February is officially here, people! The holidays are over and we have officially been “back to the grind” for about a month now. Life has settled back into a normal routine. Get up with the baby, blearily pour coffee, try to wake up while kids watch too much TV, breakfast, chore time, play time, baby naps/mom works, lunch time, school time, official screen time, outside time, afternoon chore time, dinner time, bedtime, AND SLEEP. This happens pretty much every day. It is comforting to be in a routine, but it is a also monotonous. The weeks drag on and I miss the festive feeling in the holidays, the anticipation of something exciting to come.
But not only that, keeping up with life is exhausting. Is it just me, or does it feel like dinner prep has to happen WAY too often?! And how did my hair get so greasy, I JUST took a shower! Today my three year old peed on my one year old’s face (disclaimer, it was an accident), so bathtime came early for her. I semi-patiently break up an average of 15 fights a day, and I wiped three poopy butts in 10 minutes this morning, which is a new record even for me! Every day my belly grows bigger with baby number 5, and I constantly battle worry about eating enough protein and wondering how I’m going to do any laundry when the new baby comes along. I worry that my kids are watching too much TV and eating too much processed food and that we’re not doing enough homeschool.
About once a day the banner flashes across my brain “I need a break!”.
Well, this weekend, my husband has given me what feels like the gift of a lifetime: a night away at a luxury hotel. I have never had a babymoon before, but I’ve read about them with wide and shining eyes. Time away, kid free, just me and the belly. I could walk around the mall and window shop! I could sit and have a coffee with absolutely no rush! I might even be able to (gasp!) go bra shopping and get a nice new nursing bra! Extravagance!
This past week has had particular challenges. We are working through some long standing issues with our three year old, and have just started to do some food eliminations to try and address some sleep and behavioral problems. His scream-fussing has escalated and his night waking has increased. We’re about to take the plunge and cut out dairy after cutting out gluten last month seemed to show minor improvement. As I type this I feel frazzled, oily, tired, desperate.
I need that getaway.
But my heart pangs. Where is Christ in all this? Conviction sets in as I type out the desperation that’s been playing in my mind all week. I need this. But isn’t he enough for me? In all the turmoil of the past week, how much time have I spent pouring over his precious promises, as opposed to online planning my time away? Where is my hope?
But you, Lord, are a shield around me, my glory, the One who lifts my head. I call out to the Lord and he answers me…. I lie down and sleep, I wake again, because the Lord sustains me. (Psalm 3)
Therefore my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain. (1 Corinthians 15)
We boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, for we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. (Romans 5)
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace. (Romans 15)
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. (2 Corinthians 12)
Praise the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. According to His great mercy, He has given us a new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead and into an inheritance that is imperishable, uncorrupted, and unfading, kept in heaven for you. You are being protected by God’s power through faith for a salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. You rejoice in this, though now for a short time you have had to struggle in various trials so that the genuineness of your faith—more valuable than gold, which perishes though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory, and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. You love Him, though you have not seen Him. And though not seeing Him now, you believe in Him and rejoice with inexpressible and glorious joy, because you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls. (1 Peter 1, emphasis mine)
In my bible, this last passage was properly titled “A Living Hope”. And as much as I want to get away from all the chaos and difficulty and PEE, I have a living hope.
Getting away is not a bad thing. We can enjoy God’s sweet blessings! I am so grateful to my husband for giving me such an incredible gift, and to God for working it out! I treasure the rare moments I get to have coffee alone with a friend, or the kids play quietly for 20 minutes so I can read my Bible in quiet. But that is not my hope. Which means that whether I am at rest, or in the midst of chaos, I am still okay.
It is okay when I am struggling to keep my cool and not scream as I gently correct them through a yelling argument over who gets to play with Lightning McQueen. It is okay when I’m so tired I feel sick and can barely keep my eyes open, so I choose Netflix as our homeschool curriculum for the day. It is okay when I get to the end of the day and want to cry because I feel so unable, so unequipped, so empty, and I have to get up the next day and do it all over again.
When life is overwhelming, or even just mundane, I am okay, because I have a Living Hope, eternally ready, ever faithful. He is our perfect rest. And He is better than a getaway, because He’s right there with us, enabling us to get through every moment, and giving more peace than a night away ever could.