“These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.” – John 15:11
There are many times I find myself either going back to the past when Audrey was in our home, or looking ahead to the future when my arms are no longer empty, but instead filled with a bouncy baby boy. It is when I find myself “stuck” in the middle….. unable to look anywheres but right now, those are the time I feel the saddest.
I remember one summer night, we had the three girls packed up to head camping. We had been driving for about an hour and I knew the girls were hungry and Audrey would soon need to eat. We pulled off at an exit and stopped at a restaurant to avoid a fast food meal. My great idea quickly turned into an awful one as the girls who had been cooped up were wild. Instead of sitting in a restaurant they just wanted to stretch their legs and oh boy…. did they try. As the driving motion of the car came to a halt, Audrey’s eyes immediately opened and her hunger cry continued to get louder and louder by the time we had been seated.
The kids never did eat well (nor me for that matter), Audrey pooped through her clothes all the way up to her neck, and as the situations kept arising, my frustration only intensified. What was suppose to be a quick bite to eat… turned into an hour of complete chaos. I couldn’t wait to get out of the restaurant. I couldn’t wait for that supper to be over. I kept telling myself if I could just get through it, then I could be relaxed again.
After getting the girls resettled into their carseats and back on the road, I vowed to myself never again. Never again would I put myself through the stress or embarrassment of being the mom with the “wild” children in the middle of the restaurant.
But oh I did, It wasn’t too long before I was back at it again. There were some peaceful dinners out, but….. there were some not so great ones as well. Although I can admit, none as crazy as that summer evening. The thing is, that little stop…..that time I grew frustrated at myself and at my children has become one of my fondest memories of all of our time together. When I look back at that evening full of trying to half bathe a newborn in a restaurant sink, and attempting to one handedly tame my monkey of a toddler who was trying to escape from her highchair, I can’t help but see nothing but joy. I can’t help but smile. I can’t help but giggle. I cant help but thank God for that memory, that moment that wasn’t made on my timing….but on his.Oh how I wish I could have found the joy in it then.
Why do we do that? When we are suppose to find the joy in every moment, every situation, then why is it we constantly live in the mindframe ” well once we just get through this, or do that, or the house is clean…. that then we can enjoy our kids, enjoy our life….then we can rest in him. I am so guilty of living in the everything and everyone can wait mantra. Wait until my time, wait until things are done, wait until I am ready to take time to do it. This often includes making God wait as well. Putting him on the back burner until I need to haul him out for comfort, help, or saving.
I often forget that the past, while filled with many memories is just that, the past. I cannot spend my life living in the no more or the no longer. I also am learning that the future I am looking too for joy may not be just so. If I have learned anything this year, it is that my plan for my life is not what often occurs, and by choosing to go and live there in order to be happy…… I am again basing my happiness off of human events… off of my plans….. and not on his.
This year… as Christmas is only days away I have found myself again thinking if I can just make it through this first Christmas then I will be okay. The truth is, I am going to be okay. I am going to find joy in laughing with my husband as he attempts to wrangle the hidden gifts out of our attic, at the excitement of watching my children open their presents, and in spending time with my family. In fact, I found joy this morning as my girls giggled at each other in our oversized chair. Even though there is so much joy in my past, and in my future, I also am missing it right here…. right now….. in my present. Remember to find yours in the busy days ahead.