I was hoping to be sitting at my local coffee and wine bar, sipping on a pinot and writing to my heartâ€™s content. I have looked forward to this afternoon all week, and even now I notice that last Tuesday afternoon from the wine bar was the last time I posted.
I have decided that, with Ruthie in preschool two mornings a week I have plenty of time to run errands with just Thomas, and was planning to dedicate my Tuesday afternoons to writing. I am thrilled with this arrangement as it relieves some of the anxiousness I feel when I canâ€™t find time to write. â€œTuesday is coming!â€ I think to myself. â€œI can hold off until Tuesday.â€
Until Tuesday afternoon arrives, and rather than showing up at my door the babysitter is calling me on the phone. She canâ€™t make it today. School commitments prevail. She apologizes, and we reschedule for tomorrow.
My heart sinks, and suddenly I feel trapped. I canâ€™t leave because the kids are sleeping, and whatâ€™s worse â€“ Iâ€™m out of wine. This was supposed to be MY time, and now Iâ€™m being robbed of it. My mind immediately goes sour and I struggle to avoid crying or screaming into the phone at the sweet teenager I adore.
But it gave me pause to notice how much I allow circumstances to dictate my attitude. I was in a great mood today â€“ productive, cheerful, patient. I enjoyed the time I spent with Ruthie as she doodled on my tablet pc, and then as we snuggled before a nap. But as soon as my hopes of escaping were dashed, my heart went bitter.
Someone recently pointed out that, based on my blog posts, it appears I am unhappy in my role as a mother about 80% of the time. I didnâ€™t really have a rebuttal to that, because I think maybe itâ€™s true. But my unhappiness has little to do with my children. Rather, it is a symptom of a much deeper cancer of discontentment within my heart, a cancer that I feel is spreading throughout my body. I fear that I am so indulged in my discontentment that I will not find my way out until I have missed all the joy of parenting small children.
This is a cancer of the heart that I believe only Christ can heal. For me, discontentment and rage are closely linked, because both are triggered by my desires not immediately being satisfied. I am selfish and impatient.
The normal person in my position might say, â€œDarn. Thatâ€™s a bummer. I was looking forward to getting out, but at least I get to go tomorrow.â€ But I attach way too much importance to my own desires, and do not trust God that he is able to meet my needs. God loves me, and he values my time, my sanity, and my talents. He wants me to be healthy and have time to myself. He is not some trickster god like Anansi, who pulls out the rug from under me.
It is faith, hope, and trust in God that I crave â€“ that I NEED in order to be delivered from this cancer of rage and discontentment. I pray for the restoration of my heart, that I might default to Joy again.
From the dark basement of my home, this is Jen signing off.