Autumn officially began last week. I love Fall. Even though the weather doesn’t change much where I live, and we drink frozen apple cider because it’s so hot out, I still LOVE Fall!
I took a nose-dive into Fall. I was leaving work one day with both my younger children and in the parking lot I ate it! I mean: lost my balance spun around and splat, right on the asphalt. I escaped with no major bumps or bruises, only some road rash. However, my pride took a beating.
My son asked me, “Did you have to fall in front of my teacher?” I had been having a conversation with his teacher and turned back to say something when I quickly ended up on the pavement.
My daughter was more concerned about me, “Are you ok, Mommy?” she asked. I knew I was going to be ok, but at that moment, I was utterly embarrassed.
My life resembles this scenario lately. Things are going great and then splat, everything falls. Can you relate? When I think I have our groove down in this new school year, something changes and throws everything off balance. Our schedule gets busier, and the time for laundry, meal planning, and rest decreases. People get sick, and plans change. Do you wish this season would go more like you planned?
We started the school year well! Our routine was working. Uniforms were clean and laid out the night before, necessary papers filled out daily, and homework was getting done. BUT life happens. Monday comes AGAIN, and even more quickly after a jam-packed weekend. Why does Monday have to come every week? Most mornings, on our way out the door, one of my kids forgets something, loses something, and I rapidly lose my mind! Our productive morning goes SPLAT!
This morning was more of a pile-up crash type of moment: My earring back fell out, and I couldn’t find it on the floor. Then, while putting a sandwich bag of chips into a lunch box, they open upon and spill everywhere. All the while, my middle son is complaining he can’t find his planner. He assured me he left it at school on Friday. For the record, when he got to class, he realized the planner was signed and in his backpack. Thankfully, I said “No” to going upstairs to check the library, where I work, before taking him to class.
On most days, it seems the last five minutes of the morning getting out the door becomes the most challenging task. It’s not just my kids who disrupt the morning routine. On many frenzied mornings, I’m running back into the house to grab something – even with careful preparations the night before.
Confession time, I want this season of my life to go just as I’ve planned. I want to make it out the door without a hitch on Mondays, and the rest of the week too. This goal isn’t realistic, nor is it how life is “meant to be.” According to John 16:33, we will have trouble in this life. “I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth, you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.”
I know this, I tell my children this, and women I meet at church. BUT, I still desire the smooth, comfortable, easy-breezy type of day.
Honestly, what I desire more than a smooth day, is a day where I rise above the disarray around me, the irrational thoughts going on in my head, and the impatient actions spewing out of me. Without challenging moments, I won’t learn to rise above the confusion or my emotions. Part of me believes I should’ve grasped this by this point in my life, but the other part of me is eager to surrender my longing for the peaceful and comfortable. And if I’m asking to surrender this fleshly desire, my God is going to give me opportunities to walk it out.
Although I desire to rise above the daily chaos, my flesh often takes over, and I have to learn the same things all over again. My word for last year last was EMBRACE. This year it’s NEW. The NEW thing I’m learning to EMBRACE this season isn’t unique. I’m repeating the same lesson on embracing chaos. There will be similar disruptions this Fall, and new chaotic moments. One thing I know for sure is that there will be turbulence. I hope that I’ll handle the chaos better this season.
I realize if I weren’t holding so tightly to my idea of the perfect morning, it wouldn’t bother me as much when things don’t go as planned. I picture the leaves falling during autumn. Leaves falling is also something we don’t see living this far south. Nevertheless, the leaves don’t cling to the tree branch and refuse to fall. I do, however, clench my desires and plans too tightly. For me to grow and something new to develop, I have to let go! Sometimes I need to allow things to fall. I need to take a deep breathe and help pick up the pieces.
Practically, there are ways I can prepare for the rocky moments. Recently, I printed a morning checklist for my youngest son, so he can see what needs to be done and check each item off himself. I realize I need to focus on a list of my own. Am I making time to rest, to prepare for the next day, or next week? Am I getting alone with the Lord and filling my brain with His truths instead of allowing my worries, desires, and fears to consume me? Lately, because of that checklist, my son is having smoother mornings and is helping more. I can, too, when I’m prepared and not solely focused on how I think the morning should flow.
Another thing that helps is doing something that refreshes me. Embellishing our home is one of those things that exhilarates me. Give me an empty area with a moderate amount of seasonal decor, and I’m in my happy place. The idea of decorating may make you extremely stressed; I have girlfriends who hate decorating!
Find something that will rejuvenate you in this season and make time for it. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can even try something new. I signed up for an online class and can’t wait to get started. Making time for a walk outside can revive me after a draining day. A few times a week, I step away from the burdens of the day while getting my body moving. I listen to an audiobook, podcast, worship music, or appreciate the quiet of being outside. These are all things that help fulfill me. That way, when the depleting moments come (and they will), I can better handle them.
In this season, I hope you find new practical ways to embrace the chaos you’re facing. We will have troubles, but if you are walking with Jesus, remember you’re never facing them alone. I’m utterly thankful for that realization!