I was in bed at 8:30 pm with my kindle. My alarm was set for 5:00 am (along with the coffee pot). My computer and everything I needed for the morning was downstairs. I was ready for tomorrow.
I love to write. It’s my way of organizing my thoughts, my way of making sense of things, my way of worship and personal growth, and hopefully a way to encourage others. My husband and I discussed making time for me to do just that, uninterrupted, and I was really looking forward to it.
And then at 2:30 am, sweet baby James woke up with a fever and never fully went back to sleep. Which meant I never went back to sleep. Suddenly, all my preparation for my early morning writing session was out the window. I was now going to have to figure out how to get sleep and parent our 4 little ones, including a sick baby, with very little sleep. My time dedicated to writing was quickly replaced with begging and pleading to God for energy and strength for the day and wellness for my family.
These are the times I just want to pull the covers over my head and not participate in the day. I struggle so much between the all or nothing. I either strive for a great day, rhythm, and just loving and enjoying my family, or I have days like this when I want to put the kids in front of a screen in their jammies all day, let them destroy the house and eat whatever they want until I can declare early bedtime at 6pm. I know I need to allow rest and grace, but too much of no rhythm triggers bad moods for me and my kids. Plans are good, routines are good, but keeping those when I hit a snag has me repeating “Jesus, take the wheel” All. Day. Long.
Sometimes the best laid plans fail. Sometimes it’s because of our own doing, sometimes it’s because of others or external circumstances. But I know one thing, life’s hiccups aren’t a surprise to God.
What if our messed up plans are actually God trying to get our attention? Maybe when our plans are shifted or pulled right out from under us, it’s God’s way of pushing us to exercise our trust muscles. In those situations, we have no choice but to look and really search for Him.
“Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.” Proverbs 19:21
Having kids has humbled me so much. They’re so unpredictable, always surprising me and always stretching me to grow, even through sleepless nights when my mind just doesn’t want to work the way it’s supposed to. Just when I think I have things figured out or a good plan in place, something changes and I need to adapt. Thankfully I’m not alone, and I’m continually reminded of Gods grace and mercy, everyday, through life’s peaks and valleys.
What about you? Do you have trouble adapting to unforeseen changes? Are you all or nothing when it comes to routines like I am? Was there a time when you really felt forced to trust in Gods strength over your own?
I’m a sucker for newness; I love a fresh start, new possibilities and opportunities. I realize that not everyone operates that way, Charlie and Faith, in particular, are much more thoughtful and prefer advance warning when something is new and then ample time to adapt. I have a hard time remembering that sometimes. I’ll have a day when I wake up, rearrange all of the furniture in the house, go some place we’ve never been, and then make dinner using all completely new foods and wonder why they are so uneasy. Meanwhile, June and I are in “what’s next” mode. It’s so great that God made us different because their hesitancy when something is new slows me down when it’s necessary and my fast paced, always looking for the next thing pushes them out of their comfort zone a little. Charles…well, he just goes with the flow no matter what we are doing with very little complaining (unless I’m cooking dinner of course, he saves all of his complaining for then). I just love that child.
I think everyone can appreciate the newness of the New Year and want to set goals for themselves. I recently heard somewhere to not set New Years resolutions to FIX something because you’ll almost always fail- to set a goal, and the habits will follow. I think of things I want to do or goals to work toward all of the time, but if I write it down and publish it for the entire world to read, it has to happen right? So here are a couple of my goals for the coming year and some of the habits associated with it.
1. Goal: Vary my personal knowledge
I haven’t always loved to read, in fact, I absolutely dreaded it in school. I was queen of cliff notes for book reports. I never read for pleasure until college, when I had some health issues so I had to take a semester off and somehow I started picking up books for fun. Since then, I’ve read a portion of a book, probably almost every day and crave it. I have complete ADD when it comes to it (which I need to work on) because I’m constantly reading at least 5-6 books at a time. I can’t get enough of it and want to encourage our kids to love books as well, which I believe starts with the parents reading.
What I’ve found though is that I am what I consume. If I’m reading all about functional medicine, diet and autoimmune diseases, that’s all I’m talking about (sorry guys, been a bit consumed lately about Faith’s diagnosis). If I’m digging into the Bible and reading about living Biblically, I’m more positive and encouraged to live more like Jesus. If I’m reading about living in the woods with limited contact with actual humans, I might start feeling a little depressed and sorry for myself. That’s the power of reading and stories, they really affect you as you invest yourself in them, which is amazing, but also important to be mindful of.
For that reason I want to ensure I’m varying what I’m reading and to do that I want to start purchasing a new book every month for myself, different books, novels, short stories, non fiction -all different subjects and authors, pushing myself out of my reading comfort zone. We go to the library weekly and I’m always putting books I want to read on hold, but there’s something to be said about actually owning a book for yourself. I see the importance for the girls when they get a book they get to keep “forever and ever”. They are in awe that they don’t have to return it to the library and show it to everyone who enters our house.
Personally, there will be times that I’ll come across a book I want to read and the library either doesn’t have it or there’s a long waiting list so I just shrug it off and forget about it. So, if I’m in the habit of purchasing a book every month, I’m able to gift myself a new book when I’m actually interested in it and I get to read it over and over (and write and highlight and do whatever I please) gaining new perspective and knowledge each time I, or anyone in the family, pick it up.
2. Establish a Daily Routine
I’ve read and heard from multiple sources that consistency and routine is essential for young kids. I’d argue that it’s also essential for adults, but this past month has put us in survival/Christmas/birthday/get through the day with as little crying as possible (for everyone) mode. With everything going on, routine has been thrown out for the most part. I guess that’s normal around the holidays, but I’m ready to establish a routine again even though part of me loves the freedom. It will look a little different than in the past since we are home much more than before and less mobile because of Faith’s condition, and I feel like I run a restaurant cooking all day every day trying to battle this disease with diet (more details on that to come). This has been sort of a blessing for us because we needed to slow down as a family, spend more time at home, but with that, we still need structure to our day or the girls will ask if it’s time for lunch at 9:30 am and ask to watch TV all day, and I’ll just keep losing my patience with the constant fits they throw every time I tell them no.
Planning the days and weeks also prevents me from getting to the end of the month thinking “oh whoops, all those homeschool activities I wanted to do this month have to be done this week!” I’m learning to give myself a lot of grace in this area, especially recently, but I still want to be intentional with our time together, even if it just means an established reading time every day.
I have other long term goals that I’d like to work toward but these are my immediate habits I’d like to adapt, I’d love to hear some of yours! Also, are you a sucker for change like me or prefer consistency?