I am here.
Despite the plague having hit our house hard over the last week and a half, I am here. I may be buried under no less than nineteen loads of dirty towels, sheets, pajamas, and pillowcases… but I am here.
And you know what? While I wasn't here, but rather swimming in the land of bodily functions that remain far better unsaid, I had an epiphany of sorts. Perhaps the dehydration and exhaustion had finally taken their toll and my poor brain was just leeching out the last bit of life that it could muster, but regardless. It happened.
As I uncomfortably lay in bed for the third day in a row, the world and walls began to close in around me. Bills needed to be paid. Children needed to be wrangled. The gardens were half-planted, half-weeded, and fully neglected in the wake of the sickness. My email inbox was growing exponentially and yet on my end, sat covered in cobwebs. Thawed meat sat in the refrigerator shrieking at me to make use of it before it went off, which of course, I didn't.
The weight of it all felt unbearable.
So I sat up, grabbed the pen and paper I always keep by my bedside for such occasions, and began to write out what felt wrong. What was making me feel so anxious? So tired? What was causing me to feel so chaotic? So guilty all the time?
I've been here before. It's not new territory. But just as the reformed church is always reforming back to scripture, so is our home. In the course of the past few months, it seems that we've strayed, once again, from our true north.
So I did what any normal mother would do in the middle of plague-pocalypse.
I called our first official family meeting. Oh yes I did.
The six of us sat in the living room. Four teeny little people staring at me with their beady eyes as if to say ‘Oh Mom done did it now. She's officially lost it.' Even the baby.
The family meeting began with a quick prayer which then transposed into setting expectations for our short gathering. The family was instructed that these meetings would take place each Sunday night. We discussed the coming week and what was on the calendar. We penciled in fun activities, such as going to the library and hitting up my nephews baseball game, which I tend to kick quickly to the side for the sake of farm work. We practiced a new scripture and hymn to memorize in the coming week. Each family member took time to praise, compliment, and pray for the other members. And lastly, I introduced the concept of the “chore basket” wherein each time a child cometh to me with a complaint or bickering that could easily be covered over with love, they get to choose a chore from the basket to serve the family with.
It took all of 15 minutes. And frankly, I'm not one for systems.
But if my delusional epiphany was in any way correct, I could easily see that we were in desperate need of a reformation.
Who will teach my children to pray?
Who will teach my children how to love others?
Who will teach my children about God's story?
So I am here. As you are with your children, no doubt.
I am here reminding myself to show grace instead of anger. Reminding myself that if I don't take the time to teach them how to boil and egg or bake a chocolate cake, who will?
I am here reminding myself that at the end of the day, who cares if there are nineteen loads of laundry? Who cares if the couch pillows are strewn over the floor, the pajamas are wet and stuck to the bathroom floor, and someone missed the toilet again?
I am here reminding myself that it is far more important to me that my children feel loved in their imperfections than it is for them to be well-behaved and out of my way.
The world shouts at us, every day: I AM IMPORTANT. NO, I AM IMPORTANT! PAY ATTENTION TO THIS! NO, PAY ATTENTION TO THIS! I NEED YOUR ATTENTION! NO, I NEED YOUR ATTENTION!
My job as a Christian, and as a mother, is to say NO. No, world. That is not important. I don't need to pay attention to you. Here is what I need to pay attention to…
My epiphany was that my self-serving heart tends to navigate towards distractions that are just that. Projects I enjoy. Things I love to do. Things that feel important to me.
But this isn't my story (hey self! time to get over yourself). It's God's. And here's what he says is important:
- Saturating my children in scripture so they understand His story
- Praying for and with my children consistently and faithfully so they understand how to communicate with Him
- Exposing them to His sacraments each Lord's Day so they can experience community, renewal, and grace
- Love – so much love that their little hearts can't even take it all in. Saturated, saturated, and saturated again in love.
The world is so loud. Media, in almost every form, needed to be significantly dialed back to turn down the I'M IMPORTANT volume. More books are opened. More apologies are given. More intentions are followed through on.
What I've found is that at the end of the day, when it's all in crumbles (which is always will be), it doesn't feel like it's crumbling.
Because we've opened our bibles. We've prayed. We've loved. We've forgiven. We've sang praises.
The foundation is being built, regardless of the world's decaying walls.
Encouraging you today to let go of the unimportant. Cover your heart with your hands. And shout back at the world:
NO! THAT ISN'T IMPORTANT. THIS IS.