I woke up Monday to an hour of sleep lost and a long list of work to complete. My laundry was neglected over the weekend, the vacuum needed to be run, and a large family kitchen can forever use care and cleaning. My homeschooling list included reading long history chapters, working on a “works cited page”, phonics for two, and math for several. I needed to mail some cards, order some flowers and pick up my Walmart grocery order.
These are the normal, ordinary days of mothers everywhere. Multi-tasking, feeding, cleaning, teaching. We wake, we wipe, and sometimes, we weep. Our days are full and our responsibilities are heavy. We love our lives and we would not trade them, but still, we feel the pressure. Our faces pinch, our shoulders tighten, our jaws clench, our guts cramp. We walk weighted.
When I returned from my errands yesterday, I called my boys to come out to the Suburban to carry the groceries inside. I sat in the driver’s seat, finishing up the end of a podcast, and watched my seven-year-old, Luke, grab a big bottle of orange juice. Luke had on a mix-match of clothing, a bizarre combination of colors and styles. And with the orange juice, he skipped and bounced and made boy-noises as if breath was the gift and the world was an adventure.
I sat there and smiled. My heart filled with the beauty of a person who walks in lightness, in joy, in silliness, spontaneity, and wonder. I know too well that littles become bigs and that the act of skipping quietly erases from the landscape of the body and soul. And I wonder why that is.
We enter puberty, we gain responsibility, we “mature”, we age, we work and marry and our bodies and minds become serious, filled with worry, concerns, and a low-grade panic to produce. Who will meet our needs? Skipping is replaced with self-sufficiency. Silliness takes a back seat to sobriety.
I think that Luke can skip and be weird because he is safe. He knows his needs are met and that his days are simple. Joy + curiosity + wonder seems to flourish in those conditions. His body and soul are light, unworried and unhurried because all of the things he most truly needs are given. Every day.
Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air: They do not sow or reap or gather into barns—and yet your Heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his lifespan?
And why do you worry about clothes? Consider how the lilies of the field grow: They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his glory was adorned like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?
Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans pursue all these things, and your Heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added unto you.
Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Today has enough trouble of its own. ~ Matthew 6: 25-34
Scripture reminds us about worry and about becoming like children. Worry isn’t a badge of honor. It is a wall to receiving grace. Children don’t have all the answers or demand the unfolding of the future. They live in the present, faith placed in their parents’ goodness and care.
How do we as women in the middle years with responsibilities and concerns live like that? I am not totally sure.
I think we can learn by watching our children and allowing ourselves to enter into their joy. Maybe a little child can lead us. We lay down our burdens, we turn off the noise, and we grab their little hand and ask, “May I skip with you?” We allow our children to become our guides to the life of lightness, of trust, of renewed curiosity, of freedom.
We take deep breaths of air into our lungs. We recognize the day as a gift and cultivate gratitude. We receive down deep in our spirits that we are safe. God meets our needs. We rest in that four-word truth. We seek first His kingdom and trust the rest. And we are open to being mismatched weirdos, imperfect women, smiling, secure, bodies and souls light and free in Him. May we receive these gifts today.