My No, No, No Day

No No DayIt’s amazing to me how the start of the week can dawn so bright, full of hope and potential. Each Sunday I dream of how the coming week will be different. How I won’t get behind. How I’ll get this and that accomplished, but before the ink is even dry on the calendar, the planner, the long to-do list, my head is spinning like load of laundry No. 1 of 10.

My daughter has recently fallen in love with a picture book by Rebecca Patterson titled, My NO, NO, NO, Day. It’s all about a little girl who wakes up to find her little brother chewing on her favorite piece of jewelry. The rest of the day is a downward spiral as the little girl tries, but fails, to recover from a string of dreadful incidents that happen throughout her day.

Allow me to state the painfully obvious: Mommies have NO, NO, NO Days too. And I had one on Monday.

It all started at the UPS store. My mom and dad needed me to next-day mail a package to them. I gathered the items and took them to the store for packaging. Evidently, it costs $215.00 to overnight a package from Battle Creek, MI to Boone, Iowa. Regardless of the cost, I decided to go ahead and mail the package.

As I buckled my girls in the car, I started to second guess my decision. Unsure about what to do, I called my mom and tried to sort through the situation.

Everything worked out in the end but by the time the matter was settled I was long overdue for a visit I planned with a friend.

Putting the UPS debacle behind me, I was on my way to my friend’s house when my husband called and asked if I could go home and find some forms he left in his office. He said it was an urgent matter that couldn’t wait. I called my friend and canceled.

As all good friends do, she understood completely, but it was still a disappointment and another cause for stress in a day that seemed to be crumbling around me.

For the past few months my husband and I have been dealing with a dispute, and the forms he asked me to find stated that we needed to turn in paperwork by the end of the day; Finding that this deadline was upon us sent me into a tailspin.

A few weeks ago I blogged about the way inconveniences can be instruments of God’s grace, and last week I wrote about the many ways we can find beauty, goodness, and joy in the midst of life’s messes.

As I fussed, and fumed over the pitfalls of my day, I kept hearing an accusing voice inside my head ear. What a phony, you are,” it said. “How can you write about inconveniences being grace, and messes being beauty, and then go and live the opposite?

I knew it was Satan, I knew it was attack, and yet the words felt true.

In need of a break, I sought a few minutes of peace and quiet while putting my girls down for their afternoon naps. With my youngest in my arms, I prayed for God to show me His grace in the inconvenience, His beauty in the mess.

As I pictured each incident, I forced myself to look not through my own eyes, but God’s. I strained my mind’s eye to see what He sees, the grace and the beauty.

And this is what I found:

In the inconvenience at UPS:

A chance to come through for my mom and dad, two people who have come through for me a million different times

In the canceled visit with my friend:

A friend who understands, forgives, and loves me in my failings

The promise to try again soon

In the mess of our frustrating dispute:

God gently saying to me, “Let me fight for you. Stop trying to do this on your own and remember who’s on your side.”

Remembering that “…In all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28)

Grace in the midst of inconvenience. Beauty in the midst of mess. Blessings, instead of pitfalls, that should not be taken for granted.

On a mangled, messy Monday, I decided to turn my focus and my heart back to God. To His grace, His beauty, His blessing.

In the wake of my NO, NO, NO Day, I am thankful for the opportunity to take the things I write about and learn them again by heart. To stumble but also to grow. To be struck, again and again, with the truth, the goodness, the love of God.