Ever have one of those days? You know. The kind where nothing seems to go right? Where you are just trying to make it from one hour to the next. Or maybe minute to minute. You may even say that to yourself, “Yep, it’s just one of those days”. I want to encourage you, that you are not the only one who has days like this.
When I was a young mom, with three toddlers, I had lots of days like this. Days that the house was cluttered with kid stuff everywhere, dirty laundry, dirty dishes, and messy babies. I would wait for hubby to come through the door so I could have a break. Sometimes that worked, sometimes it didn’t. He may have had a bad day too and now we both needed a break. At the end of these days, I would go to bed feeling like a complete failure. I use to think that as I got older everything would change and that life would get easier. In some ways, life has changed and become easier. In some ways, life hasn’t changed at all and has become harder. I have come to realize that as much as some things change, some things stay the same. Even though my days look different and are filled with new challenges, like being the parent of young adults, the dirty dishes and laundry still seem to find ways to multiply. No matter how much time goes by, I am still me and I still have bad days. I still get overwhelmed. I still get frustrated. I still get a really bad attitude. However, along the way I have learned a valuable lesson. God never changes. No matter how much time goes by, God is still God. Along the way is when I realized it.
-My bad days don’t surprise God.
God already knew about my bad days. The dirty laundry, piles of bills and endless parenting doesn’t surprise him. Neither does my bad attitude. He knows exactly where I am and he is there with me. He chose to give me this life. That’s right. He knew about my weaknesses and failures and he still gave me my husband. My kids. My friends and family. He knew I would have bad days. He knew I would yell at my kids and my husband, and sometimes kick the dog. Yes. I confess. I have kicked my dog.
-I am not defined by my bad days… I am not defined by my good ones either…
But he also gave me a way out of my bad days. He gave me his shoulder to cry on. He gave me his arms wrapped around me. He gave me his truth spoken to me. His truth. His truth is that I am not defined by my bad days. I’m not defined by my good ones either. I am defined by being a child of God. I am defined by His love for me. He also gave me the promise “I will be with you”. I can pour out my heart and tell God exactly what I am thinking and feeling. My feelings don’t surprise God. I can yell, scream and cry and he will not leave me. In fact, I just need to speak his name and he helps me. He helps me from minute to minute, hour to hour, day to day. He helps me, he cares for me and he changes me.
Now when I have a bad day, I think about the fact that this day will not define me or my family. It doesn’t mean that I am a big fat failure. It simple means I am human and in need of a savior. It will simply be one of those days that I need to lean even more on God. He has given me tools for these days. He has given me scriptures, affirmation statements, prayers to pray, and friends to call. But even if I don’t use those tools and let the bad day get the best of me, He also gives me forgiveness. He has given me the power to ask for forgiveness, to ask others to forgive me and the power to forgive myself. He gives second chances and brand new days. He gives me love and the assurance that it’s okay when I fall short. After all, God is the only one who is perfect and the only one with no bad days. Be blessed my friends.
Deuteronomy 31:8 – And the LORD, he it is that does go before you; he will be with you, he will not fail you, neither forsake you: fear not, neither be dismayed.
Hebrews 13: 5-6, 8 – Let your conduct be without covetousness; and be content with such things as you have: for he has said, I will never leave you, nor forsake you. So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me. Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today, and forever.
I Peter 5:7 – Casting all your care upon him; for he cares for you.
I really can be an “indoor” kind of girl, though that has not always been the case. I grew up until the age of 14 in the Appalachian Mountains and spent many a day outside doing whatever. Even though that was a long time ago, that country girl comes out sometimes, accent and all. If there is one thing I truly miss about my childhood and the mountains, it is the lifestyle of spending sunny days digging in the dirt and playing in the streams. I have so many wonderful memories of those things.
So today, with the plentiful sunshine and a warm breeze I ask my 8 year old if he wanted to take a walk. He replied in a less enthusiastic manner, but off we went out the back door. We have a large amount of woods behind our home, and years ago we carved out a trail. I always love walking on a trail so much better than on a street. Well, we head off on our trail and in the back of our trail there is a large clearing where the land has been lumbered. In this clearing were several large puddles of water. Inspiration hit me, and being a home school mom I knew there was something to be learned.
I thought of all the times I loved playing in the streams and mud. So I told my son, let’s make a river and see how big we can make this one puddle. Well, now he replied with an enthusiastic “ yes”. We headed back to get a hoe and shovel as I explained how irrigation worked years ago. Well an hour later we had us a nice little river flowing from one puddle to the next and my son was super excited. We continued to play, splash, and build dams to make the water go from one place to another. At one point we built a dam and pooled a large amount of water before breaking the dam and watching the large stream flood into our small pond (now much too large to be called a puddle). It all felt so wonderful, the digging and work, the warm sun beating down on us, and most of all , the laughter from my child as he would slip in the mud or splash in our homemade stream. I enjoyed it as much as he did, as I basked in my memories of days gone by, and knew we were making new memories right in this moment. As he continued to come up with new ideas of how to make the water go in new directions and continued to have great fun playing in the mud, I stood there and just took in the moment. I am grateful for today. I am grateful for these moments that will become memories. I am grateful for my son. I am grateful for this time to spend with him. It made me think of how ungrateful I can be some days when life is pressing in on me and I am caught up in the hustle and bustle. It reminded me to be thankful for all the moments and small things in my life as well as the big things. I have much to be thankful for, and today I was so thankful for the sunshine, my kid and for mud.
At the end of all this as we were picking up our tools, my eight year old said “Mom, this was fun, we should do it more often. I said “you’re right”. I smiled as we headed back up our trail and thought how wonderful it is to be called “Mom” and how a little mud can make everything better.