Do not grow weary in doing good, for in due season we will reap if we do not give up.
Early on in my mama-hood I was coming to grips that my firstborn was not a great sleeper. Which sounds so trivial, doesn’t it? But, you see. He was a firstborn and I was in charge and we do schedules, so he needed to be a sleeper. It’s what we type A mamas do. We schedule and keep clean and make little people do what they’re told. And by golly, they need to sleep. In my naivity and lack of experience I fought hard. I tried. I read all the things and browsed all the forums and any day that my non sleeper did exactly what I expected - didn’t sleep - I deemed a bad day. My husband would call home from wherever he was traveling to on any given week and graciously ask “how was your day?” “Ugh. Bad. He didn’t sleep. He cried and ate.” Which, as I am writing this, I am literally laughing out loud.
Eventually there were two little Grimme babies and of course quite naturally, “problems” evolve and seasons change. Maybe it wasn’t the constant crying or lack of a solid schedule, but rather more bickering and fighting; spilled milk and splattered oatmeal by now the third baby that joined our family. Colored dry erase marker on your friends most beautiful chair. Winter coats stuffed in the toilet for the 18th time. Sidenote: What is it with kids and toilets?! Again seasons change and certain things become the norm. Like every child going through a “stuffing things in the toilet phase” and “coloring on every surface other than paper”.
These days the hard is a different type of hard, physically and mentally exhausting. I wear tennis shoes around my house so my back doesn’t hurt. It’s 2 pm and we’ve just now started school for the day. I’ve been wearing the same 3 pairs of stretchy pants on rotation for at least two weeks. I got dressed nicely one day and someone told me how pretty I looked and asked me if I got to shower. <--true story.
Maybe you find yourselves in a new phase of life, a different season of hard that you thought you’d be leaving behind. It’s supposed to get easier, right? Where diapers and sleepless nights and temper tantrums are a thing of the past? But here you are and it’s now the heart to heart conversations, reprooving and correcting on an emotional level that are just draining. Attitudes and eyerolls abound. You are navigating the struggle against technology, revisiting conversations you’ve been having for 10 years now. Dishes and laundry are STILL everywhere. One catastrophe after another: a child gets hurt, someone is lost in the woods, someone swallows a light bulb...all in the span of 50 minutes. <--also true story. And we will all be lucky if anyone gets more than a piece of bread for dinner tonight because I just. Can’t. Even.
The day is nearing an end (does 6pm count as the end?) and we are faced with that nagging question: “How was your day?”
Really, really hard. Exhausting. Hilarious and sweet sometimes, but flat out hard.
I could rattle off the many things that made it a bad day: Harsh words from a family member. Constructive criticism (but criticism none-the-less). A difficult boss. The car broke down (correction: I ran into someone else’s car so well, now it’s broken down). No fruit in your ministry. Children arguing again. Zero motivation from your team. The water heater is busted. Another medical bill. You’re unable to meet the deadlines. Whatever it may be, as hard as it may be, I’m just not sure we were ever created to live and stay stuck in the hardest parts of our days. I wonder how much more productive, how much more fruit, how much more JOY we might have if we tallied those days into the “good - but hard” category.
As I think through the hard that is this week, the challenges coming in this day that awaits (as my now 8 year old non-sleeper stumbles down the hallway waking up the entire neighborhood as he makes his way to the kitchen at the unacceptable time of 6:45am which is approximately 15 minutes before the standing 8 year rule of 7am wake up time) awaits the reminder that hard days are indicative of the reality that this isn’t our forever home. Each season carries a new weight and responsibility that’s different than the last, yet still hard in its own way. Hard days means we’re sowing and reaping into better character, healthier lifestyle, less self centeredness. This not-forever-home of ours isn’t intended to be BAD. Though hard, hard days are always opportunity for the Lord to show up and provide - and that, that I can say is good.
So today, as you head out into the corporate world or hang in your pajamas wiping snot all day - let’s shift our focus and our perspective to the recognition that hard days ≠ bad days. Let’s embrace an opportunity to flex our muscles and dig in a little deeper, or strip ourselves of the pride that’s clouding our purpose. The task the Lord has set before us can have eternal value, which means it can often be hard. So, so hard. But He hasn’t left us alone and it doesn’t have to be bad.
Say no to the bad, and embrace the hard. Let the joy of the Lord be your strength today, loved ones!
**Also, as an encouragement to you mamas out there … God has softened my type-a-ness. Chalk it up to getting older or the 3 precious, dirty, unorganized little boys He’s graced me with… Messes don’t scare me anymore and neither do kiddos awake in the night. He’s brought me to a place to expect and accept the interruptions, and find Him in the midst of it all. Which is just so much sweeter than letting Him try and make His way into my perceived grip on things.