How Do I Look?

I am a pretty organized person.  I really am.  I usually fix breakfast the night before to put in the oven first thing in the morning.  The kids’ clothes are laid out for them, so there won’t be any delays in getting dressed the next day.  And I always have the diaper bag ready to go as well.  My Bible sits by the door to grab as we head out to church or Bible Study.  I even get up an hour before the kids in order to get myself ready for the day.  So getting out the door on time should be a breeze, right?

My little man trying to feed himself!

We absolutely should get to our destination on time – that is, if Hannah hasn’t decided that she doesn’t want egg casserole this morning.  She wants jelly toast!  Or Ephraim hasn’t managed to get oatmeal in his hair (which is always a mystery to me because he doesn’t feed himself yet!).  Or while I am getting oatmeal out of his hair, Hannah decides to empty all of the contents of her backpack onto the living room floor in search of fruit snacks.  And then, of course, while I am putting all of these items back into her backpack, she is skipping down the hallway, happily stripping off all of her clothes – including the carefully placed bow on top of her head that took me 10 minutes to place there because she simply would NOT sit still.  She wants to be a princess today.  Oh, and did I mention that Ephraim always, ALWAYS needs a major diaper change after I have taken all of the bags out to the car and strapped him into his car seat?

Okay, so Hannah isn't usually dressed like this when she changes into her dress-up clothes. But I just love this picture!


So do I stay home?  Do I give up on even attempting to make it to church this morning?  After all, now I am going to be 15 to 20 minutes late.  What will the ladies at Bible Study think?  After all, they all managed to be there on time, right?

Well, thankfully, I DID make it to Bible Study today, and I took away several key truths.  But the one that just really seemed to hit me over the head was that my “outlook determines the outcome.”  (By the way, thanks to my favorite Bible Study teacher, who is always an incredible blessing to me!)

Sometimes, when I’m in the moment and feeling overwhelmed, I have to admit that my outlook is pretty grim.  Why won’t Hannah obey me today?  Will Ephraim ever stop teething?  Will anyone even miss me if I skip church this morning?  Satan often uses the little things to take my eyes off of Jesus.  If I let my guard down, I suddenly find myself looking the other way – at myself, at others, at the trial itself – and not looking to Jesus.

James 1:2-3 says, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters,whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.”

After sitting through some intense testimonies this morning in Bible Study, my own trials of just daily life as a mom seem to pale in comparison!  But when I start to wallow in a disrupted morning or feel overwhelmed by unkempt children (because everyone else’s children are always put together, right?), I have to take a step back and evaluate the test that I am facing.

When I change my outlook, the outcome changes, too.  So what if I’m running a little bit behind?  So what if Hannah’s hair isn’t perfectly combed?  I’m sure there are other moms at Bible Study who have experienced rough mornings as well.  I’m not alone.  God knew how my morning was going to go; now it’s up to me to choose the right response.  So I strap the kids into their car seats and head to church.  Of course, I always receive a blessing when I make that choice.

You know, there was a time when I could count on making it somewhere on time.  I knew that all of the items I had put in my bag would still be there the next morning.  I was sure that my clothes would be stain-free (well, until lunchtime at least – I AM a bit of a clutz!).  My house was always clean.  And quiet.  All I wanted was to be a mom.  The quietness of the house wasn’t calming for me; it was an empty echo in my heart.  The day I became a mom was one of the absolute best days of my life.

So when I am feeling overrun by Hannah’s wardrobe changes or Ephraim’s dirty diapers, I take a step back, and I take another look.  Now I can smile as my children make me late again because they are my children.  And one day, I will be on time for Bible Study again because my children will grow, as children should, and one day leave to have lives of their own.  And my house will be quiet again.  A sobering thought for someone who loves being a mom!

When my outlook changes to appreciate these moments of craziness, suddenly the outcome is different.  I am not yelling at my children for making mistakes; I am not allowing Satan to keep me from fellowship with other believers; and I am not focusing on having a bad day.  In fact, I even stop the kids for just a second longer to hug them and tell them how much I love them.

What is the outcome when my outlook is positive?  I am blessed.


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