To the Weary Mom: Here’s Why the Bad Days are Really the Best Days
“Ugh. I'm not feeling so well today and there's a ton of housework to be done. I'm so glad we have video homeschool. I'll get the kids occupied with that while I try to whiz through the housework.”
Those were the thoughts that went through my mind as I got up and going for the day.
But, as seems to be the case nine days out of ten, things didn't go exactly as I'd planned.
No. Things didn't go at all how I'd planned.
Just a few minutes after I got the video school going, one of the kids showed up in my room.
“What are you doing? You're supposed to be watching Bible class.”
“It's not working.”
“What do you mean it's not working? I just turned it on a few minutes ago and it was working fine.”
“The screen is black.”
When I went to check to see what was wrong, I found that, sure enough the screen was black. Someone had turned the computer completely off and had decided to plug other items into the computer's outlet. In the process they had tripped the breaker. When I turned the breaker back on, there was no power to the computer. The monitor and printer were working, but the computer wouldn't power up. I called everyone I could think of to help me figure out the problem, but no one could help me.
I was left with a messy house and children who could not do their schooling for the day.
I decided to make the best of it and put the children to work. Ha! That went over like a lead balloon.
No one seemed to be in the mood for housework, and every time I went to prod one child along, another child would create another disaster in a different area of the house. At one point, the baby started crying, and someone carried her to my room and deposited her on my bed (which has a brand new comforter on it). She was covered with peanut butter.
I grabbed her off the bed and started cleaning the peanut butter from her hands and face. Thankfully a baby wipe did a pretty good job of getting it off the comforter too.
I went into the bathroom to check on the child who was supposed to be cleaning it.
Instead of finding the job nearly done, as should have been the case, I found the bathroom floor littered with pieces of toilet paper, soap squirted all over the floor, tub, and sink, and the water running full blast. This wasn't a matter of a child who didn't know how to do the job; this was a matter of a child who decided that experimenting would be more fun than cleaning. And boy, was he hard at work with his experiment!
The events I have recounted are but a small portion of the actual events that took place. There were more. Lots more. And it seemed that the harder I tried to redeem the situation, the worse things got.
One of my children kept saying “This is such a bad day!”
But over and over I kept thinking to myself, “This is not a bad day! This is a good day! These hard days are the best days!”
Now, don't get me wrong. I don't enjoy broken computers or peanut butter stains or dirty bathrooms or whining children any more than you do.
I'd really rather my days go as smoothly as I envision them in my head.
So why do I think the bad days are really the best days?
Bad days provide opportunities to teach my children at a deeper level.
I'm not talking about the opportunity to teach them that we don't unplug the computer (though that definitely wouldn't hurt!) I'm talking about the opportunity to teach them that God knows what's best for us even when we can't understand what's going on. I'm talking about teaching them that joy is a choice and not a feeling.
It's one thing to tell your children these things; it's another thing entirely to live it in front of them. Just a couple nights ago they asked me to tell them the story of Job. So I gave a synopsis of the story along with the application that Job trusted God even when he didn't understand why all those things were happening to him, and we ought to always trust God even when we don't understand what's happening too.
When everybody was complaining about this being such a “bad day”, I was then able to say, “Remember Job? Now we need to practice what we talked about the other night. We need to trust that God knows all about our day and that he knows why these things are happening.” I could remind them of Philippians 4:4, “Rejoice in the Lord always, and again I say rejoice.” God doesn't tell us to rejoice when things are going well; He says to rejoice always. We can only do that by making a conscious choice to do that, and that bad days provide a perfect opportunity for me to help my kids learn how to make that choice.
Bad days sanctify me.
Patience. I sure need a good dose of it on those days that disaster strikes every time I turn around. And God says to “…let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.” (James 1:4)
Patience does a perfecting work. I learn to become more gentle, loving, and kind when my natural reaction would be to blow up in frustration. I learn to focus my attention on the eternal instead of being concerned only about the here and now.
Pressure causes all the ugliness in my heart to bubble up to the surface. Instead of using that as an excuse to let my feelings fly, I can use it as an opportunity to recognize the ugliness for what it is – sin, wretched sin, that does not belong in my life. And I can allow the Holy Spirit to scrape that ugly froth right off the top of my cup and to refill my cup with love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and temperance. (Galatians 5:22-23)
Bad days help me remember to depend on Jesus.
I have this terrible habit of forgetting that I didn't give myself the ability to clean house, or take care of children, or even to breathe.
For some reason the fact that I wouldn't even be alive apart from God seems to slip my mind when everything is smooth sailing. So every once in a while God roughs up the waters a bit to give me a little reminder.
I can't do this mothering thing on my own. I don't have the strength to get such a monumental amount of work done every day. I don't have the wisdom to train children up for the Lord. I can't do anything!
My strength comes from remembering my weakness and fully depending on the unfailing strength of God. “And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” (II Corinthians 12:9)
If it takes a bad day to help me be weak in order that I may be truly strong, I'm willing!
No friends, the bad days aren't fun, but they're good.
Five, ten, or fifty years from now, there will be no lasting value in whether or not I manged to get my house clean on “those days”. But the value in raising children who know how to follow God's Word because they got to see their mama living it out in front of them; the richness of becoming more like my perfect Savior, and the beauty of living in his strength instead of wallowing in my own weakness is absolutely priceless.
I'd say the days that give me priceless gifts are the best days.
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