They were trying to mop and proud of it. *sigh*
Just as I discovered this, we had a knock at the door. The Pest service was here to do our spring check... which is why I was cleaning the basement... I'm afraid of other people's opinions and last year they told me my basement was too cluttered. I've cleaned it many times since then, we are far from pigs, but we have stuff and not a lot of time to organize it. Still, I'm sure they see worse - and still, I can't help but need to clean it before they come. It's kind of silly actually... and I paid for it.
So, the dude walks in and asks "Is there anything I need to know about?"
"Yeah, my kitchen is flooded. You can come in, I'll just be cleaning up a disaster, like usual..."
I cleaned and sopped up water and started laundry and threw away all the damaged things. I was not being very friendly or my usual talkative self with the pest guy - I was trying to get my mind around why these things happen to me... all. the. time.
Asa was running back and forth like a crazy man with no pants on screaming and Sam was following the man around asking him "Guess what?" and making him ask "What?" so he could fill him in on every random thought a 6 year old could possibly have... from a bee almost going in his ear when he was three to how much Desirae yells at him... Isaiah was adding to the conversation and Ezra was, like always, hanging off my leg screaming for me to pick him up as I told him over and over, I can't. Desirae was nowhere to be found... smart kid.
30 minutes into this, he looked up and asked "So... how many of them are yours??" I couldn't help it... I started to laugh... like a lunatic. He would glance up and look at me and then look back at the kids... They were all surrounding him, and about 6 inches from his face at this point. I said. "I know I look crazy, that's because I actually feel crazy... because I might really be going crazy." (My massage therapist assures me that real crazy people don't KNOW they are crazy, so I must be fine) He said that he was feeling crazy too because the next day was the first day of his vacation. I said "I nnnevvvverrr get a vacation." and laughed some more. Every time the kids said something or Asa pulled on his privates in front of this guy, I laughed harder.
He went to leave and looked at the clock and it was like the light went on... it's school hours... so he asked "Do you homeschool them?"
I looked crazy. I felt crazy.
"So, you really never do get a break..."
"Nope. I wasn't exaggerating."
Later, Matt and I were watching the sermon series Recovering Redemption by Matt Chandler we've been going through (highly recommend it!) and one of his main points he kept driving home was "Don't despise the hard days." He spoke of the verses in the Bible that talk about the unbelievers that God turned over to their sin. It APPEARS at though they are really happy and their lives are so much 'easier' than ours, but be aware of thinking that is good - because I don't know about you, but any good parent I've ever seen tells their child what they can and can't do and at times makes their lives very difficult in order to save them from themselves. He used the garden analogy, which you all know I love and God uses every year in my garden to remind me about my sin and the effects it has on me and my ability to bloom for His glory...
I just went to YouTube to see if it was on there. We have DVD's so I didn't know if you could view it for free. I found it, so decided to skim through it again, since it's been a few days, so I could remember how he worded it because this has been on my mind constantly since we watched it... well, when I saw that the exact place I wanted you to see started at minute 43, I wasn't surprised... but it did make me cry. God is in the details. At 43 minutes on this sermon I wanted to share, he has them open to the exact verses I shared on my last blog post - which also leads him into the exact point I've been thinking on. If you can watch this entire video, you should - but if you can't, you should at least humor me and watch for a few minutes starting at 43 minutes in.
He talks about not needing to think about 5 years or 10 years from now - even a month from now... just focus on the next thing in front of you and 'win the day'... cling to God... ask him to help you... just get through today.
I've heard these words in my mind over and over. I get so ahead of myself. I think about even my appointments for next week and I get overwhelmed. If I try to think about *everything* I have to do this next week, it could paralyze me. I keep saying "There are so many of them." I feel so outnumbered and so inadequate and go back and forth between wanting to send the kids to school so I can get a break for once and being afraid of how short my time with them will be and trying to plan for their life without a mom should my aneurysm rupture.
I have been failing constantly with them. My patience are thin, my energy is low, my nerves are shot and I am only one person with the workload of much more.... I'm getting so tired of not being the mom I want to be, that I feel like giving up on everything I have worked so hard to do in order to get some relief.... and this isn't really about what I decide to do with them - whether I put the babies in daycare so I can teach the older ones without constant interruptions... or I send the older ones to school so I can sit and play with my babies... or I accept that my kids have less of me than I would like, but they have more of each other, which has an entire other set of benefits... it's not about what I do necessarily - it's about winning the day.
