "No heat setting required" is a big, fat, gigantic lie. Thanks for nothing, Tulip.) 

I may not be in a prison wrongly accused of a crime I didn't commit, but I am sometimes trapped in a house filled with three kiddos who can get into enough mischief, madness and mayhem that makes me question my sanity and my serenity and my salvation. 
(Not really my salvation. But almost.) 

I love how Moses was inspired to remind us of God's continuous remembrance of Joseph.  
(I saw that clearly in verses 2 and 21. Those were my jam, y'all. They are underlined with all the ink.)  Moses tells us of Joseph's injustices, of the unfair deck that was stacked against him, of how everything seemed to be turned against him, how dark these times were for Joseph. BUT THEN, in the very next breath, Moses gives us  hope. He reminds us that God never forgot Jospeh. How He never NOT saw his suffering. His pain. His abandonment. His loneliness. As isolated as Joseph seemed in the moment, he was never outside God's plan. His vision. His sheltering wing. 

"Now Jospeh had been taken down to Egypt; and Potiphar, an Egyptian officer of Pharoah, the captain of the bodyguard, bought him from the Isaelites, who had taken him down there. And the LORD was with Joseph, so he became a successful man." -Genesis 39:1-2

"So Joseph's master took him and put him into the jail, the place where the king's prisoners were confined: and he was there in jail. But the LORD was with Joseph and extended kindness to him..." -Genesis 39:20-21

These verses were such a refreshing reminder for me. They were a balm to my soul, washing over my lonesome spirit like how that first sip of my morning coffee fills me with warmth from the inside out. Staying home, while the biggest blessing I could have ever imagined, has also left me feeling surprisingly isolated sometimes. Surrounding myself with a small army of kids that I created can come with its fair share of battles. The benefits I glean from staying home are innumerable, but the cost can be high. And, during those  lonely times when all I have are Sofia the First, Little Einsteins and Curious George for company; when I actually welcome the call from the windshield repair company because it means that I'll actually have an ADULT to talk to for even a few minutes- it's good for me to remember that I'm just like Joseph. Because while I may be lonely, I'm never alone.