I wake only a few hours into the new day, pulling back hair and lacing up shoes. I step outside and smack into the icy black.
The darkness makes bright contrast of the stars, and I am joy filled. Only the early bird catches the wonder and glory that a 6am jog offers. I begin rhythmically, slowly, still shaking loose the tension from dead sleep. I begin my offering.
Lord, you are Creator. You are Perfect. You are Holy. You are Majesty. You are Awesome.
With each breath, I praise. I inhale, I worship. I'm alone. Except for Him. And He makes perfect company.
The next 30 minutes I focus on His glory. Except when I don't.
I have to pick up the preschool forms today.
I forgot to call the dentist.
I better clean the window where Henry taped the picture of the airplane.
Did I mail in the mortgage check? I need to set-up automatic monthly withdraw.
I totally blew her off yesterday. Why was I such a grump? Why can't I just be nice to people when I'm in a bad mood? What's wrong with me? Is it that hard?
My mind like mexican jumping beans, shuffling from thought to thought, checklists, regrets, self-doubt, and now my heart is racing but not because I'm jogging.
I shake my head fast as if to clear the etched sketch that needs reset.
Now where was I?
Focus, Ali. Focus on Him.
And I do. Back on track, thanking Him for the peace that stills my soul. For 30 minutes I pray, I distract, and I pray again.
I approach home feeling centered, having hit the ground running, while fixing my eyes on Him, or at least trying to anyway.
The minis wake, I begin this all too familiar juggling act, but unlike the carny, I can't seem to master this set.
Back to center, Ali. Back to Him.
I herd them outside to the van. It's Tuesday and we have to be at Bible study in 20 minutes. I double-click the key expecting the doors to open. They click. And nothing. I double-click again. Nothing. The doors don't budge and it's freezing and I know that's why. I open the front door and find the ice scraper, and while the baby cries and the big ones tug at the other's unbuttoned coat, I scrape. Ice chips away and flurries sweep. I pull out the key again. Click. Nothing. Again. Nothing. The doors are still frozen and it's been ten minutes and we are going to be late. I climb on top of the front seat, leaning heavily out the door thinking if I can just see where the ice is maybe I can get this dang-gone door open. The baby is now screaming and Harper is now crying and I try the key again, but the door still won't budge. We are definitely late and nothing is working and I take that scraper and with all the might behind me I strike the door. Pop. The scraper cracks and splits in two and I am now cussing. Words that begin with F and I feel rage and I scream at the kids, all freezing and crying, "Get in the van. This way. Now." The big ones crawl through the front door, and I jostle the baby in her carrier, hitting my head and hers and I'm sweating and still cussing.
I throw the car into reverse and I'm a bat out of hell. I've lost it. A door frozen shut and it's all lost. My cool, my sanity, my Jesus.
Just like that I've lost center and I pull over because humility does that. And with my hands in the air, I'm like that crazy ol' loon on the park bench mumbling to herself because I'm lost.
Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
Look to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith . . .
“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”
2 Corinthians 12:9
The quiet still of my soul in the morning runs out but there is always more for the taking. I have to keep coming back to Him because on my own, I am a raging screaming loon.
Each day, each hour, each minute, I am losing myself to stress and monotony and the demon who sneaks up and bites me. I can't do this alone but I keep trying, forgetting that it was never meant to be this way.
"It is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send Him to you."
And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of Truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him. You know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you.
I'm not made to do this by myself. He sent me a Helper. And I come dehydrated, shriveled, dry and sunken.
. . . but be filled with the Spirit.
Back to center. That is the story of my days. Always coming back. Because I can never stay put. My flesh rots and I crumble and there isn't a day that passes that I don't wind up lost.
Back to center. It's my only way.