For the last week, we have not slept through the night. And for the life of me I cannot get a nap in during the day. It's a little maddening. Probably more than just a little. I am so tired, emotional, frustrated with Robbie's tantrums and new habit of saying "Don't grab me!" or "Don't touch me, mom!", and am probably hormonal to boot (pregnancy will do that).
This morning as I showered and got ready for the day - the one perk to kids who won't go to bed on time or sleep through the night is that they sleep in! - I reminded myself that God's mercies are new every morning. That he promises to give us what we need to get through one day at a time. And I prayed for what I need most right now - patience and strength. Compassion for my kids when they demand everything I have, and the ability to give it to them cheerfully, out of love. To be sensitive to their needs first, when I want to focus on mine instead.
Although I am enjoying the results of everyone else's desire to get moving with the holiday celebrations (seasonal drinks, cinnamon treats and twinkle lights already strung up in trees), I'm not going there yet. We are in one day at a time mode. Maybe it's a blessing that I'm this tired and stretched thin leading up to the holidays. It could keep me from unnecessary activities or overfilling our schedule, it could help me remember how good and necessary it is sometimes to say no to things, it could help me remember that the advent season is one that is best spent meditating and dwelling on the fact that God came down to earth as a baby, and what is more important than that?
Maybe my forced daily dependence on Him right now is all a part of God's master plan (or conspiracy!?) to get me to stop and remember. To prioritize and focus. To think about changing the way we choose do things. To consider what the most important elements are of Thanksgiving and Christmas, and to make a plan not to miss those, and be ok with giving up the rest. To think about what I want my kids to learn by the ways we celebrate, and to put the time and energy into being intentional about making a plan that will sow seeds in their hearts and, Lord willing, one day bear fruit in their lives.
I'm going to fight for the next 2 months, as tired as I am, to not let all of the catalogues and stores and commercials shape the attitude of my heart or define the way things should be. They only invite greed, anxiety and comparison anyways. They never deliver on the false promises to create happiness and satisfaction. And I'm not sure I trust how 'harmless' it is (for any of us) as I think about my responsibility to shape my children's hearts and minds, and our family as a whole. Maybe individual acts in and of themselves (shopping, decorating, gatherings, gift exchanging, etc.) are not necessarily wrong or harmful, but the drive they can tend to create in us or the ways our hearts are enticed to pine for more... I think it's worth examining and being cautious about.
On a related note, I read THIS blog post by Ann yesterday, and it was so encouraging and challenging. These are the kinds of things I want to 'envy' more and be marked by... a quiet heart, honest living, ability to give up what everyone else is grabbing for, contentment, the strength to live out deep convictions, a bigger heart for the poor, the desire to give at every opportunity, wisdom, humility.
I love when she asks us, "Is it always this way, that a little child will lead them?"
I suppose mine are leading me back to daily dependence on the Father, and a new way of viewing and thinking about the holidays.
And that's all I have to say about being tired and thankful. For today.