I’m fighting a cold as if it’s the dead of winter and the germs are flying everywhere. I’ve been up all night, propped up on pillows, breathing through my mouth like Napoleon Dynamite. When my throat begins to tickle, I dive for a spoonful of the honey on my nightstand to preempt a coughing spell. A couple of our little ones have the same cold, so it’s surprisingly convenient that I’m awake so I can pop up and get them a sip of water when they are in the midst of their own coughing fit. (The blessings of motherhood can be peculiar.)
Meanwhile, the calendar says it’s June, but it’s chilly and wet. In our town we don’t sing, “April showers bring May flowers”; we sing, “April showers bring May showers,” but now we’ll all have to add on a phrase to sing, “April showers bring May showers and May showers bring June showers…” There’s just an awful lot of showers, rain pouring down these farmhouse gutters, as if we’re running a very popular waterpark. But we’re not.
Where’s the sunshine?
Where are the flowers?
When the morning birds herald the beginning of each new day, my sinuses finally decide to drain so that I can breathe. When the alarm goes off, I’m just beginning to feel like I may finally fall asleep. I want to pull the covers over my head and try. Under the covers, my thoughts are muffled. If I do this, I’ll still be cranky and it will be even harder to fall asleep tonight…
SO, I get out of bed and go for my morning walk. Even in the rainy season, the sun still rises, the mercies of God extended to His creation. I see the same hills and valleys every morning. The same cows, the same barbed wire, the same grass growing lush as anything. I take it all in and begin to pray. I will never tire of this country walk. I let my eyes take in the scope of its beauty.
When I get home, I open my Bible for a few minutes. I’ve been reading through the book of Matthew – just a couple of verses at a time – and asking myself, “What does this passage tell me about God’s heart for people?” I’ve discovered that behind every command, every parable, every story, God demonstrates that He loves people and wants us to thrive, that Jesus is our saving grace.
And just like that, the kids wake up, windows are opened wide, breakfast is served, and dreams are discussed (Oh, not dreams like, “One day, I will save poor, dying children,” but literal dreams, like “I dreamt I wanted to help Malachi to pull his tooth out, but it was weird because his tooth was in my mouth, so I just kind of sucked it out and said, “Hey Malachi, I got your tooth out!” Yep. That sort of dream.)
It’s summer break! It’s June! And yet I’m wearing jeans, a sweatshirt, and wool socks. My nose is stuffed. I’ve lost my voice. The sun seems dim.
Yet, my calling persists: to be Mom today.
To love children, nurture them, fight for them in prayer, teach them the ways of God, and point them to Jesus. To care for myself and their daddy so that we can thrive as a family. Yet it feels like an impossible calling.
I raise my hand to rub my aching head and am reminded of the gift God has given me to guard me in weary seasons like this. The helmet of Salvation rests miraculously over my congested, muddled head. I remind myself that my hope is in the Lord. Jesus guards my thoughts and makes me confident in a battle that otherwise would turn my head. On this particular chilly summer day, I’m reminded of the song that the Israelites would sing when they were making the weary trek to the temple. They’d be almost there when a daunting hill would loom before them, the temple glittering on top.
How are we going to make it to the top? They’d wonder.
Then they’d sing,
“I lift up my eyes to the hills.
From where does my help come?
My help comes from the Lord,
who made heaven and earth.
He will not let your foot be moved;
he who keeps you will not slumber.
Behold, he who keeps Israel
will neither slumber nor sleep.
The Lord is your keeper;
the Lord is your shade on your right hand.
The sun shall not strike you by day,
nor the moon by night.
The Lord will keep you from all evil;
he will keep your life.
The Lord will keep your going out and your coming in from this time forth and forevermore.”
Are you looking upon the day ahead as if it’s a hill looming high and ominous? The Lord will keep your life today. He has always kept your yesterdays. He will always keep your today.