The Good in the Bad

So this is how my day started yesterday. Breakfast smoothie all over the floor.
As I stood and stared at the mess my first thoughts went something like “Of course this is how my day is going to start. It’s gonna be another hard, exhausting day and this is just the beginning”.
Shortly after these “oh, poor me” thoughts came, I had another thought, this time a whispering from the Holy Spirit no doubt: “Technically, this is not how your day started. Technically it started a half hour ago with three happy kids waking up and joyfully giggling as they played together while you laid comfortably in your cozy bed.”
So much for self pity.
These last couple weeks have been hard and it’s easy for me to look at my life and name all the things that should make me feel upset and unhappy. But, that wouldn’t be reality. The reality is that all the trials and hardships I, and anyone, experience in this mortal life help us to become better people. They help us to learn patience, deepen our love for others and to understand just how capable we are. In short, they can help us become more like Christ. Of course, we have to choose to allow them to do this.
How easy it would be to become bitter, overwhelmed and hardened if I chose only to focus on the hard things in my life right now.
– kids so frequently yelling and fighting with one another
– dirty diaper after dirty diaper
– legos strewn across the living room floor that I just picked up
– spilled water on the floor for the third time that day
– whining, whining, whining
– not having enough alone time to even shower
– dealing with a two year old that finds nothing funnier than reaching over my hand and closing the iPad app I’m working in
– planning day after day to sit down to finally get some of my to do list done and never getting there
– “I’M NOT EATING THIS!” yelled from the dinning room table yet again, despite innumerable reminders of how to politely decline food you don’t like
– back aches from carrying around a nine month old who insists that when I’m making dinner there is no other place she can be but in my arms
– sleeping in a rocking chair most of the night because that same nine month old is getting in six teeth at once and cannot sleep if she’s not being held
– yet again determining that I will start that exercise routine only to wake up sick
– uncertainty over how to best handle a 5 year old’s roller coaster emotions
– sometimes feeling like I am all alone in a sea of children and their problems with no one to stop and notice all of my problems
– a blender full of smoothie all over the kitchen floor (and oven and cabinets) with two kids wailing over the tragedy of their lost breakfast
These trials are not at all at the level some people in this world face but none the less, they are hard and if I chose to let them they will paint my life in a negative light and I in turn will have a negative outlook and be an unhappy, grumpy mess.
The alternative is not easy but I believe it is of God: choose to see the good, fill my life with things that bring the Spirit, try to help others each day and know that God is taking care of it all.

Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.
But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.
James 1:3-4

Always There

A while ago, my husband was trying to comfort our one year old daughter after she woke up while I was working on my son’s baby book. (Yes, my son is already three and no I haven’t finished his baby book. I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one in this situation though.)
She cried and cried. My husband said it was her normal scream for when I wasn’t there. I’d heard it a few times before but this time it pierced my heart. It brought up in me the feelings from when I was little and spending the night somewhere, away from my parents. I don’t know how long this anxiety lasted, but at least until the age of six and it lingered through my teenage years.
It was awful. I would feel this overwhelming sadness, anxiety and fear. I would cry and cry and cry. Usually somewhat violently so that when I did calm down I would have those hiccup-like sniffles for probably an hour afterwards.
When I finally took my daughter, she had those same sniffles.
I sat down with her and held her close. I was so relieved and comforted that I could comfort her. She stopped crying as soon as I took her but clung for awhile. I held her and patted her and told her all was safe. And in that moment I had somewhat of a vision.
I saw in her face that of a teenager who was suffering just as much as my one year old just had, though for much different reasons. Then my mind’s eye took over and I saw a college student, away from home, in anguish over some very real life trial.
I wanted to tell her that I would always be there to give her this comfort when she was in a time of need and that when I couldn’t be there physically then… Here I stopped. Then what? It felt as if there was nothing I could say that would take the place of being there. It made me pray right then and there that I would always be able to have the Holy Spirit with me and that He would tell me when any of my children were in need of me.
I want to be there with a phone call, an email, a text, a package, whatever can help most. When my kids are not with me I still want to know when they need my help and how to help them. When they are older but still at home I pray we will have a relationship that allows us to come together in times of need. To bond and be close and open up with each other.
I still don’t know why it was so hard for me to be away from home when I was young. I guess I just grew out of it. I remember my mom asking me why I felt the way I did when I was away from home. I didn’t know.
Maybe it was to help me better understand my daughter.