Our nest is nearly empty. Because our only son, the youngest of our brood, graduates high school on Saturday. Am I sad, nostalgic? I’m not sure. Right now I’m too busy to sort out my feelings.
I like to think it’s not me, it’s the month. For years, the month of May has been crazy for our family due to Mother’s Day, one child’s birthday, end of the year programs, recitals and athletic events, Memorial Day, graduations, etc..
This year our other two children (plus one husband and a special-needs puppy adopted in Peru) have returned home temporarily, making our house hum with a level of activity it hasn’t experienced in years. So much so, one child magneted her work schedule—she’s currently working 2.5 jobs—to the refrigerator. On my weekly meal plans, beside each evening’s tentative menu, I’ve noted in pencil who will be home to eat and who won’t.
The dishwasher runs nightly and the washer and dryer, daily. I hit the grocery store every other day at least. I work on my various writing assignments early in the morning and late at night, and also in between the making of meals and cleaning up after. Through it all, every other hour, my phone pings with a reminder of something I’m supposed to do or someplace I’m supposed to be.
I know life used to be like this, but I was younger then and used to the constant buzzing about. The last few quiet years with only one child at home—one who drives himself hither and yon—have spoiled me.
There was a point, though, during all the familial frenzy, when I realized intense busyness is bad for my health, specifically my emotional health. When I’m overscheduled, I get jangled, scattered, and sometimes snippy.
That revelation led to a healthy ability to say no. But sometimes, a certain season of life comes along and you can’t avoid domestic chaos. During times like this, three things help keep me sane.
#1 Listening to worship music.
During crazy seasons, left to its own devices, my mind repeats an annoying play-list of unhelpful phrases:
- You’re a bad wife, mother, daughter, friend, etc…
- You’re never going to get everything done.
- You’re so unorganized.
- Your lack of peace means a lack of faith.
I need something to distract my ears from all the lies. That’s when I turn on a Pandora station of worship music or pull up “Oh, Come to the Altar” by Elevation Worship on my IPad.
Singing worship songs and focusing on the lyrics as I go about my day does wonders for my nerves.
#2 Requesting the prayer support of godly friends.
Yesterday I texted several friends confessing my state of overwhelm. I provided an abbreviated list of the items on my plate and asked them to please pray peace for me. All graciously promised to do so. One even thanked me for asking.
When you request prayer, two things happen. Your emotional burden is immediately lightened because others are carrying it with you. And more importantly, God is now hearing multiple people ask for help on your behalf.
#3 Meditating on relevant scripture.
This morning as I considered what I was lacking—peace—I remembered one of my favorite scriptures: “He will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast because he trusts in Him.” Isaiah 26:3 literally offers a prescription for peace—trusting in God.
I also recognized that whenever I’m overwhelmed or disheartened, everything in me slides downward. That reminded me of Psalm 43:5, “Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me?”
What’s the opposite of down? It’s up. That reminded me of Psalm 121:1-2, “I lift up my eyes to the hills—where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.”
If God can make and hold all of heaven and earth together, surely my problems are not too difficult for him.
I hope that’s as comforting to you as it is to me.