A cold, miserable Monday. It’s raining, possibly sleeting.
The kids are bouncing around after school, climbing all over each other as a substitute for the swing set that is too wet to climb on.
If the toddler isn’t whining, he is destroying something. (Seriously, if there were toddler Olympics and one of the sports was “who can cause the most destruction in 1 minute”, he would win it!)
I tried three times to start washing dishes, but I didn’t even get to the point of running the water.
What did I do next?
You have one life line left. Would you like to phone a friend?
Yeah, I called my husband, in a kind of panicked state (but without the energy) to ask when he would be home.
Sometimes I get to this point where I just don’t even bother trying any more. I feel defeated.
And at that point, I really just want the 2D version of my husband (the one who didn’t just spend a whole day at work, doesn’t have his own feelings and needs, and only exists when he is around me…) to walk in the door and rescue me. Just walk in the door, (metaphorically) whip the kids into line and magically make the mess disappear.
And I kind of just sit down, pop the TV on for the kids and scroll through the internet until he comes home and works the Daddy magic.
Today I started to do that – I had already plonked my butt on a kitchen stool – but then I thought to myself, I am a grown woman. I might not be able to turn the whole day around, but I certainly don’t need to sit on my butt doing nothing, waiting to be rescued…
So I got up off the stool and started picking things up. Yes, the house is still a mess. No, the dishes still didn’t get done. But I did something.
And as I walked around the house clearing up the small messes, putting the bin liners back in and wiping down the benches, I cleared away the mess in my heart.
I wiped away all the why is this house so messy and the why can’t the kids just play nicely for five minutes.
I cleaned up the stinking piles of no one appreciates what I do.
I scrubbed at the mysteriously sticky my husband has it so much easier than me.
And I had to get out the bleach to deal with the toxic heap of God, I deserve better than this.
And when my 3D husband walked in the front door, and our eyes locked across the work-in-progress living room, I smiled at him. (And he smiled back at me *blush*)
I’m not talking about plastering on some fake smile.
No, that smile was the real smile of a real woman who did the real heart-work of turning to God instead of wallowing in self-pity and despair. It was not the desperate, grasping glare of a damsel in distress, trapped in a tower of dirty dishes waiting for her 2D knight in a business shirt to rescue her.
(Goodness knows, we’ve been there before! But that season has passed…)
This is just one day, but honestly there are many days that end like this. The chaos of tired little bodies, and a whole day’s worth of mess and a Mummy who is counting down until bedtime…
And although my growth as a Christian woman has not been linear, it’s certainly evident to me that God is working in my heart, making me quicker to renounce complaining and embrace rejoicing.
Sometimes we look at the Proverbs 31 woman and think about how unattainable and impossible that standard is. But the thing is, she didn’t get there overnight!
I hope that in 20 years’ time, when I face different but equally stressful and exhausting situations, I will be able to look back on days like this as God’s training ground, where he has been working with me to make me a better woman.