I started my day today like any other day. Baby wakes up at 7:00 am, drinks his bottle while his older brother gets ready for school. Baby goes into pack ‘n’ play (life-saver!!!) and watches his educational program for 30 minutes while I shower. I have now managed to squeeze my routine into these allotted 30 minutes, but I have to hustle. I also have to wait to blow dry my hair until the baby goes down for his nap. Most of the time my hair is nearly dry by then anyway.
After the baby’s show, we all sit down and have breakfast. I am jealous of moms who make breakfast every morning. We are a cereal and banana family. Warm or hot cereal for all and a banana. Wash it down with a glass of Florida’s Natural OJ, and we are out the door. Off to the bus stop.
After seeing my oldest son off to school, the baby plays for about 20-30 minutes, just enough time to get out every toy and book he has. I no longer pick these up until he is in bed for the night. So basically from 9:00 am to 7:00 pm, the house is trashed. When I finally get the baby down for his nap, I get to enjoy some uninterrupted time to get things done, because it is rare to accomplish anything when the baby is awake (though it does happen occasionally as you will learn later).
At this point I sat down to have my quiet time with God (after blow drying my already dry hair). My quiet time with God looks different day by day, but I always start with a daily devotional from Jesus Calling by Sarah Young. I will then either read my One Year Bible (most days) or another biblically inspired works (which will usually have me looking things up in a bible anyway). Often, I will try to just sit and be still (Psalm 46:10) to wait for that gentle whisper (1 Kings 19:12). This I find most difficult, because I have a hard time shutting my mind up about everything that needs to get done and probably will not get done that day. But I do try. I will also pray for friends, family, neighbors and even strangers during this time.
By the time I had accomplished my time with the Lord today, the lawn guys were here. Not my personal lawn guys (we don’t have that kind of money, and if we did I would surely dictate to them what times they should and should not come), but the lawn guys that work for the development we live in. They strategically come during naptime. Never fails. And despite the white noise machine (also a life-saver) set at its highest setting, the baby woke up before I had gotten to my mile long list of things to do.
I started to cry. Don’t judge me, I am pregnant. I instantly started complaining to God, which I am not proud of, but that’s what I did. “God, why is he up already? I try to spend my time seeking you, and I know it’s important, but I never have TIME to get ANYTHING done around here! I need to dust and do laundry and hand-wash that sweater I bought at Marshalls (the drawback to buying designer clothes for cheap) I still haven’t started to fill out Christmas cards and I have needed to get the baby’s hair cut for weeks now plus the budget needs balanced and the baby is up and should I really spend so much time seeking You if I never get things done?”
The obvious answer is yes, and I knew that. I also knew I was frustrated that another day would go on without checking anything off of my list.
This has been an ongoing battle for me (lists and letting them rule me), so I am learning, slowly and painfully, how to let it go when I do not get to put a pretty check mark next to something on my list. And so I decided my time with the Lord was well spent and knew that today was the day the Lord had made (Psalm 118:24), even if I was going to get nothing done.
From that moment on, my day went so smooth it was eerie! I was able to get a million little things done around the house that have been sitting forever. I was able to finish the laundry and change sheets on beds. I got the baby in for a haircut (he looks so handsome), picked up a few stocking stuffers while we were out, called my doctor about a flu shot, scheduled our sonogram to find out the baby’s sex . . . on Christmas Eve (my husband is a romantic—Merry Christmas to us! Yay!), budgeted all of our receipts for the month (and you know that was a task a couple weeks before Christmas), I hand washed my sweater, repotted some succulents, finished dusting and organized a bit, had dinner cooking in the crock pot and even checked some emails. Now let me just say, “I am NO superwoman!!!” I, like many mothers out there, cannot do it all. There are some moms that seem to be able to do it all, but not this momma! I am lucky to get the dishes washed and dinner cooked each day. Those are success stories in my book. And with a third baby on the way, I wonder how those things are going to get done.
But the important thing I am learning is that I cannot buy into the lie that cutting down my time with the Lord will solve anything. Been there. Done that. Hated it. As I have grown spiritually, I have learned that I NEED this time with Him to face the day. As a matter of fact, I am instituting a new personal rule: No social media before time with God. I need Him to fill me up first before the world gets a shot at tearing me down. And yes, I realize I am blessed to have this time each day to devote to spiritual growth. I know so many folks that struggle to find this time because of work and other time constraints. If you are struggling here, don’t feel guilty! Seek Him and He will show you the way. He knows better than anyone your heart and what you are facing each day.
But as I sat reflecting on my day, I thought about how God showed me that He can help me to get done what needs to get done each day. He is pleased each time I seek Him instead of my list. So pleased that He blesses me for it, and today He blessed me with getting to put pretty little check marks all over my list! My version of “brown paper packages tied up with strings.” And it felt great! I love the sense of accomplishment.
As I sit typing this out, one of my favorite stories from Luke comes to mind yet again. In chapter 10 there is a story about two sisters, Martha and Mary. Martha and Mary had invited Jesus into their home. Mary chose to sit at Jesus’s feet the entire time, while Martha was running around preparing things—things that needed to be done.
Martha gets angry and tells Jesus to make Mary help her. This part always makes me laugh. If she only knew she was trying to boss God! But Jesus’s perfect reply was this: “’Martha, Martha,’ the Lord answered, ‘you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken from her.’” (Luke 10:41-42). I often substitute “Michelle” when these verses come to mind. “Michelle, Michelle . . .”
The point is this: God knows that I need to get all of these things done, and He knows that many of these things really are important. That is why he made me a wife to my husband and a mother to my kids, to do these particular things that are nagging at me. However, He also wants me to learn that without Him, I would never be able discern which items on on my list are worthy of my precious (and limited) time and energy and which items I definitely do not need to stress about. The completely checked off list is an illusion. The illusion that, if I can check everything off of my list, I can rest–I’ll get a break. But the list will never be completely checked off. There is always something that needs done. Rest is needed more than when a list gets completely checked off. So I am learning to rest in Him every day. “In repentance and rest is your salvation. In quietness and trust is your strength.” (Isaiah 30:15). And being blessed when I do can be a nice bonus!
With so much going on this time of year, and the lists that keep growing, perhaps you too can find time to rest in Him, and be in awe of what this time of year symbolizes—The promise of true rest and peace for all of eternity that came with the birth of a baby to a virgin in Bethlehem many years ago.
It is now 10:00, both boys have been sound asleep, and I may even have time to fill out a few Christmas cards ;o)
Yay for another check mark!
God Bless You and rest well!
2 thoughts on “Brown Paper Packages Tied up with String . . .”
Love this post! I can relate to the list making. You definitely have the priorities straight in your list, though…something I’ve been working on a lot this year!!! Funny how the more time you spend with the Lord, the more time and energy you seem to have that day!
I know! And funny how easily we forget this too!