To begin this post I will outline all of the ropes of which I have reached the end, but hold on with me through the perceived whining, because it does result in my learning things, and a funny story about my doodles.
Rope 1: The partial and inconsistent potty training of the cheesedoodle is driving me crazy. People keep telling me “He’s only two and a half,” which is actually the problem. The average age of potty trained boys in Western culture is increasing generationally but human anatomy hasn’t changed. The conclusion I’ve reached is that boys are capable of being potty trained younger, and our culture must have a flawed approach to the process. Trying to identify the cultural blindspots associated with this issue, however, is liking asking a fish to identify how wet it is. I am a product of my culture, and thereby unable to see past it. The result is alternating days of throwing up my hands in defeat, declaring him “not even three” and putting him in a diaper, followed by days in which I am determined to find the key to unlocking the diaper chains even if it kills everyone in the house, because “he’s already two and a half!”. Tuesday he used the potty faithfully until we left the house, then pooped in his pants for the childcare workers during bible study. END OF MY ROPE!!!!!!!!!
Rope 2: I feel that I am taking two steps forward and two back when it comes to house keeping, and every time I am completing one chore, there are thirty seven others that are not being done because I am doing that one. Jonathan is taking a week long Jan Term class that runs from 8:30 am to 4:00 pm every day this week. Tuesday he didn’t have lunch because I didn’t “get around” to making one. END OF MY ROPE!!!!!!
Rope 3: The situation with our house in Georgia has been deteriorating since June, and we are now back down to two tenants. When we bought the house it appraised at $140,000 – significantly more than we owed on it. We thought we were making such a wise decision and a clever investment. It’s currently on the market for $112,500 with no interest at all. END OF MY ROPE!!!!!
As all of this (and the daily demands of just life with three dependent little people) was piling up on me, and I reached the end of my rope (and then watched said end rise above my head as I passed it going down) it occurred to me that when I reach the end of my rope, it’s a sign that I’m holding onto the wrong rope to begin with.
The result of this “epiphany” was a day spent (I’m so embarrassed to even write this) thinking to myself, “Coming to the end of my rope. Let go of my rope. Cling to God’s rope.” If that doesn’t sound like a youth camp t-shirt slogan, I don’t know what does, and the sad thing is that I didn’t even recognize it for the lunacy it was for almost 24 hours. I know better than “just try harder,” or “find the right rope,” but the harder I tried to pull myself out of the hole I was sinking into, the worse everything was going. I was snapping at my kids, snapping at myself, ignoring my housework (because that really showed the dishes who was boss!) and was generally an unpleasant person to be associated with. The rope kept getting shorter the harder I tried to hold on.
I was finally forced to preach the gospel to myself.
I am found in Christ.
I am not pulling myself up by a rope; I am abiding in the Vine!
I am not hanging over a precipice; I am safely in the hands of the creator of the universe and no one can snatch me from Him.
I am not barely surviving; I am living the abundant life!
I wish that I could say that once I let go of all my rope related thoughts and began to once again focus on Christ that the cheesedoodle potty trained himself, the house in Georgia sold and someone bequeathed me a house elf. That’s not what happened. I’m praying for wisdom in potty training. I’m praying for a miracle for the house. I mopped my floor and loaded my dishwasher. And then:
Wednesday night is midweek at church which is a late night for the kids, but not unmanageably so. Jonathan had a committee meeting to attend, so I was going to get the kids home by myself and into bed and he was catching a ride home with a neighbor. I herded them all out to the van, got every one of the buckled, got into the driver’s seat, got myself buckled in, reached for the ignition and realized that I didn’t have any keys.
End of my rope? As I was sitting there wondering how I was going to abide in the Vine on this one, the mackerdoodle asked what was wrong.
“Mama doesn’t have car keys, baby girl.” I answered, doing my best to keep my voice in neutral.
“OH NO!” cried the makerdoodle. “We will never be able to drive our van AGAIN?!?”
With a deep breath, I turned around and smiled. “Isn’t it funny?” I said. I even began to feel it. “Isn’t it crazy that we did all of this and I don’t even have keys to the van? Now we get to go on an adventure and find Daddy in the church to get keys. Isn’t that funny?”
Within moments they were giggling, those older doodles of mine. Taking their cues from mama, as they had all week to the detriment of peace and harmony, they were now laughing at the crazy situation. As we returned to the church building, and I said hello to people to whom I had just said good bye, my mackerdoodle said, “Get this! We got all buckled into the van, and she doesn’t have any keys! Isn’t that HILARIOUS?!?”
Once we got the keys, the mood remained.The moon was a beautiful huge orange orb low on the horizon as we were driving home, and sometimes we could see it, and sometimes we couldn’t. Frustrated that she couldn’t always see this mesmerizing sight, the mackerdoodle asked why the moon was sometimes up and sometimes down. I answered, “It’s playing hide-and-seek with us.” There was a moment of silence as we caught glimpses of the moon dashing between the trees from one hiding spot to the next and the mackerdoodle said (dryly, but without whining) “I think it’s winning.” As soon as she said it, the cheesedoodle chuckled at his sister’s wit, and so did she.
I’m still praying for a miracle. I’m still wondering about potty training. I’m still feeling the pressure.
But I’m not at the end of anything. I am found in Christ. No ropes attached.