Day 21 and 22: stuffed emotions and stashed sweet potatoes

Apparently some people think from reading these blog posts this month that I “have it all together”. This really surprises me because I thought I did a pretty good job of portraying how un-together I really have it. Just in case you are under the slightly crazy assumption that I am anything other than a big mess patched together and sustained by a gracious God (and lots of peanut butter), let me give you a glimpse at my day yesterday. I had mentioned that Day 20 had been a less than stellar day. I really don’t like being vague because I know that sounds super dramatic and obnoxious, but the stuff that happened on Day 20 is really not my story to tell. Let’s suffice to to say the situation really, really sucks and it doesn’t seem to be getting less sucky any time. It was one of those situations when nothing changes but it seems as though everything changes. I am sure everyone can relate to that in some way. Anyway, so Day 20=craptastic. In true unhealthy, denial fashion I stuffed my emotions from Day 20 down inside along with lots of other emotions that had been stewing in there for a while and I went to bed.

Then Day 21 dawned. I got up to go run errands before Peter went in to work, only to get pulled over by a friendly neighborhood police lady on the way into Target. Apparently there was an unknown glitch in our insurance and we had previously lost coverage for 8 days, unbeknownst to us. She was really gracious with the misunderstanding but I still got two tickets and was made to go park in the Target parking lot until someone could come get me, take me to the DMV and I could get it all sorted out. Then three cop cars sat and had a coffee clutch while they kept an eye on me to make sure I didn’t make a break for it. Apparently Irondequoit police officers have nothing better to do than sit on a minivan containing one mom with bed head. I tried to stuff the emotions from the tickets and the insurance and the cop car escort inside along with everything else, but my stuff-o-meter told me it was all full. And then it proceeded to explode and spew-everywhere. I sat in the Target parking lot in my virtually impounded car and sobbed. I didn’t care that the guy with a fedora, trench coat and a pretend parrot on his shoulder riding in on a bicycle looked at me as if I was crazy. I just spewed. It all came out. Months worth of concern and pain over family issues and family member’s health issues, months worth of stress and anger about Peter’s paycheck issues, months worth of frustration with my own health issues, it came pouring out. And it didn’t stop there. I called Peter on the phone to tell him what was going on and I yelled at him, even though none of this was his fault. I came home and I was impatient with my kids, so much so that my four year old said to me “Mommy, I am sorry you are mad. I love you and the love that I love you with will never, ever stop. I will love you no matter what, even if you are mad.” Seriously?! Seriously. But it didn’t stop there. Later that afternoon I literally got physically sick to my stomach from stress and horrible processing of emotions.

So what is my point in over-sharing all this? Well, for one, no one ever please think I “have it all together” ever again. Few things could be further from the truth. As I sat in the Target parking lot spewing I ended up going online to find this article from Lysa TerKheurst. It was just the gentle chide I needed at the moment. I sat there trying to find things to be thankful for, of which I have many. I expressed thanks and was able to temporarily calm down, only to begin spewing again later, as I mentioned before. So I guess the second thing I want to express in all this is what I really have to be thankful for on Day 21, and every day: Grace. God’s infinite grace and mercy is new every morning, and then again in the afternoon. I need it, desperately, as much as I need air to breathe. I needed it for my eternal salvation and I need it for my daily sustenance. I am so thankful that God;s grace is abundant and free. I am thankful that he showers it on me whenever I need it and some times even when I don’t want to admit I do. Oh God, thank you for your forgiving Grace. I mess up so often. Thank you for your sustaining grace, because without it I could not go on. Thank you for the trials in this life that bring me closer to you, because they are grace as well.

I am thankful for grace, undeserved favor, from my great God. And I am thankful for the grace given to me by other people. I am thankful that Peter deals with me graciously when I spew on him, that my mom deals with me graciously when I call her and she can’t understand a word I am spewing through the tears, that my four year old baby will love me even when I am mad. I am thankful for the redemption and freedom that come from grace. Because I am really, really so un-together some times.

Day 22 has started out with my stuff-o-meter feeling a little less full, but the down side is as I look around my house I see a gigantic mess that kind of ironically reflects my day yesterday. I seriously don’t think there is a room in my house that is presentable right now. There are enough Lego duplos under the couch to build the Tower of Babel, Braxton has a new habit of stashing food around the house “for later” (because apparently I don’t feed him enough) so this morning I stumbled up on a stash of raisins and sweet potatoes in the playhouse, I haven’t put laundry away in so long that Hayleigh literally has more clothes in clothes baskets and piles than in her closet, and I forgot to run the dishwasher last night so I had to wash a spoon and bowl so I could even eat breakfast.  But I am choosing to be thankful for the mess today. The mess tells me a few things. One: people are living here, really living here. My kids are comfortable and happy (although apparently paranoid about where their next snack comes from) and our house expresses that. Peter and I are free to air our dirty laundry (literally and figuratively) here. I love a house that looks lived in, in the physical and emotional sense. So today, I am thankful for the mess. Now I fully intend to spend a good portion of the day cleaning so that we don’t have to start wearing hazmat suits and hang crime scene/caution tape. But I want to try to not be overwhelmed by the mess, and be thankful for what it represents. I am partially claiming this as my Day 22 thanks so that I can try to convince myself I really am thankful for the mess and also partially because I am hoping that there is the possibility that if I say I am thankful for it no one will expect me to clean it all up. Cleaning isn’t fun when all you want to do is eat lots of peanut butter, ya know? But today I am going to stop stuffing emotions. I am going to clean up the mess of our house and the mess of my emotions that spewed yesterday. I am going to talk to my God about the mess, both in my heart and and my house. And I am going to be thankful, thankful for what all the mess represents: people really living and being and relying daily on grace.
Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed,
for his compassions never fail.
 They are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
Lamentations 3:22-23

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