I can’t seem to catch up. Each week I sit down with my planners, (yes I have more than one), and I attempt to sketch out my upcoming week. A part of that practice is listing out a lengthy to do list. Somehow, as I put a satisfying swipe through the items on my list post completion, I notice the list almost always ends the week much longer than it began.
Without my planners, I struggle. I will most definitely forget something, if not many things without the aide of my trusty calendar and to do lists. Most people tend to back away slowly when I casually mention how many planners I have in rotation, let alone the reaction I receive when they find out I decorate them as well. I may as well channel my five year old self by walking around in a tutu, adorning myself with sparkly stickers, and telling people I have “this many” planners while holding up the respective number of digits covered in peanut butter and jelly residue.
I figured out a long time ago that cramming all areas of my life in one small book just put the chaos in a compact form rather than help me filter through the mess, so I divided them up to specific areas. I have one for my mother’s information and care. She has Alzheimer’s and so I am responsible for ensuring her bills, insurance, doctors appointments, etc. are being managed. I have another for my classes and current job, as I am currently working through my pre-nursing courses while still working myself. Then I have another for daily to dos, which encompasses all things motherhood, family related and volunteering at church. Between being a student, working mom, wife, daughter, sister, friend, and active within our church family, there are A LOT of things to keep track of.
So, I mean really what this tells me is that I need more planners… obviously.
Now you can imagine that a person who is so reliant on a few stacks of paper may not fare so well when they are removed. That’s essentially how this past week began.
The last few weeks, I have been in constant motion. There have been some things that have popped up which needed to be remedied right away and as a result, cut into my normal flow of studiously checking off items within the to do list. So much so, that I wasn’t able to get to planning as originally scheduled this week. I put it off with the hopes of sitting down first thing Wednesday morning once the kids were off to school. I was feeling off kilter, but all would be well once I could put everything into order and step confidently into the following days, armed with adorable, (but functional), paper lists and colorful pens.
Tuesday night, my husband and I headed off to bed and both stopped in our tracks as we heard a barking sound from our sons bedroom. My first though was “Oh croup!”
My husband scooped up our son and headed out into the chilly suburban wilderness to comfort him and bring some relief to his tiny, inflamed airways. Meanwhile, I was inside setting up his breathing machine, because mama wanted sleep. After one snafu, my husband came to MY rescue and fixed the tubing on the machine so I could administer the medication to our son who was definitely receptive, and not at all screeching like a howler monkey while trying to escape. Couldn’t he understand that I was holding him hostage out of love?!
If you want to really understand what it’s like administering medication of any sort to a toddler, just watch an episode of The Crocodile Hunter with Steve Irwin. The only difference is that by the end I wont be laughing and talking about how beautiful my feral child is post attack. I’ll be in recovery with an IV drip.
Well fast forward 30 minutes and the howler monkey was subdued. We crept into his bedroom to lay him down and he immediately started coughing and gasping for air, so much so that he couldn’t muster up a cry. My husband buckled our son up in the car, I quickly smashed my feet into some shoes and out the door I went, praying and driving sideways to somehow watch both the road and my son as we headed to the ER. Thankfully we live very close to the hospital and got there within 5 minutes.
In I went, son in tow, looking certifiably insane. We pushed through the revolving door which moved at a glacial pace, my hair askew, wearing my most raggedy and comfy pajamas: a pair of sweatpants from my high school powderpuff game which had “seniors” written down the leg and “touchdown” across the butt, with a generous rip up each leg, and a Big Fall Thing 2 shirt from a fall youth group retreat, also obtained in high school. My feet were literally jammed into my sneakers and the tongues were stuck at the bottoms, exposing socks and naked laces.
It is important to note that I graduated from high school almost 20 years ago, so I sat there wondering if the staff would think I was a very young mom, or sadly holding onto my high school glory days…. neither really ideal, but also beside the point. When I went through this with my husband later his response to the young mom thing was hysterical laughter. Um, thanks hun.
Attire aside, we were taken back to the pediatric ER immediately into a room with Bluey on the television, one of my sons favorite shows, and he was instantly put at ease. He was given a steroid and sent home within an hour and hasn’t missed a beat since.
God was there every second. God was there when the coughing began. He knew the exact time Gus would need to go in and he paved the way. I did nothing other than provide apparent comic relief, but God was there even in the laughter. He cared for everyone in my family that night in such a glaringly obvious way, and he’s been carrying me on his shoulders every day since.
If I had to pick my favorite thing about God, its his grace. I can show up a hot mess in every sense of the word and he just hugs me closer. Today my prayer time was something along the lines of “Man God, I am so tired. Please care, comfort and heal…… etc… according to your will. I’m sorry I’m a mess, but you know my heart. Just lift it all up. I love you, thank you…. etc”
Just reading that is messy, but I can’t even begin to describe the comfort I felt in taking my exhaustion to God and knowing that it’s enough.
Please don’t mistake grace to be an excuse for poor behavior. We cannot live our lives however we choose and rely on the fact that God provides unending grace, because we do not deserve God’s grace. There’s nothing we can actually do to rightfully obtain it. It is grace because we do not and cannot ever do enough of the right things to earn it ourselves.
For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not of your own doing; it is the gift of God. Ephesians 2:8
It is the gift of God! Your mind should be blown! What makes it so incredible is that he gives all of us who belong to him his grace everyday, but especially so during times like these. The days that are messy and I am just focusing on keeping my tribe alive and not burning the house down he’s right there pulling me through it. The fact that I can snuggle up to God and know that no matter what, it will all be ok is extraordinary. He desires our closeness. He desires us to come to him for rest and rejuvenation.
Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. Matthew 11: 28-30
My life from the outside is often heavy and difficult. I have peace and rest in my God who calls me to sit at his feet and rest in his arms. Friends, my burden today is light because I am not carrying it. God has called me to walk through hard things and I am imperfect and sinful by nature, so of course there are days where the burden is heavy, but those are the days I place it on myself rather than my Father. Give it to God and he will help you carry what is weighing so heavily upon you.
Find rest in the only one who can provide peace because he is the peacemaker. God is there. He is all around you and desires you to draw near to him, especially when you’re a mess. The world calls us to present ourselves in an unattainable way and God just wants us raw and uncut, imperfect creatures with a desire to love Him first. Embrace your mess and chaos, because God will sort it out.