The daily grind...I mean the daily gratitude
So to continue with my complete honesty, I really have felt that in these six and a half years as a mother (minus the two when I worked part time), I was being made to sacrifice my career for my kids. Instead of enjoying what I had in front of me, I was looking to what I was missing out on as a teacher, and longing for the day when I could somehow return to the classroom. I was only concerned about my teaching gifts that God gave me, and not my mothering gifts.
But Chapter 3 helped me to view my situation differently. The first page stated, “Some women stumble because they try to hop over this stepping-stone in their rush to pursue a more magnificent, profound purpose…Their daily roles are such an arduous, unapplauded battle that they just want to shake their first and shout to the heavens: “Enough! I want to do the fun, rewarding stuff—now!” They may be too worn out to see that today’s pressing roles are already brimming with a purpose that brings glory to their Creator. They don’t realize that their day-in, day-out efforts are extremely precious to the heart of God” (p. 45).
And that is exactly what I was thinking every day I dragged myself out of bed to get my kids breakfast, to wipe the table for the 4th time that day, to pick up their toys, yet again. These boring tasks just consumed me (and this is WITH having a nanny and a cleaning service, so I am quite aware of how easy I really do have it compared to others). And I could think nothing but what I could be doing instead in the classroom!
The chapter goes on to say. “It is not God’s plan for you to spend today chasing after your future one thing when your many things are right in front of you. You were born to make a Christlike difference in hundreds of ordinary ways, not to ignore or avoid the present opportunities while looking for a bigger, more noticeable project” (p. 47).
This was so important for me to read and understand. I often think of my friends who “do it all”…awesome career, keeping the house, raising kids ,etc. and wonder why I can’t be more like that. I would be angry with myself, angry with my circumstance, and well, just plain angry about everything…despite the beautiful opportunities to mother my children sitting right in front of me.
Now this is not to say that I’m just giving up on returning to the classroom. Oh no! I know that God gave me that talent and purpose to touch the lives of those crazy teenagers in our world today (and the book is not about telling women they should stay at home….the author herself worked all through her life, even with young children…I’m just applying the words to my circumstance). And when all this cancer stuff is done, I will pursue my teaching career. But I don’t have to be bitter about my choice to stay at home. It is my choice…and one that I am embracing and learning to enjoy.
The author continues: “Once we begin to appreciate the treasure of today’s roles, we begin to experience the stress-reducing benefits of peace and rest. Once we believe that God values our today, we can stop looking for the greener pastures of more grandiose or broad-reach assignments. We can let go of all the things people say we should be doing. We can rest in the knowledge that every day (yes, every task) is locked safely in God’s heart. We can hold on to the dreams God has given us about the future without the pressure of having to make them happen right this second!” (p. 48-49).
Besides waking up with a more positive attitude, wiping that table with pride, heating up that oatmeal with a smile, making that lunch without groaning, I’m also trying to seize opportunities to do more with my kids. Okay, I’ve always done things with my kids…but really try to ENJOY doing things with them.
So the other day, when I saw some marshmallows in the aisle of the grocery store, I thought that it would be fun to make some Rice Krispie treats with the kids. Before, I would “dread” making anything with the kids. They’d argue and fight over who would get to add the ingredients, who would get to work the mixer, who would get to taste it. Seriously, it would drive me CRAZY, and I just wanted them out of my way so that I could finish what I was doing in peace. But my newfound attitude led me to embrace this “cooking opportunity” with my kids. Now it is no secret that I am no Julia Child, or Emeril Lagassi, or Rachel Ray…or whoever the latest and greatest chef-of-the-day is. But Rice Krispie treats….how simple can that be!?! We were going to make them as a family…and it was going to be fun!
And it turned out to be fun. I gave each of the kids a tablespoon of butter for them to unwrap and add to the bowl, handed them each a measuring cup for them to add marshmallows and the cereal to the bowl, and “cooking” we did. Fun we all had…and I didn’t even have to yell or get mad!
Except, despite the microwave directions that I followed directly from the Kellogg’s website, this very simple treat, turned out disastrous. Somehow the marshmallow/butter mixture got too hard…there was too much cereal to mix in, and nothing mixed together right. I couldn’t even really press it into the pan as described in the recipe. What cereal did manage to adhere to the marshmallow mixture turned out hard as a rock.
I ended up making the stovetop version by myself while Cameron played Lego StarWars with his dad, as Max and Ella watched a movie on TV. Just to be sure, I added extra marshmallows and butter, and this version turned out much better!
But the point was, the kids and I had fun.
My next idea in embracing God’s plan for the moment….Christmas baking.
Should be interesting!