Yesterday, Lisa filled you in on our plan for the month of November – to alternate days and delve into some of life’s less pretty challenges.
I’ve been carrying a lot this year with our family of four: ten stomach bugs, a round of RSV (a bad cold virus), a handful of ear and sinus infections, several home projects, a life-threatening allergy, a budding business, vegetable gardening, bible studies, a dog training project, and a husband with a long commute and a demanding job (along with the everyday things like dishes, meals, laundry, and housekeeping).
Earlier this year life got really busy for us, but there was an end in sight. We strapped on our double packs and hit the trail knowing that God would get us to the other side. After all, it was only for a short season. Every time we reached the point we thought was “the end of the journey”, something else has come up and we found ourselves back on the trail hauling the same heavy packs.
We’ve been in survival mode for months now, and while that is useful for a season, it’s no way to thrive in the long haul. Somewhere along the way I lost hope that the journey would ever end. I realized that I no longer have a smile on my face, and in the meantime a lot of things have fallen by the wayside.
You should also know that the word I have focused on this year is Peace. It’s been hard to find it among the chaos of the year, but I’m learning more and more that peace is always a Peace in the midst of, Peace in spite of.
I realized that I was looking at it wrong. I was focusing too much on the end of the journey and not enough on what God has for me today. The day He’s promised to sustain me through.
I need to stop and evaluate what’s in my pack. I need to find my smile again.
This next month I’m going to question what I’m carrying – if we really need it for today’s journey, and if there is a better way to carry it than what I have been doing. I’m going to spend time being mindful of how I “pack my bags” each morning, in the hope of making them feel just a bit lighter (any of you who have carried a heavy backpack for far can attest to how important it is to pack heavy things near your center of gravity).
Like Lisa, I am going to be more disciplined this month. My primary focus is going to be on equipping myself every morning by reading along with the Psalmist and dwelling on how to praise God in the highs of motherhood and how to cry out for help when I am too tired or discouraged to carry on.
I’m also going to be more strategic in how our days are scheduled so that I can fit in more to-do’s in less time. I’ve never been one to have structured days and routines, so this is going to be a challenge for me. An adventure.
I love your analogy to carrying dual packs on a long journey! I, too, struggle constantly with how much I’m carrying and what that does to my attitude and demeanor. I recently described that feeling you get when you find out someone is coming to your house in 10 minutes, and you need to scramble to clean everything really quickly as how I feel 24/7. Constant rushing, anxiety, feeling like it’s never going to let up. You are smart to evaluate your packing skills now, while your kids are little, because as much as I hate to say it – life just gets busier and busier!
I am hoping that working on my “packing skills” will be helpful in the long term. I’m beginning to think that God is keeping me in a place of not being able to manage on my own so that I have to rely on Him and ask for help. And the analogy seems to be very easy to apply to lots of situations so far, so we are really liking all that can be learned from looking at each day like a journey with a pack to carry.
I am reminded that I should spend more time praying for both of you and your brothers and spouses. The burdens of being a wife and mother can sometimes be heavy, but He has promised, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30) I pray that you will learn to find your rest in Him.
Thanks, Mom! I am sure we could all use the extra prayer and encouragement. I am finding more and more that when I put on His yoke in the morning instead of my own, the burden is much lighter. This verse is such a good reminder of that.