Monday, October 10, 2011

A Bad Case of the Grumpies

Photo Courtesy of Steve Ford Elliott
I stepped out of the elementary school building, three kids in tow. Hoping for a peaceful afternoon after a few stressful days, I stopped short as my youngest son started in.

"I want ice cream," he stated in his whiniest voice. And didn't stop. Until two hours later. When Mom buckled and bought ice cream to satisfy her son's desire and her need for peace and quiet.

Meanwhile, my daughter decided she wanted to be sassy. She quipped several sentences out, meant to irritate anyone nearby. Brothers. Mom. The air around her...

I'd been substituting four days in a row and needed some quiet time. I've been taking care of my children while my husband works in Indiana - since mid-August. I haven't had a break from kids. Well, maybe twice, but when there's four of them and I have no one to help me handle all of their ups and downs each day, it doesn't seem like much. And the neighbor kids love to come to my house after school, which is fine with me. But I recognize my need for some me time in the midst of daily life with children.

While pondering this, I've come to a resounding compassion for single mothers. Working full time. Running kids to football practice. And birthday parties. And church events. Shopping with kids hanging from the cart, the shelves, and the bars they put at the edges of the cold item displays in the middle of the dairy and meat sections. Dinner. Showers. Nighttime prayers. And cries for Daddy. My heart goes out to you. I don't know how you do it without breaking.

At least I still have my husband. He may be miles away and only accessible by phone, but his children can hear his voice. They know he's still there for them. They get to see him once a month when he flies down to visit. And one day soon, we'll be reunited again.

The second thing I've realized in the midst of this ordeal is how often I tend to lean toward a bad case of the grumpies. How often do I find myself muttering to God under my breath? I can't do this anymore. Why do we have to be apart? Why so long? When will this end? Why can't they stop whining? When do I get a break, Lord? 

And then I realize: I still have a husband. My children are all healthy and in their right minds. We have a roof over our head, despite the continual issues with our furnace and our toilets. We have food on our table, even if it's only cereal, sandwiches, and pasta while we run two households. I have a good substitute teaching position. And we are blessed.

God is always with us, no matter how near or far our loved ones are. He promises to never leave us nor forsake us. He holds us close. I took comfort in the following Psalm this morning as I thought once again on my current circumstance. I hope you find comfort in it, too.

Psalm 121

I will lift up my eyes to the hills -
From whence comes my help?
My help comes from the Lord,
Who made heaven and earth.

He will not allow your foot to be moved;
He who keeps you will not be moved;
He who keeps you will not slumber.
Behold, He who keeps Israel
Shall neither slumber nor sleep.

The Lord is your keeper;
The Lord is your shade at your right hand.
The sun shall not strike you by day,
Nor the moon by night.

The Lord shall preserve you from all evil;
He shall preserve your soul.
The Lord shall preserve your going out and your coming in
From this time forth, and even forevermore.


  1. Oh, Alycia. Those times can be spirit-crushing, so I'm thankful you're thinking on whatever is noble, whatever is praiseworthy... God is good to give us these times when we must cling to Him alone. Not only does it deepen our faith in and love for Him, but it so helps us to appreciate the cooperation of our earthly love when we are reunited. I'll be praying for you!

  2. Your article reminded me of similar days when my husband was never in the same state when there was an emergency with a child, me or the house. They were exhausting days, but now, in hind sight, I can see that the Lord knew what He was doing. He was preparing my faith for the future when times got even more difficult. May God hold you tightly to Him as you go through these times without your husband's presence.

  3. Thank you, Bethany and Cynthia! Your encouragement and understanding is treasured!


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