The toy bin has been tipped over, it's contents spread across the floor. Dishes pile in the sink. A lone fly has managed to make it's way into our house, buzzing ferociously. I hear the sound of coils creaking under foot. Addy is on the recliner, singing out her abc's to the world, jumping. Jumping for the 10th time in one day. Jumping after being told not to 9 times.
I walk by Jed. His chubby little hands
grab a hold of my pant leg. He pulls himself up. He's crying. I change
his diaper. Nurse him.
The Mister comes home. He tells
me I look good. Then asks what's for dinner and if his clothes are
ironed. I roll my eyes, tell him I don't know, and I haven't had time.
I'll figure it out. I'll get to it.
Breakfast, bills, baby, breast-feeding, laundry, dishes, "Mom, wipe my butt, please!"
Lunch, phone call, folding, washing, eating, feeding, nap, "Addy, please don't pick up you brother!"
Groceries, girl-time, library, park, project, crayons, church, "Mom, where are we going?"
Teaching, training, Windex, Pinesol, broom, vacuum, dinner, "How many times have I said don't do that?!"
Baths, bedtime, snuggles, hugs, making love, "I'm not mad. I am just so tired."
Piled high and a list that reaches the sky.
I live tired. Feeling the weight of the endless list. Wishing for just one moment to be out from under it.
"My yoke is easy and my burden is light."-Jesus
"How does that work exactly???"-Me
I had one of those "light-bulb" "Ah-Ha!" moments. I am pretty sure I read it somewhere (and being that I have been so into Ann Voskamp's One Thousand Gifts, I am 99% sure it came from there. I can't find it though, and it's bugging me... if you know where it is, please, help a girl out!). I saw the word responsibilities broken apart as response-abilities. It was one of those things that I just wasn't able to shake. It haunted me. Driving, cleaning, writing... it kept going through my mind. My response abilities. My response abilities.
And what does that mean?
The ways I am able to respond.
My responsibilities are my response-abilities.
It's a simple idea. A simple change in perspective. It's the realizing that I am loved: vastly, immeasurably, and incomprehensibly.
"For God so loved [Amanda]..." John 3:16
"That [Amanda] would be able to comprehend... what is the breadth
and length and height and depth, and to know the Love of Christ which
surpasses knowledge..." Ephesians 3:18-19
"That nothing is able to separate [Amanda] from the love of God..." Romans 8:38-39
It's this Great Gift Search I have been on--seeking out all the ways God has lavished on me, seeking this thing called Beauty, and finding it everywhere.
The cowlick crowning my son all-boy... respond.
The full and contagious laugh of my daughter... respond.
The strong and sure jawline of my husband covered in fresh stubble... respond
The rain that adorns the trees in crystal beads right outside the window of my home... respond
I have been given so many responsibilities, response-abilities. My kids. My husband. My family. My friends. My home. The homeless guy on the corner. The children's church classroom. I am able to love God back. I am able to respond.
So does the perspective change anything? Do I have still work to do? Yes. Do I
still need to do it? Yes. But God LOVES me. Overwhelmingly and Fully. I have
been given SO much... and not so much TO DO, but given so many ways that
God has shown His Love for me. And do I not love being told time and
again by my husband how much he loves me? And do I not love receiving
little gifts as reminders of his love? God does that for me! But I only
receive the gifts when I stop and receive them.
I have to slow down, chill out, stop with MY LIST and commune with God. Find His gifts. Thanksgiving. And then, I can go about loving God back. I can respond.
"For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear
again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we
cry out, 'Abba! Father!'" (Romans 8:15).
I am a child of God. Not a slave. I don't live in fear of not getting my list done. I don't have to live tired.
I am loved as God's own precious child.
the communion, the slowing down and finding the things I have to be
thankful for, I find joy in my to-do list. In fact, they cease to be
"to-do's" but rather, "I am able's!" Jed, Addy and
Handsome are no longer referred to as the vacuums that suck me dry of energy, they are my gifts. I can't help but love them, be patient with them, and smother them all in kisses. I am not empty. I am full of His love. I am able to give.
And God loves a cheerful giver.
I am able to respond.
I love you back, God!