Between the Bells*: One Mom’s Challenge to Recalibrate Her Identity During the School Day


“Commit your work to the LORD, and your plans will be established.” (Proverbs 16:3 ESV)

As I prepared for another school year, the light at the end of the tunnel began to brighten.  Might I regain a few moments of sanity?  A few moments “to myself?”  All four kids.  Headed to school.

Although these self-centered thoughts were never far from the forefront of my mind, I made sure not to dwell on them too much during the seemingly eternal dog days of summer.

Sure, I had fun packing sandwiches and chips for the umpteenth time as we lathered sunscreen and schlepped ourselves to the pool.  You know I turned a blind eye every so often at the request to watch “just one more show.” And, video game time restrictions seemed to loosen as quickly as the days were long.

Upon the realization that I would have all four kids in school, friends would inevitably ask with exuberant enthusiasm, “What are you going to do now with ALL THAT TIME?!”

Those words landed in my lap like a lead balloon.

All that time.

Why was my gut reaction a defensive one?  I would babble on about how really, there isn’t that much time.  I mean, what with managing four school schedules, four after school activity carpools, laundry, groceries, errands, house projects, volunteer commitments, meal planning (well, we can all have goals) and so on and so forth….

In fact, when my sweet, unsuspecting husband asked the same thing, I just about punched him.  How dare he insinuate I would be footloose and fancy free. Living the life of kings.  Whiling away the hours in restful, glutenous bliss, while he toiled in perspiration to provide for our family.

He actually never said any of those words.  I occasionally suffer from delusional cases of “overreaction” syndrome.

I guess I just have trouble with change. Change of season. Change in busyness. Change in schedule.  Although I actually look forward to all of those things, the change itself somehow short circuits my normally even-keeled, calm, cool, collected self.

Perhaps it’s because I am also under the same stressful delusion that I am the one that has to manufacture my life.  Manufacture my days.  Manufacture my plans.  Manufacture my worth.

But the Lord, invites me to offer my days to Him.  As I commit my work, my non-work and everything in between, He promises to establish my plans.  To set my feet on solid ground.

When judgment of man (perceived or otherwise) steers my ship, the seas are rocky at best.  Waves of self-doubt wash up on my shores.  Tides of insecurity ebb in and flow out.

When the morning school bell rings it should not signal a distress call, but rather a call to action.  A call to breathe in the power of His Holy Spirit – clearing my mind of clutter as I seek to establish my path with His.

On good days, healthy days, the ones that successfully launch my birds from the nest and into their classrooms, I am also free to soar.  Free to embrace the Mom, the wife, the friend, the me He created me to be.  Clear vision will illumine my skies.

One firmly established plan at a time.

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*Thanks to my soul friend, Monet Martin for inspiring the title of this topic!

2 Comments

  1. Kara says:

    Thanks for giving us another peek into your life!

    I’m undergoing the opposite transition, as I just started full-time homeschooling for all three kids. And so far, it’s very relaxing! I really think I needed the three full hours of quite just to deal with the stress of school schedules/teachers/homework.

    All that to say, sometimes juggling all the externals means that you need time to decompress! (And you have quite a few ‘internals’ to deal with as well.

    I’m glad you have some time for rest, to reconnect with God, to develop into who He created you to be, and for running your household, which is really a full-time job! I’m proud of you for saying there are deeper things that need to be practiced in order to excel at your calling! I think the challenge will be NOT filling those hours with tasks, and making sure you have time to re-fuel on spiritual, emotional and physical levels. Your self-awareness is a good start!

    Like

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