Breathe to reset. Accept that I am at the end of myself. Depend on something Greater than my feelings. And step away from the cookie dough.
I was thirty-five hours in with fifty-two to go of my husband’s work trip when I found myself reaching for the Pillsbury Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough in the blue package. I was going to slice that baby open with a Cutco knife on that clear seam from one end to the other and take a bite, ignoring the warning about consuming raw cookie dough or whatever.
It’s been a while since I found myself crazy-eyed, knife in hand and after cookie dough. In my right mind I know the facts, the logic, the wisdom. Consuming raw cookie dough is bad for your health and I know the tangible reality of the four pant sizes my waistline would grow after indulging in a savory sea of delicious dough thanks to the my now thirty-three year old sloth-like metabolism no matter how many half-marathon medals I have stashed in my nightstand.
God has made me an emotional being. If you have ever crossed my path at all, I can feel your head shaking up and down vigorously right now even before I hit the blue publish button.
As an emotionally wired being it is difficult for me to quiet my emotions and gasp onto that small voice of reason I have in the way back yonder of my head.
But God has been transforming me by His grace and His Spirit to shut down the emotional voices which seem to get me into more moments than one where I find myself crazy-eyed with sharp knives standing over things.
Reason. Oh reason. Reason is not my natural reaction. Reason has taken a decade to begin to hear truth big instead of hearing truth like a distant whisper in the background.
Reason, who has become my dear friend came to the rescue that day. Now it’s not quite yet the sledgehammer version of reason that I need but reason, over time has become more like a gentle prodding q-tip instead of a distant whisper. A gentle reasonable reminder to put down the cookie dough and the knives (thank goodness) and that gentle prodding then lead me to a deep breath.
It was solo parenting week for me while my husband was away. And I didn’t need cookie dough. I didn’t need spoonfuls of deliciousness to cure my impatience in that moment. I needed reason. I needed to step back from that knife and I needed to breathe so I could gasp truth. And grasp Jesus.
I mean I do parent everyday. I’ve solo-parented my one, then two, then three, then four kids at least four weeks out of the year for the last seven years. I’m no spring chicken. I am a pro. My husband was only away for four days. Some ladies solo parent more than four kids for months in a row. Or years. Or a lifetime.
But in my emotion I couldn’t grasp it. In the first hours of my week alone I clung to circumstances which are constantly changing instead of a God who is unchanging.
My emotions saw a small God and a big army of ants around the sink sticking their tongues out at me this morning and they seemed to chant na-na-na-na-na as they marched in line on my counter tops which I wipe down more often than I brush my teeth and wash my face in a single day.
My emotions saw a small God and a big sore throat in my oldest and my gut saying it was strep. So I wrangled four kids to the doctor before breakfast and experienced a new check-in system where I had to type in all our information in (again) into an iPad while my feisty two year old in her Princess Aurora Dress scratched her three older brothers over that toy of twisty wires and colored beads.
My emotions saw my own positive strep test big and a small God.
And then that breath. The breath. The reason. The remembering that life is bigger than this week and what God is teaching me in my own heart is more profound than the strep, the ants, the tantrums and the chaos.
That reminder of what I should do when I find I am at the end of myself. And Jesus is Lord over the every chaos.
Breathe. Accept. Depend.
Even though I parent every day I keep falling into this belief that I can do this whole parenting gig in my own strength. But that is where I find my teeth gnashing and my low voice grunting. That is where I find myself in the lowly place of reaching to consume raw cookie dough from the package like I am still a twelve-year-old girl without the God of the Universe.
Breathe to reset. To inhale the new and exhale the old.
Acceptance. To accept that I am at the end of myself. No matter how well I plan fun, structure meals, keep every countertop clean and every piece of clothing laundered the ants will still come marching. The curveball will always come especially when I feel like I am swinging pretty well. I love each and every little darling that The Lord has given to me.
But for me, parenting is the gift that stretches me. When I’m pulled apart and humbled to realize I can’t do this gig anymore in my own efforts. Left up to me alone, I’d be a raging crazy-eyed lady with a Cutco knife and a tube of Pillsbury Cookie Dough. Acceptance brings me to the gentle but needed reminder that I don’t hold up the world. I desperately need this lesson daily.
I don’t hold up the world and I don’t have to.
Dependence on something Greater. Yes. I am not able. But I know the God who is. I know God is writing this story so I will learn to trust Him more. In the chaos, tantrums, strep tests and taunting ants marching around my sink.
To lay my cookie dough down, breathe and say, okay God. I need you. Even in the mundane moments of motherhood. I sometimes think that God isn’t concerned with the mundane. I forget that he wants me in the monumental and the mundane. That He sees the triumphs, the trials and the times when I feel like I’m going from one mess to another. I forget that God knows every word before it is on my tongue completely. God knows my going out and my lying down. (Psalm 139:1-4)
God is interested in my daily moments and God sees me caring for sick kids and peeling writing children off of the floor. God sees me. (Genesis 16:13) And God simply wants me to trust that He will sustain me and walk with me through it.
In Matthew 11 Jesus says, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
As a believer in Jesus I have access to a lightened load. I get so caught up in myself and my plans I forget this. I forget that Jesus wants to bear the burdens with me. I forget to depend. I forget I have access to divine intervention though prayer and the power of Christ in me, the hope of glory. (Colossians 1:27)
Breathe. Accept. Depend. And put down the knives and the tube of Cookie Dough. I still had fifty-some hours to go at this moment and I desperately needed to try to remember I can’t do this whole parenting gig on my own.
And I still hope and pray in the next fifty-some years of parenting I can keep on remembering this.
Breathe to reset. Accept that I am at the end of myself. Depend on something Greater. And step away from the knives and cookie dough.
God works. He works in the chaos. He changes emotional beings into people who can hear truth.
Thanks be to the Lord over the chaos. Who quiets the turbulent and volcanic voices of emotion and helps the calming voices of truth work in my heart and change the way I live my life.