After the business of this week, I am honestly finding it hard to believe I am still awake into the wee hours of this Saturday morning...It may be due to the can of soda I slammed around 9:00 to keep in tune with the many NERF bullets flying by my head at the youth event I was assisting tonight. The Cocoa Cola proved worthy as I was only hit once, in the middle of the forehead by the "friendly" fire of my offspring.
February is always the longest month of the year for me. It seems to drag on forever while I sit at the school table teaching things like "Linear Equations" and "Old World History"…yes…exciting stuff--all while the weather performs its bipolar ritual of "40 degrees and sunny" one day, and "HERE! Have a face freezing blizzard!" the next. I find myself grabbing at anything to liven the day, to get out with people. Our days are full of school, visits to Grandma and Grandpa's, lunch with friends, exciting field trips to Wal-Mart and Aldi. Yes. I said anything. Our evenings are filled with Nate's karate classes, church gatherings, visits with friends and family. All great stuff to help make the dismal winter months speed by a little quicker.
I have been awoken many nights lately, by a baying hound in the laundry room. As I stumble through the house grabbing for my glasses I usually end up finding the stool in the dark living room with my little toe. As I make my way through our house, I secure my robe and slippers in preparation for a jaunt to the back lawn where Naughty can do her business. But then, the baying grows "happier". At that moment I realize this isn't the bay of "hurry up". This is the bay of "I've found something!"
Over the last couple of months, it seems another critter has added itself to the roster of inhabitants of our old farm-style house. After the bipeds settle into bed, this critter begins its nightly exploration of my kitchen. Said critter helps itself to dog food, but hasn’t braved taking anything from my countertops. Its wanderings always find it returning to the safety of my washer and drier with a drooly hound sniffing profusely at the floor baying and slapping with her big feet--her tail just a wagging! Naughty Dog has spent many, MANY nights the past couple months playing this game with the critter. That being said, we both have spent many, MANY nights with interrupted sleep. Once I find my way through the maze of huge shoes and LEGOS and discover her nose to the floor, I apologize to Bella and Lou Lou and stagger my way back to our bedroom. Usually, if I close the door and cover my head with a pillow I can claim a tad more sleep.
It has seemed to be a very "busy" season of life. This is where you all say: "Oh, I know! I am SOOO busy too!" I catch myself returning this scripted phrase to others many times.
Plopping myself in the recliner the other night, I looked to side of me and saw quite a sight--a sight that reminded me of exactly how my body feels. There, next to me was Naughty. Exhausted Naughty. Melting into the cushions Naughty. Her nights of overdoing had caught up with her. It took a couple times of me telling her it was time for bed for her to hear me over her orchestra of snores. She slowly "slithered" from the couch and sat on the floor looking throughout the house as if it were a hundred miles to her bed in the laundry room. Looking at her pathetic face, I realized I knew exactly what she was feeling. It seemed like such an effort to drag myself from the couch. Wayne surely would have looked at me strangely if he found me sitting on the floor next to her. (And my bedroom is a whole lot closer!) At that moment I realized where I was. Not only physically tired, but spiritually exhausted. Mentally spent.
There are so many "good things" in this world to occupy our time with. And when I start participating, I tend to quickly get caught up in the whirlwind of activities. After all, it's all good for me. It's winter. I know if I stay shut in this house till the spring thaw I will surely lose my mind. But in this moment, I wasn’t the only one losing my mind. The household was feeling Momma's imbalance. Critters (the two legged ones) were struggling with school subjects, there were even tears. Appointments were being overlooked, items were being misplaced--all making for some pretty stressful, whirlwind embarkations attempting to salvage the days.
WHY do we do it? Is it competition? Especially as women, I think we can find ourselves there. I think my struggle has to do with being a "stay at home mom". I don't have a "career" per say, so I need to keep busy as if not to "appear lazy". Is it people pleasing? Is it due to poor scheduling? Is it that we may miss out or feel left out if we don't participate?
"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light." Matthew 11:28-30
"…rest for your souls…" My soul. How comforting. Through the chaos of all these wonderful, life experiencing "things", I miss out. I miss out on a wholesome, deep, healthy time with my God. I spend time with Him, but my head is so "full" of the schedule--"THE schedule", I can't hear Him clearly. I can't see those huge "neon signs" saying "go this way" or "DANGER". There is so much "noise" I can't hear Him clearly saying, "Yes, do that. Serve me." or, "No. That does not fit where you are right now." I lose my joy in things I love doing and miss out on what truly matters. I miss out on what He has called me to do.
I read a quote today written by Allen Saunders. It is so fitting for where our family can easily find ourselves…where we all can find ourselves… He said, "Life is what happens while we are busy making other plans."
Since Naughty and I have had our "moment on the couch", I have had my "moment with God"--a moment where He very clearly said to me, "Time to buy a new planner." Our family has cleared many things from our schedule, opening up more time for "life". Just every day life. It's refreshing. By no means have we got this all figured out, but at least I know I can clearly hear God now when He says, "Hey…listen up!" That is, if Naughty isn't in the laundry room howling at the critter that still lives under my drier...
"This is what the Lord says, he who made the earth, the Lord who formed it and established it--the Lord is his name: 'Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.'" Jeremiah 33:2-3