What does it look like to "win the day."
Well, in my mind and heart, a day won is a day not where everything goes right, but one that when everything goes wrong, I can laugh and enjoy my loves even still. A day won is a day where I treat my children and my husband like I believe they belong to the Creator of the Universe. It's a day when I don't miss a chance to love someone else. A day where I rest in God's faithfulness and trust in His plans.
And so as I've spent the last few days, trying to 'win my day'... I failed a day in while cooking pancakes. I was trying to make 8 pancakes and sausage while starting coffee and everything was going ok until something didn't... isn't that always the way? And right when the food started to go down hill, Sam got hurt, the boys were fighting, people were demanding attention for boo-boos and justice for their attacker... and I snapped. "STOP!" I yelled. "I can only do so many things at once!" and in my mind I heard "Win the day... " But to me, I had already lost it because I don't want to treat my kids like that... And God ever so gently spoke to my heart...
Well then, win the moment. If you lost one, dust yourself off and get the next.
Now that I can do. One moment at a time... because moments lead to days... but they are a lot easier to manage.
Tomorrow I have my stress test. And I don't want to go... at all. And I have an appointment every single day this week and two on Friday. My life is a whirlwind and there isn't much I can do to slow it down. Our family has medical issues and so this is just how it is for us. I can let that drive me to the point of insanity - or I can win the moment.
You know, I thought I had this down with Rachel... I thought I learned how important and sacred each moment is. I thought I understood how little control I have... I thought I was brought to a place of such close and sweet surrender with the Lord that I would never struggle again... but I still do - and know I always will. My goal is to make the times of struggle times that I recognize as a gift to me from my Father who *will* work all things out for the good of those who love him. (Romans 8:28). And I love Him.
Times where I can choose to win the moment....to sit and play with my babies, who are growing up way too fast, whether I am watching or not. To talk with my daughter who is yearning to work through her thoughts in her growing and changing mind... to play ball with my boys who are soon going to want not much to do with their mom... to sit down and snuggle with my man when even a few minutes allow...
It came to me as I thought on this... I won that day. Sure, everything was a wreck and the pest guy thought I was crazy and that we are slobs. Sure, I was late for everything I had to do... sure, the kids caused, yet another disaster... But I laughed and handled it all with grace... looked INSANE, but whatever! I didn't lose the moment. My kids weren't traumatized by my laughing and they weren't embarrassed about our mess or the pest guys opinion.... and I wasn't trying to win the day - I wasn't even trying to win the moment - God won it. He gave me what I needed to get through that with joy.
And then I thought about my computer - all those pictures I lost aren't the winning moments. They help me remember times and places... and without them a lot of it will fade from my (and the kids' minds) But the winning moments on our family vacation aren't even on photos anyway. They are the moments where we played a board game and (don't judge..) I had to "Make the player to the right of me laugh or pay $..." and I mooned Matt. I've never seen my family laugh so hard...They are the moments where we chased our baby through the restaurant giggling out of embarrassment... helped each other up steep parts on our hike... the moments of fun conversation by the fire... the moments of shared tears by the water... the moments of messing up and having to say "I'm sorry." Even as I write that, I can think of a dozen pictures that would remind me of things I mentioned and it makes me sad... but the moments are not lost, they were already won.
And so this week, as we prepare for Easter - the best holiday of the year... and Good Friday - a day where God won the moment, my prayer is that perspective won't be lost on me and I can win moments, one at a time - until they become days - and the days become memories... memories of the undeniable power of God and the victory He has over sin.
I came across a little card with the serenity prayer on it - but it has the entire thing, which often isn't quoted... it seemed to fit - how 'ironic'!
to accept the things
I cannot change,
Courage to change the
things I can, and the
wisdom to know the difference.
Living one day at a time;
Enjoying one moment at a time;
Accepting hardship as the
pathway to peace.
Taking, as He did, this
sinful world as it is,
not as I would have it.
Trusting that He will make
all things right if I
surrender to His Will;
That I may be reasonably happy
in this life, and supremely
happy with Him forever in