We have recently recovered from a stomach bug here in the Howard house this past week. My husband got it the worst, complete with fever, stomach cramps and the whole nine yards. He rarely gets sick, but when he does he usually muddles through and it is over it in like a day. This time he had to miss two days of work, soooo it was pretty bad. The week was a flurry of checking on my husband, corralling two girls who didn’t understand why they couldn’t play with dada even though he was home, multiple trips to the store for sick supplies and all of my normal daily activities, including lots of nursing the baby, cleaning and keeping my toddler occupied, all while trying to be extra clean and germ conscious.
By the end of each day I was exhausted, feeling stretched to my limit with multi-tasking. By the end of the week I was starting to feel a little frazzled and upset. I was tired. The baby was up at 4 and didn’t want to go back to sleep. I was worn out with my toddler’s tantrums because she wanted cheese right now. I was wondering how nice it must be that my husband gets to actually “take off” when sick. Last time, I was sick for two weeks and still had to carry on. Whoa is me, I thought. And so continued my venting to myself. Pathetic, I know.
Thursday night when the girls were in bed and my husband was asleep, I sat out in the living room for a little down time before bed. It was then in the quiet that it hit me. I hadn’t had any time alone with Jesus all week. I missed it. I sat for a while, and then I began to pray. I processed my week and prayed for my family and some friends that were on my mind and heart. I tried to read my bible, but honestly I was so tired it was hard to focus on the words. That was it. I talked and God listened, and then I was quiet and just sat in his presence.
I have to tell you though, it was such a sweet time. My heart felt refreshed and afterward I noticed a few things:
1. I didn’t feel condemned. There was grace for my crazy week.
2. I actually missed time with God and not just in an, “Oh crap, I forgot something on my to-do list” kind of way.
3. Out of all the things that I can do for my family, the greatest is tending to my heart. This one is huge for me! In the Gospel Primer it says, “Do does not equal be.” I am seriously considering framing this reminder in my house because so often I am quick to find my identity in what I can or can’t do rather than in who I am before God. My girls and my husband will be better served if I am more settled in my identity as a human “being” not “doing” as a result of allowing God to shape me rather than just doing more.
4. I can’t continue to attempt to give to my family or others what I don’t have. My giving and pouring out has to be sustained by my time with Jesus or I will burn out and lose sight of what is important. If “you are what you eat” so to speak, then I want to spend as much time as I can learning from Jesus so that I can be like him and give out of the overflow of what he is giving me.
I didn’t have a huge amount of time and I was tired. There wasn’t anything flashy involved in this time, not even much journaling or reading, but still seeking out his perspective and his voice made all the difference. I am grateful that in the midst of my imperfection and process God still shows up and reveals things me. He is able to make big things happen out of small moments and fill a living room with his ministering presence even in the quiet.