More than fifteen years ago I was a mommy of two toddlers. We lived in a little white house on Galveston Island and life was blissfully simple. I would sometimes go five days straight without ever leaving my house! My to-do lists were short and the kids’ naps were nice and long.
We were in a season of training, of waiting as my husband worked his patootie off to complete his residency and move on to the next phase of life. We looked forward to the good things that were to come and dreamed of bigger houses, cars with warranties, and evenings out with friends where the meals came from restaurants that did not serve chicken nuggets. It was a such a sweet time!
I had this incredible group of friends. They were all medical wives, like me, and in various stages of training. Some a year or two ahead, some a year or two behind. We all had babies and toddlers and our play group grew from four mamas and a handful of kids to nearly thirty moms and kids
destroying gracing a house every Tuesday morning! We enjoyed endless hours of conversation, coffee and prayer while our children watched Veggie Tales and ate endless bowls of popcorn. We called our little/big group “Pray and Play” and it was the highlight of our week. Shoot, looking back, it is still one of the highlights of my life as a young mother.
I remember a particular conversation with my friend, Stacy. We were coming up on our last years in Galveston and the reality of life beyond the island was hitting us. She told me of a girl she had recently spoken with who had moved on to “post-residency” a year or so ago…
“She said to enjoy this time. Life is so simple. Right now it is a big deal to get a 99 cent ice cream cone at McDonald’s. Little things are such a treat.”
I nodded in agreement.
“She said that, after residency, life is so much more complicated and that it will never be this simple again.”
We looked at each other, knowing it was true. We were so intentional back then, so determined to make the little things count and appreciate the joys that filled our young-mom days. We wanted to believe we could keep it up and not lose sight of the beauty of this gift of wife and motherhood.
“Keep life simple.”
I mean, really, how hard can that be? You just choose it, right? You just don’t let the crazy creep in and you determine not to conform to the harried schedule of the world. You have decided you are going to have dinner as a family almost every night and home-cooked meals will be the norm. You are going to make memories with your kids and maintain that beautiful pace you have found, extolling the virtues of patience and discipline and raising little pastors and missionaries, right?
Somewhere along the way, the crazy crept in. It doesn’t matter the source, you know what I am talking about. You find yourself stretched so thin you can’t believe you haven’t snapped and died of whiplash. Late nights find you in front of a screen in a haze of fatigue and early mornings find you mashing the snooze button and crawling out of bed only after your child pries your eyes open and asks if you are asleep. Quiet time? You put on a Christian song and call it even. You stop cooking from scratch and burn out two microwaves because you keep a steady supply of frozen junk in the deep freeze. Processed food becomes such a staple that you have all forgotten what fresh food should taste like. Yet, despite the lack of cooking, your kitchen is a disaster.
You are drowning.
Life is anything but simple. It is complicated and you feel frazzled. You stare into the mirror, wondering when the bright girl you once saw got replaced by a tired and bitter old woman.
So here we are, today. Sisters, it’s time to start over! God loves us too much to allow us to wallow in the pity pit! He has so much waiting for us! He longs to fill us with joy and the peace of Christ! But, first, we must shed the entanglements and pare down our lives. What is holding you back? What is making you feel like you can’t keep your head above water? Pray for wisdom and clarity and get ready because today we begin. Today we are going to find beauty in the mundane, rediscovering the little things that bring big happiness. We are going to restore order and catch a vision for our future. We are going to wake up prepared for each day so that when suffering does come (and you can be sure it will) we have the fortitude to face it and dare to find joy in the midst of it.
Are you ready?