Most mornings, I start with a resounding determination to “finally do this godly wife-mother-homemaker thing right.”
The schedule looks so perfect, and makes so much sense…on paper, that is. In reality, though, it rarely works out. Why?
This morning, I woke up at a decent hour, got dressed right away, got breakfast started, and decided that, after breakfast, we would do our catechism, then spend the next hour or so tidying up from the weekend, doing laundry, and making order out of the chaos.
So, after breakfast, I sat the children next to me on the couch, said a prayer, and began to read:
“Question 12 — What did God’s providence specifically do for man whom He created?”
I didn’t get very far before I needed to un-snuggle myself from the children and run for the bathroom. I thought morning-sickness was supposed to be a first trimester thing? Why do I have to be so sick at almost 25 weeks?
I returned to the living room a few minutes later to discover, not surprisingly, that the children had completely forgotten about catechism and were busy at some sort of pretend play–about Peter Rabbit and Benjamin Bunny, I think. Oh yes, I promised Asher last night that, since I only wished to read one book before bed, I would read Peter Rabbit now and Benjamin Bunny in the morning…still need to follow through on that.
I sat down, and called my little ones to re-situate themselves on the couch on either side of me. We cuddled up under a blanket–I felt cold, and all my energy felt as though it has just drained out of me through my toes, through the floor, and completely out of the house.
“Answer — After the creation God made a covenant with man to give him life, if he perfectly obeyed; God told him not to eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil or he would die.”
This time, I got a bit farther in our reading from Training Hearts, Teaching Minds by Starr Meade. As I explained the idea of “covenant” to the children, and how a covenant between two people is different from a covenant between God and people, because God is much greater than we are, I noticed that my toddler, who had been busy entertaining himself on the floor while we read, was getting that tell-tale, red-faced look of concentration that every potty-training mother knows well…
…off to the bathroom again. Thankfully, we made it in time, and I had my little boy situated on his potty-seat, doing his business. When I came to the conclusion that it was going to take him a while, I decided to leave the room–just for a minute–to tend to something in the next room that seemed important at the time. (You would think that after three babies I would know better). I came back to discover that he was standing up on the toilet, trying to turn on the water in the sink–and I had a mess to deal with.
I calmly and patiently cleaned my baby and the bathroom, chastising myself for being so foolish as to leave a 22 month old alone on the potty. And I felt sick again.
You’re just getting what you deserve, I told myself.
After what seemed to be way too much time in the bathroom, I finally brought the baby out of the bathroom to the changing table for a diaper and a pair of pants. As I diapered him in spite of his protests, I could hear that, once again, the children had completely forgotten about catechism and were immersed in their own play again. The baby was acting tired. Could it really be nap time already? What time is it? I don’t have my watch on. How could I possibly have gotten through this much of the morning without my watch?
Asher came up behind me and said, “Mom, I need to show you something,” and I instinctively cringed. I turned around and he said, “Look, it’s a biplane. ” It certainly was.
Not recognizing the building materials, I asked, “What did you make it out of?”
“Crayons and Bendaroos!” he replied, enthusiastically.
“That’s wonderful, Asher,” I said, as I returned to the work of dressing his little brother. He flew his biplane back into the living room, and a wave of guilt rushed over me. At least they’re creative enough to learn things on their own, but what have I actually taught them today? And why can’t I stop feeling so yucky?
All dressed, my sleepy baby asked for a hug, and I basked in the warmth of his sweetness. With his head on my shoulder, I found my way to my dresser and managed to put my watch on. 9:21. No wonder you’re so tired! How can it be that late already? We haven’t even finished catechism yet! What will become of my “to do” list?
Returning to the living room, I called the children away from the crafts and back to the couch. With a big boy on my left, a little girl on my right, and a little boy falling asleep on my lap, I finished our reading.
“But the lovingkindness of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear Him,
And his righteousness to children’s children,
To those who keep His covenant
and remember His precepts to do them.”
Psalm 103:17-18 (NASB)
But, LORD, I don’t remember your precepts to do them. I break covenant with you over and over again. If it weren’t for your mercies, I would truly get “what I deserve”, and the sickness that I feel this morning is not even a shadow of what that pain would look like.
“The LORD has established His throne in the heavens,
And His sovereignty rules over all.”
Psalm 103:19 (NASB)
What a marvelous promise, Father! Thank-you, for being sovereign over my home, my day, my children, and all these interruptions. Help me to not resist the moments where you want to break into my schedule and teach me something that wasn’t on the calendar.
“I will sing of the mercies of the LORD forever;
With my mouth will I make known Your faithfulness to all generations.”
Thank-you, LORD. You are faithful to me, and faithful to my children, even though I don’t at all deserve it. AMEN.