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Daily Bread

November 9, 2008

When I decided to go back to work, I bought a lot of new books.  Titles like “A Working Mother’s Guide to Life” and “Keeping Your Life Together While Working” began arriving almost daily from Amazon.  I was determined to be prepared for my job.

I painstakingly planned out my morning routine, shopping day, friend time, and date nights.  I bought a new wardrobe.  I cleaned out every closet.  I got my hair cut, and I bought a fun work bag to hold my school papers. I was ready.

I spent weeks preparing my household for the day I went back to work, and I entered this fall with a lot of hope: yes, working is tough, but somehow everything will still get done.

With a new outfit on, I headed back to the classroom.

Two months later my floors are covered in sticky juice, my van smells bad, my legs are hairy, my friendships are beginning to fall by the wayside, and all my cute outfits have been shoved into the back of the closet and replaced with cotton knit clothes that are comfortable even when sitting cross-legged on the floor with teenagers all day. My times with God are short, my migraines are more frequent, and my fridge is filled with cheap processed food.

What happened?

My life looks completely out of control.  In many ways, my life IS completely out of control.  I do not have the time to do half of what I need to do.  My inbox is full and my brain is empty.

This morning as I started to pray, I began by blurting out half-exhausted prayers to the Lord.  Most of the prayers centered around my “to-do” lists and my anger towards Hugh for not helping me enough yesterday.  As I prayed, I could see my filthy kitchen floor mocking me. Crumbs, a broken toy chair, old fruit snack wrappers, and dried ice cream covered every inch of my tile-like linoleum.

“God, have I made the right choice? I mean, I have no time. NO time.  I feel out of control, and I have no idea how to do everything.”

The was no quick answer, no steady whisper telling me that I am exactly where He wants me right now.  Sighing, I began to pray over my list.

“Lord, show me how to plan out this writing unit…”

“God, I really need help to be humble with Hugh.  This anger doesn’t please you, Lord, and I’m sorry…”

“Jesus, how do you think I should talk to this student…”

“Father, how can I spend time with Jon-David today…”

On and on, I brought Him my tired and feeble prayers.  As always, He began to show me what it looks like to live today in Him…how to plan, how to repent, how to clean, when to talk, when to listen…

As I prayed, I still felt out of control.  I still have no idea how to fit in every piece of my life.  And yet, in a very deep way, I am the most free I have ever been.

Since I am at the end of myself and my ability, I am now able to offer myself up, empty, to Him.  And each day that He fills my nothingness, my faith in Him is growing. 

He is able, He is strong, He fills me.

My floors may be sticky and my clothes may be frumpy – but something deeper is happening in my heart.  I am learning to rely on my God in a way I never have before. I am desperate for Him to show me every step, because I am so aware that I do not know the way to go.

But I am learning that He will show me as I make the time in the middle of life to pause and say:

“My Father in heaven, holy is your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.  Give me this day my daily bread, and forgive my sins, as I forgive those who hurt me. Lead me not into temptation, but deliver me from evil. For yours is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever…”

7 Comments leave one →
  1. Smilla permalink
    November 9, 2008 4:34 pm

    Jess, I got the hang of working fulltime, keeping the house reasonably clean and focusing on the really important people in my life after THREE YEARS. It’s a process. Don’t despair. It gets better and easier.

    Good luck,

  2. November 9, 2008 6:59 pm

    I so hate being out of control. I hate being dependent on others. God is having to help me see I am not in control and I am supposed to be dependent on Him. Right now, it is a bit frustrating. But I know that if I would just release my death grip on my life, I would actually find such freedom and peace in being able to fully rely on Him instead of myself. I’m so glad He totally loves this work in progress that is me! He totally adores you, too. 🙂

  3. November 9, 2008 7:50 pm

    I really enjoy your posts and they way you think. For what it’s worth, I am a stay at home mom of two under two and I feel this way all the time. Life is full of responsibilities and distractions. At least you know where to put your focus (when you can focus:) 😉 It would totally unbearable without the hand of the Lord guiding us along.

  4. November 9, 2008 11:59 pm

    I just recently came across your blog and am SO glad I did, You have a beautiful way with words.
    This post especially resonates with me. I teach 8th grade (this is my second year) and I have two kids. Like you I was oh-so-hopeful in the beginning…now I’m just treading water till Christmas. I think I’ll be able to catch up on the laundry then… 😉
    Thanks for sharing this, and thanks for making me feel a lil less inadequate! God bless you, and have a wonderful Monday!

  5. Lynn permalink
    November 10, 2008 12:46 am

    Your posts always strike a chord with me, as I am the bread winner in our family, working from home. There are days when I am so overwhelmed by everything that I have to do, I just do not know how I am going to manage as everyone seems to leave everything to me. Yet God is there wherever I turn. He is with me (and you!) and He is mighty to save. He takes great delight in us, even right now as I sit at my computer just barely awake. He quiets us with His love and rejoices over us with singing – isn’t that just awesome?!!

    Hope you have a truly wonderful and blessed week:)

  6. tonyyork permalink
    November 10, 2008 10:19 am

    OK.. Am I the only guy reading this post?

    I hope not, because you have reminded me that my wife sees things through different eyes and that I need to step up and let her know I appreciate all the things on her to-do-list by helping her get some of them done.

    She just started back to work this year in the school system. It has been an adjustment for all of us but I am so glad that we have entered a time in our lives when she can actually do some of the things she has wanted to do.

    God Bless You

  7. November 10, 2008 12:58 pm

    Clayton King preached an AWESOME message at Newpsring yesterday that would really relate to this. It’s centered around the time that Jesus came to Martha’s house when Mary sat at His feet and Martha was doing all of the work. I really really think you should listen to it.

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