In the deep, dark archives of my "My Documents" folder, I found this piece from September 1999.
I lingered too long in bed today. While I was quietly contemplating the day’s hectic schedule and trying to summon the courage to face the many chores awaiting me, my three older children managed to scatter half a gallon of cookie sprinkles throughout the living room, dining room and kitchen. When I say older I am speaking relatively; my oldest is five, next is the three and a half-year-old. The youngest of the three miscreants is almost two. I am thankful that the baby, only six months old, is too young to escape her crib.
The shrieks of laughter drew me, reluctantly, from my room. Though I had only dillydallied a few minutes, approximately 400 square feet of floor was now covered with pink, yellow, orange, green and white sprinkles. It looked as if there had been a very festive snowstorm. I paused, so many words to regret just on the tip of my tongue. I swallowed them all and reached for the vacuum.
We have had a trying week, and today is only Thursday. This is only the latest in a series of brilliantly staged attempts to sabotage my sanity. On Monday, the three year old found a pair of scissors and cut holes in one of my favorite sweaters and one of the two pairs of jeans that actually fit post-baby me. Tuesday, this very busy three-year-old drew a smiley face on his father’s white truck in red, permanent marker.
Wednesday the one-year-old drew in my less-than-one-week-old study Bible. I left my study for only a moment and came back to a crayon rainbow in Revelation 2. I slammed the Bible shut, not wanting to see the desecration of what had been a pristine page. I bit my tongue and stormed into the garage to transfer a load of laundry.
“Lord,’ I piously complained as I slammed the lid of the washer, ‘ all I want is to be able to study my Bible in peace for a few minutes. These kids are driving me crazy!” It was then that He gently, yet firmly, reminded me of 1 Corinthians 13:2, 4-5, 7.
2And if I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove all mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 4Love is patient, love is kind, and love is not jealous and does not brag and is not arrogant, 5does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered…7bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. (NAS)
I was clinging to the offenses of a week, waking each morning with a growing grudge. I would so much rather be like my Heavenly Father, whose mercies are new every morning. Once again, I cast myself upon his mercy and thankfully receive his forgiveness.
Someday, when confronted by crayon on my couch, I will remember that people are more important than possessions. When my study is interrupted, hopefully I will remember that without love it profits me nothing. My children are blessings from the Lord. I truly treasure them, but it is a deliberate decision to love them the way our Lord loves us. We are their first example of God’s love. It is not easy, but I am reminded of another scripture:
And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will boast about my weakness, that the power of Christ may dwell in me. 2 Corinthians 12:9 (NAS)
I wish I could say that crayon on my couch no longer sets me off, but that would be a bald-faced lie. Having eight children doesn't make sacrificial love any easier than having four children did. I still need to fall back on His grace. I still need to be reminded that "without love, it profits me nothing."
So, once again, I hide this truth in my heart and press on.