The end of the school year and the start of summer always expose the hard mommy-places for me. Our blended family forces become stronger as we work out custody arrangements and ask the perennial questions like, “who will pay for that?” or, “whose time will that camp fall on?” And, my work / home balance becomes more acute, as finding childcare in the summer is expensive and a balancing act.
As a woman and a mom, I know I hold to certain ideals fairly strongly. Seasonally, I think summer is one of those mommy-times that begs me to reach for the attainment of the ideal. Lazy pool days, burgers on the grill, trips to the library, a week at the beach, and bored children playing card games in the rain. These things capture what I think summer ought to look like. Bummer, though, that I feel like I have to steal those moments from my own life. This year, our summer as a family will consist of a grand total of one week at home with all five of us present. One week is hardly enough space to fit a summer’s worth of life.
Expectation/reality clashes are where I reach toward control…toward careful design of my own destiny to avoid disappointment. I am tempted to drill down on all of the corners of the uncertainty, leaving very little room for anything that is not planned or choreographed. This summer feels more likely to catch me off guard since the move to Clarkston is nebulous and pending. So, I’m really fighting hard against the urge to allow hyper-urgent mommy or, on the flip side, throw-her-hands-up-depressed mommy to win the day.
Lately, as I’ve been asking God to open my heart more to His gospel and His Jesus, I have been finding the word “trust.” Every time I turn around in Scripture, I see that word and her sister word, “believe.”
“Taste and see that the Lord is good; happy are they who trust in Him.” Psalm 34:8 (Trust involves believing in God’s goodness.)
“Then they despised the pleasant land, they did not believe His word.” Psalm 106:24 (Believing God’s word is the anti-venom for despising our “pleasant lands.”)
“The fear of man brings a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord shall be safe.” Proverbs 29:25 (Fear of man is misplaced trust – wanting man to come through when God is the only one who can.)
“Jesus said to him, ‘If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.’ Immediately the father of the child cried out and said with tears, ‘Lord, I believe, help my unbelief.'” Mark 9:23-24 (Wow. The tension of my mother’s heart.)
Summer comes. Every year. Every year, I must stare the expectation / reality gap in the face and decide whether I am going to control or trust. When I control, I grab as much of my life as I can and hold it tightly. By the end of the exercise, I find that my life has become very small, and my big plans have become subject to my own inadequacies. This type of life is like having a breath-holding contest with myself every day. I turn purple and nearly pass out every time!
Or, I can trust. Trust feels small to start with. Trust God to continue to redeem our family. Trust Jesus to cover both my striving and my lack. Trust that the Holy Spirit is present, and that the Word of God is living and active. When I trust, I taste and see God’s goodness even in the 10 weeks of summer that aren’t up to my ideal…I experience confidence in the “pleasant lands” because He is trustworthy…I lay down my comparisons with other summer-mommies (fear of man) and find safety in being His daughter…I sense Christ’s regard for my mother’s tears and His encouragement that, “all things are possible to Him who believes.”
Bottom line, trusting God allows me to walk in the unknown places without fear.
Last fall, I put two jars in my windowsill. They hold yeast and salt. They remind me that, when we move to Clarkston, we go as bearers of His leaven and His savory presence. It only takes the tiniest bit of yeast and salt to change the composition of a recipe. It only takes a tiny bit of trusting for God to “show up big” and open up the wide places. The jars remind me that I only need to trust, I don’t need to understand or to control.
This summer, I pray to lay hold of small trust so that I can move into the big places of grace.
“He told them another parable: ‘The kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed into 50 pounds of flour until it spread through all of it.'” Matthew 13:33
“Salt is good, but if the salt should lose its flavor, how can you make it salty? Have salt among yourselves and be at peace with one another.” Mark 9:50