By Amy Bryant | March 20, 2018
My intentions are always good—I promise I have solid plans for the day.
The “dream” is to start early before my household…spend time with the Lord, get showered, and dressed for the day. (A bonus would be to squeeze in some form of exercise, but who am I kidding, it’s been months since I’ve don’t anything like that!)
By the time my husband Aaron and the kids are up and running my heart is ready to receive them with joy. I sit and finish my second cup of coffee as we read a devotional over breakfast together since I’ve already done a load of laundry. Every morning, I’m sure to kiss Aaron goodbye at the door as the kids and I begin our homeschool day. Of course, we stick to the schedule that I have so carefully planned and even hung on the wall so it’s easily followed by all of us.
Since my time alone with Jesus earlier has prepared me for the day, I’m gentle, loving, but firm to keep the kids on task during school lessons. And last but certainly not least, there will be time for reading aloud by the fire (Picture Laura Ingalls in her Little House on the Prairie.) and for the kids to practice their piano before they go outside to play until dinner. (Because of course screen time/devices would NEVER enter my mind!) While the kids are outside I plan and prepare a healthy, organic, and gluten-free meal that everyone will love to close out a busy day.
If you’re not already gagging, you know my reality looks quite different. One of the farthest distances I know is between expectations and reality. Most of my days never even come close to anything like what I just described, even though I truly want them and expect them to! So the thoughts that begin to creep into my heart and mind are sadness, anger, frustration, inadequate, overwhelmed, and envious with an overarching banner of FAILURE.
Just to be clear…here’s what the day really looked like.
-I woke up late because I stayed up late again doing nothing just have some quiet. #Netflix
-Aaron leaves early and I don’t get to kiss him at the door much less be coherent enough to tell him bye.
-My kids have eaten Lucky Charms on their own by the time I get downstairs so now their watching cartoons.
-I pour a cup of coffee only to have to microwave it 6 times throughout the day because I. Cannot. Finish. A. Cup. Of. Coffee. Before. It. Gets. Cold!!!
-I strive to have a quiet time in the midst of getting interrupted by needs…kids asking for things, arguing over who gets what seat, help looking for a math book, or let’s keep it real Looney Tunes playing too loudly. (This is also called just being a mom!)
-Since I’m running late I need to start school, but I’m conflicted with my personal needs and what I feel like I should be doing with my kids as their teacher.
-Now that I’m behind in the school day that throws off chores and running errands later in the afternoon.
-And since I never got to the grocery store or had time to cook a healthy meal…frozen pizza and salad it is…again. (Don’t worry, I picked out all the brown lettuce that had started to go bad.)
The tension builds and builds.
Knowing how I want the day to go versus how it really goes creates such anxiety and stress in me. It grows and then I usually explode in frustration at the kids (or dogs). I’m impatient and snarky in my responses to them or stern in my directions throughout the day. I’m shocked when I realize the resentment I feel towards my kids and even my day to day life in that moment.
Lord have mercy on me.
My thoughts aren’t joyful, loving, or even grateful for what I know make up an extremely long list of blessings. Instead, all I keep thinking is… “I’m such a failure and it’s all on me.” My expectations and reality are so very very far apart. But, THIS is the moment right here…where I either follow satan down an emotional spiral of lies or run to Jesus with my failure and let Him have a say.
And is so sweetly happens…my Jesus miraculously whispers to my heart.
“Beloved, your love is not big enough…but Mine is.”
Let’s all just let that thought settle in. My love, my strength, my perfect pictures and plans are not enough…never will be. The truth is our “anything” is never enough without Jesus! (Cue The Greatest Showman soundtrack!) Okay, so what does His love look like? According to 1 Corinthians 13, His love endures long and is slow to lose patience. It’s kind, does not envy and is not jealous. His doesn’t boast, isn’t anxious to impress, nor is arrogant. His love has good manners and doesn’t insist on its own way. Jesus’ love is not easily angered and keeps no record of wrongs. His love delights in the truth, not evil. It has no limit to endurance and is ready to believe the best because it never loses hope. Our God’s love always perseveres, can outlast anything and will never come to an end or fail.
My love may fail, but His will not! This 1 Corinthians truth humbles me because it calls me to a higher standard of loving others, but do NOT miss that this is how He loves me!! This is how He loves you! So my failures don’t limit His love in any way. Period.
Yes…yes, I’d say His love is more than enough.
In that moment another miracle happens as my thoughts go from shortsighted failure to humbled by so great a Love, to this plea…
Please Lord, with Your love, love my husband through me…with Your love, love my children through me…with Your love, love my friends through me…and with Your love, help me love myself through the planned and unplanned, chaos and quiet…joy and sadness…and the successes and failures. Oh Lord, perfect what concerns me like only You can because of Your great love! (Psalm 138:8 ASV)
And then I go reheat my coffee for the 7th time….just keeping it real.