My mucky heart

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My heart was a muck hole. And I was scheduled to help lead worship this morning. Great.

How did I get to this point anyway??

First meltdown of the morning was before I was barely out of bed. My eldest pulled a fit about not having any shorts to wear. (Sigh… ) A little bit later, youngest pulled a major meltdown after I hadn’t realized what she wanted when she called me upstairs. It’s hard to understand what a little one wants when she meets you smiling and talking about the kitty cat, and as you head back downstairs, she begins screaming about something else. (Sigh…)

I am trying to get myself ready to go.

In the ensuing distractions I have misplaced my antiperspirant. I only sport antiperspirant on days when I know I’m going to sweat. Like today. Singing in front of 100 people. That, for sure, merits antiperspirant. Other days I only wear deodorant because I fear the future consequences of blocking my sweat glands from secreting perspiration.  I run around seeking the afore-mentioned substance but come up with empty hands.

Little one is still screaming. I can’t stand it and relegate her to her bedroom. My blood pressure is soaring.

I try to scarf back some breakfast. I’m thinking out loud about the fact that my sister, who is visiting from out east, is leaving tomorrow. Wish I could see her one more time before she leaves. My husband’s voice cuts into my reverie. “We have too much going on! When are we going to get the house ready for showing??”

I look at the calendar. True. I’m booked tonight, tomorrow night and the next night as well. Hmmm….

Harsh words fall from my lips. I thought we had a deal, he and I. Now things pile on my shoulders. I feel the pressure, the burden of it all.

The packing, the painting that needs to be finished up here, the lines I need to learn for my role at vacation bible school, the organizing needed for the cottage trip coming up, but most importantly, our efforts need to be focussed on our upcoming move.

Little one is now kicking the bedroom door in her fevered tantrum. Husband goes up to deal with it.

And then there is this issue of the kitchen. I look around. The heart of our home. I spend a lot of time here but it never seems to be tidy: clearing the daily clutter is an unforgiving, relentless job. I tend to give up, if truth be known. I feel frustrated with how the clutter accumulates the minute I let my guard down. Stuff piles. Paper, mainly. No working office means that the kitchen table becomes the office and that the bills, notices, and other paper gets left there. It also tends to be the place where we do schoolwork. That adds to the clutter: binders, crafts, and more paper. I was supposed to tidy it all up to get pictures on the Internet so that we can rent out our house. (Sigh)

I need to leave for church.

The harsh words from my husband and from my own lips reverberate in my head. The screams of my tantruming four year old echo off the walls of our house.

My heart is mucky. I feel angry, pressured, stressed and upset. How am I supposed to lead others in worship and song feeling this way?

God?

I think I need your help here. I am failing again. I so easily lose my cool, I quickly resort to angry responses, and I get caught up in the situation and focus on the stress, rather than looking to You for help and strength.

And I claim to follow the One who preaches self-sacrificial love. How can I lead others towards You? It’s hypocrisy.

I stand outside as I wait for my ride to show. The birds are chirping. The air is cool. Beauty surrounds me. God surrounds me with His arms. I breathe deep. I breathe in His love, His peace, His forgiveness.

A friend prays for me on the way to church.

And as I stand to lead God’s people in worship an hour later, my heart is full of  joy. Jesus has been at it, working to clear out all the muck.

I could not get to this place of joy and love without his help. For the moment, all my worries are insignificant as I lift my voice in praise to the Lord of all. He fills my vision. His glory is all that matters.

Perhaps this is the answer to the stress of life… praise. For praise takes my thoughts off myself, my focus is no longer on me and my vision is focussed right where it should be: on Jesus.

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