I'm sitting in the near darkness in my completely quiet home. I cherish the rare quiet moments. So much so, that I gluttonously drink them in until the wee hours of the night on more occasions than is good for me. I know many mothers can relate to this: I can feel so tired throughout the day, but when the night comes and everyone is asleep - I can think. And breathe. And not talk. And get things done. And think.
And sometimes blog, which is what I am choosing on this night.
Currently in my car, there are several maintenance lights glowing loudly at me as I drive. I need to add air to my tires and get an oil change. I'm also one of those people that regularly drives my tank of gas until the fuel light is on, and then I try to push it a while longer, because who wants to go to the gas station more often than they have to? (as a side note, and only by God's unexplained grace and mercy in my life, I have never run out of gas)
One thing I hate about the maintenance messages is that they cloud the regular dash messages that I enjoy knowing. What is the temperature in the car set to? How many miles do I have left on this tank of gas? I'll only ever know when I get an oil change and reset it all. Until then, the car just keeps telling me that I should stop what I am doing and take care of it.
You may have realized where this blog post was headed, and I'm making my way there now. I feel like we are still trying to read the "check engine" lights in our family. Our life moves at a blistering pace, both internally and externally driven. As is true in many families, we are responsible for a lot of moving parts and people. John says it like this - "something is always broken, whether it be parts or people." This feels true both at work and at home, and sometimes, it is a bit suffocating.
We're coming off of a busy holiday season. Taking on the mall location has shifted our rhythms around in ways that we are still discovering and adjusting to. Our children are at some difficult stages, and as much as I wish this weren't the case, we don't always enjoy our family time. Often, it is challenging. We live in the constant tension of "DON'T WISH AWAY ANY PRECIOUS MOMENTS" and "DEAR GOD, THIS IS SO HARD." I felt those should be in all caps, because their trueness is manifest in our lives.
We're searching for the rainbow unicorn of balance, and I've realized that is indeed a myth. At least, it's not exactly what God has for us, and it's not what I thought it would look like. In my head, I thought we could serve him and live our happy little lives and be blessed and content and all that jazz. Except that he actually makes it pretty clear that our lives will involve suffering and heartache and longing. He calls us to lose our lives and take up our cross and deny ourselves. I suck at each of those. I crave comfort and ease like I crave oxygen. My sin nature is ever present and at war with the Holy Spirit living inside of me.
Thankfully, God does know what we need even more than we do. We need more of him and his presence and his love for the world around us. He does call us to be still and rest in him. And I think he does give us check engine lights to know when we need to do that.
So, the past couple of weeks, we've been trying to do some regular maintenance around here and stay pretty low-key. We're trying to recharge and reconnect and rediscover the whys of what we are doing in life. There have definitely been highs and lows inside of this process as is standard operating procedure round these parts. Also, we did a full-on, 2000 piece puzzle in the span of a few days.
I'm hoping and praying that God continues to reveal his plans for us to us, and that we will have the wisdom to listen and act accordingly. Or not act, if that's what's best.