The Woman Who Realized She Could Take a Moment

Post #2 in A Tale of Two Covenants

If they hadn’t dedicated him in church six months and one week after he was born, she would’ve been tempted to think her three-year-old boy wasn’t hers. He was a living, moving, disaster. A constant whirlwind of noisy activity that left everything worse wherever it went.

Her mother said he would grow out of it.

Her mother in-law said the same thing. After all, the little boy’s father was living proof, she quipped in that all-knowing way that was mildly annoying.

But not today. She wasn’t ready for wisdom that didn’t help her now. Today, she was the moving hurricane…

Another house help who could not be relied on was probably the trigger… causing her to scramble for a replacement and ruining her morning…

A colleague at work who was as incompetent as a right-handed person writing with their left…

A ghastly traffic jam that could’ve been avoided if everyone wasn’t so much in a hurry trying to squeeze into narrow lanes and untarred by-passes, hoping to outdrive everyone else.

Finally, at the end of the day, she pushed the trolley past the checkout counter, out through the wide doors of the supermarket, and into the night, where she unloaded exactly six large polythene bags into the boot. Or trunk, in case a few Americans ever read her life story and wondered what the boot of a car was.

Normally, that would make her smile. But not today.

Her phone was ringing. It was the husband, wondering if she could swing by the pharmacy because they were out of his routine pain medication. She said yes, she would, as if the words were being squeezed out of her lungs. She loved the man she married, but right now, she didn’t like him.

The pharmacy stop was on his to-do list. A list he had inconveniently forgotten because he had been excited to close from work early today and had rushed home to surprise her only to realize she was still at work, held up in a long meeting because of the before-mentioned incompetent colleague. She had the grocery stop on her to-do list.

When was she coming home, he had asked, after he’d gotten home only to find out she wasn’t there. She wasn’t sure, she’d whispered, trying to pay attention to the presentation that was going on in the meeting room.

In the background of her husband’s voice, she could hear the shrill excited screams of the Whirlwind in action.

Don’t let him break anything, she’d begged.

Her husband had laughed. Was there anything left to break? Don’t worry, honey. We’ll be fine. Just get home when you can.

She had been assured. Until he had sent her a text message with a miserable image of a burnt pot of something. Her mouth had opened in horror. Zooming in, she squinted, doing a forensic scan of the image. She recognized the remains of supper. Their supper.

What happened? she texted furiously.

We got distracted. Ps grab something on the way back? Trying to calm give him a …babe, gotta go…

She looked up from the garbled message and took a deep breath. Maybe when she got home, the whole house would be burned down. She wondered why the thought didn’t frighten her as much.

She shook her head and prayed. One grown man and a little boy. They would be fine. Lord, take care of my boys.

That had been over two hours ago. She drove slowly past a kiosk, a ubiquitous ode to a largely disorganized city. There were dazzling lights coming up to the right. She saw the emblazoned letters of a mid-range hotel. She turned before she had time to turn on the indicator. The car behind her honked loudly, not happy at such unpredictable driving behavior. She found a parking spot and turned off the ignition.

It was nice, how although just a few meters away, the sounds of the street were significantly muffled.

Strangely, she remembered last week as if it was happening in front of her. The Whirlwind had run into the kitchen five times and she had had it.

Get out, she had ordered furiously, when a toy plane had flown into the air, almost landing in a pot of okro soup stuffed with shrimps and everything the husband liked. The rescued plane had been in her hand. The Whirlwind had slowed to a Moving Gale. He had wanted his toy plane back.

No, this is for mummy until she is sure you won’t play in the kitchen again. She’d been adamant.

But mummy! He’d wailed.

Deliberately, she’d held the toy plane in both hands and twisted hard. There was a very satisfying snapping noise. Then she let go and the colorful pieces had clattered harmlessly onto the tiled kitchen floor. For a good five seconds, she shared a look with her three-year-old son that made her wonder if his ready-to-cry face meant this would scar him for the rest of his life. Nope. He was normal the very next day.

The husband had looked curiously at the broken pieces in the trash and asked what happened.

It broke, was her simple answer.

She wondered what she would break next. And somehow, the thought left her excited and miserable at the same time.

I’m a terrible mother, she thought. I used to be calm, organized, fun to be with. I used to laugh a lot. I used to know what to do all the time. Now it seems I can never do anything right with my own son. How did I end up raising such a rascal?

Now, I’m just …she thought about the perfect word. It turned out to be nothing fancy. She was just tired. Plain tired.

The more she tried, the more it seemed to be slipping out of her grasp.

So don’t try so hard.

In the calmness of the car, the words were easy to hear.

If I don’t, who will take care of the house?

He will. Trust Him to.

Thanks for the offer but the groceries won’t get themselves.

True… but you’ve tried it your way and it’s not working.

You have a point….so, don’t try so hard? How does that work?

Take care of what you have to do now…don’t worry about tomorrow…or the next…

Easy to say when you’ve not got people to look after.

Actually, I didn’t say it. He did.

Talking to herself could be such a pain…

He also said, only one thing is needed…

He did say that, too.

That rest you need, you can have it…Come to me and I will give you rest…

What’s that verse from again…? She tried to remember.

You’re actually stressing yourself out just trying to remember.

She sighed. You’re right. I do stress a lot. So what’s the plan?

With Him, He’ll show you exactly what to do and when to do it. Nothing you can’t handle.

That sounds like a dream.

One step at a time…

I like that…

See, you feel better already.

I do. But I really need help with my little boy.

Yes, you do.

I thought being a mother will be warm and fuzzy, not this madness.

Let go and let God…no…don’t try to think where you heard it before.

In the cool quietness of the car, she chuckled.

I feel like a hot mess.

He loves messes, especially if they’re hot.

Has anyone told you you make the worst jokes?

Hear the pot calling the kettle black…

I won’t argue with you. But how does the let go, let God thingy work again?

Just know He’s still got you. That it’s not even about what you need to do today. It’s about what He is already doing for you and giving to you every single day. Whatever you need.

I can see how that will make a difference. It’ll stop me from overthinking everything.

It will.

She smiled and reached to turn on the ignition. Then she stopped.

What again?

You know what? I’ll start practicing now. I don’t know what’s going on at home, but I’m going into this nice-looking looking hotel with the seafood restaurant and have supper. And then I’ll go home.

And the boys?

She grabbed her handbag and opened the door.

It’s really not my responsibility to be everything to my family. That’s His part, to be God, and I’ll trust Him to do that tonight.

Looks like we’re taking this very literally…

Yup! And a little ladies night never did any harm. Plus, they’ll probably have to start getting used to it. Or mummy might break.

What’s this got to do with grace?

Just this: under the covenant of grace, God supplies, you receive. It’s being conscious of all that God is supplying to meet your needs (and wants) in that moment: emotionally, financially, strength, peace, joy, everything. Your part is to receive. His part is to take care of your needs.

Under the old covenant, it’s all on you to take care of your family, of every situation. To think… and double think, to plan, outline every detail. Under grace, you plan and move knowing that it’s His favor that gets you there. It’s moving with the Spirit’s leading and trusting that even your mistakes will work out for your good.

You might be in the middle of a whirlwind at work, at home, the economy, but you can rest because the Lord will take care of you. Luke 10:38-42.

Missed last week’s post? Check it out here.

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Stay high on grace my friend.

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