It was Valentines Day and I was in the middle of writing an email, updating donors and volunteers about the ministry's needs when my cell phone rang. It was my youngest son's teacher. Immediately, thoughts ran through my mind - was he hurt? Was he having a bad day?
I moved my son from the neighborhood public school to a specialized school for autistic children over a year ago and while he has settled in mostly, there's still the occasional rough day. Notes come home daily and usually four out of five days are pretty decent - "did all of his work, played well with classmates." On the off-day, however, the notes might read, "had difficulty focusing. Didn't get much work done." Those challenging days are usually accompanied by a phone call where I speak encouraging words to him through the phone and pray that he turns his day around.
I answered the phone and I could hear him crying in the background. His teacher told me he was quite upset because he didn't have Valentine's cards to give to his classmates.
"I told him I had extra cards he could use," his teacher said, "but he's still upset. Would you like to speak to him?"
Little one stopped crying long enough to get on the phone and say, "Mom, I'm sad and I'm so disappointed."
"Sweetie, I'm so sorry." I thought back to a conversation he and I had a few days earlier where he told me how excited he was about the class Valentine's party. I heard my son say something about cards and I thought I heard him say the class would be making cards. Of course, I was fixing a meal at the time and he did not have my full attention. Shame, I know.
"Your teacher said she has extra cards that you can have. Would that be okay?"
"But Mom, I'm really disappointed."
There was only one thing to do: leave work, go buy some cards and take them to the school.
And that's what I did.
I ran into CVS and urgently asked the manager to point me to the Valentine's Day cards. When I arrived at the school, I ran the cards inside, gave them to the receptionist with my full apologies and instructions to deliver to the classroom and back to work I went, all in less than 20 minutes.
Back at my desk, I couldn't concentrate on the email I had left so hastily. I felt so guilty for letting little one down. All I had to do was listen and buy some Valentine's cards, for goodness sake!
How hard could that be?
But the reality around here is that things go undone sometimes: the kitchen floor might go unswept or the dishes may stay in the sink overnight or the laundry might pile up until there's no choice but to wash something. Between working at the ministry full-time, running a coaching business which includes a mastermind of up-and-coming virtual assistants, juggling two different basketball schedules and activities of my teenage boys and trying to squeeze some "me" time in there is rough.
One of my favorite Bible verses is Colossians 3:23-24:
"Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving."
That verse is my litmus test when I have to make decisions - will what I'm being asked to do please and serve the Lord?
The Lord will give you the tools and resources you need to make things happen. In my case, my uncle is my rock and support. He lives a few blocks away and comes over each and every day to get my youngest off the school van, fix his favorite after-school meal and play around with him until I get home. On the days my uncle can't make it, my aunt fills in. Without them, I wouldn't be able to work at the ministry.
You see, God provides and makes a way. Always.
The truth is, I say "no" to a lot of things. But I'm currently in a season that doesn't allow a lot of social time. I can't do it all and sometimes I feel guilty for declining. Philippians 3:14 says, "I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us." The writer, Paul, said that his goal was to know Christ and to be like Christ. What does that look like? Christ has no guilt. As a matter of fact, he is perfect. Therefore, we shouldn't feel guilty.
God wants a joyous life for all of us. But life gets in the way sometimes, doesn't it?
But you know something I need in my life to make it all work?
Unhappy relationships can keep you from doing the work you're supposed to do and cause conflicts in your family. There's no room for conflict in God's kingdom. Are you in the midst of what seems like a battlefield with a close friend, family member or co-worker? We've all been there, right?
Let me ask you this: when you fight back against someone who is causing you pain, how does that make you feel? Do you get a sense of satisfaction because you "won the battle?" Well, guess what? You didn't win. All you've done is remove yourself from God's plan for yourself.
I absolutely love reading the fruit of the spirit, a clear blueprint for how we should pattern our lives:
But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things! Galatians 5:22-23
Trying to balance ministry + motherhood is a prayerful process. I often ask Him what I should be doing in my life and it's when I don't listen to his clear guidance that I get into trouble. Seek Him to give you the answers you need. Notice I said need, not want. The truth is sometimes we don't get the answers we think we should but guess what? He knows best. Follow Him - He won't steer you wrong.
Prayer doesn't have to be a long, drawn-out process. God is thankful for the time we spend with Him, not so much the long, flowery prayers we might say. If you need some quick prayers, make sure to sign up for your free prayer printable.
Do I have it all together and all figured out? Heck, no! But I've got something really cool in my corner: God's love + understanding. His patience and grace even when I royally screw up is precious. And that's good enough for me.