Me, without makeup, barely combed hair and wearing really old clothes.
I don’t know at exactly what point the change happened, but several years ago I decided that Saturday was going to be our family day of rest and that I was going to do my best to protect that day as such. I wasn’t going to plan anything that wasn’t fun and we weren’t going to run around doing a lot of things we didn’t want to do.
You see, Saturdays use to be something very different for us as a family. Saturday was the do all the errands you can, soccer games, shopping, and any household projects that needed to be done day. We would all be working hard all week on our school activities, extracurriculars and work and would just push it further on Saturday. I’m not sure why. Some Puritan work ethic? Peer pressure because everyone else around us seemed to be doing amazing things? Internal pressure because we wanted to do amazing things?
I don’t know. But it seemed that it made us more tired and cranky and somehow we got out of touch with each other and what we really wanted. So I just stopped all that nonsense and said – let’s make this our day of rest because Sunday is all full of church stuff and socializing. I started sprinkling errands during the week when I was going out anyway. And letting go of my perfectionist tendencies to slow down and listen and be.
And our Saturdays have become a reflection of what a hot mess I have become. Today, I woke up to two of my kids fighting – Grace wanted Peter to help her clean out the car. This normally would be so anti-day of rest that it’s not funny, but you’d have to know my Gracie girl. She takes great joy in cleaning and organizing things – as long as I am not telling her to do it. She likes to make things look pretty.
I was still so tired from our long week that I yelled at them from my bed and attempted to get them to come upstairs so I could see what was going on. It took a little bit for both of them to straggle up, but they did. They were both at fault, so I took Grace’s phone away and Peter’s screen time until they worked together doing a couple of chores – discipline is, unfortunately, still a thing on the day of rest.
In some pre-caffeine, half awake state, I gave them this lecture about how disappointed I was that they had gotten physical with each other and that they knew better. I hugged both of them and said that I loved them, then asked them to hug each other. They looked at me like I was crazy, but they know that I am crazy, so they relented. They hugged each other quickly and I told them to hug for longer or I would make them walk around all day hugging each other. This turned into a hilarious comedy bit about how they would eat and go to the bathroom and watch a movie. I laughed so hard I cried.
I did actually take a shower and get dressed, which doesn’t always happen on the day of rest, but we had decided to go out of the house today. We spent a little time watching Grey’s Anatomy and eating lunch, and then Grace and I decided to go out and get supplies for the bath bombs we were going to make. We still need citric acid – oh cruel fate! But I am determined to get some online this week to make our crafting dreams come true and to save us from our Lush addiction – a tiny bit anyway.
Then we went to pick up some of Grace’s friends and we all went to see God’s Not Dead 2 together. I am writing this after dropping her friends back off at their houses and after my kids are in bed. Well, my middle daughter may still be snap chatting – oh teenagers!
There was a scene in the movie that really hit me. Melissa Joan Hart’s character was sure that she was going to lose her livelihood and everything she had with no hope that she could ever work in her chosen profession again and she cried out to God to help her.
I can’t tell you how many times I have been in that place, especially as a single mom. There was one particularly dark time about five years ago when I found out that my second husband was lying and cheating on me with several women and had become physically abusive, as well. He promptly emptied out our joint bank accounts when I asked for a divorce. I was a stay-at-home mom with four kids, including our son who was a little over a year old.
I know I was in shock for a little while. I was blessed with family support at that time, but it was a low time for me that slowly unravelled into a nightmare when he decided to team up legally with my first ex. I’ll write about the nightmare that created for my kids at a later date.
During that time, I had difficulty getting a job where I had always had multiple offers because of my skill set before. My self-esteem had taken a major blow already and this made it even worse. I cried out to God and said – “Please God help me take care of my family.” And he brought angels in the shape of my family, friends and strangers who helped me along the way. Miracles happened. I mean – someone bought me a car because my was old and run down! I had people help with food and rent and a safe place for all of us to stay. It was so hard for me to accept these gifts. I was humbled and grateful and knew grace.
Five years later, I have climbed from that place through the power of grace. And I am still a hot mess.
My house is a mess most of the time and – just forget about the car – it’s like we have a science experiment going on in there most of the time. I rely on my phone and my kids to tell me where to go because my memory is shot from lack of sleep. I am horrible at names for the same reason. I wear clothes that are sometimes decades old because I haven’t had time to shop for myself in a while and selfishly because I have worn them down to a point of amazing comfort. We really don’t have a lot of meals together as a family, it’s more like we snack together as a family. And the snacks are sometimes warm. We do read a lot, but that’s because books are scattered around the house. I like to pray and sing and do a nighttime story with my youngest, but sometimes that doesn’t happen because we both fall asleep first on the weekend. It’s really a miracle when a shower happens that lasts more than 5 minutes. It’s like all the stars have aligned. We do homework in the car – a lot – because we are in the car – a lot. I still struggle with the fear of how I am going to provide for my family. I often sign permission slips in the car right before I drop my kids off. I cry at everything. And, well, you get the idea.
But while I am a hot mess, I also live in grace. And I continue my prayers and my pleas to God to show me the way because – really – I am a big idiot who does not deserve all the amazing blessings I have. Please, please do not look at me as an example. I am just telling my story here – my truth. I am a hypocrite and a sinner.
But look at these gifts. I am sitting in front of a computer in a beautiful house right now. My kids are safe and healthy and brilliant and amazingly talented. And they make me laugh. I have a job I love that pays well and is flexible so I can have more time with my family. I have a great education and my oldest daughter is in college with a scholarship pursuing her dreams. And, speaking of miracles – all of my kids like reading and two of them had straight As last quarter (one on the Dean’s list and well, one that is passing because our elementary school has no grades – lol). My middle daughter is a middle school youth group leader like her older sister before her and both of my daughters and I have the time to volunteer as Awana leaders. My son, who has mild Cerebral Palsy, has found a passion in Taekwondo that has been so good for him that his Physical Therapist said that he no longer has to have weekly physical therapy. I could literally go on and on.
But the main point is that God has taken care of me and my family very, very well. God is good. And every time I worry about providing for my family or some bump in the road, I sit down and pray for guidance and intervention – which means I pray a lot. And our Saturdays are a reflection of how God has answered me. He said – slow down, spend time with your family, be present, REST, follow your dreams because I delight in what you delight in. And I love the no makeup, barely combed hair, decade clothes wearing hot mess you are.