It was last week, sometime, early on a Monday morning when I had gone into my room to sneak in a few minutes with the Lord. Most of the kids were up, but Audra (7) still slept. I was glad she was sleeping because she's been really tired (read: emotional), and I don't think she's getting enough sleep.
I sort of have this idea that we should be quiet and considerate when others are sleeping. I just think that's a nice thing to do. So it's one of the rules that the kids stay away from the bedrooms/hallways of sleeping siblings. So as I sat quietly journaling, attempting to align my heart to His for the full school day ahead, suddenly one of the kids busted into my room to ask me a question. Loudly. Since I had heard this particular child being REALLY noisy in the other room, I reminded this child of the sleeping sister. Then another one of the kids came into the hallway (so very near Audra's door) and started talking to us. I tried to shoo them all out of the hallway area and before you know it, a third child was there and suddenly there is bickering between two children and my stress that has been rising just bursts right open. So I spill sin out in irritation and frustration and harshness, and command everyone away, NOW.
And then I turn again to my time with Jesus. Whereupon I have to confess and repent and then get on up and go make things right with all the people I hurt in the hallway and then plead for quiet and return.
I've been reading through the Psalms, and I picked up where I'd left off. Psalm 23.
The LORD is my shepherd,Honestly, I could barely read it because this does not resemble my life, as much as I want it to. I wrote these above verses down in my journal and wrote these notes beside them:
I shall not be in want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,
he restores my soul.
He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name's sake.
*I WANT green pastures, LORD.
*and ESPECIALLY quiet waters. (emphasis on quiet)
*Seriously, HOW do I find *those* in the midst of THIS?!?!
I never even got to finish that journal entry because I got interrupted again. But I kept those few verses at the forefront of my mind as I went about my day and I puzzled over the incongruency of that serene picture verses my actual life.
There are a lot of us here, crammed into our house, full of our sinful selves, and there is a lot to accomplish each day in terms of school and chores and just relating to each other well. It can get SO crazy. (Meaning mostly that I can get so anxious/stressed/uptight.) And God reminded me through these verses that those words are indeed for me, too, the crazy homeschooling mom. Even the green-pastures-quiet-waters parts. Because I can be calm and my spirit can be quieted and that makes all the difference. I am able to rest in Him and to trust in Him and *not freak out* over things-- internally or outwardly (harshness, angst, irritation).
And I can do that because He lives within me. So I asked Him to quiet my spirit, to be Lord over my mind and to lead me throughout the rest of our day. (I need that reminder every single day, apparently, because my go-to in the craziness just doesn't happen to be a calm and gentle spirit.)
Then again, today, we had a really rough morning. I was trying to get something done with the kids and one of them was working equally hard to sabotage my plans. Or so it seemed.
Fast-forward to many (failed) attempts by me and many (successful) attempts by my child and I was all done. I literally walked out the front door and took a walk around the block to cool my temper. And then I came in, sat down, and sobbed. My internal recorder during these moments is this, on repeat: "I can't do this. I cannot do this." Which isn't healthy, helpful, or true, I realize, but there it is.
So, hours later I sit down to process this all in my journal and I told Jesus that I needed a TRUE thing to repeat to myself, and would He give it?
And I turn to where I'm reading in the Psalms and read the next set of verses and here it is:
That's now taped into my journal so that I can be reminded of truth. Right smack in the middle of my chaos and my helplessness and weariness, He gives strength, He blesses with peace. He did, too. The start of our day was rocky but we finished well today, and He strengthened and brought peace into the crazy. I am so grateful for Him. And I am thankful that He is busy refining me even though it's hard and there's a lot of refining to do.
Love to you, sweet friends. May He strengthen you, too, with His word.