Routine and I have a strange, love-hate relationship. If I’m being positive, I call myself Spirit-led. Other times, I just think I’m a pendulum-swinger. I’m learning from my tendencies toward the latter, and allowing it to be molded more and more into the former — this is the work of God in my life, leading me as a Good Shepherd.
We have our schedule. It’s posted in plain sight. It was thought about, long and hard, the result of prayer and pondering. But it is a tool, in the end. It is not our master.
In September, stirring everyone with an exhortation to be “up and at ’em” is altogether fitting and even fun. By the end of January, the constraints of climate seem to just beg for more fluidity inside. And so it is required of me that I learn to observe needs, act as guide and not sergeant, hold big picture in mind and enjoy the twists and turns that it takes to get there.
Take now, for instance:
Morning chores amounted to a bit of tidying and taking care of laundry. I’ve been poking away at tidying my room, but really, spending more time sitting on the edge of my bed in prayer for this one and that one, and dreaming with a friend via the internet about future homes.
The boys woke up with a big Lego plan, and you know what? That doesn’t happen often. So I set aside the school plans I’d written for the morning, told them to turn on an educational CD they received for Christmas, and play their hearts out. They will be there for hours, slowly assembling Star Wars ships, pausing regularly to listen to the familiar stories of Boston Tea Parties and First Continental Congresses.
Girls are at the table coloring, after playing Peter and the Wolf for awhile (where Peter looked an awful lot like a baby doll who was rescued by her mama from a fox?)
We need this time. We all do.
And as I learn to keep big picture in mind, and am led by a Shepherd as I lead my little lambs, I regularly am amazed to find that He knows how to get it “all” done. Sometimes doing it His way requires being fully engaged for more hours than I would like, letting the day creep into evening hours rather than being tidily finished and wrapped with a bow at 4:30. That’s okay. I have not died yet from too much noise and activity, although I’ve come close at times (can you say stimulus overload?)
There are plenty of days when the chief exercise is learning to do what we must do whether we want to or not. There are plenty of “work hard and fast” hours, followed by “here’s your list of school work, now do it” mornings and afternoons. But then there are these moments, too, when I realize that He knows how to fit in the special things:
a baby who snuck away from me, a brother who loves to read to his sisters
General Washington and Alexander Hamilton planning an attack
early morning company, enjoying the rare treat of looking at family photos
Liberty’s Kids, in a new (therefore fun) spot.
impromptu “school” project with my big girl