New Day


For the past several years, I have been feeling in the deepest parts of my spirit that some sort of change was coming for me, for my family. I've had no clue as to what kind of change that might be, though we felt the beginning stirrings of it almost 2 years ago when God moved us from one church home and planted us in another. But I feel that the change, whatever it is, may be nearing its culmination.

I have been dealing with a lot of stress lately. There are a number of things going on contributing to this stress, but the current that constantly runs beneath all of it is the fact that I still have not fully dealt with the death of my daughter over four years ago. And that has influenced how I handle things - big things as well as little things. Things like interactions with my husband, my outlook on life, and even how I am raising the two children I now have. I am very aware that this issue needs to be dealt with, and I am taking steps toward dealing with it. But in the meantime, my stress levels have been gradual building.

Today, I was driving around after dropping off my husband at work. The kids were asleep in their car seats in the back, and I was conversing in my head with God. We are on the cusp of so many possibilities - a possible house, possible school for my husband, possible preschool for my daughter - and for so long it has just felt like my life has been bound up in the unknown. I feel like I have been tossed about, jarred against one wall and then another, until I finally stopped fighting it and let myself be bruised and broken from the jarring. And all of a sudden, as I was silently talking with God, silently weeping as I drove, this phrase just stuck in my head - "New day." It was almost like a voice spoke it. And without forethought, my whole being suddenly began crying out to God, resonating with the phrase - "New day! New day! New day! New day! New day!" I didn't vocalize it, but I was crying, and if I had actually said it out loud, it would have been gut wrenching and without breaths between the words.

It was the first time I have had a prayer wrack my body to the core.

And I'm not even sure what the prayer meant. And by that I mean, I did not plan that prayer, didn't think it out. It just...poured out of me. I think that was literally the Spirit praying for me. It was an intense experience. For those several seconds, all that consumed my mind, my heart, my soul, and even my body, was "New day!"

I feel like we will begin to see answers within the next month. And while I am not sure exactly what this "new day" will entail, I am eager to find out. And with all my being, I will look for it.







Pieces


I don't really know who I am anymore. My life now is so different than it was three, four, five years ago, I almost don't recognize myself. It's like I've been broken, or lost. And I have been both of those things. And it's taking a long, long time to find myself again.

When I'm lucky enough to get a shower, it's usually so rushed that I barely get my clothes on (usually frumpy pj's or their equivalent), let alone getting my hair brushed. Which means that it ends up a knotted mass stuffed into a ponytail of sorts. Usually it stays that way for several days before I even get a chance to do my hair, and by then I have to dig out the ponytail holder from my matted mass of hair, slowly and painstakingly pulling single strands of hair from the dreaded knots as I go.

My house is a mess. I feel like I am constantly at war with it, trying to keep the floor clean. And forget about dishes! Any attempt at having the cupboards full is quickly foiled by the cries of my fussy children who are either having a meltdown or ready for a nap.

With the little bit of brain I find at the end of the day, the only functions it's good for are checking facebook and reading short, meaningless clips of writing. I used to read voraciously. I would devour books by Lewis and Tolkein. I wanted to study everything having anything to do with the Middle Ages and Renaissance. I even wanted to dress like a medieval fairy. For every day things.

I was fanciful, whimsical. Positive. I saw the good in people more than the bad. I enjoyed sitting by brooks and listening to the water fall over the stones. And I made time to do it.

Now, I am harried, forgetful, probably inconsiderate at times, but that's due mostly to being forgetful. I can't remember if I already told you a story. I'm often frustrated, negative. Sometimes so worn out I look around at the mess and just don't care, because I know it will just look like this again tomorrow if I clean it now.

Every once in a while, though, in the midst of the chaos of my life, I perceive a glimpse of God. It's like entering an abandoned house cluttered with old, dusty things, and as you take a step, your eyes are pierced by the blinding brightness of some glimmering object. Suddenly the wreck of a house takes on new meaning with the knowledge that there may be something deeper to the mess around you - somewhere in here is a story waiting to be excavated.

I know that there are stories waiting in the dark places of my chaos and clutter. I find pieces here and there, and as I find them - as God reveals them - I store them away in some file drawer in my brain. Eventually - perhaps not until the other side of life - my story will be excavated, and the Archaeologist will piece together this broken mess, carefully and painstakingly gluing together each shining, reflective piece of glass, until my story stands again, whole, complete.

I may not see how all my pieces come together. But I know that even the little things - these moments I'm living in, now, these broken, messy, chaotic moments - are part of something bigger than myself. I may not be able to make sense of them now. But one day, perhaps, I will look back on this time, and see a glimmering piece of something, reflecting a blinding Light into my eyes, and I will stop, and bend down, and pick up the piece.

And I will smile.



"I don't have time for this!"

I've been really convicted lately about how much I yell at my daughter. A lot of my underlying frustration has been due to the fact that, besides trying to care for our almost-two-year-old daughter, we have an almost-two-month-old son, and I've been adjusting to life with two children. And that frustration usually surfaces in the form of yelling at my daughter. Not that it's in any way excusable simply because of our recent family addition.

I've noticed that a lot of the time, my fall-back phrase is "I don't have time for this!" Because usually Megan is having a meltdown right when we're getting ready to walk out the door or have company over or some such thing. In these moments, I need to stop and think about several things:

1. Really? I don't have time? 'Cause last time I checked, I'm a stay-at-home mom. It's not like I'm fighting traffic to drop the kids off at daycare, fighting traffic to get to work, working an eight- or nine-hour (or longer) day, fighting traffic to pick up the kids & get home, only to make dinner, clean the house & still be a full-time mom. (I commend you ladies who can find it in yourselves to do that. And at the same time, I am sad that you don't get to spend your days watching your children grow moment by moment.)

2. Is wherever we're going/whatever we're doing really so important that I just can't be a few minutes late? Usually we're going to the grocery store or to pick up daddy from work.

3. If I can't find or make the time to just hold my daughter while she cries for a couple of minutes (whether there's a reason or not), to comfort her and let her know that I'm there for her and that it's absolutely okay to be sad or mad or scared or whatever, and that mommy and daddy and Jesus are right here to listen to her or just BE with her, then I am not being a very responsible - or responsive - parent.

See, sometimes I fall into that mindset of "children should know how to behave." But first of all, my daughter is not even 2 yet. Even if I tell her three times (or three hundred times) how to do something, her brain nay not yet have the ability to retain that information. So telling her she "should know better" makes no sense. Also, most of her frustrating behaviors aren't misbehaviors. They either just irritate me but are harmless, or are done out of curiosity. It is at these times that I need to remind myself that there is a vast difference between "discipline" and "punishment." When I think of discipline, I think of Jesus and his disciples: how Jesus patiently taught them, even when they didn't get it the first time, even when he had to repeat himself. When I think of punishment, I think of being sent to my room or spankings or losing certain priveledges.
I need to think of these moments with my daughter as "teaching moments," because that's exactly what discipline is: an opportunity to teach.

Instead of yelling or letting my momentary emotions get the best of me, I need to breathe deeply and see my opportunity to help shape her character. So the next time she screams and refuses to get in her carseat, I'll take a deep breath, hold her in my arms, and find out what's really going on. Even if it means I'll be fifteen minutes late to whatever thing I have to go to. Because you know what? My daughter is more important than that. And I absolutely DO have time for her.