A little mop-head leaned hard against my cheek. Round blue eyes just inches from my own pierced the sleepy haze engulfing me. I stretched and tried to smile at the little thing, but it wasn’t very heart-felt. It’s morning already? Rats!The bare feet pattered out of the bedroom, the door slammed leaving a wake of disappointment behind it. Night is too short, morning comes too quickly!

 Some of the absolute best times of my life have been serving as nanny to a niece and two nephews. The three of them have opened a whole new world for me, and I love them as though they were my own. Spending months at a time in their home revelling in their cute antics is the sugar and spice of my life!

 However, two toddlers and a newborn infant leave little time for one’s personal life. Three kids ages three and under present their own set of situations and demands upon the ones who love them most. Such was my case.

I began to love the blessed hours when the house fell prey to sweet slumber. Lights low, house quiet, time lay like an amaranthine opportunity to bask in quietude. I could read, write, catch up on emails, or just plain think in uninterrupted tones, oblivious to the soft snores and the clock ticking. As you can expect, time quickly slips away in such a manner, and I found myself in a habit of snatching up a few hours of beauty rest before the slamming of the door that inevitably announced the return of morning.

Meanwhile, in the daily happenings, “my” toddlers were undergoing the adjustments of a recent move and a new baby. Getting acclimated seemed to incur a heightened level of busy-ness. The need for the constant presence of a a responsible adult in their young lives was imperative to their health, safety and natural well-being.

Responsibilities that used to be a delight transformed into burdens as sleep deprivation caught up with me. Daily I was plagued by exhaustion, a headache and the need to prop my eyelids open with toothpicks. My attitude descended from the mountaintop as every smile was a tax on my muscles. I was finding less pleasure in the 12 thousand kids in my care, and didn’t even feel like waving my friendly hello at fellow pedestrians on our daily walks.

Every morning I stumbled out of bed and immediately sought to drive the fatigue from my body. A hot shower, steamy mug of coffee, a hopefully-inspirational verse out of my Bible, a quick distracted skimming of today’s devotional (Grace for the Moment), a new resolution that tonight I will not be awake after midnight, and a quick prayer sent heavenward, “God, I need You to help me get through today!” Yet I still lacked the urge to smile and do fun things with my tots.

This particular morning found me waking up particularly exhausted. I lay blinking up at the ceiling just knowing there was no way it could be morning. I was already in need of a nap, and I hadn’t even rolled out of bed yet. Hearing the frolic going on out in the living room, I knew the whole small town of Milford and surrounding vicinity were in grave danger of being colored in red color crayon if I didn’t greet the day soon.

In a split second I adequately assessed myself: filled to the brim with emptiness, without a speck of worth, and in dire need of a pair of toothpicks. Humbled, I whispered a prayer, “Dear Lord, there is absolutely no way I can get through this day without You.”

How right I was. I soon discovered that by the acknowledgement of my weakness, and the embracing of His strength I wasn’t carried through the day merely by the skin of my teeth. With a power far greater than my own, I found the strength that I lacked. I was renewed, my joy returned, and my kids were absolutely charming in their own extra assiduous ways. It wasn’t my circumstances that had changed, it was my heart. It wasn’t me that skipped through the day on the wings of joy, it was His strength carrying me.

My heart was satisfied by His love.

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