This morning started like any other. My alarm started chirping at 6:15am, and I rolled out of bed at 6:35am after "snoozing" the inevitable twice. It always seems like a good idea when I'm snuggled warm in my bed, but not as much so an hour later when we're racing out the door, attempting to make the carpool cutoff.
If today was any indication, I should probably start getting up at 5:00am.
Our school mornings generally look like this:
6:30am - make the kids breakfast
6:40am - call the kids to breakfast, get them situated, and begin the assault on my ear drums (My 8-yr-old daughter wakes up ready to dialogue...well, not dialogue, really, because that implies a back-and-forth conversation; she basically just talks non-stop until I force her to get dressed for school)
7:00am - send the two big kids upstairs to get ready for school (this consists of getting dressed, socks/shoes, brushing teeth, and making beds); also, I start packing lunches and doing dishes
7:05am - call the first reminder up to my daughter, who has spent the last five minutes talking to herself in the bathroom mirror
7:10am - my middle kiddo sits down to watch cartoons, because he is able to complete his tasks in 10 minutes or less every day, and he uses his remaining free time to veg in front of the TV
7:15am - call the second reminder up to my daughter, who leisurely strolls out of her room, still in her PJs, and asks me, "Mommy, how old do I have to be to wear high heels?"
7:20am - call the third reminder up to my daughter, this time a little more...ehh...forcefully
7:25am - call everyone downstairs to pile in the van and head to school; my daughter frantically yells, "But Mom, I haven't brushed my teeth yet!"
7:30am - the time we ACTUALLY leave for school
I've always found it curious that my 6-yr-old son manages to complete his tasks quickly and accurately, while my daughter has to be redirected every 10 seconds. I've become so accustomed to him handling his tasks that I trust him to get them done and don't feel the need to check on him anymore.
My daughter was lollygagging (yes, I used that word) so much this morning that we didn't load out until 7:34am. I was already irritated, hadn't had coffee, and basically was wishing it was bedtime already, but we piled in the van and off we drove to school (about 1.5 miles from our house). As we pulled up near the school, I told the kids they had to hop out and walk the rest of the way on the sidewalk because the carpool line was so backed up. I opened the sliding van door and my daughter hopped out.
What happened next can't be made up.
"MOM!!! WAIT!!! I ONLY HAVE UNDERWEAR ON!!!" -- Sutton, my 6-yr-old
But what I THOUGHT I heard him say was:
"MOM!!! WAIT!!! I DON'T HAVE UNDERWEAR ON!!!"
A little known fact about my boys: they HATE underwear. Like, loathe it. I don't know why (wait, yes I do, because I hate underwear, too). It's gotten so that, lately, I find them underwear-less on a regular basis, usually while wearing exercise-type shorts, which we can all agree is unacceptable and leaves little to the imagination. I had to make it a house rule that underwear must ALWAYS be worn when going anywhere, especially to church and school. So, you can imagine that when I heard him say, "I DON'T HAVE UNDERWEAR ON," a) I wasn't surprise, and b) I was ticked.
"I'm sorry son, you'll just have to go to school that way today...hop on out of the car."
He then proceeded to burst into tears, because what he'd actually said was that he was in his undies, and my response led him to believe that I said he had to go to school that way, without pants.
He screamed through his tears.
"NO, MOM, PLEASE!!! I CAN'T GO TO SCHOOL WITHOUT PANTS ON!!!"
Then I turned around at saw him. My handsome boy. Teeth brushed. A clean shirt on. Socks and shoes. His backpack on his back. And his whitey-tighties shining bright as the morning sun.
"SON!!! WHERE ARE YOUR PANTS???"
You can add that to the list of things I hoped I'd never have to say to my son, mmmmk?
He's crying, I'm spazzing, and we hightail it back home to retrieve a pair of shorts. Somehow, and I'm quite proud of this, we STILL made it back to school before the carpool line closed.
I'd like to pretend that days like this are few and far between, but let's be honest, they're not. Life's crazy and there's always something super weird going on. Weirdness follows me wherever I go, people.
My little guy had a great day at school, and I couldn't help but giggle as I dropped him off (the for-real drop off), because it dawned on me that he came very close to living out a seriously Freudian nightmare. The "I was at school in my underwear" nightmare.
It literally could have happened. He felt a real sense of that terror when I misunderstood him and told him he'd have to go to school "that way," sans pants.
He realized a very real fear, and you know what? He was ok. He survived. He made it, and I promise you this, he will NOT forget his pants again!
Sometimes the things we fear aren't as scary as they seem. Sometimes they are as scary, maybe even more so, but we find that when we face those fears the situations/people we are facing lose their power over us.
I grew up a fearful, worried child. Everything made me nervous. Nothing was easy, and rarely did I feel at peace.
It was miserable.
As I grew older, I realized that the fear ruled me. It not only ruled me, but it robbed me of my joy. There's a real reason that God's Word tells us time and again that we shouldn't be afraid (Deut. 31:6, 1 Chron. 28:20, Isaiah 41:10, 13). That God doesn't give us a spirit of fear, which means that it comes from hell and a very real enemy (2 Tim. 1:7). That, if we have the proper eternal perspective, fear can't intimidate us any longer unless we give the enemy that foothold (Matt. 10:28).
God is LOVE.
Satan is FEAR.
God and Satan can't both be calling the shots, but we do get the freedom to decide who we'll trust and who we'll follow. Love and fear can't co-mingle, and if God loves us, then what have we to fear?
What's the worst that can happen? We die and get to be with Jesus!
Eternal perspective is key when it comes to fighting fear, isn't it?
God, give us all eternal perspectives, because our time here is but a blip on the radar of forever.
Today I got word of two tragedies, both resulting in deep loss. A father of two young boys, healthy as a horse, died of a heart attack with no warning. A family lost their 11-month-old son in an accident, two years after they lost a newborn baby after only two weeks of life.
How else can you keep putting one foot in front of the other without an eternal perspective?
If God is LOVE, and He loves you and me, and these families that are grieving tonight, then we can know that the enemy is on the prowl, ready to pull our focus away from Love and toward fear. Fear of the unknown, fear of the known, fear of tragedy, fear of DEATH.
But we know this of our God:
"Before the mountains were born, before You gave birth to the earth and the world, from eternity to eternity, you are God." Psalm 90:2
And, if we walk closely with God, we know this to be true as well:
"Our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ." Philippians 3:20
Fear loses its grip in the face of God's love and eternal promise. We can walk in joy and contentment, unafraid of what tomorrow brings, because we know who wrote the story of our tomorrow.
He's a great author, even when it doesn't feel that way. I promise. You just haven't made it to the end of the story yet.
As for my son, he has provided me with yet another fantastic story to share at his rehearsal dinner.
Also, this no-pants story makes the time my youngest made it all the way to preschool carpool drop off before we realized he didn't have any shoes seem pretty tame. Just goes to show that it could always be worse...