Let me start off by saying that I originally began this post last week. I wasn’t quite sure where I was going with it then and got overwhelmed with life as a single mother. This week I don’t have any more free time than the week before, but I knew that what I thought I wanted to say was important to share. I sat down in Taylor’s office on Monday night to pick it back up and realized the original post I started had somehow not been saved anywhere. I’ll just have to assume it was mostly drivel. I am still living in the fog of widowhood where I walk into a room and can’t remember why and asking me my birthdate is about as perplexing as asking me to remember the calculus equations I learned in high school. Both questions will be met with blank stares and in short, I’m just overwhelmed. It often feels like everyone else has it together and I am the only one floundering.
Having responsibilities no matter what stage of life you are in can be overwhelming for all of us sometimes. Child rearing is difficult enough without the added anxiety of constantly second guessing myself in the absence of my other half. My mind has to filter endless questions that I don’t get to bounce off my husband and I’m not even talking about the big decisions like where we should send our kids to school. It’s an endless parade of doubting thoughts about how I am bringing up my girls…Is two and a half to young for tinted lip balm? What kind of reprimand is warranted for saying a word like “butt”? Is “The Highway Man” still an appropriate bedtime lullaby now that their father has died at the hands of his own dangerous career? Come to think of it…Was it ever appropriate? The thought that grounds me when I find myself treading water in a sea of self doubt is that God gave each of his children responsibilities that were handpicked for them. Before my girls were even born, God already knew every mistake I would make when it came to parenting. He already knew I would be doing it on my own not too far in. And He entrusted me with them anyway.
One thing I have learned as I’ve grown up is that if you want to cross a finish line, you constantly have to keep moving forward. God has a path laid out for each and every one of us and we have to tune out the distractions coming at us from every angle in this world in order to keep our focus on what we are living for. Just as God has given us each specific talents, personalities and gifts, we are also given individual responsibilities. I know that being a mother is one of my God-Given responsibilities and I’m beyond thankful for the task. I believe that another responsibility of mine is to minister God’s glory, particularly through writing. No matter what your task, God in his infinite wisdom always equips you to complete it. Every week when I have a thought or rambling I’m mulling over, God always directs me to the perfect scripture to share that ties together what I want to say. I think the reason my writing from last week vanished into cyberspace is because I didn’t come across the right scripture to share until I sat down to do my bible study this week.
“I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on you.”
As I was wrapping up my study of John, I read about how a resurrected Jesus counseled His disciple Peter on the trials he would encounter carrying on the Lord’s work. A distracted Peter noticed that another disciple was following them and questioned, “Lord, what about him?” Jesus replied to him, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? You must follow me.” It made me laugh as I read it to realize just how engrained in our human nature it is to compare ourselves to others or worry about what someone else is doing before we have even tended to our own tasks. This is such a quality of living in a fallen world that Jesus even needed to remind a man who personally pledged to live for the Lord and lay down his life for Him that he needed to focus on his own path.
With two preschool aged children, I feel like I am constantly reminding my household to “worry about yourself.” The other night for dinner I put a small cookie on each of my girls’ plates as a treat. My two year old soon started crying because she dropped her cookie and the dog ate it. I gave her another one which made my five year old burst into tears. Even though she still had an uneaten cookie on her plate, she was beside herself that her sister had already eaten most of hers before she dropped it and was basically getting two cookies. It took a minute to calm my overtired 5 year old down and convince her that she didn’t need to worry about someone else’s dessert, especially when she had her own cookie right in front of her. A parent’s hug has a way of calming down an irrational child and guiding them to focus. God does the same for all of his children through scripture. He calms down all of His children so we can focus on our own plates. He guides us to realign our thoughts so we can follow the way He has carved out especially for each of us. God assured us that he will be with us as he teaches us which way to go and all we have to do is lean in to the comfort of his embrace.
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