The dishes were piled high. There were crumbs all over the floor that my darling six-year-old had assured me he had swept up before going to bed last night.
The crumbs were intertwined with pockets of mouse poop, utterly disgusting I know, but that's what happens when one forgets to sweep before bed.
Then while pouring milk over the breakfast cereal, the little poop culprit came creeping across the kitchen floor. I grabbed the BB gun and put five holes in the little rodent but it kept moving so I finished it off with my machete, swept it into the dust pan, and discarded it in the outside trash. SICK, I know... but it's the farm life and sometimes you just gotta do what you gotta do.
At the breakfast table, three out of the four were melting down, the only one eating her cereal joyfully was sweet-tender Hal, and the scripture that I have been prayerfully striving to live out, (Be quick to listen and slow to become angry) was rapidly running for the door.
Welcome to the first fifteen minutes of another day in the farmhouse.
Sitting at the table I took a deep breath and closed my eyes... the two youngest were still screaming... and I whispered under my breath,
"What am I missing Lord? I got up early, I spent time in Your Word, You and I chatted for some time. Where did I go wrong? How am I going to make it through this entire day, when clearly I'm struggling to make it through the first fifteen minutes? Open my eyes to see what you see in this moment. Cuz right now, all I can manage to muster up is annoyance."
And then it comes. And I hear that still small voice in my head reminding me AGAIN (because I'm always forgetting, even though He's told me over and over again)...
"Gifts... it's all a gift. Every bit of it. Turn into all into thanks."
And it's awkward, but I try it anyways, and I say it out loud, over the screaming and the bickering...
"Thank you for these children Lord.
Thank you that I get to love on them continuously.
Thank you that I get trained by You as I live and learn to train them.
Thank you that we're all together this morning.
Thank you for the opportunity to learn to be quick to listen, and slow up my tendency to become angry.
Thank you that I have dishes to wash and warm, clean, soapy water to wash them in.
Thank you that I have children to dirty up those dishes.
Thank you for the three meals a day that you put in our fridge and allow me to put on the table.
Thank you for building up courage within me to deal with those rascally mice on my own.
Thank you for all these kids loaded with spunk and personality, opinions, and determination.
Thank you for the ones that are like me, emulating both my good parts and bad parts, they're the ones that I understand intimately.
Thank you for the ones that think like their Papa, I love their hearts, the way that I love their Papa's heart. :)
Thank you that we have each other to live this very loud, messy life with.
Thank you for helping me turn my attitude into gratitude today... Because we all know that it's You, it's your wild, unending grace that opens my flawed, old eyes.
As I speak it out loud, they calm. It's a mystery to me. I didn't do anything special. I simply turned my boiling frustration into all the thanks that I could muster up.
It's happened several times today.
I've breathed deep, over and over again.
And I've felt my heart soften and found hope for life under this farmhouse roof to be more than just making it through. I'm finding a way to soak up this life, to see Him in all of life, even in the messy parts.
He's here. He's always here. I just need eyes that see. :)
Counting the gifts.. #'s 527-541