Of Popsicles, Screaming, and Missing Moments of Desperation

Yesterday was not great.

My children screamed. At all the worst possible times. Not screams of need, but screams for attention and screams for fun, and screams of anger.

I was exhausted. I hadn't slept well. All day, I had a low-grade fatigue coupled with some physical weakness that I just couldn't shake. And trust me. I tried. 12 cups of coffee. Green smoothies. 100 ounces of water...

But somehow, nothing changed. Building blocks exploded all over my living room. Kids fought over library books. And this was "bathroom cleaning day." Which means, I was trying to corral "helpful" toddlers, as I was sweating, covered in bleach, scrubbing down showers.

They yelled at each other, fought over blankets, ran screaming down the hallway, and wailed every time they had to go to the bathroom.

I brought out the popsicles.

And as my daughter dribbled purple popsicle down her chin (because, guess what? Kids don't scream when they're eating popsicles.), I tuned them out. I turned on Netflix, I texted, I scanned Instagram.

And I lost the gospel in my home.

Bad days happen. There are seasons when they happen more often than I would like, and then there are some smooth sailing times. It's happened to me at every stage of life... school, college, career, marriage, and now full-time parenting.

And almost without exception, something precious gets lost every time I have a day like this.

I lose a moment of desperation.

I cover it up, I mask it. I try to use something else to fill that moment: more work, a to-do list, a nap, Netflix, social media, a friend call. And this precious little canyon of a moment gets blown by or filled up with garbage.

Because that yawning pit of desperation, that split second in which my day unravels and I'm left holding the threads as two screaming kids latch onto my legs, that is a beautiful moment.

It feels like I'm free-falling into chaos.

It feels horrible.

It's actually where I'm supposed to be.

Every day, every moment, every breath... I am tumbling into that abyss of chaos, and I am stayed only by the gracious, faithful love of my Savior. As a weak-minded sinner, I'm convinced that I have control over my day, that I can call the shots, that I can handle life.

I can't.

I am totally, completely, without exception, dependent on my God for every moment of peace, order, and happiness that I gather in my life. I just don't always realize it.

And He is kind. He doesn't force me to realize it.

But on days when every effort at order is met with tension, and messes, and yells of anger (not all of them coming from my children...), on those days, he is showing me my deep and desperate need for Him.

Sometimes he creates a canyon of chaos, so that I will look to him.

 

 

I waited patiently for the Lord;

he inclined to me and heard my cry.

He drew me up from the pit of destruction,

out of the miry bog,

and set my feet upon a rock, making my steps secure.

(Ps. 40:1-2)

 

Here's my new game plan...

 

I cry out to God. And wait patiently. Because sometimes he is working bigger things through chaos and turmoil. So, I will wait patiently. I will not fill my moments with my phone or my sitcoms. I will fill it with prayer.

 

Because I know that he will hear me, and that relief from the destruction and slimy pit into which I've fallen is coming. I may not see when. I may not know how. But it is.

 

And he will show me where to do. And it won't be an uncertain path, it will be secure. He will direct my responses and my decisions.

 

And he promises a beautiful end...

 

Many will see and fear;

and put their trust in the Lord.

Blessed is the man who makes the Lord his trust.

(Ps. 40: 3b-4a)

 

Perhaps my chaos and my running to God will enable others to see the gospel. Maybe my children will remember the bad days as testimonies to the goodness and care and availability of God. Maybe my friends will know that hope comes when ordinary days are turned into theology lessons and practice. Maybe my days of chaos, when I'm all alone, are preaching to an unseen audience of angels, demons, and rulers of the air... "My God is enough and I will forever run to him."

Because God promises: waiting patiently for his deliverance means that many will see and fear.

But beyond that... I will be blessed. If God, not my to-do list, not peace, not order, not a clean house, not quiet kids, not perfect days... If GOD is my trust, then I will be blessed.

Here's to a better Thursday.

With plenty of time to call out to God.

Which is why I have popsicles in my freezer. So I can have a quiet moment pleading with my Savior.

 

Because popsicles are never a bad idea...