We’ve been dreading this month for almost a year.
Looking at the calendar a few weeks ago we vowed we would never do it again. Too many commitments, too many airplanes, too many deadlines, too much time away from the kids.
I’m intent on refusing to let things pile up this way again.
When I got home last night, I chatted with the big girls and then took a shower while they fell asleep. Todd is at the Dove Awards (while I was typing, Selah won “Inspirational Album of the Year. Congrats, and WELL DESERVED:)) so the house felt quiet. So quiet that what seemed like it might just be a squeak as Charlotte shifted positions in her crib, I lurched out of bed and ran over to grab her. I lifted her sleepy little body out of bed and brought her across the hall to my room, where I may or may not have played with her until she woke up enough to have a hide and seek war with the covers and eat jellybeans with me.
I feel like maybe that makes me a bad mom, but actually I have had to adjust my standards a little. I’m loving them well, making sure they know this is obedience to a calling, and also, eating snacks in the middle of the night. Sue me.
So we had the little feast and she fell asleep in my arms with her blanket tucked around her. I let her sleep in my bed, which doesn’t usually work out well because she is what I like to refer to as a “night thrasher.” Ellie and Abby stay stick-still, and Kate will bruise your organs. Charlotte is somewhere in between.
I heard her stirring around at around 8 this morning and I was so tired that I pretended to be asleep. She physically tried to open my eyelid and said, “Hey Mommy.” I didn’t move. Because I am the ultimate mother, in case you haven’t picked up on that yet. She played with my hair for a minute and then laid back down with her hand resting on my stomach. After about ten minutes I started to wake up and decided to scare her, which she loves. I jerked in one super-fast motion and got my face right up next to her and shouted “ARRGHHH!!!!!” in a freaky growl noise (cue the sound of the mother of the year truck screeching into the distance). She jumped and then laughed herself red-faced.
Then she did what any sweet, lovable girl would do in that situation. She full-on grabbed her diaper and shouted, “Ew. Pider Ucky.”
“Your diaper’s dirty?” I asked. Because perfect mothers always ask the question when they know the answer because they are buying time.
“Ah needa chaange.” She continued to grab at her diaper through the jammies like she was just going to rip it right off. Delicate. Ladylike. Or not.
“You need your diaper changed.” Buying time, but disguising it as a reflective, mirroring response so it looks like I’m giving her words. I’m not. I’m just tired. As evidenced by my next sentence.
“Here baby. Mommy put you down. Can you go get a diaper?”
Don’t worry. I’ll write a book on all this stuff so you can make parenting decisions out of laziness too.
“Okay.” She reaches to me and I set her on the ground. As she ran out of the room she shouted, “Be wiiiiight back. Okay.”
I heard her feet hit the hardwood and then the carpet again as she ran into her room. There was some rustling and then her feet again.
“Here go.” She handed me one wipe, which she had taken out of the wipe case.
“Good job Char! But we need a diaper.” She threw the wipe and darted off toward her room again.
More rustling. More feet.
“Mama hep. Hep peese.” She had her shoes and wanted them on. Over her jammies. Which is not unusual. We sometimes fight her to take them off at bedtime and bathtime. What can I say? She’s a shoe girl.
“No, baby. We can’t put your shoes on unless you get your diaper.”
More fake crying.
Feet. Floor. Rustling. Books hitting the ground. Laughter. Singing. Feet.
And another wipe.
This little routine went on for about 5 minutes, at which point I realized that it wasn’t going to work for me to parent from bed today. Ta-da! She can be taught, folks.
Charlotte sat at the foot of my bed on the floor and ripped wipes apart while I brushed my teeth and got my contacts in. I was almost done when she yelled, “AH NEEDA CHANGE!!!!!!” She was not evidencing a happy heart, let’s just say that. And there were six piles of ripped wipes that whispered, “the Proverbs 31 lady just rolled over in her grave.”
I got her diaper and took care of the diaper, but as it often does, the Gospel infiltrated my life.
If she wanted it so badly, why didn’t she just get the diaper?
Want to know the truth?
It’s the same reason my calendar looks like a football strategy thing. And yes. I am aware that this is not the actual term. I like to watch it but I don’t keep up. In fact, Pat Smith (Emmitt’s wife) and Brenda Warner (Kurt’s wife) were on the same Women of Faith retreat I was on this week and I love them. I love them so much that it makes me wish I did know more about football, because then I would possibly have know what team Kurt played for, if Emmitt still played (He doesn’t. I asked his wife. Which was awesome and not at all embarrassing) and what in the world the football map plan is called.
I had great intentions. I will seek the Lord. I will go single-mindedly toward that which I know is what I need and that which is good. And I will not get sidetracked. I won’t carry a hundred things back with me and whisper to the wind, “Why is this dirty thing still on me?”
I sat on my bed and I cried.
I long for Him so desperately that I complain, argue, debate anything that pulls me from Him. But when push comes to shove, I see the shoes, the wipe, the hallway…
I’m going to be brutally honest in a way that genuinely hurts. I haven’t been able to write the way I want to. I haven’t had it in me. The words get stuck in my throat and I decide to skip the tap-tap of the keyboard and go grab lunch with a friend instead.
No, it’s not a pair of white leather Keds, but it might as well be.
I sometimes lose sight of what I set out for.
I am a representative of the Gospel, and I take that job very, very seriously.
But I am also a daughter of the King. A daughter who needs to take responsibility and serve Him with my sole focus being on Him.
I haven’t been able to write because I haven’t been in His word the way I should be. I have been looking around me and shuffling my heart toward any shiny thing that takes off the glorious weight of Jesus.
And with Charlotte’s weight pressed on me in the night, I rested.
And when she ran, He spoke.
Seek Me. Focus your intentions and act on them.
The rest will come.
So today, after spending time with the Lord this morning, buried in His words, I found that the tap-tap came easily.
It was the overflow of a heart full of His presence, and the gratitude of a woman convicted by the error of her ways.
Are you lost somewhere between one bedroom and another? Have you reached for every little thing that you can wrap your hands around? Have you forgotten what you were intended to bring back?
It isn’t too late.
I have so much to be grateful for. My kids are healthy and seem absolutely unfazed by my schedule. They are thriving. I have a husband who desires the things that matter and loves me to the ends of this life, no matter where my feet have gotten tangled. I have a ministry that I couldn’t have dreamed of asking for because who in the WORLD am I to deserve it?
It’s a beautiful spring day in the city I love, and I have a friend (Hi Betsy!) who I am sharing a Starbucks table with and she is encouraging me to write. I just asked her how long I had been typing and she said 45 minutes.
I waited a month to update this silly blog in 45 minutes because I’ve been so busy gathering that which I didn’t need.
I have been to the wellspring, and I don’t know why I keep believing I need to be thirsty anymore.
Drink deep, friends. Clear your calendars if you need to. Take the long way home.
Soak up every bit of Him you can, and let the overflow be your offering.
It is true, you know.
I stand as a witness.