Sometimes, the whirlwind of my life just pulls me under and that, my friends, is when disaster awaits. The older I get, the more I am acutely aware of the fact that the human mind can only process so many things at one time. Go past that point, and things began to unravel.
When my five kids were smaller, I found myself in one of those seasons. When my brain was overloaded, it simply deleted things without consulting me about hierarchy- what was important, what was not….
One day, I received a call from the school.
“Mrs. Gragg, this is the office. We have your children here. Are you going to come get them?”
Turns out, it was a half-day and I completely forgot.
I rushed out the door, and drove frantically across town, berating myself the entire way. Upon arrival at the school, I bolted out of my car and through the office door where I begged forgiveness. That was when the secretary offered her version of comfort (or not).
“Yeah, your son said, ‘Sometimes, my Mommy’s brain flushes things.’”
Today was one of those days too. Even though it is a Saturday, I hit the ground running, taking care of things at home. Mid-day, I took off my “Mommy Hat” and slipped on my “Editor Hat” and rushed off to a meeting across town, gulping down my lunch as I went. Just as I pulled into the parking lot, I spilled my water in my lap. (A big “thank you” to the fashion designer who decided to reintroduce dark wash jeans.) Before I could recover from that shock, I glanced at my watch and realized I was late. Then, I began to attempt to navigate a very crowded, very tight parking lot. As I entered the lot, my back wheel bounced up on the curb. Turns out a lot of people have trouble with the layout of this parking lot and someone got sick of countless tires catching this particular curb. So, they came up with a solution.
A solution I saw way too late.
They placed a large boulder at each corner of the entrance. Run up on the curb now, you confront the rock.
And that is what happened to me, and before I realized my mistake, the rock was wedged underneath the side of my van. I was stuck.
Forward. Reverse. Gas. Turn the wheel. Nothing.
Then, a young guy with lots of tattoos left his red convertible to come to my rescue. (Who knew angels rock tattoos and drive sports cars?) He was quickly joined by another man with a friendly smile who reassured me he hit the same rock the week before and could get me loose if I would follow his lead. I promised to do all I was told and got back behind the wheel as they positioned themselves to lift the front of my beat up old minivan.
A moment later, I was shaken but free and gushing my thanks. Then, I found my way to a parking space far away from everyone else. I was tempted to grab my briefcase and run for the meeting. Instead, I decided to practice something God has been attempting to teach me: In the moments when life is the craziest, whether due to disaster, exhaustion, tragedy, heartbreak, personal failure, or sheer stupidity, I should ignore my natural impulse (whatever that may be) and stop to take a moment to discipline myself to turn my full focus to God instead.
It is work. After all, isn’t that when focusing on God is the most difficult? It is much easier to turn my heart toward God when I am blessed with the quiet of morning, with a cup of tea in my hand. The truth is though, it is when life is the most chaotic that my need for Him is greatest.
So, I bowed my head and turned my heart toward eternity, and there I discovered what I have been experiencing over and over lately, but still remains a surprise: God is waiting for me with loving arms open wide.
It is never what I expect. I think I somehow believe some old lie that He will be disappointed and condemning to me in my weakness and failure, but He is not. He waits for me in kindness, acceptance, tenderness, and compassion.
I am so thankful He continues to draw me nearer, faithfully removing the lies I have believed for too long.
So, in honor of Him, I am going to try to offer a little more kindness to myself. I am going to try to cut myself some slack; give myself a little more grace when I fall on my face.
Or…get stuck on a rock.