This morning, I woke up out of a peaceful slumber at the crack of dawn to my screaming, but adorable ten-month-old baby, Danny. He has just started teething, so needless to say, he has been quite irritable, with sufficient reason.
As I carried my 22-pound baby down the stairs, half asleep, I was discouraged to see my house completely disheveled. Dishes were piled high in the sink, dry and crusty from the night before; we had run out of dish detergent yesterday.
The laundry was piled up on the living room couch. At least it was clean, I told myself. I stood there frozen, completely overwhelmed. I had only been awake for 10 minutes.
I gazed outside at the frost that covered the grass. I longed for my comfy bed upstairs, to pull the blanket over my head. Danny’s shrieks immediately brought me back to reality.
It was Sunday, so I was already feeling stress. Sundays are like a pre-game show before the big game, that is, the start of another Monday morning in high school where I teach, and all of the guilt that comes with being a working mom.
I want to take advantage of every minute when I am home with Danny on the weekends. I try to entertain him, play with him, and read to him. All of the things I miss during the day when I am working.
For example, while I get Danny ready for church, I do a lot of multitasking. I juggle feeding him breakfast and teaching him new vocabulary. As he plays with a ball, I point to it and say loudly and phonetically, “Ball! B-all!”
I say this over and over again as I am trying to feed him oatmeal, neatly. Every time I say it, he drops it on the floor. I pick it up and repeat. Again.
As I scurry around the house to get his bag ready for church, I sing him lullabies, usually loudly and out of tune, to soothe his fussiness. This is usually as I am running around the kitchen cleaning dirty bottles and packing his snacks.
All in a day’s work, right?
When we finally arrived at church, which seemed like the journey of a thousand miles, it became suddenly well worth it.
The following words were like food for my soul:
“Have no anxiety at all, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God. Then the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus” Phil 4:6-9
I exhaled and felt a little bit lighter. It was a great reminder for me to make Jesus the center, of everything, because He would help me through the daily challenges of parenting and running a household and the never-ending to-do lists that accompany 21st century families today.
I felt my priorities shift and I could see things clearly. How simple it really was.
Trust Jesus. Give all of my burdens to Him. Put Danny in his hands and know that He will take care of Him, even if I fail to sometimes, no matter how hard I try.
In this way, Jesus reminds me of a quarterback in the NFL, who takes the ball and runs with it and all we have to do is snap it to him. And let go.
As I sat in church, I visualized giving Him every obstacle in my path and every burden and pressure that weighed me down. I imagined Him taking each one. I could feel the tension ease and my breath begin to steady, slowly. I remembered why we go to church every Sunday, despite the chaos. And it wasn’t because it was on our to-do list.
Throughout the day, as I hurried through my tasks, I paused to be mindful of my stress. When I felt myself becoming overwhelmed, I tried to remind myself that Jesus had already received my burdens in His hands. I forget that, too often.
In order to remind myself of Jesus’ presence, I sat down periodically, for a few moments. I breathed in and out and re-centered myself.
That is the difficult part about prayer. We pray, sometimes over and over and over again. But we forget to trust Him and let go, if only for a moment. Isn’t that the point?
I felt peace. When I began to read to Danny and play with him that evening, I didn’t feel like it was a burden. Instead it became a timeless activity that brought me joy. And for this I was so grateful. At last, I was ready to sit down with my husband and watch Sunday night football.
That was my touchdown and victory.
Originally published on the author’s blog