There are four seasons around my house. That may sound like the same as everyone else but our seasons are not. Our seasons are a little different around here. Since my life has been governed by the school calendar year for the entire 41 years I have been alive- our “New Year” always begins in August. So while everyone is making resolutions in January- I am already 5 months into and over any resolutions I made about organization and productivity on August 1. There is no hope of reversing this until the next August brings a fresh page where I will dream about cooking healthy gourmet meals for my family (which if you know me- know that is truly a fantasy..more for my family than for me. For me it translates into a nightmare… the thought of spending that much time thinking about food and standing in the kitchen) but alas- somewhere in my mind, the “good mother” might surface in the coming school year and with her, all things vegetable. In my mind- this will be the year I keep my house clean and orderly, my desk neatly arranged, and the bills will be in something other than a large pile on the counter. I will be incredibly productive, achieving not just the dreams of my heart but helping my children and husband achieve theirs as well while simultaneously helping everyone be physically fit and being the awesome fun grandparent that everyone wants to visit. I will relate to each child in their stage of life – Kenzie as a young mother, Brandt as a college student, and Halle as new high schooler, seamlessly moving from one interaction to the next, never blurring the lines between my expectations for my child living at home and my children living out on their own. I will meticulously keep my house clean enough for company but not be uptight when the grandchildren come over and leave a trail of popcorn and sticky fingerprints across my freshly mopped floors. Because it is a new year and all things are possible.
As I said- that will all have to wait for August to roll around again because I am 5 months into this year and as usual, reality has reared her ugly head when it comes to my goals. First reality- I am not an organized person. No matter how many plans and purposes I set in place, I am fighting an uphill battle, swimming against the stream. I have things in my life that are organized but my life itself is just not orderly. It’s messy. Very messy. I think part of my struggle to organize things is really just my desire to tidy up life itself. I would like everything to be like a hallmark movie- pretty predictable and always assured of a happy ending tied up with a nice little bow. But that is not life, at least not mine.
Second reality- mothering is hard. You grow up thinking that when you have children, you will be a grown up and you will know what to do. This is a lie. Someone keeps perpetuating it, I think to ensure survival of our species, but nevertheless, it is a huge lie. You are not a grown up before you have kids. I think God gives us kids to make us grow up. I am growing up as my kids grow. Maybe it’s just me that feels this way but I don’t think so. We stop eating brownies for dinner only because we know we can’t feed small children that. And they’re watching us. We stop staying up until 1 am watching movies because we know they will make us get up at 6 am no matter how tired we are. And this doesn’t change as they get older. Two of my three children do not live at home now and I am still trying to figure out how to be a mother. I do blur the lines between childhood and early adulthood. It’s hard and confusing. I don’t like it some days. I liked being the boss of them. Very few people listen to me, but they had to! So I’m stumbling along, asking God to cover with His grace and mercy all the things I mess up, all the things I still don’t know how to do. And He is faithful. At this point, all of my children still speak to me and spend time with me so He is obviously holding things together!
So back to our seasons. August is New Year’s. Then we move into what I call “Pre-Christmas” Season which runs from mid- August to Thanksgiving, then there is the Christmas season that runs from Thanksgiving until January 4th or 5th, just depending on what day the kids have to be back in school. Then begins “Pre Summer” season, from January until mid- May. This is a tricky season because it really feels like pre-summer should end when Spring Break ends but you have to hang on for 6 more weeks after that. It’s tough. But you finally make it though most of May, and the Summer season begins. This season keeps getting shorter and shorter because of the school’s planning. It’s very unfortunate.
As you can see – we live a large portion of our year in anticipation. Waiting for Christmas, then waiting for summer. As believers, we live like this as well. We anticipate an end to suffering and sin. We wait for a day when we are no longer trying to figure it out but living in the reality of all Jesus is and all we are meant to be. We look forward to the day when life is as it should be, when Jesus returns to reign. But as we wait, as we anticipate, we must live in the messiness, in our mistakes and our failures. We must grow and learn and love. We cannot become so focused on the waiting that we forget about the living. We mark each year as it comes and goes, but our standard of measurement isn’t how we have reached our goals but how we have let Him have His way in our hearts. What will we give Him this year? What will we let go of that is weighing us down?
I know Jesus reads my goals and laughs. Not a mocking laugh, but a knowing laugh. The knowing that says, “Oh, Brooke, I know you long for things to make sense and life to work out perfectly and I know in your humanity, you somehow think organizing that desk drawer will help accomplish that…and I love that about you. I love how you long for my justice and my righteousness to reign. Let me be the Comforter of your heart in the meantime. As you wait, as you anticipate all I will do, lean into Me as you experience the fallen world, as your heart rejoices and as it breaks, experience all of life with Me.” That is my prayer for this year and every year- to experience everything with Him. Life makes so much more sense when He’s interpreting it.