This morning I turned to this verse: “I will sing to the LORD, because he has dealt bountifully with me” (Psalm 13:6).
I live in a world full of stuff. Advertisements tell me I need every last bit of it, too. I rarely feel as though I’ve been dealt with ‘bountifully’.
But, here are the facts: I have been dealt with bountifully, even if it’s hard for me to comprehend.
As I type, I’m watching my Judah play on an exercise mat. He’s munching on his goldfish, trying to grind the crumbs into the plastic with his bare feet. He’s got a saggy diaper…again. He’s calling our puppy over to eat the crumbs, making a “kissing” sound with his lips.
Life is bountiful with crumbs, mischief, and soggy diapers. I just told our congregation on Mother’s Day morning, as a part of a Mom’s Panel, that it is a struggle as a stay-at-home mom to have a sense of meaningful identity, value, and worth. The difficulty comes in moments like this…when the floor is covered by yellow cracker shrapnel…when I am attempting to focus on something greater than the fact that my son is now sharing his cup of water with the dog. When these are the endless details of my day I feel as though my days are useless. I can’t even finish forming a thought before the next mess is made or the next disaster needs to be averted. Feelings of bountifulness seem to only revolve around frustration…not blessing. I’m not even considering bountiful blessings.
Have you ever been poked repeatedly? In the same spot? It can become numbing, not only to that particular area of the skin, but to all the senses. This is how detainees are tortured! Loud intrusive sound, constant touch and pricking…if it’s used to break even the strongest of secret spies, than imagine what it can do to an already tired mom! This is what happens to people who stay at home with young children. Our emotional senses and mental processes are poked repeatedly throughout the day, that a coma is induced. Introspection and spiritual growth seem as confounding and impossible as waking the dead. Good judgment and resolve go out the window.
I think much of my anxiety about sounding dull or stupid among small groups of adults was birthed out of this motherhood zombie state. I can feel as though I have nothing worthwhile to share with other adults because I am not reading insightful articles or engaging in philosophical conversation throughout the day…I don’t even have the news on, just SuperWhy. It greatly effects my view of self. Hot topics and relevant adult conversation fly over my head. (And rarely, do a group of adults find the value in being able to sing every PBS kids show theme song.) I can lose my identity in the mundane repetition of diaper changing and household duties. I rarely do anything by myself, including going to the bathroom! And I do my best thinking when I am alone. It can feel as though we, as care-takers, fade into the background, void of individual talents or unique perspective.
I daily need to re-identify myself with Jesus–who He is, and therefore, who He says I am. It’s a struggle, especially, when all my faculties of thought and insight seem to have left the building 11 years ago. However, it’s necessary for me to realize my value and worth. I am a priceless treasure to God, with a unique perspective of His love and grace, because I am not relying on the success of my own talents throughout the day. I have to remember He has good things for me, even in the goldfish crumbs.
As I look at my two-year old and focus on the goodness of God, I see less crumbs and more cute: His white-blond hair as it flips behind his ears. His sparkling blue eyes. His huge smile as the puppy eats goldfish from his hands. He isn’t focusing on the magnitude of his soggy diaper situation. He’s focusing on all that is good. What an example of thankfulness and joy, of magnifying the good, not the bad.
He has just brought me a single goldfish. “Aaahhh,” he says to me. “Mama- Aahhh.” I can choose to focus on the meek and meager size of the snack, perhaps spend time questioning wether or not it’s been licked by the pet. OR, I can choose to partake and savor the cracker, because it is a gift. It seems small and insufficient. It will take concentration from a weak and spent heart and mind. This is the true task of the day. The blessing is there, though…it’s in the palm of my hand.
Jesus, help me see you in every part of my day. Help me to find the sufficient in the scant. The satisfactory in the sparse. The bountiful in the bare. Amen.