I have been very, very tired for the past few weeks. Fatigued, really, would be the right word. That deep bone weariness that makes it a challenge to just do anything except to sit on the couch. It’s not the kids, but in part from the travel of the holidays that spilled over into the next week as my oldest friend needed some support as his father was laid to rest. As we were ready to leave, we got hit with sickness and a nice snowstorm to boot.
It’s been a banner start to Advent, really.
This morning, though, I couldn’t take it anymore. The house I had spent months getting in order had turned to chaos in three days. The only sign of Christmas was the Elf on our Shelf. I have no idea where our Advent wreath is. The advent calendars aren’t out yet. Homeschooling has been a few stories and math each day. Last week I held the kids as I told them their grandfather who has been ill for so long probably will be going to be healed and live with Jesus forever soon.
We didn’t get new pictures from the database of Mac. There should have been new pictures by now. It’s been a year since we thought we were just days away from travelling to meet him. And there was this video yesterday…oh guys, I can’t even begin to express my fear over what might be waiting for him in two more years.
As I was making lunch for the kids today, I looked at the girls standing in the kitchen with me, and I just started sobbing. I was the laughing kind of sobbing, where you know you would have held it together if you weren’t a mess of hormones because you are three months pregnant. And I didn’t tell you yet, because of baby Faith last summer, and honest to goodness, for no reason but that, I think it’s about 50/50 that this baby will be born this summer now, but I am at peace with that.
Standing in the kitchen, I just couldn’t hide it anymore. I looked around, and the place was a mess. And I wanted to make cookies for the kids, but I couldn’t. I just didn’t have it in me. So I cried.
They hugged me, and I told them I would laugh cry with them too one day when the baby in their belly made them cry at everything. They told me it was ok, and in a few minutes, we got lunch going again when the doorbell rang.
Have I mentioned before that I am not a movie star crier? When I cry, you’ll know about it for an hour afterward. Red eyes, blotchy cheeks, and a drippy nose. That’s why when the doorbell rang, pulling myself together was a moot point.
I opened the door with a smile, holding Daisy and our rambunctious dog. A woman with a red beret stood there empty handed. I was sure she was a Jehovah’s witness (bless her heart–it was 8 degrees out today!) when she asked if I knew our neighbors. Considering we live in a 50′s sitcom neighborhood, I smiled and said, yes, they are wonderful people. How could I help her?
She asked if she could leave a delivery with me. I, of course, said I would be happy to.
We waited for about a minute as the storm door steamed up, the girls straining to see what was coming. I couldn’t tell what she was holding when she came back. I opened the door and reached out for what I could now see was a holly-paper wrapped Christmas arrangement. As it safely cleared the doorjamb, she tucked a small cellophane-wrapped poinsettia into the hand holding Daisy.
She said “This is to thank you for your help,” and was back to her car in a matter of seconds.
I looked at the girls and started crying and laughing again, thinking we were holding the most beautiful flowers ever. I just looked at them. The tiny ones. I just said “This is how God works, girls. This is how God works.”
I set the big plant out of reach of the kids, watered our little poinsettia, put it in the middle of our mess, and told the girls we were going to make Christmas cookies next.
I just picked some easy shortbread, and put my laptop out for the kids to watch the Disney classic, The Small One. The cookies weren’t a big hit, but the house smelled good, and we were doing something together to celebrate waiting for Jesus’ arrival on Christmas.
At the end, when Joseph came and offered the little boy a single piece of silver for his old, kind donkey, I was in tears again. It’s happening a lot these days–please be patient with me. The little donkey who had been sarcastically chided as being “fit for a king’s stable” was truly just that, carrying Mary all the way to Bethlehem.
Our complete absence of anything looking like preparation for the birth of the King of Kings looked the same today as that kind little donkey. We aren’t ready. We are tired. We left so much behind this year and surrendered it all with open hands. We gained so much, too, but at great emotional expense. When I look around at our chaos…there are so many more Pinterest-worthy places for Him to be.
But today, He was here.
He cares for the little things. The smallest heartbreaks. Just think how much he must care about the biggest ones, too.