I herd the kids into the car and rush off to the boy’s school. Perpetually late, I can’t ever seem to get him there on time, not when the girl has a breakdown before leaving because her toes have worn holes in her sparkle shoes or the baby requires a third outfit change in 10 minutes because she’s wearing her breakfast yogurt. She’s smeared a little bit atop her head too, but that will have to wait. I collect her hair into a tiny top knot and wrap a band around the little bun to keep it in place, yogurt and all.
After I drop the boy off, the girls and I grab a quick breakfast before gymnastics. The girl somersaults and practices her bear crawl across the beam, and then we head to the grocery store. The baby is at the age where she’s intent on asserting her independence. She fusses in the cart and refuses my attempts at baby wearing, so I decide to try to let her walk. Commandeering a cart with one hand, directing the baby with the other and instructing the girl with verbal cues, we make our way through the aisles. Just five minutes later, the baby trips and hits her chin. She wails … for 15.minutes.straight until I finally guide all three of us into a corner with a chair and sit down to nurse the little one. Eventually she sleeps, and I gingerly attempt to wrangle her into the carrier without waking her. We gather the rest of our groceries, and with one hand holding the baby’s sleeping head and the other reaching into the cart, I unload the groceries at the check-out with awkward dexterity and the slightest bit of anxiety. People stand behind me in line, and I silently wonder why no one offers to help.
We pick up the boy and head home. Nearly there I see flashing lights pulling behind me, and I look down to see that I’m exceeding the speed limit. It’s just par for the course, I suppose. We finally arrive home, and I walk in to find that the dogs have destroyed their dog bed, and remnants of polyfill litter the floor. The hubbie has a business dinner, so he won’t be home till late. It’s just me, three kids, two dogs, sacks of groceries to unload and polyfill to tidy. I feel like pulling the covers over my head.
This was my Thursday, friends. It could have been your Thursday too, or perhaps your Monday or Tuesday or Wednesday, hopefully sans the speeding ticket. Even if your scenarios are different, you likely have similar challenges … kids that demand more than you have to give, circumstances that leave you exhausted and anxious, jobs to tend that you’ve barely the energy to muster.
I turned on a show for the older two then took the baby into our room. Deep breaths … Breathe in. Breathe out. In. Out. Repeat. Shoulders relaxed, the anxiety lessened.
I rested beside her, and her breathing steadied. Breathe in. Breathe out. In. Out. Repeat. And as she succumbed to sleep I snapped a pic of she and I because there are two women (here and here) who are encouraging mamas to embrace the camera, and I think it’s a wonderful thing … archiving moments with our children that actually show us in the shot.
And then when I glanced at the images, a slight miracle occurred. I realized with startling clarity that despite the circumstances of my day, God had planted beauty all around me. The older two in the other room, the baby sleeping beside me, the husband blessed with a job that provides … the blessings in my life are rich and plentiful. I’d been so focused on the trivialities of my day, and my bitter heart badly needed a change in perspective.
We all have circumstances that test our resolve and stretch our patience. Moments that make us crawl into the closet and cry. Sometimes those tears are the tangible expression of an aching heart. But sometimes a proper perspective regarding those circumstances can help transform them from an albatross into an opportunity to see blessings disguised in the ordinary.
I’m not negating the hard stuff. The hard, humbling stuff is there. I’ve written about it at length, and there are times when it’s just too thick to see beyond. But sometimes if we simply change our perspective, pray that God would open our eyes, we’ll see beauty arising out of the everyday mess. Seek and ye shall find. Seek truth, seek beauty, seek a perspective that sees the blessing in the midst of the mess. The eyelashes resting on the cheeks of the baby who was just squalling five minutes ago, the laughter that echoes through a trail of toys, the provision of food that requires a sink full of dirty dishes … everyday blessings often concealed by the monotony of the mundane.
So today, I want to challenge you to seek a change in perspective. When little demands require your time and attention, when challenges seek to steal your joy, when anxiety threatens to usurp your peace, choose to focus on the gifts God has given you. For a grateful heart uproots bitterness.
“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” – James 1:17
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