Surrender for Joy By Betsy

I had one of those days yesterday. It started at 4:45 a.m. and didn't end until 9:00 p.m. There was a mile long list of things to do and it seemed that everything was resisting my ability to complete the list. The kids fought all day long, I don't have enough shelving for all my storage boxes, the vacuum is going out on me, my hair dryer is smoking... and that was just part of it! Collin dumped out a bottle of canola oil on my kitchen floor and a bottle of soap on my living room floor. He also unfolded a bunch of folded laundry. Neither of the kids wanted to help put away all their toys. The parsnips kept burning while I was frying them. Cory didn't want to nap. Michael got home and told me that he had to work on a report for the church finance meeting the next day (which means I wouldn't get a reprieve from dealing with the kids AND the household stuff).

By 4:45 p.m. I was ready to give up! I was struggling to keep my temper in check and found it difficult to resist crawling into bed until morning. My day was far from over... I still had several things on the to do list and knew that it would take several more hours to finish it all.

I was less than joyful. And about the time I was finished cooking supper... and was giving myself a grand pity party... I realized that my day was so terrible because I let it be so terrible. Getting in my own way of joy. Again. A whole day wasted in a bad mood because of my poor attitude.

So, instead of letting the kids eat by themselves while I scrambled to get the kitchen clean and finish up that to do list, I sat down, ate my colcannon shepherd's pie and thought about how to get my joy back. And I remembered one of the first verses that I memorized as a child:

Proverbs 3:5 Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not into thine own understanding.

I didn't surrender any of these problems to the Lord and, so, I didn't trust Him. I was trying, and failing, to do everything on my own. There's no room for joy in my heart when my heart won't surrender its problems to Him. I have to trust Him to work everything out. Basically, I have to mind my own business. It's His business to work out finances to buy a new vacuum. He knows we don't have the extra money right now but, if He wants us to buy one, He'll send us a way. My heart cannot be light and joyful if I refuse to trust Him with my problems.

You might be saying that God has bigger problems to deal with... my broken down vacuum cleaner isn't exactly high priority. To that I say-- are any of our problems big to God? The same God can be trusted to deal with the safety of my family AND my financial ability to purchase household items. He knows the number of hairs on my head. He knows the number of babies in NICU. Are the hairs on my head more important than the babies? Nope. But He still knows them all.

My kids might have fought all day, but I have to trust that the Lord will help them remember that it's better to be kind to one another than it is to constantly fight one another. My vacuum cleaner might die on me this week, but He knows we need clean carpet! The parsnips might burn while I'm trying to clean up canola oil, but there's really nothing I can do about that. I'll just trust Him with our supper and do the best I can (which sometimes means starting all over again).

After I reasoned through my day's problems and remembered that they are, after all, small trees in a giant forest, I was able to get started on my list again... this time with a MUCH better attitude! When the list-doing got interrupted I worked through it, gave it to the Lord and got back to my list. It took a while, but everything got checked off the list and I joyfully went to bed.

My evening turned out to be much more peaceful... and more joyful... than my day! Betsy

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