I remember when the world was nervously anticipating Y2K. Emergency stockpiles were forming in pantries of the paranoid around the world. Bags of dry rice. Flashlights and extra batteries. Matches and candles. Bottled Water. All one would need should the world end when the ball dropped announcing the new millennium.
My boys woke up early this morning; therefore, by 7 am I had already played a round of Word Yahtzee with Tyus and attempted to make a clown fish out of those annoying Perler Bead Melty things with Eli. Luckily, we had to leave for school by 8 am. But school gets out in a week. Sound the alarms. The summer is coming. Time to stockpile.
Seriously, my heart went into Y2K mode this morning. I deal with anxiety by preparing. My internal dialogue went something like this. “Summer is coming. I need to gather books and crafts and new board games. I need to find free activities at the library. I need something to make me feel prepared for the potentially catastrophic change that is coming in a week.”
Don’t get me wrong, I adore my children. And I thoroughly enjoy time with them. I want to enjoy the season of life we are in, knowing that soon enough my boys won’t want to play Yahtzee or make Perler bead creations with me.
But, if am honest, I find myself fearing summer. I love structure and routine. I love to keep technology to a minimum in our household. Sibling squabbling wears on my peace-loving soul. The summer promises long days at the pool and popsicles, but it also promises crabby, bored boys who have spent too much time with me and each other.
Realistic expectations of the impending summer are necessary. To keep myself sane and to keep my children relatively engaged and challenged during the summer months will require me to step it up, to get out my “A” Game.
“I will scour the thrift stores for random supplies, I will buy out the dollar bins at Target, I will be that lady at the library summer events,” said my resolved best momma self this morning.
Thankfully for me and the cashier at Michael’s, the Lord intervened and calmed me down before the stores even opened.
He was quick to remind me that what I really need is a stockpile of grace for this summer. The problem is that grace cannot be stockpiled. Like the manna that sustained the Israelites in the wilderness, it must be gathered daily. Any attempt to store up grace will grow maggots like hoarded manna.
God wants His people needy of Him, looking to Him, depending on Him. He loves it when we go to bed, tired and bruised by failure but eager to greet His fresh mercies and provisions every morning.
Remember my affliction and my wandering, the wormwood and the bitterness. Surely my soul remembers and is bowed down within me. This I recall to mind. Therefore I have hope. The Lord’s lovingkindnesses indeed never cease. For His compassions never fail. They are new every morning. Great is Your faithfulness.
“The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “Therefore I have hope in Him.” The Lord is good to those who wait for Him, to the person who seeks Him. It is good that he waits silently for the salvation of the Lord.
The Lord is my portion, and the Lord is their portion. He goes ahead of us and with us into the summer months. He has both sweet memories and sour sibling meltdowns in store for us. He intends to point all of us to our neediness and His storehouses this summer.
Yes, I will stockpile plastic crappy toys that I will purge by the end of the summer. Yes, I will make some plans and routines to keep our sanity. No, I will not hope in them or in unrealistic expectations of myself or my three children. No, I will not rely upon my stockpile.
My God’s storehouses are much more varied, lavish and abundant. His stockpile of grace, patience, forgiveness, and perspective is our hope this summer. So bring it on, we are ready…. but not yet… I’ll enjoy this week.