Friends, there is no way other way for me to say this. I cannot mince words and I cannot clean it up for you. I’m sorry. But yesterday I sucked. I really did. The day, it wasn’t great. It didn’t start out great, it didn’t go smoothly, and it wasn’t ideal. But me, yeah, I made it 300 times worse. Because I let myself get dragged down into the heart of suck.
Mornings in our house can be really difficult. Typically I am prepared for this. I get up earlier than my children so I can prepare, breathe deeply and say a quick prayer for peace and patience. This happens most days, but not all. And yesterday, I wasn’t prepared. Maybe because I slept badly, with a 7 year old kicking me in the back for hours after climbing into our bed at 3am. Or maybe it’s because my nerves are jangled a bit about the upcoming holiday season. I don’t know. But I do know that I was just not prepared for the onslaught that is my oldest child at 6:30am. I love that child with everything in me. He is loving, kind, funny, endearing, and a million other things. He’s also very, very difficult in the morning. And it can create chaos. I am talking full-on, all hands on deck, two parent intervention required, chaos. Please don’t judge me on this. It just is what it is.
And yesterday, yesterday was one for the record books. He was just OFF. Throwing balls at his sisters face, “pants-ing” his brother at the counter, chasing the dog through the house trying to squirt her with a water bottle, refusing to buckle his seatbelt in the car…..OFF. In full disclosure, he is always fine when he gets to school because he does take medicine for this and it kicks in by 8:00 making him a model straight A student. I’ll take it. But it can make his “off hours” difficult, to say the least.***
Usually, I can handle it and with the concerted help of my husband we manage it and there is peace. Yesterday, there just wasn’t.
And I let it rattle me. So the rest of my day was just off. It was one of those days where the universe seemed to be conspiring against me. I don’t actually believe that the universe is a thing enough to conspire against anyone, mind you. But on off days, doesn’t it just seem like it is? And I let the discontent and chaos of our morning seep into my heart and throw me off.
It threw me off so that when our internet went out and I couldn’t work, instead of taking a deep breath and walking away, I let out a VERY LOUD stream of words that would make even Andrew Dice Clay blush and angrily plugged and unplugged our router, about 20 times, furious that the internet was obviously selfishly choosing this day to break when I just have so much work to do.
It threw me off so that when people weren’t driving the “appropriate” speed on the tollway, I angrily passed them, shaking my head at their apparent selfishness for holding me up on my very important errands.
And it also threw me off so that when, at Target, the mom with two small kids and an entire cart full of baby food pouches (I’m talking 30 of them, people) tells the checkout lady AFTER her entire cart is checked that she forgot her wallet but has a picture of her credit card on her phone I sighed, rolled my eyes and judged the living daylights out of her for being inconsiderate and also possibly a fraud. Because she was clearly not thinking of me.
By the time I got home from my errands I felt like a complete and total jerk. Because, honestly, I was acting like one. And if you notice, if you go back and read my words really closely, you may even be able to pick out WHY.
The reasons why everything seemed off, why my attitude sucked, and why I felt and acted like a jerk….the reason was because I was putting myself FIRST. My needs, my feelings, and my thoughts were reigning supreme in my life yesterday. And if you happened to be working on your own agenda, which didn’t ultimately promote mine and make it easier, then clearly you were in the wrong. I had no grace. I had no mercy. All I had was a bucket-full of selfishness and the grimace to prove it.
I needed a big old butt-kicking. And, honestly, I thank God for giving me one.
Because as I sat on my couch that afternoon, I realized what was missing from my entire day was GRACE. I had none for myself and none for anyone else around me.
I had to extend grace to myself for having a bad morning. Grace to my son for struggling, because I can promise you that he does not WANT to be that annoying kid. Grace to the people on the tollway who were actually obeying the speed limit and arguably being better law-abiding citizens than me. And grace to that poor mom who was probably just struggling to get a shopping trip done with two small kiddos in tow. I’ve been there; I know how hard it is. She deserved better.
I needed to give grace because grace is what has been given to me. It’s not a one time thing. It’s not a miracle cure that happens once with immediate and total personality alteration. No, grace happens every day, every hour, and every second we breathe. Because we need it. Yes, grace is given because until I get to my final resting place and Gods work in me is done, I’m still going to screw up. I don’t want to. But I will.
And grace for me, yesterday, meant putting myself where I actually belong, which is second. Not first. But second, sometimes even third, fourth or fifth. It meant cutting myself a break and saying “no. I’m not going to clean the bathrooms today. I’m going to take a nap and then turn on some music and sing some praise.” It meant telling God that I was struggling. That I was sorry for being a jerk. And that I needed help. It meant telling Him how grateful I am that He loves me when I am great and loves me when I mess up. It meant looking around from a place of gratitude rather than entitlement.
Now I’m not going to say that my day turned around completely and it was a miracle of Hallmark channel proportions. But I am going to say that it got better. I was able to re-frame my perspective and feel better, which led me to do better. I was better for my kids and my husband, and maybe even my dog. And that is just God’s grace shining through, friends. It was not from me. It was all Him.
And if you know anything about me, you know that when I’m feeling really bad, I tend to run to the kitchen. What stresses many out, soothes me. So if you see me in the there with a giant knife and a ton of vegetables, don’t be afraid. I’m working through some stuff. Yesterday, I knew I was on the struggle bus and I knew I needed to treat myself kindly. So instead of slapping some peanut butter on some toast and calling it lunch (for a food blogger I eat surprisingly weird things sometimes) I decided to make something good and healthy and soul soothing. There’s nothing I love more than a noodle bowl, we all know this (remember my Ramen obsession? No? Ok. Read about it here). This slightly spicy, slighty sweet Thai Peanut sauce is the perfect partner to some whole wheat angel hair and veggies. It set me straight, and not just because I used just a bit too much hot sauce, either. It’s just that good.
The next time you’re in a bad place and want to snap out of it. First, give yourself some grace. Ask God for help. Look around and be grateful instead of entitled. And then make yourself something yummy. Feed your soul. The rest will follow.
**In all seriousness, I didn’t share that my son takes medication so that I could get ripped apart by people in judgement. I know there is a ton of controversy surrounding this topic. But please, unless you have walked in our shoes, I don’t need to hear why what we are doing is wrong. Thank you.**
Spicy Thai Peanut Sauce
recipe adapted from my beautiful sister-in-law, Jen McCann
- 1/2 inch cube of ginger, peeled and minced
- 8 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon hot chili paste (or Sriracha)
- 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- 3.5 tablespoons coconut sugar (or regular granulated)
- 3.5 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
- 3 tablespoons sesame oil
- juice of 1/2 lime
- 5 tablespoons chicken broth
- Step 1 Blend all ingredients in blender or a food processor, tasting and adjusting ingredients to taste.
- Step 2 Use to top noodles or as a dipping sauce.