Facing the Day

Every morning at 6:00am, our alarm clock starts blaring.  And, yes, I do mean blaring.  Our alarm clock is actually Eric’s old phone, and it has since been retired–all but the alarm.  Because he has a variety of songs that can be set as the alarm alert, he has determined that this is absolutely the best way to wake up each day.  I, on the other hand, entirely disagree.  I do not enjoy being woken to the musical likings of the Dropkick Murphys or Lynyrd Skynyrd.  AT.  ALL.  Last night when he was setting his alarm, he was excited to choose a new tone, and I admit that when he was asking my opinion about which song to use, I did tell him that “yes, honey, the Grateful Dead is better than the others.”  But seriously, I’d prefer just a beep or too…maybe a little Sweet Baby James if it must be a song.  I mean, even those dreadful standard alarm clock buzzers are better than Irish punk rock at that hour of the day.  Still, Eric chose another annoying ringtone to wake us up, and even though I heard it every five minutes this morning during his morning ritual of smacking the snooze button at least 55 times before he actually gets out of bed, I cannot for the life of me remember what song it was.  I do, however, remember Eric reaching over to cover my ears during the dreadful sounding of the alarm.  About this, I’m conflicted…he clearly knows I am irritated beyond belief by the repetitive blaring of his musical alarm, and he is “sweet” enough to think of me while he is still half asleep, but he REFUSES TO GET A NEW, PEACEFUL ALARM TONE!  Nonetheless, at some point, Eric leaned across me to get a glimpse of the clock and realized that it was 7:11am.  We were 40 minutes late starting our day. HOW I continued to sleep through that nightmare of an alarm, I have no idea, but it happened.  I’m blaming it on the pregnancy.  But, with that one look at the clock and Eric’s subsequent verbal outbursts, the mad dash out the door began.  I woke Tyler, rushed him to get ready, prepared lunch for Eric and Tyler, prepared breakfast for Eric and Tyler, jumped in and out of the shower (about as quickly as I typed that), made sure Tyler had a snack and his backpack, and we ran to the car.  Meanwhile, Eric was getting himself ready and out to his truck.  Tyler was clearly oblivious to the fact that this 40 minute delay had totally messed up my morning, that my attitude had been affected by the chaos, and while he and Eric had everything they needed for the day, I had no breakfast, no lunch, no laptop for work, and I had pretty much forgotten everything that I needed at home.  Tyler was happy in the back seat, trying to engage me in conversation about whether or not he could play his Nintendo DS when he got home and if Eric would help him pass some certain level on Zelda over the weekend.   My hair was soaking wet, I was a flustered mess, and when I pulled up to the front of his school, Tyler was still chatting happily.  It was 3 minutes before the late bell.  Thank Goodness.  Tyler hopped out of the car, we said our “I love you”s and “Have a great day”s, and the door shut.  The next thing on my list was to call my husband, who I had not spoken to since he so NICELY covered my ears this morning, and say our “Have a great day”s and “I love you”s.  Then the calls began to clients to confirm and/or set appointments for the day, so I could at least feel a little bit more organized and together.  Once that was done, and after being met with negativity and resistance from a couple of the clients I work with, I decided it would probably just be better if I went back to bed.  It would be better for everyone.  I didn’t have the energy to deal with other people’s bad attitudes when I had one of my own this morning.  And I should be allowed to have a bad attitude every now and then, shouldn’t I?  I didn’t even want  to see my clients.  And let’s be honest…I already knew that when I got off of work, I’d have more work to do.  Dinner.  Cleaning up dinner.  Homework.  Bath.  Fighting bedtime.  Limit setting.  Being a wife.  Being a mother.  Being pregnant.  And then more paperwork for my full time job.  And I felt like throwing in the towel.  Right then and there.  On Lee-Davis Road.  In front of Tyler’s school.   Don’t I deserve a break?  Don’t I deserve to be the one that get’s taken care of for once?  And right then, as I asked myself those questions, all the while becoming more irritated with the seemingly overwhelming responsibilities of my life, something came to mind.  And I pulled my car over.  But not to throw in the towel.  Instead, I dug in my pocketbook for my iPhone and went to iTunes.  I had to find a this certain song.  And I had to find it NOW.  My sanity depended on it.  It took about 15 minutes of scouring iTunes before I found exactly what I was looking for. But I found it.

Let’s go back in time for a moment….

In 1998, after graduating from Meredith College in Raleigh, North Carolina, I was hired by Lifeway to work as a counselor at a Christian camp called Centrifuge.  This camp has multiple locations, but I was hired to be part of the staff placed at North Greenville College in Tigerville, South Carolina.  And every week during that summer, I had 30-40 9th and 10th graders to lead in Bible Study, recreation, and worship daily.  And every day during that summer, I started my group with quiet time.  And while they prepared themselves mentally and spiritually for the day, I played a song, the same song, softly in the background.  For me it was my daily prayer.  It was my way of getting my heart and mind right to face the day.  It was my way of asking God to fill me with the things I needed to be the best me…to provide me the strength that I no longer could find on my own.  Working with teenagers 15 hours a day, six days a week, 12 weeks in a row was exhausting in every way possible, and there was no way I could have kept going on my own.  I was forced to rely on God to give me unwavering love for the youth who came to camp, strength to put one foot in front of the other on days when I just wanted to sleep, and hope for what these children and adults could gain from the experience–hope for their futures–hope for mine.  And God did not fail me. Not once.  He used me, in spite of all my shortcomings and in all my human weakness.

So, this morning, after my crazy late start, the madness of trying to catch up, and in the midst of a pretty good pity party that I was throwing for myself, I was reminded of that summer.  I was reminded of my daily prayer and of my acknowledgement that I needed God.  I was reminded of God’s provision and that I was never created to walk through this life alone.  Yes, my life is different now.  Absolutely. The responsibilities have changed.  And I have new, more challenging obligations to meet.  But the God who met my needs then hasn’t changed.  He is still there, waiting to meet my needs.  It is just up to me to ask.  When I don’t feel like I can take one more step….see one more client….give one more word of encouragement to another human being, I am forced to acknowledge that I cannot do it.  Not on my own, anyway.  And that’s ok.  I wasn’t meant to.  I must not forget that I have somewhere to lean–that my God wants to, and will, meet my needs–even when it seems as though the rest of the world is leaning on me.

Today, I sat in my car–alone and entirely annoyed.  But, I pressed play.  And I listened to Jill Phillips sing The Day Is Dawning, over and over again.  I sang. Loudly.  And, I prayed to my God…my Friend…my Encourager…my Strength.  And I asked Him to fill me in the places I was empty.  I prayed for enough strength, enough love, and enough hope to face my day.  To give to my son.  To give to my husband.  To give to my friends and to my clients.  And I prayed that God would adjust my attitude in the process.  Just as He didn’t let me down that summer, He didn’t let me down today.  The simple act of turning my mind, my head, and my heart upward instantly changed my attitude.  And, I desperately needed a change in attitude.

Being a wife, a husband, a mother, a father….and just plain being….is hard enough as it is.  What comfort there is in knowing that you are not alone.  And that, when you ask, you will be given all that you need.

Check out the song below.  I hope it can be your prayer, too, as you face your day!  Much love and many blessings.  -M xoxo

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