It's around midnight last night, everyone's asleep, and I'm sitting at the computer trying to get some work done. As a night owl, this used to be the time when I was most productive. Now it seems it's the only time I can find to get caught up on schoolwork, paperwork, etc. Our days are busy. We don't even really get out much during our school week -- it's just the things at home that keep us busy: school, cooking, cleaning, doing laundry, chasing Oliver.
And so I've been sitting here trying to get ahead in history, reading about the medieval church, trying to remember things I know I've already read but have since forgotten. And then I move on to entering lessons into my Homeschool Tracker program. It was when I got to the geometry lessons that my mind started to wander and think about all the things on my to-do list: the stack of books I need to read (and another stack I'd like to read), the attic that needs to be cleaned out, the thank-you notes that I still need to write, the laundry that is piled up in the basket, and a thousand other things.
I sit here and think about Lillie, who went to bed not feeling well, and I sneak in to check on her. She's sleeping and I stand for just a few seconds watching how peaceful she is compared to how fretful I am inside. I head back to my desk and I'm worrying about all the things I have to do and it begins to snowball. I think about college and graduation, and braces, and Mary Margaret getting her driver's license, and then I start to worry about Oliver's college even though he can't even read yet. I worry that Oliver won't have any friends when he gets older because all of my friends' kids will be in high school or college or even married when he's in grade school. And then I start to worry about having to buy a new air conditioner, even though it's January and our air conditioner isn't even broken. By this time I couldn't go to sleep even if I wanted to because I'm so fretful, thinking about the future and things I can't control.
I take a deep breath and remember the verse I can't live: Do not worry about tomorrow for tomorrow will worry about itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble. And I think about a sermon at our church several weeks ago, "Our Refuge and Strength," and remind myself to listen to it one more time because it hasn't quite sunk in. And then I glance over at my picture of Anne Marie, her eyes looking right at mine, and I remember. I remember God's faithfulness and that God has done the impossible -- He gave me strength to go one more day, and then one more, and then one more when I didn't think I would survive. People said that one day I would see the blessings in Anne Marie's death, but I didn't believe them. Yes, there is definitely heartache, but there is blessing. When I start to get overwhelmed, when I start to worry about the future and my children and the country and all the things I could worry about, I remember that I know that God is my refuge and my strength. He has been my refuge and my strength when my worst nightmare came true. So there is nothing too difficult for God -- I know that.
So I sit and confess my worry and fear. I confess that I take my comfortable middle-class life for granted. My problems at the moment are insignificant when I think about mothers who watch their babies starve. I wonder to myself why I always focus on the hard things instead of thanking God for all the good things. Why do I worry about having time in my day for everything that seems so urgent instead of thanking him for so many good things? I thank him that He loved me enough to send his Son to pay for my sin -- isn't that enough? Why don't I spend time letting that soak into every nook and cranny of my being? Maybe then I wouldn't worry so much.
And then through the baby monitor I hear the rustle of covers and I hear the softest little voice call out, "Mama." It's so soft and gentle I can barely hear it. I go in and Oliver is sitting up in bed with his blankie. "Mama," he says again.
"Hi angel," I say. "Mama's here." And I pick him up and breathe in his Baby Magic smell. I take him into our big bed and curl up with him. He snuggles into me and rubs my arm as he holds onto his blanket. I lie there as he falls back asleep, thanking God for him and his siblings. I repent again of my thankless, fretful heart because even though I've just done that I feel like I need to do it again. Oliver is peaceful and quiet and I start to get sleepy listening to his even breaths. I get up and go back to my computer for just a bit longer. I pray again, asking the Lord to help me -- help me see His gifts and his faithfulness, help me believe His promises and trust Him for everything. Help me to be a wife and mother that reflects Christ instead of one that is frazzled and grumpy. I turn out the lights and check on all the kids one more time and head towards bed, knowing that Oliver will be up bright and early, ready to play as soon as his feet hit the ground. I fall asleep next to Oliver, both of us peaceful. Thank you, Lord, for this life and this family. Thank you.