I RECENTLY COMPLETED a wonderful Bible study by Jennie Allen called Stuck. It’s about places in our lives that we unintentionally get stuck, and how those places become a chasm between us and the Lord. It is one of the best studies I have ever completed (shout out Hayley Hangartner for the recommendation) and is so relevant to my life.
One of the places I realized I am stuck, but truly had no idea is “Overwhelmed.” My day to day life isn’t overwhelming. My kids are busy, but I don’t have more on my to-do list than hours in the day. I learned, however, that there are moments in my day that are very overwhelming, and it is in those moments that my behavior is lacking. Having young children is not for the fainthearted, which is something we as parents aren’t warned about prior to parenthood, and I don’t know how anyone who doesn’t know the Lord gets through it. It’s so difficult!
Imagine: Time 4:48 pm. Brian home in 42 minutes if he’s on time…let’s make it an hour to be safe. I start chopping zucchini, squash and tomatoes for a Parmesan Vegetable Spiral I found on Pinterest. I hear the gate on the stairs close bang! and the sound of little feet sticking to the tile grows louder as they enter the kitchen. A four year old is staring at me…standing closer to my giant chef’s night than makes me comfortable. “Scoot back please,” I remind him. James doesn’t move but instead stares at the expertly sliced green, red and yellow disks as though they are slime coated bug intestines. “Gross,” he comments and reaches (toward my machete!) and knocks the neat stack of tomatoes on the floor. “James! Never reach toward a knife. And be careful…” He retreats as red seeded gel splatters across the tile and on top of my bare feet. Of course the floors were just mopped. “Sorry,” he mumbles. The look on his face annoys me. He doesn’t look sorry. He looks like he’s saying chill mom, like a petulant teenager. Doesn’t he realize how uniform these slices are and how delicious my Parmesan Vegetable Spiral is going to taste? Bang! Oh no. Here comes the other one. I hear a sizzling splash coming from the stove and notice that the water is boiling and sloshes over the side while my two year old walks by it. I race over to turn the heat down and push Caleb out of the way. His face and hands (and probably my walls) are COVERED in chocolate. “Caleb! What have you been eating? I said no more snacks–we’re going to eat in 39 minutes” I say glancing at the clock. He looks at me like I’m insane. James translates. “He’s eating Easter candy.” In June? I thought I threw that out as soon as they went to bed on Easter Sunday so that I wouldn’t eat it. My cell phone rings. “Babe? Sorry, a client called and asked if we could move our meeting from tomorrow morning to right now. I’ll probably be home around 8:00.” Nooooooooo! I need him to come home right this second to help me with these two bruisers! “Mom! Caleb climbed up on the washing machine to reach the Play-doh!”
At this point, I have two options. One: I can freak. Yell. Maybe say a g-rated cuss word. Put everyone in time out, even Bow, our weenie dog, for eating all the tomatoes off the floor. I’m sure she’ll barf in T minus three minutes.
Two: I can ask God to come into this moment, and say “Lord, I can’t do this without you.”
I have chosen the former many, many times before only to apologize and pray they are too young to remember that Mommy went crazy and put the dog in time out. Well now I’m choosing the latter. It is a habit I have to make, but an important one. Ephesians 3:12 says “We are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” We forget sometimes God’s will for each day is already planned, and it is our job and privilege to remain in that will. Right now, the work the Lord has given me is motherhood. This work is so much more difficult when I try to do it myself instead of inviting the Lord into those moments and saying Lord, I can’t do this without you.
Below is an excerpt from Stuck. I circled and starred it at the time and feel lead to share it with you. If there is a time today you get overwhelmed and feel yourself reacting in a way you won’t be proud of tomorrow, stop for one second. Take a breath, and repeat the little prayer, Lord, I can’t do this without you. And the best part is, as Christians, we don’t have to.
Ciao for now–Lauren
God sent us the Holy Spirit to lead us, to help us. And we rarely depend on Him or let Him interact with our lives and schedules. We need to hear from Him if we are to accomplish the things He has for us here, the things He prepared in advance for us to carry out. We need to lean into Him. I don’t want to miss God’s plans for me here. As we begin to grasp the greater picture of God and His work around us, we long to become a part of the story. He wrote a part for each of us in this story–but most of us are ignoring Him and writing our own stories. His story lasts forever, and the ones we write will melt away.