This morning started out so peacefully. I woke up a few minutes before my alarm was to go off. Sam was next to me, sound asleep on his stomach with his little butt sticking straight up into the air; it’s enough to make you smile and wonder how that position could ever be so comfortable. Those few moments of peace and joy were quickly forgotten just half an hour later, when that sweet little bug of a baby started to act more like a pill. Following his breakfast, he spit up a little – no big deal – just happened to be all over the rocking chair and myself about 5 minutes before we were to leave the house. No worries, I had built in an extra 10 minutes into our leave time. We got this, I told myself. And then he spit up in his crib, just enough to warrant stripping the mattress of the sheet and pad to launder later. Then he had a blowout diaper – poop everywhere – which at this point has become almost a daily occurrence. The kid poops once a day, maybe, but he makes it count. Second change of clothes and way past my 10 minute window, I stick him in his bouncy seat and try to load the car. He is not a fan. More puke as he gets choked up on his tears, this time all over himself and his bouncy seat. Another thing to wash. Third change of clothes. More tears of protest. Now we are thirty minutes late and our house is to be under inspection in 5 minutes. What’s more? That streak across my glasses I notice as we are driving to school turns out to be baby vomit. Lovely.
I have never been more happy to hand my sweet son off to his teacher. My sweet son, who generally never cries, had spent the entire morning whining, stopping only to smile when I gave him my undivided, completely devoted attention, then preceded to lose his ish when his teacher sat him down on the play mat. Turd muffin, I think as I calm him, hand him a toy, and kiss his soft head… I love you.
I knew staying at home would not be easy. I worried about the transition since I had been balancing a very demanding full time job with full time motherhood for the past three and a half months. So much for fearing boredom was a thought that crossed my mind often this morning. There’s nothing quite like a teething six month old to drive an introvert to crave interaction with potty-trained adults, even enough to make you miss working with teenagers, call your own mother and tell her what a superhero she has been for putting up with you all these years.
I say all of this not to complain about being a mom, I adore Samuel and love my life. I say all of this to give you a picture of what my life and heart looked like this morning. I did not handle this well. I was not gentle, or kind, or compassionate towards Sam. I snapped “No!” and “Stop!” and mumbled curse words under my breath. I set him down in frustration, picked him up in irritation, and all he wanted was connection with me. My tone, my facial expressions, my body language all met his confused little eyes and the last thing they communicated to him was that he was loved, wanted, and understood. And I could hear the voice of the Accuser heap guilt and shame, joining my own harsh inner voice in condemnation: “This is what happens when you don’t have a quiet time. Good mothers don’t shame their children.” “You should be grateful you have a healthy child. How dare you be frustrated or angry when so-in-so would kill to change their child’s blowout diaper.” And I could hear the voice of the Father, “Slow down daughter. Let’s put first things first. Take a deep breath. This is only momentary. I’ve equipped you for this.” Who did I listen to? What perspective did I choose? I’ll be real honest, it was not the invitation of Jesus.
It’s true that my morning would have most likely gone much more smoothly had I started it centered on Christ, reminded of the Gospel, and aligned with an eternal perspective. Even still, the Father continues to enforce the truth that in every circumstance therein lays a decision, a choice, a moment of empowerment where the Holy Spirit invites but does not force me to choose His way over my way, to choose His nature over my own. In moments of crisis I can choose either fear or faith. In moments of chaos I can choose protest or peace. In moments of confusion I can choose worry or worship (though worry is merely self-worship). In moments that I feel powerless, I am actually empowered to make a decision to either ride the wave of my feelings and frustrations, or to take authority over them.
Perhaps your morning was smooth sailing. Perhaps it was more like my own. Perhaps yours was much more difficult. Here is what I know – my morning could have defined my day, but thankfully it did not. I may not have made the wisest decisions this morning, and there was definitely an apology from Mommy to Sam this afternoon when I picked him up, but my poor decisions this morning didn’t have to lead to poor decisions this afternoon and evening. Why? Because the invitation of Jesus stands. The beauty of the Gospel remains: you are never too far to come back home. Friend…you are always one decision closer to home, closer to peace, closer to joy, closer to the One who loves you without fail.
May we choose that which leads to life abundant.