Can I be very transparent with you all today? Well, since you can't give me permission before I write, I'm going to assume that's a yes and go ahead and be as honest, open, frank, and transparent as possible.
These last few weeks have been extremely difficult for me. Physically and emotionally demanding yes, but more than that, I have been constantly fighting to stay content. Joyful. Thankful. Looking back, I should have expected such warfare after being on a spiritual "high" for several weeks. I felt like I was at the "peak" of life and things just couldn't get any better if they tried. Then WHAM! these last few weeks have hit hard. It's not been any big bad thing like a job loss or death or news of terminal illness, like some have faced in the last weeks. Which makes it even worse. It's been a bunch of silly little things that have sought to steal my joy and contentment with all their might. And some days, they have won. Even each hour I have had to struggle to fight Satan in this area and claim "the joy of the Lord is my strength."
Take today for example. I woke up feeling very physically ill- sore throat, headache, bodyache. I've been sick on and off for two weeks- it just won't seem to go away! Every ounce of me just wanted to stay in bed and sleep. I was resentful of the fact that I couldn't "take a day off", but that I had to get up and change diapers, make bottles, fix breakfast, change dirty sheets, teach Science, etc. etc. etc. Then Maggie was choosing to make a big battle out of going to the potty, which she has been doing for the last week. It has become a power struggle between us to get her to go in the potty instead of in her pants. After dealing with that, I was feeling very sorry for myself, discontent in my circumstances, mad at Brian for being gone, mad at the world for not taking something off my shoulders. Allie and I began our Bible lesson, and I had ironically chosen to do it on contentment. I had noticed some discontentment issues in her, and thought we needed to nip it in the bud. Well here I was with the same issues! We read some verses about being content in all circumstances, having a joyful heart, rejoicing in the Lord, etc. We talked about how grumbling and complaining against God are a sin. Then we each had to make a list of 10 things we were thankful for and write a prayer to God expressing our gratitude. Wow, talk about humbling! As I began to look over my list and thank God for each thing, the "poor me's" started to vanish and the thankful heart reigned. . . for a little while. Shortly thereafter, I received a phone call from Whitesburg's homeschool office reminding me that Allie's entry for the Panoply bulletin board contest was due by noon. We had taken a whole morning this week to work on it. I sent Allie upstairs to get her entry so we could turn it in, and. . . she couldn't find it. I was so upset. I started thinking then about how irresponsible my children are, and how they need to learn discipline and responsibility and stewardship. I was 50% mad at Allie and 50% mad at myself for not training her better, but I was 100% MAD. Then as we were on our way out the door to explain to the lady that we had misplaced it (which I made ALLIE do), Maggie had another fit where she absolutely refused to go potty. I was remembering in the back of my mind how, just yesterday, she kept refusing to go to the potty, and then POOPED in her pants at the kitchen table, stinking up the house and spraying pee everywhere on the floor. I was anticipating another episode like that, only in the grocery store, so there I was worrying about things that hadn't even happened yet. Oh what a difference 10 minutes made in my attitude.
When we got in the car, I asked everyone to be quiet and I turned on a praise and worship CD. As "Here in Your Presence" was playing, I was asking God to restore unto me the joy of my salvation, to make my rejoicing and hope be found in Him and not my children, to renew a "right spirit" within me. Things started looking better. When we were eating lunch, I was some people I used to work with and thanked God that I was no longer in that environment. God brought me through almost 5 years of Egyptian bondange, so to speak, and parted seas and brought me to a promised land that I dwell in now. As I was walking the aisles of the grocery store, I was thanking God that we had the money to buy the things we needed. But as soon as we got out to the car, I found myself griping again at the fact that Penelope had obviously pooped her pants and I had no wipes in the bag; that I had to load and unload these heavy groceries by myself; that Maggie also had to make an issue out of not needing help buckling her carseat. Oh what a difference 2 minutes had made in my attitude that time.
Sometimes these past few weeks my discontentment has come from even sillier things. Prideful things, like my ever-expanding body and nasty blue varicose vein legs. Not being able to drink caffeinated coffee or take something to help me sleep at night. Not being my best physically during boot camp- not being able to run when the others run, doing the light weights. These things are silly and I know it. Why do I let them steal my joy? God has given me an amazing gift of motherhood. What's occurring inside my body is truly a miracle. The Bible is clear that the fruit of the womb is His reward. Only a prideful, selfish human like me could find the negative in that.
I just laid the youngest ones down for a nap and took two Tylenol and was able to relay all my problems to Brian on the phone. Allie is doing an extra assignment instead of playing outside on this beautiful afternoon. I'm about to spend some time praying and meditating on Psalm 62:5- "My soul, wait silently for God alone; for my expectation is from Him." I'm going to focus on waiting and expecting from HIM, not from people or circumstances. I don't believe He will let me down.