Met in the flood
I woke up yelling at my kids. It's Saturday morning and my FIRST Saturday in months where we had no commitments to a majority of the day. The dog woke us up at 4:45am as he often did and then went back to sleep. The kids woke up around 6:45am and helped themselves to chocolate milk and cartoons on the couch. Within seconds I was startled awake by dual high-octave shouting by the two of them. I came down stairs to find Holland hovering over Savannah, scolding her for putting her cup of chocolate milk down to where our 6 month old lab, Brutus, clumsily knocked it over when he attempted to fit his fat nose in it. Chocolate milk had sprayed from the cup all over the carpet, the couch, the rug and coffee table. Savannah sat crying, Holland roared "BAD DOG!" while shaking her finger at his uninterested face. She yanked him by the collar as he fought against her to polish off whatever was still edible on the carpet. I exploded at both of them in my tired state and proceeded up stairs to grab a towel and some cleaner..... where I noticed the 4 giant baskets of post-camping trip laundry waiting for the washing machine. Still alive with it's campfire funk, now with a stale unpleasant stench that for some reason just reminds me of the 4am wake up to the 5 year old vomiting in the tent. I began to fester with frustration. My husband still snoring in the other room. "HOW IS HE STILL SLEEPING THROUGH THIS YELLING?!" I wanted to be snoring too. I started a load of laundry instead and forgot why I was even in the laundry room to begin with. Oh yes, spilled milk.
Holland waited until I was done scrubbing the carpets to inform me that she placed a sandal on my dresser in which Brutus had taken as his victim. I stood up, my carpet fiber imprinted knees crackling all the way up, and went to see said sandal on my dresser. Great. A brand new sandal too. There was no saving it. There was no saving my mood either. I was deep in anger, exhaustion, and sadness. I stood at the dresser, staring at the mutilated sandal, the sounds of my husband's snoring filling my ears, moved to my head, and exiting in fuming rage. The dog rang his bell to go outside, which broke up my fury filled focus. In the back yard I discovered a variety of chewed up toys and one of my house slippers in the grass, soaking wet. Perhaps he peed on it. Perhaps it rained. I surely hope it's just rain.
I checked on our wooden box of strawberries. The girls were thrilled they were ripening and bright red and couldn't wait to finally pluck them. To my dismay, I saw that all of them were gone, only a few green stragglers left behind. DOG!!!! More fury.
In the kitchen, empty plastic bins that held our camping food and supplies still sat on the floor. No one was claiming the job of moving them to the garage. No one wanted to actually go in to the garage to see how unorganized it had become. There I stood again. Staring at the plastic bins, festering. With an overwhelming urge to kick them as hard as I could muster.
And I felt fat, I hadn't worked out in weeks. I was behind on a couple projects with strict deadlines, both personal and professional. My head was swirling with anxiety that the kids are only a couple weeks away from their last day of school. I had yet to sign them up for summer camps and daycare costs are about to sky rocket. I also had not planned Savannah's 6th birthday which is now only 2 weeks away. I'm a terrible mother.
And then. The flood started. You know.... the flood of pity and whoa-is-me. Where you see everything around you as being annoying, un-kept, old, and broken. Like my spirit. It's in that flood that my breath becomes short, almost non-existent and shallow. Where my head feels warm and my eyes develop a dry burn behind them. My throat tightens to push down the rise of tears. I wanted to escape my own skin, or find a way to fit myself in to one of those vacant plastic bins. To be packed away in to our dark, cold garage. After all, I could be left alone and have a chance to sleep without disruption. Sounded so dreamy.
But there in my kitchen, dimly lit by the moody clouds outside, He met me. Like an old friend, He placed His hands on my stiff, hunched over shoulders. I took a relieving breath and stepped back from the plastic bins.
God always met me in this place. Where I let demons of insecurity and unworthiness run off with my joy and appreciation for all the things He has placed in my totally and completely normal life. I felt ungrateful and it stunk. My reasons for dissatisfaction with my life and current situation were ridiculous. I could feel God leaning in on me with His advice and promises.
- I am okay. Yes, I am tired and overworked, (and slightly puffy), but I can rest and trust in His promise that He will take care of me every day.
- He's working on me. Like any construction project, there are hiccups and break downs. But His final plans, I know, are beautiful and purposeful.
- It is well! I have so many things to be grateful and thankful for! My children are healthy and thriving at school, we have good stable careers, we are financially in the best place we've been in a decade, we are part of a wonderful church community, summer is creeping up which means sunshine, s'mores, camping, sunsets in to the 10 o'clock hour, and late nights with our neighborhood friends watching movies outside!
- I need to give myself some grace. My children are watching. I want them to understand the importance of giving ourselves some grace. To stop clinging on to the false insecurities and lean on the good of God and what He has in store. To not dwell or crumble over the imperfections of our lives, but rather pray and wait for provision.
- 2 Corinthians 12:8 - Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me.
You see, I am like you.... yes, you. I stretch myself thin and wonder why I cannot do it all and be it all to all things and all people. I get frustrated and at times I feel lonely or empty. I need a reboot button most days because I let my wires get crossed and short circuit. But God never fails to meet me in those times and remind me how steadfast his love and support for me are. That I am truly not alone in the flood. He will always step out in to the deep waters with me, lift my chin, and hold my hand as we walk to shore together. And when the flood comes again, because it will, over and over, there He will be with his unwavering grace.