Do you remember that old Calgon commercial where the stressed out woman who was at the end of her rope would cry out, "Calgon, take me away!" She would then be transported into a luxurious spa-like bubble bath complete with soft music and candle-light, with all her troubles fading away.
I had one of those long days yesterday. I did not have a bad day by any means, just long, and with young children, tiring.
My day started around 5:15 a.m. because I desperately wanted to start my day in the Word and prayer. By 6:30, Reagan was awake and by 7:00 Gracen was awake and we hit the ground running. We left the house at 8:00 to take Reagan to school, and then, I had some errands to run that lasted until 11:30, the time that I have to pick Reagan up.
Errands are a little more tricky with a 15 month in tow. Gracen was pretty good, but I stayed in entertainment mode, trying to appease her while concentrating on what I needed to do. I think every mother knows what I am talking about.
When we arrived home, I immediately started making lunches and from that activity up until 4:30, when we left for church, I was either cleaning up, dealing with one child or the other, getting everybody ready, packing bags, etc. Again, nothing bad...just that constant activity.
When we arrived at church for dinner the battle of eating and dealing with Gracen started. She has decided that she does NOT like to sit in her highchair and will make the embarrassing scene about it. So for the last several Wednesday nights I struggle to eat with one hand and feed her and hold her down with the other. Eventually she ends up in my lap while we both continue to try and eat.
After dinner, I was truly looking forward to dropping her off in the church nursery and going to worship. I love corporate worship and my soul needed refilling. Well, as I walked up to sign Gracen in, the nursery director told me that 5 people had not shown up to fulfill their COMMITMENTS, so I ended up keeping Gracen's age group, with not just one 15 month crawling all over me but several. During that hour and a half, I was very thankful that I didn't have multiples.
We left church at 8:00 and I had to stop by Wal-Mart, which I never do that late at night. After getting what I needed and standing in a ridiculously slow line, I finally made it home around 9:00. At this point, I wanted to climb into my bed and hide from the world, or at least from the two small children who were staring at me, extremely cranky and ready for bed. Gene is now preaching a college service after our regular worship service so he gets home around 10:30...meaning it's all me for the bedtime routines.
I finally crawled into my bed around 10:30 having done nothing for myself all day or receiving any nourishment at church. I wanted to cry, knowing those my two precious dolls would be up by 7:00 a.m. and then...."Here we go again." Yes, at that moment I was thinking, "Calgon, PLEASE take me away."
How easy it is to forget that I have a very present help in my moments of pure exhaustion.
Psalm 18:1-3 says, "I love you, Lord, MY STRENGTH. The Lord is MY ROCK and MY FORTRESS and MY DELIVERER, MY GOD, MY ROCK, in whom I take refuge, MY SHIELD, and the HORN OF MY SALVATION, MY STRONGHOLD. I call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised, and I am saved from my enemies"...(not that my children are my enemies, but you get the idea).
Like the mother in the Calgon bathtub, I can be transported to a place of complete peace and rest. At any moment, I can quiet my soul and go to Him in prayer and ask Him to fill up my empty places and be my strength.
Your stress may be different from my stress. It may be a colicky baby, marital strain, In-law problems, physical illness, a rebellious teenager, financial pressure, a bad attitude, stress at work, caring for aging parents, etc. Whatever it is you can know that God is there in that situation. He has not left you or forsaken you, but you have to cry out to Him and ask Him to be your refuge and your shield in times of trouble and need.
This morning my children slept until almost 8:00, and I got up about 6:30. I chose to spend that time with HIM, instead of getting started on all the things around here that needed doing. In that time, my stress started to melt away. Today, with God's help, I can do all that He has called me to do.
Psalm 46:1 says, "God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble."
What a great verse to memorize and get down into your heart.
He is with me...moment to moment...as I focus on Him, I will be able to do all that I need to do.
Until next time...
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