Shattered

The first time happened a few weeks ago. Emma was making oatmeal, and the glass pickle jar that held my raw sugar slipped from her hands and fell from the top shelf of the pantry onto the kitchen floor and broke. There was a small ocean of sugar and broken glass. There was glass in a foot, and it was just the beginning.

The next time, dinner was just some mashing of potatoes away from being done. I took the chicken out of the oven, and there was a small amount of water on the stovetop from the lid for the potatoes. I turned away as I heard a little sizzle, but I thought it was fine until I heard a sharp snap and the whole dish splintered into a thousand little pieces.

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We headed out for dinner, and I came home to derailed plans. It was 7:30, and I still had to feed Micah twice, pack a lunch, mash some potatoes, and take a shower. This was after I had carefully planned and worked all day so that I could have some down time to sew that evening. To say I was disappointed would be an understatement. I was angry.

A week later, I was putting an apple crisp into the fridge for the dinner for 100 I was helping to prepare. It was in the morning before our all day homeschool co-op. The weight was a little off when I set it down. I had just turned to figure out where to put it in the fridge when “crash” down it came bringing hoards of small boys to attention. The pressure within me was ready to blow as two of them kept swarming around the scene of the accident. When one asked if he could still eat it, I took him gently by the shoulders and escorted him out, shutting the door behind him. What was I going to do? I had no time to make more dessert. This was not in the very carefully laid plans I had made in order to get everything done that day. I cleaned up the mess, gathered myself, and went upstairs to pray for a while.

This weekend, as I sat nursing a teething baby, I was reflecting on all this. As fall has set in with the new routine, I was a bit like the glassware in my house. At first, it took a big fall to make me crack. But as the newness wore off and people got tired, it took less and less to shatter my peace. A little drop of water here, a weight imbalance there or a day of complaining kids here, a prematurely awake baby there, and I was broken for that day. I was feeling less and less productive as my time was being sucked away by nagging and supervising others and catching up with all the big messes that accumulated while I was otherwise occupied.

Since Wednesday and my prayer, though, things have been slowly turning around. I have gotten some helpful counsel in the form of books written by some sweet sisters in Christ. I have been reading Women Living Well, Time Management 101, and A Place of Healing. These books have given me some desperately needed perspective. I had been slipping. Trials like these will happen, not only the big things, but also the little drops of water, the life imbalance. But, I don’t need a system or a new way to do things, I need something bigger. I needed God. I needed to put Christ back in the center of my life. I’m never going to have perfect life balance, but He’s big enough that when He’s in the center, I won’t get tipped over the edge. He’s strong enough that when those little things, those little drops threaten to shatter me, He can hold me together. And the Father, he’ll get those big jars down for me and for my children, so that we don’t have to do it alone, so we don’t drop them and get cut by the falling glass. As I’ve been thinking on these things, as I’ve set aside the “urgent” things of the day and brought back quiet time in the afternoons, He’s filled me so that I’ve been able to begin speaking life back into my family and my house. We can love others because He first loved us. So, I remain in awe of our big God. He’s gluing me back together when I would have just swept up the mess and thrown it away.

A final point, I’m not saying here that I needed to be serving God more. To be honest, before this, I would tell you that I didn’t have time for one more thing. Sometimes we were doing school until 5 p.m. and then there was still dinner and clean up and everything else to do. I just needed God, Him, His presence. There was nothing that I needed to do more of except recognize His place in my life, His sovereignty.

What has God used to get your attention lately?

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