I have had a flood of blessings this year.
In one 30 day period two of my children married and my first grandchild was born. The six months prior to that time were filled with the parties and showers, planning, and working that three major life-changing events require. And just to make things interesting we threw in a kitchen remodel and a major career change.
Yes, sometimes life comes in like a flood.
At the risk of mixing my metaphors, there is a perfect Proverb that fits this situation:
Without oxen a stable stays clean, but you need a strong ox for a large harvest. Proverbs 14:4, NLT
I used to refer to this Proverb often in the days of many small children at home. Those were days that while I was cleaning up one mess, two more were being created at the same time. And there was probably a fight breaking out upstairs too. I had to remind myself that I was raising workers for the harvest, and my stable was just not going to stay clean, much less be clean.
And so it has been the last six months. I have had to remind myself that this was an extraordinary time and so I could not expect things to be normal or for everything to get done. But it is hard to adjust my sails and change my expectations. The combination of mass change, little sleep, and too much to do was a real doozy. But I did learn a few things that you might want to refer to the next time your life comes in like a flood.
FULL DISCLOSURE: These are the things I learned, not the things I necessarily DID. So if any of my children read this and think, "Yeah, Mom, would have been great if you had acted like this," let me just say, I know. I get it. I wish I had done them too. But at least I learned them? Does that help?
How to Survive a Life Flood:
- Jesus, Jesus, Jesus: Never did I have less time for a quiet time in the morning, and never was it more important. I had to "seek FIRST the kingdom of God" in order to survive!
- Adjust requirements: I have the same number of hours in the day that I had before the busyness. I don't actually get more time when there is more to do. When I didn't adjust my requirements and my expectations I lived in a state of frustration.
- Eat to not starve: this is one place I found time. The supermarket rotisserie chicken became my friend. And eggs. And cereal. And sandwiches. No one starved or developed scurvy. It was just for a relatively short period of time in the scheme of things and now I can get back to cooking. (Bonus: my family now appreciates "real" food and me cooking it even more than before!)
- Choose carefully: every time I choose to do one thing I am choosing to not do three others. Taking a moment to think and choose the most important thing among many urgent options was difficult but valuable when I did it.
- Reject perfectionism: there are almost always ways to make decorations cuter, parties more personalized, the clothes perfect, etc, etc, etc. I had to learn to say "Enough." Enough. At some point being satisfied and content will allow sanity to return.
- Get off Pinterest!: I love Pinterest and we got lots of great ideas there. But there is no way to ever say, "Enough" if we stayed on Pinterest. So I had to get a few great ideas from there and then get off entirely.
- It's the people, stupid: this harkens back to the "economy" quote of the Bill Clinton days. And while I wasn't a Clinton fan, I always liked the idea of the political strategy of staying on point. It is never more important to stay on point than when you have too much to do and it is for people you love. Because when I am not careful the stuff to do begins to get my best instead of the people that I am doing it for.
- It is about the people. It is about the people. It is about the people.
- If I get everything done but have been unkind to those around me then I have failed.
- The ends never justify the means when the "means" have me being mean!
My greatest fear in the last few months was that my kids would look back and remember me as being cranky, frustrated, and just busy. If we pulled off beautiful weddings, perfect baby showers, and have a magazine-ready kitchen but our family has not loved and laughed and served each other, then I would have failed.
If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. I. Cor. 13:1, ESV
So there is the sum total of my hard-earned lessons, which I will get the chance to apply to the NEXT wedding, because we will squeeze in one more before the year is out! Sometimes blessings come in like a flood and my cup runneth over.