“Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.” Proverbs 19: 21
There is so much to be thankful for. I mean, there is the usual…great husband, healthy children, our house, our food, our family. I could rattle off a list and fill a page quite easily. I’ve so enjoyed reading people’s face book posts this month, sneaking a peek at what make their hearts thankful. This past Thanksgiving weekend was a little different for us. I really processed how incredibly blessed we are to live in an environment where it becomes easy to grumble. And I really became thankful that God’s ways prevail over our grumbling hearts. Let me explain.
We have been fortunate enough to have had my husband home for 4 whole days, which is such a treat! Of course, as soon as he woke up Thanksgiving morning, I wanted to have a chat about what it is we need and want to accomplish during his time off. He’s a saint for putting up with me…really.
The weather was beautiful, so we took advantage of it. He changed the oil in both of our vans and I did some yard clean up. I was planning to come in and put my pie in the oven to take to Thanksgiving dinner. When I walked in, I was missing two ingredients. Off my dear husband went to the grocery store…on Thanksgiving. That set us back some, but no biggie. I assembled my pie, placed it in the oven and we proceeded to slowly get the kids (and ourselves) ready to enjoy the holiday with our family, when the power went out. That sent us back a little more. It shouldn’t be such a big deal, but finding clothes, matching socks, shoes, and coats in the dark for 4 busy little bodies is not an easy task! Finally, we climbed into the van and were on our way to a wonderful Thanksgiving dinner.
Confession time: I had a headache all day and was begging my husband to forego the changing of the oil until a later day. He did not give in. As I cleaned up the yard, my new crawler crawled right into a puddle and started eating leaves (she got really fast, really quickly!) I became annoyed that it took so long to get the pie ingredients I needed, because my pie making time was coming down to the wire! As a result of my annoyance, our search for clothes in the dark was not done with smiles and joy : )
The next day we planned to deck the halls and trim the tree. However, we didn’t anticipate the baby’s new fever and the return of my 2-year-old’s high fever. With lots of snuggles, cuddles, and steady work, the entire day was spent cleaning, moving furniture, and taking out decorations. Once the kids were in bed for the night, we decided to decorate and let them wake up to a beautiful tree in the morning. It was almost like a date night in…with cocoa and a Christmas movie and much decking to do! My husband assembled our artificial, pre-lit tree to find that most of the lighting was out…for the second year in a row. Thank goodness we invested in one of those voltage detectors last year because that saved the day…eventually. While my voltage hero was at work, I arranged and hung all the other decorations. Finally, at about midnight, everything was done besides the tree. We decided to fluff it and be done for the night. So much for our plan to surprise the boys! Oh well…at 1 a.m., after having 2 sick kids, we were done.
Confession time #2: I was bothered that I was stuck rocking both sick children. I love my kids, but I just hoping one would want daddy. By noon, I was covered in snot and spit and just wanted a shower. I didn’t get that shower until 8:30. I emerged exhausted, only to hear my husband’s plan to stay up late and decorate. Because I appreciated that he wanted to make this a special night, I relented. However, once we reached the roadblock of the unlit pre-lit tree, I got pretty mad. We still talked and laughed…after I adjusted my heart attitude.
The next morning, we decided to put yet another Christmas movie in, finish the tree and clean up. How long would that really take? Well, pre-kid time is different than post-kid time we have been learning. What should have taken an hour took about 4. There were still 2 fevering kids, breakfast to make and clean up, diaper changes, spills, tantrums. The list goes on. By lunchtime, the tree was done! Phew. Now, my plan was to clean up, make a nice healthy dinner and enjoy a relaxing evening. I cleaned up during nap time and started my dinner prep. The two older boys took a short rest and asked to play outside in the small dusting of snow that fell the night before. Still in our pajamas, we watched our two boys throw snowballs as the Christmas music played. We got cocoa ready for them when they came in and commented at how wonderful the day had become…then it all changed.
Within the next hour, we had three fevers, one of which was really high. Only my oldest ate dinner that night, the other three were not feeling good. Then it started. One threw up. Within an hour, we had another one throwing up. We were outnumbered. Suddenly, our nice, quiet night at the end of a crazy, busy holiday weekend had been disrupted. And then the volcano of my heart that had been holding in all the grumbling and complaining all weekend erupted into a steady stream of tears. On and off, for no particular reason besides exhaustion, I cried.
How ridiculous I was! I cried because of my expectations. I cried because I didn’t accomplish all I wanted to. I cried because my heart was not positioned in the right place, ready to be adaptable to what lay ahead of me.
Somehow, we survived last night. I rocked 2 at a time while my husband made the trip to the bathroom with our 4 year old. Our oldest colored pictures for his brothers and sister like the good, compassionate one he is! Somehow, there was still some peace. It wasn’t fun, it was hard to deal with, but we did it together.
As I write today, I wish I had positioned my heart in such a way to receive what He had planned for us this weekend instead of making my own plans, and becoming disappointed when my plans failed. He knows best. He is safe to trust and to place in control. And while it is wise to plan, we must go forward with the reality that He holds our schedule and our day in His hands. We must be flexible and adaptable.
There were stressful moments in the last 4 days, but as we sat and reflected on the whirlwind of the last 4 days, we became thankful for the time spent together. I’m not thankful for fevers, sick kids, snotty noses, congested coughs, temper tantrums, fussiness, or restless nights. But I am thankful that through all of this, He is still good and makes everything new in His time. I am thankful for comfort we can bring to our little ones during this time. I am thankful for Tylenol and a bathtub, with clean running water, to cool body temperatures. I’m thankful for tissues and Lysol. I’m thankful for the convenience of running to a store when we are in need of something. I’m thankful for my big comfy rocking chair where all 4 of my precious ones can pile on top of me. I’m thankful for the luxury of watching a movie together in our warm home. I’m thankful for my husband who endlessly serves all of us, with pure, complete joy in his heart. I’m thankful that God orders our to-do list and allows us to accomplish it all, in His time with His grace. I’m thankful that I’m sitting in my beautiful living room, having special memories of Thanksgiving weekend when the boys made their first snowballs of the season, my 2 year old had his first hot cocoa, and my little girl took off crawling exploring the world around her. I am thankful for precious time just with my husband, working side by side, which is what we do best. I am thankful that we are so blessed, that we don’t realize we take all these little things for granted every day. I’m thankful that He loves perfectly, constantly teaching my heart, even in times of grumbling.