James 1:2 "Consider it pure joy my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds."
Days like today make it difficult to consider my trials joy. I know that we all have them but seriously when you are in the midst of them they feel unreal. As if at some point you will wake up or someone will jump out of nowhere and yell, "just kidding." But no, today was real.
It never starts well when you wake up and realize it is at least a half hour later then you thought and an hour later then you had hoped. The day started out late. By the end of breakfast I had forbade two of my children from saying another word until all of their food was eaten. A half hour of incessant nonsense from a three year old and a five year old is too much to handle at 7:30 in the morning.
By 9 am a list of school work was written for Christian, a movie was playing for Daniel, Betsy was in bed and Tobie was "doing school." A quick breath and I was in the shower. It was interrupted by Christian explaining that he let in a stranger because he recognized her from church and she was only dropping off a package. Followed by a conversation about letting people into the house while Mommy was not available. Within minutes the shower ended amidst screams of pain from Tobie. Christian had pulled her from the chair and she fell on her hip.
Wait a minute! Why was Christian in the living room watching TV and not doing schoolwork?
I decided that in order to help Christian focus I would clean my room while he worked on school at the desk in my room. Yes, a great idea. Until the phone rang, GG came over to say hi, and it quickly became 10:00. Tobie and Daniel's internal clock went off, it was snack time.
Snack, check and back to work. I finish cleaning my room but evidently it didn't help Christian since it is now 11:15, the movie is over and he is still on item number two of his school list. Tobie joins us in the room and proceeds to pull out everything I have just put away in my room. She is working hard on Christmas presents. Sigh.
I pull out a puzzle just for Daniel while Tobie sews. The baby is up and while she sips on a cup of milk, I start lunch. The dishes are piling up and the noise, oh the noise. Do they ever stop talking? Do they ever stop demanding things? When is nap time? When does my mom get home?
Lunch is over and I hear a knock at the door. Help has arrived? Well, help with the car. The van battery is dead and the pastor is here to charge it for me. Great! But tell me, when will I have time to clean this place up, bundle the children (it's been snowing all day), and get out of here? I guess getting out will just have to wait.
Twenty minutes later I go back into the house. The car is better and parked at GG's house to stay warm during the storm. The phone rings again. It's my brother. We talk a little as I try to put away a few things here and there. By the time I have to stop to spank another child he says he'll let me go to deal with things. I go deal.
It's quiet, a disaster, but quiet. Christian has finally shut himself in the room and is focusing on school. Better late then never I guess. It's one o'clock and I call my mom. When are coming home? I don't think I can take another crisis and I want to know when I need this place cleaned up by. Oh good, she's on her way.
Wait, what are you doing Betsy? Where did you get that toilet paper? I follow her into the bathroom. Nice! Someone has used the toilet (#1 and #2) without flushing and Betsy is now using the toilet paper to blow her nose. I start the bath after yelling at the children. Good thing Betsy likes baths.
Who can I call? Grandma GG. She says that Christian and Tobie can come over to her house. Why didn't I think of this before? Calmly I call the kids into the bathroom. I apologize for losing my perspective and not counting it joy. They forgive me, too quickly it seems. I put each one of them in charge of a particular toy to clean up and they are off, cheerfully getting ready for naps and GG's house.
An hour later the two eldest are at GG's house, Daniel is taking a nap, my room is clean, the dishes are done, and I have repented. My mom calls. She's really on her way now. :)