Dishes, dirty and a jumbled mess, teetered on the edge of disaster. Sticky with banana muffin batter, the metal bowl glared at me from the sink. Flour dusted the counter tops and children cried in the background.
In my mind it was to be beautiful. A morning with just the kids and me. Playing. Laughing. Making the most of the hours before I had to finish last minute preparations for school Monday. It was to be our carved-out-special-just-us-and-nothing-else time.
But it wasn’t. The morning was a mess. Like my kitchen. Kids yelled. I hollered. Hot tears were shed, and I contemplated locking myself in the bathroom for, oh say, eternity? Which says a lot since my bathroom hasn’t been cleaned in weeks.
It took an hour this morning, but we built a fort. Four chairs covered in blankets, sheets, and towels that I should probably wash (but won’t) before stuffing back into the linen closet. We argued, fussed, and fought the whole time. The. Whole. Time. And in the end? It was not refuge…
In the midst of for-real sensory meltdowns and refereeing this weekend’s Smack Down between the Princess and the Court Jester, I have begun to wonder about my sanity. Really. Because how can I meet my students with surprising grace and control, yet my own offspring have me raving like a lunatic? A lunatic.
Here it is. Some days are just bad.
There are days filled with tears and raving lunatics. Mornings with kitchen disasters and boxing children. Afternoons spent trying to hold. it. together. Days griping the edge of sanity with the tips of fingers and last bits of strength.
As early afternoon settled into the nap hour designed by angels, I was left wondering: How do I redeem this day? What if the second half of the day is just as horrible? What if it’s worse? Then what?
I don’t want to brace myself and just hold on with white-tight knuckles. I want to breathe. I want to find my breath in the middle of the chaos. In the middle of the fighting. In the middle of the terrible days.
And I realize it’s the answer my Jesus has been whispering in my ear all week. The answer I got in the car begging God for encouragement and a song instantly came on the radio. The answer given when my husband showed me a praise and worship video this afternoon while I gave him the stink-eye. The answer given when my little Court Jester woke from his nap, came running to my room, and crawled in my lap.
As I pushed back his damp-from-sleep hair and drank in the salty smell on his skin, I was overwhelmed. Overwhelmed by my love for this boy who can turn me into the crazy lady. Overwhelmed by the Love my Father has for me despite who I am.
And He says this—Love. Love is how you breathe. Because oh, how He loves you and me. His love never fails. It refuses to lose its grip on our hearts. It sacrificed everything for me. For you. His love seeps into the strangle caught in our throats. And we breathe.
On the bad days, the days when putting one foot down on solid ground is a struggle, on those days, His love will open our chest as we breathe in His sweet gift. Tears and fights and disaster may still fill our space, but His love will fill our souls.
And we can keep breathing. In and out. In and out. In and out.
I don’t know what this afternoon holds. Chaos may usher again into our living room. Arguments may abound. But they will be met by love. And in the background you will hear me breathing. Breathing because He first loved me.