My eyes open to the sound of my toddler stirring in her bed. I close my eyes again and picture her stretching her limbs to get ready for the day. Oh no you don’t! I fling the weight of the covers off of myself and hastily make for the door. Over piles of laundry – against any obstacle – I make my way around the bed. I stop suddenly when in sight of her crib, and at the risk of her seeing me, I army crawl my way along the cold wood floors towards my only chance of even the slightest motivation for the day- my coffee!
It’s funny because I have never been much of a coffee drinker.
I made it through college, and worked for years at schools – where it could be argued that coffee was more key to survival than air itself! I even made it though my daughter’s first year of life without ever having as much as a sip of the good stuff!
So why do you ask, have I finally given in to the madness?
It’s kicking my butt and it’s not letting up, no matter how loud I plead “Mercy!”
The plus side of my daughter’s new developmental stage however, is that we have been able to immerse her into an abundance of worship music lately. (I like how when I say that it makes me sound suuuuuper spiritual, when in reality it’s just proven to be the best way to drown out the tantrums!) It’s genius really – allowing you to be both in a constant state of worship while encouraging you to lower your escalating heart rate as your child screams bloody murder in the background!
And so it’s no surprise that after a week full of ‘the need for worship music’ (if you get my drift) that I found myself bolting for the kitchen every morning – in hopes of even just a mere 15 minutes – where, with coffee in hand, I could be alone in my thoughts.
With each sip, my thoughts would turn to daydreams….
Daydreaming back to the days when I had the time to do my hair and when the wind, or incoming subway, wasn’t always threatening to mess it up…
Relishing in the happiest of memories I shared with all of my pumps – who are now uniformly lined up in my closet with no hopes of ever being worn again…
Then after a few moments on Facebook – and after seeing all the beautiful babies being born – I would then begin mourning the baby my daughter wasn’t anymore.
Wishing for a laundry basket full of little onesies in every color of the rainbow, and the feeling of having a sleeping baby nuzzled in my neck, legs curled up under their bums… For a moment, I even missed the newborn cry (but it didn’t take long for me to come to my senses about that one!)
I swear though, while enjoying my coffee just a day later, my daydreams would be about the exact opposite!
Looking forward to the day that with a little more age, my daughter would be more self sufficient!
When maybe she could help me clean up or at least carry her weight (like literally, and preferably down the subway steps!)
My heart ached also at the reality that I might never experience having another child. Not because we wouldn’t love to, but because our new life in Manhattan doesn’t allow for that… comfortably.
My thoughts then wandered to whether Gia would be socially dysfunctional due to her future solitude as an only child… I then chuckled to myself knowing that according to a large amount of American moms she already will be – considering my decision to get an epidural AND to not breastfeed her as a baby! Which makes me smile because ‘realistically’ then, I have nothing to lose!
As I continued to sip my coffee, I casually flipped through a book and came across this poem which silenced my daydreaming completely.
It was spring, but it was summer I wanted; the warm days and the great outdoors.
It was summer but it was fall I wanted; the colorful leaves and the cool dry air.
It was fall but it was winter I wanted; the beautiful snow and the joy of the holiday season.
It was now winter but it was spring I wanted; the warmth and the blossoming of nature.
I was a child but it was adulthood that I wanted; the freedom and the respect.
I was twenty but it was thirty I wanted; to be mature and sophisticated.
I was middle-aged but it was twenty I wanted; the youth and the free spirit.
I was retired but it was middle-age that I wanted; the presence of mind without limitations.
My life was over but I never got what I wanted.
This poem spoke loud and clear to me.
I mean we all live this way, right? I know I do! I was doing so in the exact moment that I came across it!
We could even continue the poem on to say…
I wanted a fresh start in a new city, but now I miss my friends.
I wanted a job promotion, but now I am working too hard.
I was engaged but then I wanted to be married.
I was married, but I wanted to be a parent.
I wanted to get pregnant 3 months ago, but…
I was a parent of one child, but I wanted another…and another.
I had a family, but now I just want some peace and quiet – even better, a hot date!
I realized that what I had originally entertained as ‘harmless daydreaming’ was not that at all… My heart was directly in the center of a raging battle of discontentment!
I had restlessly been longing for something else, something better – only further proving that my daughter wasn’t enough just the way she is.
Even worse, proving that God – who in all His mighty power was able to create the heavens and the Earth – was somehow wrong in the way He designed my life!
I knew in my heart that I didn’t believe that to be true…
I thought back to Psalm 18:30, which is a verse that has been penned countless times on the palm of my hand in an attempt to get me through some of my most difficult days. Its profoundness lies also in its simplicity.
God’s way is perfect…
The word ‘perfect’ is undeniable!
And because of it, we can rest in the truth that when God calls you somewhere, or to do something, that you are in His PERFECT plan for your life!
Still, I found myself perplexed as I pondered this verse over and over in my head…
If I know I am within God’s perfect plan for my life, why does my heart still feel so restless, even unhappy at times?
I decided to take a look at that verse more closely.
I was surprised to find that over the years, there was a part I had missed entirely!
God’s way is perfect….He is a shield for all those who take refuge in Him.
The key to finding contentment in our current circumstances is as much about believing that God’s plan for our lives is perfect in its entirety, just as much as it is knowing that the Lord is available to be our greatest source of comfort – a place where our hearts can find what they so desperately need to be made whole again!
He can be… that is, “For all those who take refuge in Him”
This verse requires action. And it is our choice where – or whom – we find our refuge.
I pictured myself earlier that morning…
Realizing then that I needed to choose to run to Him – in that same desperate way at times – and throw myself at the foot of the cross, and not just the coffee pot.
Our hearts have failed in an attempt to find refuge in many other things as well. As women we have looked for it in our significant other – or lack thereof – falsely believing that true contentment will be found when someone “puts a ring on it” if you will…
In boredom, we have turned to Facebook, but then are surprised when our discontentment escalates as we begin comparing our happiness and successes to that of our friends…
On Pinterest, we have made ourselves believe that a bigger house, a vacation to go zip-lining in the Swiss Alps, making our own laundry detergent, or incorporating the’ Victoria Secret Angels work out’ is going to bring greater significance to our lives…
We could have the perfect career, have gotten married to someone far out of our league, had a family, bought the house and have all the pictures hung, and yet even still, we will be restless and longing for more!
The truth is, I have no doubt that even when I am in the ‘sweet spot’ of God’s perfect plan for my life, that even then the Lord will keep me a little less fulfilled than I would most desire – whether in my marriage, in my confidence as a parent, and in any life circumstance that comes my way – Always withholding a little of what I believe I so desperately need at the time, in an attempt to keep me in a constant awareness of my ultimate need for Him, and only Him!
As I leave you today, I would ask you to search your heart for what it is that you have aimlessly attempted to take refuge in? What is it that has hindered you from embracing the perfect way God has laid out for you?
I pray that God would help us to savor the season of life we find ourselves in – even if they are chalk full of tantrums and chaos- laden mornings!
I can promise you this: Living God’s way doesn’t always mean you will get whatever you want…
But I can assure you that you will indeed, always have everything that you need!