There are times in life when the days are long and stressful, sleep is fitful, and with the first blink of my eyes, the cares of the previous day come right back in full force. My morning starts with a groan and a halfhearted wish that the emotional "leftover"s from the day before will not be quite so stressful as a new day dawns.
I remember quite a few days like that when my child was a toddler and also when he was a teen - sometimes there isn't a lot of difference between the two at times... ha!
My husband always seemed to be able to roll with the flow better than I could. I'm not sure why but I do know that once my husband told me that he was so thankful to be a guy simply because he couldn't survive the gamut of all the emotions that I often leaped through in a single bound! Like: Ugh.. my hair looks like heck - it's going to be a bad day... Oh, wow, my new bracelet came in the mail!! I love it!! It's going to be a good day... Oh my gosh, and just what exactly did my neighbor mean by that crack about how kids like mine often go on to do well in life??? Look at what kind of kids she is raising!!! Aggghhhhh, I can't believe that I spent an hour in the grocery store and still forgot the main thing I went for!! Where is my brain???? And I haven't even ever smoked crack!! And that guy who was at least a hundred years old, the one standing in line behind me... was he hitting on me?!!? It's been so long since anyone hit on me, I'm not sure.... On the other hand, do I look like I am that desperate??? Oh wow, that siren is awfully close and it's right about time for Phil to be driving down our street. I bet there was a car wreck! What if Phil was in it??
Let me transition for a bit: I am not really into accessories but I do like purses and bracelets and rings and ... key chains. Most women don't think of key chains as accessories but I sort of do. And when one breaks, it is a bitter/sweet moment around here :) Sad because my accessory friend is headed towards the trash. But sweet because I get to go buy a new one! Most of my key chains have Bible verses on them or Christian messages to encourage me each day. Most of the time, however, they just dangle from the ignition or lie buried in my purse or remain hidden under a pile of newspapers (on the days when I am in a huge hurry and, naturally, can't find them!). But when I am out and about shopping, I almost always have them in my hand. Yet even then I seldom, if ever, have them on my mind. My little accessory friends go unnoticed.
This morning I woke up with critical thoughts and a great urge to straighten out the world...
Thankfully I opened my Bible study lesson (Me, Myself, and Lies) and started working on that. In the study, Jennifer talks about doing a mental closet make-over. And today she talked about doing a make-over in the mental accessories department. Basically she was saying that instead of wearing a string of critical thoughts around my neck, I can wear a song of praise - I can wake up singing. Ps. 40:3 says that my Heavenly Abba has given me a song of praise to sing and I can "put that on" when I first wake up! (Wow... I love gifts!! Don't you?)
But something that meant even more to me was when she pointed out Lamentations 3:22-23. I realized that this is a great mental closet accessory: instead of draping a scarf of worry around my neck, I can wrap God's lovingkindness and compassion around myself and wear it out into the day. And it will be fresh and new every morning, no matter how many times I wear it. This may sound simple but to me, it was profound. God's love is there waiting for me, fresh and new every single morning.
Going back to the first paragraph of this blog, about how days can be long and stressful when you are dealing maybe with a sick and also willful toddler on top of a myriad of other issues, how you can sometimes feel like you are dragging their stubborn little feet every step of the way through the land mines of blowing recalcitrant noses, forcing nasty tasting medicine down little throats, and putting little um, posteriors in time out when your precious angel is clearly less than angelic... All day long it's drag, drag, drag... Yes, you will take your medicine... No, you won't talk to mommy like that... Now see, you learned a good lesson: Kitty Kat doesn't like to be dragged around by the tail... Yey! You got your cowboy boots on by yourself! I'm so happy for you! No, you can't go outside while you are sick.... Mommy loves you, that's why... Good job! You hit the potty! Oh, wow, you found Thomas the Tank! Too cool! No, you can't turn on the engine and run it along Kitty's back... Because Kitty will freak out and rearrange both of our faces if you do that...
And on it goes.
And so it goes between me and my Abba... Some days it must seem like all He does is patiently walk me through one thing after another, dragging my reluctant feet out of one mess and helping me avoid another, encouraging me when I get it right, rejoicing with me when something joyful comes my way, lovingly correcting me when I get it wrong.
But unlike me, He doesn't open first one eyelid and then another the next morning and think, "Bummer, gotta do it all over again. Hope Cathy won't be as stubborn as she was yesterday..."
No, He is there when I wake up and His loving kindness, His compassion is fresh and new, just as if I hadn't done my best to run the world for Him the day before while He was slowly, patiently guiding my feet onto the sidewalk alongside Him, trying to keep me from running ahead of Him out into the traffic of the world, and repeatedly tucking my small, stubborn hand into the warmth and safety of His strong, eternal one.
What a great mental accessory to put on first thing in the morning - the awareness of His fresh lovingkindness!! What a great mental gift to wear all day - the song of praise that He's fastened around my heart - if only I'll remember not to let it dangle there( like my unread key chains!) but will actually read it, sing it, live it.