When the Day Goes Bad

bad day Yesterday was a long day. It started with a frantic call from a neighbor needing some help, ended with being an hour early for hockey practice because I got the time wrong, and in the middle, I ended up with some smashed fingers from the front door blowing shut as I was trying to close it. Not the most successful day.

By the time I got home from hockey practice last night at 9:15, I was ready to throw in the towel. Except I still needed to check in with my older daughter to see how watching soccer practice went (her foot is still in a boot), and I had to get my younger one into bed.

All I really wanted to do was sit down for a few minutes, talk to my husband for five uninterrupted minutes, maybe read a little in the book I'm reading (Monuments Men is a great read, if you're interested), and go to bed. But the kids were calling.

It was one of those days when I would have enjoyed a vacation from being a mom. Actually, I would have enjoyed a vacation from life -- just for a few hours. So, by the time I got home last night, I really didn't want to sit down and listen to my older daughter tell me about her day. I really just wanted to pray with her, kiss her goodnight and leave the room.

But then I heard this still, small voice say, "She needs this. She needs you."

"But everyone needs me," I said.

"Then you just need Me," the voice said.

And, oh, isn't that the truth. In the midst of a day gone bad, there's nothing I need more than Jesus. Because I truly am not capable of listening to one more story, helping with one more homework problem, or driving to one more practice without losing my mind.

It's only by His grace and strength that I can make it through the days where the door slams on my fingers, the child has a temper tantrum, the grocery shopping doesn't get done, and I get the time for practice wrong. In a day gone bad, God's wisdom and grace are often the only thing left -- because my tank is empty.

We can't do this motherhood thing without God. When we try to do it all in our own strength, we won't sit down and listen to the story of soccer practice at 9:30 at night. We won't hold our tongues when a child gets on our last nerve. We won't offer wisdom and teaching in a moment when all we want to do is hand out punishment. We won't because we can't. We simply don't have that much patience, that much wisdom, that much love, that much mercy. But God does.

Last night after my no good, very bad, horrible day, I sat in my older daughter's room for nearly half an hour, listening to the story of her evening, talking about her foot injury, laughing at her jokes. When I left her room, I was still tired. I still would have rather been reading a book. But I knew that my daughter had gotten what she needed from me last night. And God had given me what I needed to be the mom she needed.