With my whole heart

I generally just always feel busy – and summer is no exception.  With 5 kids home all day, I will say our home is not a tranquil, quiet place. But it is fun.  Yet, from my mommy perspective, there are always more things to do—more housework, more laundry, more planning of summer crafts for the kids, more trips to the pool or to parks, more reading I haven’t gotten to, more legal work for Cru, etc. The kids each want special time with me—‘play with me,’ they say…. They want more; I want more.

Yet, I have been learning to be content with what I can give and with who I am right now in the midst of my circumstances. I was talking to someone the other day and they asked me “How do you balance everything?” I said something to the effect of “not very well,” which is what I usually say. But then I added: “Even if I can’t do everything as well as I would like, I try to do each thing with my whole heart.” I hadn’t really thought about how to say it, but that is what came out. And I think it does express what God has been teaching me in many ways: Contentment is not in getting more done or doing things just right; it is in being fully present and thankful for God’s gifts in each moment.

It is like I am finally internalizing what I tell my kids to do: “Don’t focus on what you don’t have; be thankful for what you do have.” I am clearly not a mom who has it all together, but I have so many moments of connection and laughter with my kids. Even if my one year old dumps over the piles of laundry I just folded, she also hums, dances and generally jumps around while she makes a mess, bringing the rest of us much joy and laughter. Even when my 5 year old overreacts to correction, she ends up resting with me and giving affectionate cuddles. Even if the kids argue over which lego minifigure they each get to play with, it is only happening because they are being so creative and making up imaginative worlds together. I am blessed!

This less-stressed-out attitude is perhaps evidence that I am, bit-by-bit, learning to receive God’s grace more readily—that joy-filled, love-grounded, hope-rooted grace. How could I have ever pushed it away? And yet I did…and still do sometimes.

I want to keep doing each thing with my whole heart, without comparing to what others do and without imagining what I could do “if…”

Proverbs 12:25, “Anxiety in a man’s heart weighs him down, but a good word makes him glad.

Proverbs 17:22, “A joyful heart is good medicine, But a crushed spirit dries up the bones.