It's 5:40 in the morning and I hear him again. He's up before a reasonable time and I'm frustrated. I'm tired. I just want to be able to sleep until 7:00. It's Saturday and I just want that, despite how dumb it may sound. I tell him across the monitor to lay down and go back to sleep.
It's 6:00 and she comes barrelling through our bedroom door wanting her sippy cup. I'm tired and groggy, having just fallen back to sleep. I stumble my way to the kitchen, retrieve her cup, and we go back and snuggle before drifting off to sleep.
It's 6:30. I see a light shining under my door and I know. I know she's up. She's in the kitchen and I feel my frustrations rising. I get up and find her with the sweetest grin and my recipe book attempting to make homemade waffles. She's such a giver, always thinking of others, yet I find myself still frustrated. It's 6:30. It's the weekend. And I just want to sleep.
But here we are and the day is starting whether I want it to or not.
It's been a dreary day. It's drizzled off and on, the sun barely making an appearance all day. Truth be told .... it's felt like that inside too.
I'd like to say the day got better, but it didn't.
One child was intentionally mean.
One wrote a letter detailing how depressed he/she is since baby boy has arrived.
And my sweet Emi, well, she wasn't so sweet.
Throwing cornbread led to being corrected, which led to an utter meltdown on her part. Refusal to stay in her chair. Refusal to listen or obey anything I asked of her. And so she was escorted to her room where she just lost it. She threw everything she could find to throw. She screamed and cried until she gagged herself multiple times. The room was trashed and my patience was wavering. Nothing I did seemed to help. She refused to stay in bed, refused to let me hold her, refused to stop yelling. Her hair was wet. Beads of sweat covered her forehead and she was determined. All I could say was "It's okay Emi. It's okay" and as I spoke those simple words the tears began streaming down my face. I knew she knew it wasn't okay....that she didn't know how to back down. Cried because I knew it wasn't okay. I felt like everything was falling apart. As she finally let me scoop her up, we cried together, me sobbing as I brushed her hair out of her face and told her that I loved her, rocking her and praying and hoping she knows just how true that is.
It's times like these that the enemy sneaks in with his lies.
"You're failing them. I mean, seriously, look at you. You're a mess. You can't even control a 2 year old."
"You call yourself a mom? What mom has kids who treat their siblings like that?"
"Hahaha. You thought this adoption thing would be easier, didn't you? See, such a failure. You can't handle anything."
"Crying because of a toddler? You're a joke."
And you know, I've believed so many of his lies. Truth is, I still probably do in a lot of areas.
But here's the thing. Today as I took the kids to the park (where one such kid was mean to another) we came upon the finish line for a race. A block or two back I had passed a single runner. She looked tired...more tired than what I presumed she should look like. And it wasn't until I saw the timer that I knew why. 3:32:19. I remember thinking, I wonder what they're running. Then I heard them come over the speaker and announce the winners for the half marathon, first place finishing in at 1:58.
This sweet lady had taken over 90 minutes longer than the winner. I've been there. Finishing a race in a time in which the winners literally could have done the race twice or close to it. But you know despite the gap in their times what they have in common?
They both finished.
Don't miss that because there's so much value in that statement.
The both crossed the finish line.
So many times it's easy to look around and see where everyone else is. You know, the ones with their well behaved kids and perfectly manicured lawn. The ones you're eyeing, wishing you could be more like. More put together. More Godly. More patient. More gentle and understanding.
But I'm so often reminded that it's not where others are but where I am compared to where I used to be. You see, I may never be totally patient and gentle, but I'm determined that 5 years from now I'll be better than I am today. Because the key isn't in seeing where others are, it's in putting one foot in front of the other and making it to the finish line.
I may stumble and fall, flail about, and drag myself to the finish line, but I'm determined to get there.
I may be struggling, but failure is a choice I'm not choosing.
I'm not sure what lies you may have bought into, but sweet friends, hear me out....
He may speak lies, but we don't have to believe them.
We can trust the Father that despite our flaws and lack of getting where we want to be at the pace we'd like, that He promises that His grace is sufficient for the day.
His grace is sufficient to see us to the finish line. Whether that's in 1:58 or 3:32.
The goal is simply to finish, and to finish having given it all we've got.
May we run the race with endurance, casting off the enemy's lies with each step we take.