After a busy day in ministry work, you arrive home to a house FULL of activity. Yeah, your dinner entree that you put in the slow cooker at 6:30 a.m. is bubbling away (because you still haven't gotten that new fangled Cuisinart slow cooker you eyed at Williams-Sonoma. You know the one - the fancy one that is on your dream list, the one with about four hundred settings, auto-off, fully programmable with a price tag that is WAY out of your reach right now). Your 13 year old and 8 year old granddaughters are at the dining table with homework spread out from one end of the room to the other. Funny thing about that is that neither are actually working on that stuff, they are drawing on whiteboards with markers and pens, laughing and texting and arguing in between swipes on the board. Your 16 year old daughter is strumming on her guitar that she taught herself to play via You Tube, working on a new little ditty with the amplifier turned all the way up to 'obnoxious.' Your 19 year old daughter is on her way out the door - saying 'love you Mom, late for work" as she scoots by blowing you a kiss. Your husband is firmly planted in front of the Golf Channel with the remote in one hand and a bag of chips in the other - television is 'turned up' because he can't hear GOLF over the loud roar of the guitar lesson in the adjacent room. The dog is pacing back and forth in front of an empty water dish with his tongue hanging out, as if to signal he is in the last stages of dehydration and no one has noticed. The 'boyfriend' is on the computer in the den working on his online class, because he failed it last semester and doesn't have a choice but to take the entire course over. And for some strange reason he just can't seem to use his computer at home (but you suspect he is here for dinner - again.)
Avery, Olivia and Riley take time out to pose after
the silly string fight that helped solve another crisis!
In superhero fashion, you dash to your bedroom, change your clothes, hang up everything neatly while going through the mail of the day. On your way down you water the dog, start the carrots, put the rice in the saute pan, turn on the oven for the bread and begin to unpack and clean the four lunch bags that you gathered up from the book bags in the hallway. You get the little ones back on track for homework completion, help them clear the dining table and begin to set the table for dinner. Ice tea levels are checked, table is set, chicken is removed from slow cooker and forks are checked for cleanliness before they get lovingly thrown on the place mats for dinner together.
I think you get the picture. This goes on until 8:45 p.m. when bedtime rituals begin and you actually have a moment to realize you haven't called your Mother to check on her today. And you take your cell phone to your little bathroom and you close the door, and you just sit there in a daze. The tears start to fall. And they won't stop. Thoughts begin to flow again through your very tired brain and you ask God, "What's wrong with me, Lord? Why am I crying and why am I so tired? Are my hormones that out of whack?"
I think God's response is, "What's wrong with you? Really? Are you serious?"
Women are amazing creatures. We abuse ourselves with taking on the world while not taking care of ourselves. Then we ask ourselves why we feel so sad and so emotional. Recently, God revealed to me that the madness of life gets in the way of a healthy relationship with Him. That sometimes we just need to have some God time and give ourselves a great big break.
So, in an effort to bless you and share with you some of the compromises that God has shared with me that are 'okay' to make, and some suggestions that just might help you maneuver through another day without killing someone:
a. Paper plates are okay during the week if you need them.
b. Kids can help you clean up after dinner - even if they have homework, there is something they can do to pitch in.
c. Super Hero's are NOT real. They are made up characters with unrealistic expectations and abilities.
d. Turn off the television and turn on some peppy Christian tunes while finalizing dinner. It's a sure way to get you calmed down and working to the tempo of the Lord.
e. Engage in dinnertime table talk. Talk about your day - go around the table and share. Rule #1 - you can only talk about the BEST parts of your day!
f. You are not in a contest for 'who packs the most unique and interesting Martha-Stewart-style lunches.' Peanut Butter and Jelly sandwiches are okay!
g. Shoes left in the great room will NOT evaporate overnight and they will NOT put you on the "10 Worst Mothers in America" list.
h. Don't discount the kids and their abilities to be self reliant. They can pack their own lunches in the evening (or at least help) and they can be trusted to lay out their own clothes, brush teeth, shower, etc.
i. Silly string and pillow fights are great tools to eliminate pressure and get the family laughing again.
j. Lighten up and live - that is God's desire for you as His child.
k. And...(drum roll please)...it is perfectly acceptable to politely say NO sometimes.
At 50 something, this isn't the life I envisioned having. With six sets of hormones raging under one roof, it can sometimes seem overwhelming. But it's my life, and I must be reminded by God that He is always there to gently tug me back to the path set before me. Priorities put in perspective by the Creator of the Universe in the most loving ways. The pressures of this world will nudge their way right into your home if you let them. So don't get sucked into wanting to live a "Pinterest" lifestyle but concede to the Christ who gives you permission to sit down, open the Word and relax at His feet for just a little while each day.