The perfect storm of circumstances arose and tried to steal my peace this week.
I almost let it.
The Dude's sleeping habits have been a bit of a mess. He has gone from being up at 4:30 am to suddenly going to bed later, sleeping far worse, and waking up at 6:30.
You would think his waking up later would kind of even things out, but it hasn't.
I ended up all three work days this week spending a long time in bed getting very poor sleep in very awkward positions; and then got up so late that I barely got everyone out the door in one piece and was 5 minutes late to work. Which also means I didn't have much quiet time to spend with God and get the right perspective before the craziness of the day began.
Thank goodness that my weekend has begun. Although The Dude's first dental checkup in Viera is at 8:30 am, which still means a pretty early morning start.
This week has been full of expensive car repairs (on BOTH cars), feeling physically under the weather, and a general sense of being overwhelmed. Like usual in these situations, I started trying to figure things out and solve some problems. Whenever circumstances align themselves this way and I am not as plugged in as I should be, I start imagining worsening scenarios (financially, physically, etc), until I've worked myself pretty badly.
And then always...sometimes after stewing for a few hours or a few days, sometimes after nursing a headache while my children do flips on top of me, always after pouring my heart out to my husband and seeing the bewildered look in his eyes...
I remember the peace that "passes understanding."
"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, through prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. Then the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."
It's not just prayer and petition that bring about this peace. It's prayer and petition with thanksgiving. It's not even Halloween yet, but man, I needed to be reminded about Thanksgiving.
It's easier for me to remember on the weekends when I'm watching my boys' friendship develop and trying to keep up with the laundry. It's harder during my short work week when the pace is accelerated so exponentially that everything starts to feel meaningless.
But Thanksgiving is not meant to be celebrated during a certain time of year or particular time of the week, or just when we are feeling happy and comfortable. Thanksgiving is a state of your heart that changes the way you see the world and all of life.
And it's not just thanksgiving that's required for that peace either, at least not for me. For me, it's choosing to pass up my own understanding. To stop staring at the numbers and wondering how they're going to add up tomorrow. To stop making plans for what I'll do if they don't. To just sit down, thank God, smile at my kids, hug my husband, and be happy that I don't have much understanding at all.
"The steadfast of mind You will keep in perfect peace, because he trusts in You."
I love this verse, because I want more perfect peace. More peace that passes understanding. I want a mind that is steadfast: "stayed on Him", so that I won't indulge my own negative thoughts even when things get a little unpredictible.
"Peace I leave with you, my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives."
The anxieties that arise within me are based on such completely temporal things. I don't know how I get so off track sometimes. It's the little things in the day. It's not making myself get up at 5:30 even though the little guy is still sleeping and I'm still bone tired, so that I can have a few minutes to get my mind on the things of God and not the silly and endless details of this overrated world.
It's not immediately recognizing the error in the my thoughts and discarding them, because secretly, deep down, sometimes it feels kind of good to roll around in the muck of them, and I don't really WANT the peace of God to guard my heart from them. There, I said it.
But thank God, I come to end of my rope sooner and sooner these days. Seems like the more you have the peace of God, the more you realize how much you want to just stay there. The muck doesn't seem so fun to roll around in anymore.
So I'm back. The kids are back in front of Barney (I don't know why everyone hates Barney, when I hear Aquaman singing to himself 'because I'm special, special, everyone is special, every one in his or her own way', with his red hair and freckles and his nervous look around to make sure no one's watching, I just want to fall to pieces in love with that purple dinosaur), and I am back in the Truth of God this morning. It feels good.
Night weaning round 2 is approaching in exactly one week. I am tenatively hopeful. I do have full faith that it will go better than round 1 went. I'm trying not to think of this as a boxing match, really I'm not. This is not something I'm trying to WIN, but I am ready to get my body back for 7 hours a night, even if it means I'll still be up half the time.
The boys have been disappearing upstairs to play together more and more often. And Aquaman is learning to clearly articulate his feelings to his brother (what a BOY, this kid has the vocabulary of an 8 year old, but seems incapable of telling his little brother when he does not feel like being tackled).
There is something about 4. It's like, what you always imagined having kids would be like.
4 year old Aquaman gets really excited about stuff, and has real conversations, and seeks out other kids to play with. He perfects moves like his "Handstand wrestle" in which he does a handstand and then lands his feet sqaurely in the middle of JT's stomach. Good thing JT has rock hard abs.
But in the middle of an evening wrestling match when I was putting The Dude to bed, Aquaman suddenly got very serious and sad and stopped his wild flailing about and said "I sure wish The Dude was here with us right now, Dad."
They are turning into best friends. It makes me so look forward to these next few years, and also wonder whether I'm going to have the courage to upset this beautiful balance with a third child in a few years. Even though having only 2 kids seems a little lonely to me, coming from a family of 9,
But how will we afford a 3rd child? Without sacrificing something for the first 2?
I'm not gonna lose my peace over that. No way. I already learned the hard way once about that this week. For now, I'm just going to enjoy THIS day. Be thankful for these little boys and their flopping limbs and JT's rock hard abs and endless patience.
Gonna keep my eyes on Christ Jesus.
"Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith;
who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross,
despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God."