by Lindsey Carlson
Last Monday was the Mother of all Mondays: the return from vacation. Let me just say, it was not pretty. We always have a rough time transitioning to the week’s work after playing all weekend.
The bulk of the kick-back came when there were directions or instructions involved. None of us like to be told what to do. We’d rather decide our own course and cater to our whims as we go. But last week, mama had a plan that no one else loved, and my kids let me know by their tears.
I can relate. I’m guilty of turning away from God’s commandments when they don’t suit my fancy. Yesterday I should have offered my struggling child grace, but instead I provoked him to anger. I should have let the peace of Christ dwell in my heart and instead I heaved great sighs of anguish and let a few “woe is me”s slip out. I forgot God’s promises and failed to rejoice in him in all circumstances.
Psalm 119 tells me there is an alternative to my Meltdown-Mondays:
“When I think on my ways, I turn my feet to your testimonies; I hasten and do not delay to keep your commandments. Though the cords of the wicked ensare me, I do not forget your law” (Ps. 119:59-61).
When I feel ensnared by the temptation to sin – to doubt God’s goodness in my struggle, to speak harshly to my children, to neglect the guidance of the Holy Spirit – I must turn my feet to the testimonies in Scripture.
When I understand my own weakness, God’s available mercy and grace, and his track record of faithfulness, I find the strength to “hold back my feet from every evil way” (Ps. 119:101). I’m eager to plead with God to keep me from turning aside from his rules, because I’ve witnessed how sweet his words are to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth (Ps. 119:103).
Familiarizing myself with God’s words is to my benefit. His word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path (Ps. 119:105). Knowing the sweetness of God’s commands inclines me to obedience. I can know that offering my children love and patience not only benefits me (it benefits them too), and it glorifies God.
On days when my children’s (and my) behavior is less than awesome and my heart is frazzled, my hiding place and hope is in God’s word (Ps. 119:114). When I love God’s law (Ps. 119:165) and am overwhelmed by his unmerited grace upon grace (John 1:16), then I can abide in God’s great peace amid the chaos in my heart and my living room.
I admit that this morning I am entering the day with prayers for calm and obedient hearts for the whole family. But I’m also prepared to turn my feet to joy and peace. When the temper-tantrums tempt me to despair and all I want is a nap, this psalm will be my prayer:
“I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth. He will not let your foot be moved, he who keeps you will not slumber. Behold, he who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep” (Ps. 121:1-4).
Great is the Lord, who never sleeps nor slumbers. He will not forget me when I’m struggling to remember his commands and testimonies, when I’m desperate for grace. He’s already sent his Son to bear the punishment for my disobedience on the cross. The gospel makes God’s law and commands sweet, obedience a delight and meltdown-Mondays carried by grace.
ABOUT THE WRITER
Lindsey Carlson lives in Houston, Texas with her college sweetheart Kyle. She is the wife of a worship-pastor and mother to four young children. “Normal” days are filled with homeschool, endless dishes, games, books, mis-matched socks, and writing whenever sleeping children permit. Lindsey writes about faith and worship at Worship Rejoices.