Nearly two years ago, my friend Theresa gave me this StoryPeople print when I was in her wedding. The timing & wisdom were perfect; I was at the tail end of my maternity leave and lamenting the fact that I would soon be returning to work. The print reads, “Everything changed the day she figured out there was exactly enough time for the important things in her life.”
Though I can now look back on that time and smile at all of my new-mommy anxieties, at the time it was no laughing matter. I was exhausted, frustrated, and overwhelmed. It wasn’t fair that EVERYONE else’s baby slept through the night at 6 weeks except mine (yeah, right!). NOBODY else had to go to work except me. NOBODY else had to sit in horrific traffic for 75 minutes (each way!) every day. EVERYONE else had an easy life, and I was just struggling to get my weary self out of bed at 5:00 am so I could feed my little one before heading off to work. NOBODY else had to spend their precious evening hours pumping milk, cleaning & prepping the next day’s bottles, and doing housework. Suffice it to say, my lousy attitude really sucked a whole lot of joy out of life in our house.
One day I took this print in to work, put it on my office wall, and looked at it every day. I clung to it as a promise during those early months. I would have exactly enough time! Oh, Lord, please make it be so…
Slowly, my attitude began to change. I began to look at things through a more realistic lens, and started to make choices to take the pressure off of myself. The pursuit of perfection, I realized, was driving me crazy. And the pursuit of a life I wasn’t designed for was ruining the life I had been given.
I had spent so much time in self-pity that I couldn’t quit my job and stay home, I failed to realize that I didn’t want to quit my job and stay home. Had God given me the choice, I would have made the wrong one for my family; I now realize that He took away that option to protect my future.
While it took awhile to come to terms with it (and not feel like a terrible mother!), I was finally able to accept that I was not gifted to be a stay-at-home mom. I don’t have the creativity, discipline, and patience that it requires. God has instead gifted me with the ability to balance work & family and take pride in what I accomplish, both in my career and in my home.
Now, I look at the print on my wall and it serves as a reminder. A reminder of God’s goodness to my me & my family, and His perfect provision. His provision is not just emotional, spiritual, or financial, but He has provided time for our family that is beyond my understanding.
Never have we gone without dinner because I didn’t have time to cook. Never have we gone without clothes because the laundry didn’t get done. I got to work late on occasion, but I still have a job. I leave the office promptly at 4:00, and never has my work gone undone or have I brought it home with me. And even beyond the provision of those basics, God has still given us extra relaxation & restoration time, and time for a family dinner every night. God has provided us with exactly enough time as we have needed. And He even gave us time for a few camping trips & family vacations last year!
For me, this beautiful reminder on my wall speaks the truth: Everything changed the day she realized there was exactly enough time for the important things in her life.
As for those things that aren’t important? That is probably a post for another day, but I had to really reflect & figure out what those things are…and let them go!