Last night, when I was exhausted from a long week and a long weekend, and a terribly long Sunday (which usually feels like a separate part of the weekend what with church morning extravaganza and whatnot), I found myself looking at the prospect of 9 pm (or later) bedtimes for all four kids (Dietrich took a FOUR hour nap! Wha????). And I was teetering on despair. Then I took a short bath (which is weird because I am shower person) -- not a by myself, relaxing bath, a bath with the shower curtain closed and Atticus sitting on the toilet writing a story asking me to spell words. Then I came upstairs and looked around at my kids -- my wonderful, exhausting, delicious, infuriating, brilliant kids. And I felt thankful. Thankful to be needed. Thankful for all the life in my life. Thankful for all the activity/DOING-ness-induced mess in my house. And I sat down on one of the kid chairs around the play table in the living room -- our little (cozy, I say -- not cramped!) living room and suddenly every kids wanted to draw. And wanted me to be there affirming and commenting and oohing and ahhing and hearing stories about the drawings and cooling tempers when something didn't work and getting new paper and.... Two hours, People. TWO hours later I had been given a dream night. And you know what? 1. At 5:30 earlier in the evening I found out that our babysitter and I had miscommunicated with each other and that Brad and I would have to have our date next Sunday night. Bah. 2. I thought right about then that I couldn't make it until 7 pm without escaping off to sew or draw or take another walk. 3. I felt like for about 32 reasons, this was a day that was going to end with me feeling punched in the face. 4. I was wrong.
God gave me a big exhausting jolly surprising holiday right in the middle of my living room. And it didn't happen because I took "time to myself" (though there is nothing wrong with that in itself and Brad has taught me the extreme value of when to walk away for a little bit or why I just might need a couple hours drawing over at MCAD or riding my bike over to write and read for an hour at the coffee shop). But this time, I think the difference was just this rising tide of thankfulness that He has filling in me -- sometimes I don't even feel it in my immediate emotions of the moment -- do you know what I mean? But that thankfulness is there always in the wings -- and it's quicker to seep in now. Even when I am bone-tired and drained from the neediness around me. Especially when I am in that place. It's like I take a step and another ("Do the next thing" Elisabeth Elliott used to write -- meaning when you get confused do the next obedient thing right there in front of you...and God will get you to the right place) and He comes inside the dutiful obedience and fills my hands with joy. Sounds kinda cheesy, maybe? I feel cheesy writing it. But that is what it has been unfolding like. And it is good. And I want to live inside this more. More cultivating the faithfulness while I am "dwelling in the land [of little people-filled mothering]".
Okay, now I have a first grader to pick up from the bus. Hooray and Amen!