I realized yesterday that there’s not much distance between the words content and contempt.
Thursday started like any other day. There was nothing extra exciting or extra hard about it. The morning routine started with getting the oldest two ready for school. I had big plans for Judah and I.
I knew what I wanted to do. I wanted to write a blog. I have this goal of sharing something every three days, and it had been three days since my last post. But there were a couple of other things I needed to do first.
And on this particular day, I needed to see my chiropractor. It turns out if you consistently lift your very attached, very fluffy toddler on your left side every. single. day. you can literally pop a rib out of place. So that’s fun.
I stopped by my previous place of employment to see our chiropractor and it’s always great to see my friends. I looked down the hall of my previous pod and for the first time since I stepped away from working to stay at home, I had this feeling in the pit of my stomach that I really missed this place.
I missed working as a PA. I missed adult conversation. I missed using my education and helping people with a knowledge I worked so many years to obtain. I was already cranky because I was hurting (hello, rib pain) and I knew when I left there that I’d be going home to more laundry. More story times. More school pick-up lines. I mean, wasn’t I made for more than this?
But didn’t you pray for this? Didn’t you long for this? Attachment and more time at home with your babies?
Judah and I left work to head to Target. I wanted to go home and write a blog post, because that was MY plan for the day. But, we were out of diapers and groceries and having a special guest over to our house that night. I didn’t want to serve peanut butter sandwiches with a side of bare-bottom baby, so Target needed to come first.
I called my husband on the way to see if he had finished his sermon that he had been working on FOREVER. I thought if he finished it then I’d get some time that evening to write. I find out he’s sitting in the sanctuary at church still working on it, it’s not coming along like he wants and he’s not sure when he will finish.
Meanwhile, I have a screaming kid plus rib pain because I’m pretty for sure I popped the rib back out just getting him into the car seat. All I can think of is this picture in my mind of my husband having my moment. I imagine him sitting in a quiet, peaceful sanctuary. He probably has WARM coffee in his hands. He’s probably listening to soft, beautiful lyrics. He has plenty of time to write. Unlike someone I know.
I have cold coffee that I started drinking four hours ago and a heavy, cranky baby with a trip to Target in the future. No sanctuary moments in this minivan.
There’s only one thing I want at Target besides diapers and food. Rain boots. Because I’m getting away this weekend to a women’s retreat and it’s supposed to rain. And because Target is currently in my new stay-at-home budget, I’m hoping they come through for me.
Target fails me.
My day is failing me.
Are you really throwing a fit over rain boots? Are you really going to resent your husband because you assume his coffee is warm?
My morning has taken too long and now it’s time to run home, move over the laundry, pack after school snacks and start the process of picking up kids from different schools.
We pick up Walker and then sit 30 minutes in line to pick up Charlotte because it seems silly to unload the two boys for ten minutes just to turn around and get back in the car.
When we get home, I decide to throw the kids in the backyard and sit down to write. I bet you know at this point that it didn’t happen. Lots of crying for who knows why and a dog that decides to cover her body in mud because, she hates me.
Listen, I try not to make my blogs about me teaching the reader anything. I want to just share what I’m learning. I’m going to make an exception today. Are you ready for this?
Don’t give your dog a bath on days like this day.
It’s not going to go well.
We will just leave it at that.
Meanwhile, I have my kids come inside so I can start dinner. I decide to wait to write until after dinner because I know Cody would LOVE to put the kids to bed for me. I pause long enough to send my working husband an encouraging message since I know he’s working so hard to prepare a sermon. So I send him a video of my youngest kid screaming.
Because I’m a good wife.
Or because misery loves company.
He gets home later than normal and reminds me that he is going to watch a movie with some guys at 7:40 that evening. He never has “guy time” and just this once he said yes. And I’m so happy for him. Actually, that’s a lie. I was thinking “this man doesn’t care to die because when he gets home, I’m going to end his life. Or at least make him sleep on the couch.”
Love is patient. Love is kind. It does not envy. It does not boast. It is not proud. It does not dishonor others. It is not self-seeking.
Dinner was great. One sweet spot in the day and I thought things were going to turn around. I work hard to go through the normal bedtime routine because I really REALLY want the kids to stay in bed. There’s still a chance I can write today. No such luck. On the fourth time my oldest two get out of bed, I let them know that the snow cone place they’ve been asking about for months, just announced they open tomorrow. And they will get NO SNOW CONES EVER AGAIN BECAUSE THEY CAN’T STAY IN BED. I slam the door, because I’m a good mother.
It is not easily angered. It keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.
I try to write but it’s 9:30PM. I’m angry. I didn’t get anything the way I wanted. I try to read my Bible and I’m mad about that too. I stay up until Cody gets home just so he can see that I’m mad. And I don’t let him touch me, not even my hand, because I know that’s how I can really hurt him.
And if I hurt, then it’s okay to hurt my children and my husband.
It always protects. It always trusts. Always hopes. Always perseveres.
I went to bed choosing to ignore all the truth God had brought to mind throughout the day.
I am so thankful that the Bible tells us “His mercies are new every morning.”
I woke up today with the sting of guilt. I had to apologize to my babies. I really like to be right. I don’t like admitting that some days I just completely miss the mark.
While I strive to live a life of content, some days it looks more like a life of contempt.
I’ve been reading a lot of Paul’s books in the New Testament lately. When I read of these spiritual giants, I want so badly to look like them. To stand for what’s right. To take a beating and keep on going. To follow Jesus at all costs. To think if I were in Paul’s shoes, that I could make the same decisions.
In Philippians 4:12 it says “I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.”
I am reminded that I am nothing like Paul.
I have not mastered contentment in my life.
I prayed for attachment and then complained that I have to carry this baby everywhere.
I longed to stay at home and then resent those who get to go to work.
I begged Cody for a puppy and then curse Rosie at bath time.
I married the best man and have the sweetest babies and then hurt them intentionally because my day didn’t go the way I wanted it to.
I am sometimes just plain crappy. And if you are going to follow this blog, you should just know that now.
Paul says, I have learned the secret.
The secret is Jesus.
The secret is not the reality of his current situation, it’s the reality that Jesus is with him in it.
The very next verse says, “I can do all this through him who gives me strength.”
He can be content in need and in plenty. Because of Jesus.
He can be well fed or hungry. Because of Jesus.
He can live in plenty or in want. Because of Jesus.
Jesus was always enough.
I decided instead of wondering if I could cut it in ancient Roman times as a Christian with threats of imprisonment, beatings or crucifixion, that maybe I should apply this verse to the here and now and see how I hold up.
I know what it is to feel healthy or feel sick.
I know what it is to have a clean house or dirty house.
I know what it is to buy expensive rain boots and leave with no rain boots.
I know what it’s like to have children that obey and children that push my every nerve.
I know what it’s like to have times of rest and times of exhaustion.
I know what it’s like to have time to refresh and times to just keep running.
I know what it’s like to have things go my way and to have a horrible day.
I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation.
I can do all this through him who gives me strength.
The question is, will I allow Jesus to be enough?
Now excuse me while I go apologize to my husband.