Thursday, August 16, 2007

Those Stressful Moments that Overwhelm

Some days go so smoothly that you can breathe freely and say, “I can do this. I’ve got everything under control.”

Then there are the moments when everything happens at once. It’s 5:00 PM, you’re making dinner, the older kids need help with homework, a toddler is pulling at your shirt, the baby is crying, the phone is ringing, and the next door neighbor is ringing your doorbell because your dog got out and is chasing her cat.

Once you get through that hectic hour, you’re okay again. But the stress is condensed into such a small timeframe that you’re sure it drained enough nutrients to give you another grey hair.

It is so easy to fall into the comparison trap. Putting your situation in perspective with another’s can be used in a positive or negative way, depending on your slant. Ineffective: “How come Jane has 7 kids and a full time job and she always has everything together? What’s wrong with me?” (The truth: She doesn’t really; nothing.) Effective: If Kristin Lavransdatter could keep it together with 7 children and an irresponsible husband, surely I can too.

I think these moments are opportunities to let us know that we are not fully in control of our lives. These are the times to admit, “Jesus, I can’t do this alone. Please give me the grace to get through this dinnertime. Please give me the patience to mother my children when it is the most difficult.”

Mothering is not an easy job, and we need divine intervention on a daily basis. When people offhandedly comment, “I don’t know how you do it,” my pat answer is, “By the Grace of God.” And I really mean it.

“But I pray to you, Lord,
for the time of your favor.
God, in your great kindness answer me
With your constant help.”
Psalm 69:14

Oil painting by Mark Sanislo, “Mother of the Word”

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