Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Eating An Apple With A Spoon

If you have ever been a mom to small children, you've had days that are frustrating. You've had days that seemed interminably long, when the children are full of energy and you feel empty. When simple tasks feel like they require an advanced degree in biochemistry to accomplish. Days when you've lost your temper more than once and said things you immediately wished you could take back. Days when you are quite certain your kids have made a pact to declare mutiny on the capsizing ship you call your life.

I had one of those days this week.

It wasn't so much that the day was "bad." Nothing out of the ordinary had happened. It was a normal day in the Henze house but everything felt difficult. Ruthie threw a temper tantrum about her outfit (which is apparently a new phase we're going through) and insisted that it was indeed warm enough to wear nothing but a t-shirt and knee socks. Emma had taken to picking a fight with Ruthie each and every time she perceived that Ruthie was not playing "right" and Olivia had decided to shriek at everything and everyone...all day long. The house was a mess, the laundry was piled sky high and dishes were scattered across every available inch of counter space. By the time we got to lunch, I was frazzled. I had already raised my voice to a volume I have over and over again asked for forgiveness for and was almost desperately looking for my husband's car in the driveway to signal that reinforcements had arrived to help the battle-weary Colonel Mommy. Just then, the phone rang and I knew it would be Charlie saying he was running late. After hanging up, I attempted to re-strategize and make lunch. As the girls and I sat down to eat, I felt completely exhausted. We trudged through lunch, Emma and Ruthie bickering, Olivia shrieking and throwing a good portion of her food to the floor. After excusing the older two from the table, I sat at the table, head in my hands, waiting for Olivia to finish her apple. How was I going to get through the rest of the day?

I closed my eyes and tried to pray. I couldn't even find the words. No scripture was coming to mind. I couldn't even ask for help. I was just so tired. Looking up, I noticed that Olivia was working very hard to eat her apple. I smiled as I watched her. She had already taken several bites from the apple but now she was attempting to use her little plastic spoon to dig into the flesh. It took a good amount of effort but she would eventually dig out a little apple flesh and then put it into her mouth. With each attempt, she grew more and more frustrated until she finally gave up and threw the apple and spoon onto the floor. I thought, "Crazy baby, trying to eat an apple with a spoon."

Then the Holy Spirit spoke to my heart, "Crazy mom, trying to get through this day without the Lord. 'Come to me all you who labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest.' (Matt. 11:28) What are you doing out here all by yourself eating this apple of a day with the spoon of your flesh?"

I wish I had started the day with the Lord. I wish I started each and every day putting the Lord first, praying and reading the Word. But, my flesh is weak. My intentions are good but flesh is weak. Just a few more minutes of sleep. Just another load of laundry. After I get the kids down for a nap. After I get dinner started. Once we tuck the kids into bed. I'll do better tomorrow.

Eating an apple with a spoon.

There is the Lord's way of doing things (which always works out best) and then there is the hard way of doing things. Too many days I choose the hard way.

Lord, change my heart. Give me Your priorities for each day. Draw me close to You. Help me do things Your way. Thank You for your grace which covers every apple-spooned part of me. Thank You for Jesus Who gives me the right to come to You. Help me to never take that for granted. Thank You for loving me. Amen.