Satan worked over-time in my house last night. By the time my man came home I really just wanted to crawl in bed and have a good cry. But celebrating a few small victories over the enemy not only allowed me to keep moving forward, but also brought a sweet end to my day.
Satan began his work early. I had a long list of things to accomplish and I knew the morning offered little promise for productivity. Between running my big girl to and from preschool and spending an hour at the dentist, I wouldn't have an opportunity to knock out any of the big items on my list; so, I put a lot of stock in my afternoon.
After preschool, we grabbed a quick lunch in hopes of getting the girls down for a nap sooner. My thoughts: go to sleep sooner, wake up sooner, get to work sooner. Um, no. Three hours later (that is four o'clock) my big girl finally stumbles into the living room. I can not remember the last time she took a three hour nap. There are many days she doesn't nap at all. Why this day? (And the first feelings of frustration start to bubble up.)
In case any of you are thinking, well, you had three hours right there to be productive. Um, again, no. My girls are light sleepers. I have to find quiet activities while they are sleeping. While they are going to sleep, I give myself a break. I check email, Facebook, and play games on my phone. When they are finally asleep, I head to the living room. This is my time to read, blog, sort mail, balance the checkbook, fold laundry, and--on occasion--nap.
I did get some of the above done before my little one woke. Then we played quietly for about an hour (working puzzles and reading books) before her big sis came to join us. The next hour was spent tickling and giggling on the couch, and serving up strawberry cakes and tea from their play kitchen. I'm not saying that was wasted time, but I wasn't accomplishing MY goals. (Frustration tempered with fun and laughter. Small victory.)
If you're keeping up with the time, you know that it's now five o'clock. One of the biggies on my to-do list was going to the grocery. So, now it's time to be eating, or at least fixing supper, and instead we are on our way to the store to buy something to fix! (Frustration re-surfaces.)
My dinner plans: chicken salad (made with avocado and strawberries) and spinach salad. I have been looking forward to it ALL DAY LONG. We grab the ingredients, along with a few other necessities (like biscotti), and head to the check-out. Here things fall apart. I'm not sure how or why. I guess all the trips back and forth across the store, along with our increasing hunger, has left all three of us with very little energy and patience. We somehow make it out of the store without any complete meltdowns, but I'm sure the friend we saw in the check-out line now wonders if I am always that frazzled. (Frustration mounting.)
By the time we get home and get the groceries in the house, I am so hungry that I'm not feeling well. Before even putting all the cold stuff away, I start peeling an orange. The girls' stomachs smell it from the other side of the house and they are at my side before I have the first piece in my mouth. We devour that in a nanosecond and start pilfering through the bags for something else. Pineapple! Half of that is gone before we realize our stomachs aren't accepting all the sugar very well. So, we pull out cheese and crackers. But, here's another small victory: I discovered some very yummy, guilt-free crackers recently while visiting with some friends from Canada, and wonder of wonders, found the same brand at Kroger! So, we celebrate! By eating them. (Frustration diffused.)
Now sufficiently full, I have no desire to boil chicken, or dice strawberries, avocado, and onion. So, I put the groceries away and start to clean out the frig (another big item on my to-do list). While trying to dump the last piece of chocolate pudding cake from two weeks ago, I fumble and drop it right IN FRONT of the trash can. Did I mention it has two parts: cake and PUDDING? Yeah, well, the cake was also dried out and crumbled into a million different pieces and before I could get it picked up, my big girl walked right through it. (Yes, frustration has nearly peaked.)
But, God opens my eyes to what really matters as I notice my baby girl is singing, "Holy is God," a sweet song all of her own making. So, instead of sweating the small stuff as I am prone to do, I turn my big girl nearly up-side-down to clean off her feet, shoo her away from the mess, and pick up the pieces...of the cake.
A few minutes later, my man walks into yet another disaster. (That other big item on my list, cleaning the kitchen...yeah, it didn't happen.) There's no dinner ready and no promising signs that there will be anything ready anytime soon. I start to apologize, but feeling like that's such an inadequate expression of my guilt and disappointment I just sigh. My expectations of myself have left me feeling completely defeated. (And here my frustration peaks.)
Left-overs come to my rescue, and as he eats, I settle down to work yet another puzzle with our babe. Another very small but sweet victory brings unexpected satisfaction as this little one who has shown no interest in learning surprises me once again. I watch as she works a 12-piece puzzle almost instinctively. Amazed. (Frustration fading.)
We all lounge around for about an hour, with total disregard to our normal bed time, playing and making even more of a mess. My man has to go BACK to work at nearly ten o'clock and since our girls would usually have been fast asleep for at least an hour before that time, I opt out of doing the normal bedtime routine. I opt out of ALL of it. No toothbrushes. No books. No Bible stories. Nothing. The girls put up a bit of a fuss...
"But we have to brush teeth!"
"No Bible stories????"
The unspoken: "Mom, have you lost your ever-lovin' mind????"
We potty, put on PJ's, and pile in their bed. Baby girl is out like a light. In a few minutes, my big girl looks over at me and says, "Mommy! We've got to pray!" (Frustration melts.)
We hold hands, and to prevent waking baby girl, pray silently.
"Thank you, Lord, for my beauties. Thank you for loving them even more than I love them. Thank you for letting me borrow them for a while. Please help me set a good example. Please help them to grow up to know you and love you. Amen." (Frustration gone.)
I'm nearly in tears as I type. Satan may have won a few victories, but thanks to God, we fought the battles and came out on the other side of this day, still standing. And what's better is knowing that even though we have a lot more battles to fight, and probably even a few more losses to suffer, as believers in Christ, we've already won the war!
"Finally, be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of the evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore, put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand." (Eph 6:10-13)
Want to see something beautiful?
Go here...and take special note of the picture of the large group of children near the end of the post.
the anderson crew: that's a lot of children.
I always thought I would adopt. I'm not saying I won't, but we at least haven't felt God prodding us to make that happen right now. But I adore families who have heard and answered the call. And I'm blessed to be friends with a lot of them. Thanks to you all (you know who you are) for letting me be a small part of your journey, even if just as a spectator. I hold you in very high esteem.