I'm grateful to report that I survived my past week as a single-parent while the Preacher was out of town for a Pastor's Conference. It was only 4 days and 3 nights, but at 33 weeks pregnant with four kids, it felt a bit more like weeks! I have no major disasters to report except for a bloody nose, some shattered glassware, a tipped-over grocery cart, later-than-usual bedtimes, more-dramatic-than-necessary fights, and a disturbing amount of chicken nuggets consumed.
Oh, and there was that particular situation where a certain four year old feared he would not make it to the restroom in time, and frantically broadcasted the news to the entire store while wailing and clutching his backside. That's all, really.
Otherwise, my children were a blessing. My oldest, who turns 9 this coming week, rose early, served up breakfast to his brothers, administered band-aids, packed lunches on school day, gave many hugs during stressful moments, and prepared a picnic for our outing to the zoo on Friday. Each subsequent boy did his share of blessing and frustrating as well, but as a whole, they laughed more than they cried, shared more than they fought, and took their places as men of the house while their dad was away.
My small discovery while the Preacher was gone:
My kids drive me crazy; but they also keep me sane.
Too often it seems we feel consumed by the demands and the sacrifices of motherhood--wishing it to be easier, more quiet, less work, affording more time to simply be alone and think. And yet, built in to the mystery of motherhood is the great miracle of caring for someone other than yourself.
We may think that more time spent on ourselves would be beneficial...but while every mother needs time away, a personal retreat, or a morning at the salon, I am convinced that my daily attention and focus on raising children who know and love the Lord, not only keeps me consistent to live out that priority, but it also buffers me from many a mind-game of self-pity, ego-centricity, and preoccupation with how I feel. They may drive me crazy, but they also keep me sane.
Our Lord never wastes a thing. Over what would otherwise be just another pastor's conference, the Lord graciously provided refreshing and recharging for the Preacher for ministry, as well as a greater vision for how to minister to his own family. And while I remained home with the boys, He saw fit to provide refreshing and recharging for me in a very different way: by challenging me to pursue godliness in attitude over my love for ideal and comforting circumstances. The refreshing is not physical. The recharging is not emotional. The result is supernatural. And it is this: What we think we want the most, He provides when we make Him what we want most of. That's better than just surviving. That's living.