- The tide was really high today. A storm was in the forecast, and the dangerously powerful waves proceeded its arrival in a magnificent foreshadowing of force. I had the opportunity to take a walk by myself this morning, along the shore, allowing the high tide to wash upon my feet as I strolled across the wet sand. I absently scanned for seashells, but mostly was just enjoying the quiet, silent other than the sound of the crashing waves and occasional gull’s cry. I enjoyed this rare quiet time. It’s far and few in between with little ones afoot. As I walked I listened, not only to the surf, but to God’s voice around me, within me. I didn’t do much in way of prayerful petition, but rather I simply listened to what He might want to impress in this moment of absolute, glorious silence. I was frankly surprised when I felt like my Lord said to me, “I’m proud of you.” I wasn’t sure what special thing I had done of recent, and quickly pushed away the comment, but again I felt the Holy Spirit impress those words to me, “I’m proud of you.” I was not aware at the time how I might need those words throughout my day.
- Later, after returning from my seaside stroll, I kissed my husband goodbye as he left the condo with the other men for a guy’s day out (we ladies had already had our day). The women set about stuffing goody bags with candy, baking, and other tasks to fulfill plans for seasonal fun, simply because that’s what we women do. After some time of playing inside the children became restless. It was apparent that some time outside might do them well. My three year old had stopped running fever, and although she definitely wasn’t back up to par, I made the decision that some fresh air might do her good. As I was feeling able, I encouraged all the children (nine in all) to accompany me to the beach. In retrospect… I was a little too confident in my abilities, and less cognizant of my limitations. After arriving on the very windy beach, where children would be unable to swim, my baby let me know in her trademark style that she required a nap. She began to fuss, root around, and attempt to jump into the sand. My children feed off each other, so when my three year old saw her sister’s distress, she realized she too required my full attention. She requested water to drink which I had forgotten to bring. This revelation caused a complete meltdown of her already fragile state. Many tears and snot poured into the sand below, while the baby began to scream in earnest. I looked around at the other children, and noticed one was not present. Had she come down with us?! No one seemed to know, or seemed half as concerned as myself. I felt myself teetering on the edge of insanity as my children cried and my hair whipped into my mouth, while I bent to retrieve my cell phone from the sand below. An angry baby foot had kicked it there when I attempted to text the other moms for a head count amidst the absent girl issue. Sadly there’s no time-out for a momma, no matter how the Calgon commercial may beg for one. As I carried my screaming children back towards the condo, my sister-in-law came outside, as if beckoned to spell me by some physic, mommy connection. As I trudged up the steps, and the three year old refused to wash off her feet with indignant tears, I felt as if I might burst. I felt like the end of my rope was there. I was reminded of the high tide, and how if you stepped into the surf too deep, you would be pulled under. Life is like that a lot. It feels like if you take one more step, your feet will be lifted out from underneath you, and you’ll get carried away, never to return.
- In my moment of frustration, feeling like I wanted to scream at my children, and realizing with a wince that I had, I felt like a terrible mom. And I’m wanting to have more!? I thought. I felt like a “can’t hack it, failure,” as if I couldn’t handle even simple parenting on a mundane, routine issue. I felt terrible. Then I remembered God’s words. “I’m proud of you.” I thought back to my morning walk. I had been enthralled by His mighty power displayed in the awesome ocean waves. As I walked, though, my eyes had been drawn to the tiniest seashell sitting on the sand. It was beautiful in its delicate intricacies. I knew this tiny shell, as much as the huge waves, this minuscule shell, it was also His doing. I serve a God of details, who sees every single thing as precious and deserving of His mastery. Often times we can feel as if we don’t quite cut it. We can feel different, small, insignificant in the grand scheme of things, or in our actions, or even our inactions. I am reminded that no matter what I can do or can’t do, how I perform, or how I think I perform, God sees me, and He is proud. He forms my life in great detail, taking pleasure in me, and He is proud. No matter what I can do, or even what I can’t, He sees me, and He is proud. When I think I have failed, whether I have, or even if I haven’t, He sees me, and He is proud.
That is all 🙂