Last week was hard. Bitter, butt-kicking hard. One of those weeks in which you feel like all the things you never want to hear are spoken, all of the feelings that inconvenience and convict you creep up, and all of the aches your body fights as a Momma come careening down on you. That kind of hard.
I had a week of little sleep. For me, that equates to a measly 3 or 4 hours a night. Some of it I can blame on the kiddos. One is teething, the other struggling with nightmares. But overall, it was just plain ol' me. I have a mind that struggles to shutdown. It's wild and meanders when it should be resting. That kind of exhaustion doesn't make for a good or happy Mommy. And we all know Mommy sets the tone for the house.
I had been feeling some conviction in my heart about parenting. Partially because I overanalyze and probably read too many parenting books that aren't always sound and cause more guilt than improvement. But overwhelmingly, I heard God speaking some truth to me about being more intentional with my children. Our Little Lady has been hitting and pushing A LOT, and has some other manners that need working on, and the Big Brother has had a bit of an attitude when he speaks that I just can't let slip. What I've begun to realize is that I don't need to care about these things because the world says I should, but I need to care because I want my children to ooze Jesus. And I'm certain Jesus didn't go around hitting people.
Mid-week a conversation with my son's preschool teacher floored me with some serious Mommy-Guilt. She told me Big Brother might be a little behind. WHAT? I was a teacher! How could my son possibly be behind? And, how am I going to fix this? Well, isn't that always where God steps in full force? "You aren't going to fix this Michelle, I AM. And that's what I AM working out in your heart right now."
I've been fasting for 43 days - not a full blown not-eating fast, but the kind where I restrict certain foods for a duration of time. In my case, it's the Daniel Fast and it's lasting 60 days. It isn't a diet, it's a fast, and I'm doing it so that I can break some bad food-related habits and so that I can remember to lean into Christ, rather than a double-fudge brownie when life gets sticky. It hasn't been easy but I'd been successful....up until Mother's Day. Go figure.
I know that part of it was that the week had been long and I felt I deserved a treat. But for me a treat can be a slippery-slope; it can be the way I self-medicate. While I didn't destroy the day by eating an entire cake, I broke my fast and my tummy paid for it later. I felt defeated. It felt like the enemy had won that day. But lying in bed that night I was reminded that I was made for more. I heard His whisper that victory would come through obedience. And obedience starts with the very next choice.
And so the hard decisions begin. I have to cut back. I have to realign my priorities and make sure that it looks like Jesus.
And even though I don't come close to doing life perfectly or even beautifully, I know that God's grace covers all, and in that I can rest.