Wednesday, April 20, 2011
The Perfect Day
Yesterday, my reality actually lined up with what I once imagined was the life of the stay-at-home mom. The dream scenario: fulfill my housewifely duties, meet my kids' emotional needs, foster their relationship with one another, play with them and get a little time for my own pet projects -- all in one day!
The day started with coffee (of course), updating our expenditures in the monthly budget (worst task ever) and a hot breakfast for the kids (homemade). Then I built two -- that's right, two -- blanket forts in my living room, one for each daughter. Then my daughters, feeling loved and valued by their Mommy, actually played in their forts for long periods of time (see Livie, above, in hers under the stairs), taking breaks only to come out and play Legos with each other, nicely.
We had Trader Joe's decadent mac-n-cheese for lunch, and then made four dozen cinnamon-sugar Easter cookies, which we then frosted in pastel hues and topped with a variety of sprinkles. Somewhere in there, I dusted and vacuumed the whole house and swept the downstairs floor. I even wrote a blog entry, complete with photos (computer did not crash).
This day was atypical enough that I venture to call it miraculous. I think God must really like me. Several times over the last few weeks I read or heard someone talk about starting the day by giving God their to-do list to edit, allowing Him to restructure their priorities. Since all sources were women I respect and admire, I took the message to heart. For several days I've made time for reading a devotional (almost) the first thing in the morning, and certainly before I read any e-mails, go on facebook, or read or write any blogs.
I have felt a subtle shift in how my days are going ever since. A sense of calm, resulting from a reality check that I am trying to do too much, and often the wrong things, almost every single day. So, my "perfect" day yesterday was born out of not only this spiritual discipline, but also the practical principle that if you do the most important things first (in this case it was the budget and the blanket forts, which were essentially putting my husband and my kids first), several other things will also fit into the day.
Now, hear me rightly: I don't believe Jesus is my magic geenie (thanks, Jen Hatmaker for that expression). Spending time talking to God in the a.m. isn't going to smooth out every rough edge of every day and miraculously extend every hour. But I took yesterday as God's loving whisper to me saying, "Get me a few minutes of your time, and watch what I can do with it." I think He might also have winked at me, if it's not sacriligious to think of the Almighty winking. It was His encouragement to me at the beginning of a new practice I'm bold enough to think pleases Him.
I believe I'm at the point where I want to seek God's in the Big Things in life. Should I work outside of the home or stay home with the kids? Where should I volunteer my time? What is my most important ministry at this point in my life? What kind of marriage do I want to have? Who are the people I should invest my time in? I seek His guidance in those things without question.
But do I want His will daily? Will I sacrifice my own agenda -- sometimes selfish, sometimes well-meaning -- in the small things? Which for the stay-at-home mom means things like shutting off the e-mail and leaving dishes in the sink to have a tea party (I know it sounds fun, but it's challenging day after day...) And do I believe He will be faithful to equip me daily, hourly, moment-by-moment to accomplish all the things that have to get done and be able to go to sleep feeling satisfied?
I'm willing to give it a try. Thanks for the wink, the message, and your grace, Lord. I'll see you tomorrow morning.