I am caught between two people. There's the woman I dream to be. There's the woman I am. They're so not the same.
I'd love to be the woman who adopts 23 kids, whose door is wide open daily feeding whomever shows up, always available with coffee or tea for the one who needs an ear, able to keep the house clean through it all, being able to do it all without neglecting my husband or kids...on and on the dream goes.
Instead, I am often unorganized and overwhelmed. I can start out well and end up tired and grouchy and stressed. Once overwhelmed, my door is not open but shut and locked tight and I am hiding under a blanket somewhere begging my husband to go to the grocery store for me because I can't bear to go anywhere.
In the planning phase I am Mother Teresa, strong and able, Spirit led and self sacrificing. In the doing phase I am sometimes Smeagol (Gollum's weaker side), kicked around and beaten from the inside, bitter and chasing the wrong things.
For example, we had a Youth Coffee House outreach Saturday night. I started out so well. An extra person at home (no problem), shopping to do and errands to run (piece of cake), baking and cooking for the event (love it), packing car with every but the kitchen sink (like buttah baybee), to the site early for set up (like clockwork), greeting and hanging out with the kids (joy upon joy), kids needing rides (hey, hop in my car)...awesome right? Then out of no where...scrreeeeeech...figuring out how to get everything but the kitchen sink in the car and all the kids too (woops), thinking I had it covered (sent willing people home, not my best move), leaving the site thinking my husband was all set (smaller car than mine; what was I thinking?)...okay I can still do it. Then BAM! I get stuck on the ice in a parking lot after dropping off the last teen. It should be no big deal; I can call my husband who will rescue me. But it is my.undoing. Suddenly I am tired, stressed. Suddenly the things that were no big deal return to my mind in a new form. Suddenly they're a big deal.
When my husband arrives to get me out of the ice I find out that my own son had to get a ride from another leader because my husband couldn't fit a car full of kids and the part of the "kitchen sink" I had left behind all in his little Saturn. Really? My own child?
I am tempted to be annoyed and dejected. I am tempted to dread future ministry events. But I am learning slowly, too slowly, to take a deep breath, to thank God for getting us through and getting us all home, to get a good nights sleep, and then pray and think how we can do things better next time.
Just when I think I am able to be the unstoppable steam engine, a little twig in the road stops the whole shah-bang. Not because God isn't faithful. But because I get tired and stop trusting. I am Peter. I got out of that boat ready to walk on water. Then BAM!! I look down at trouble and sink like a heavy anchor.
I don't know if God will ever bless me with the ability to "mother the world". It seems I learn so slowly it would take me several lifetimes to get there. But I do hope that on this side of heaven I would at least conquer the moment by moment trusting of God, no matter what is thrown in my path. I really, really want that deep in my heart. Does that not define the gentle, quiet spirit I am to aim for? (1 Peter 3:4). I am comforted, though, that God knows my weakness and failings and does not give up on me!
"As a father has compassion on his children,
so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him;
for he knows how we are formed,
he remembers that we are dust.
As for man, his days are like grass,
he flourishes like a flower of the field;
the wind blows over it and it is gone,
and its place remembers it no more.
But from everlasting to everlasting
the Lord’s love is with those who fear him,
and his righteousness with their children’s children—
with those who keep his covenant
and remember to obey his precepts.
The Lord has established his throne in heaven,
and his kingdom rules over all."