Friday, April 29, 2011

The Harder I Try The Harder I Fall

Wednesday of this week was a beautiful day in Northwestern Pennsylvania. I woke up early, did some reading and hit the ground running. I got Howard and Luke off to school and then I got the rest of us dressed and sent the little ones out to play on the deck while I brought things outside for thorough cleaning. I spent the entire morning and early afternoon scouring and scrubbing. For me, cleaning is therapy. When my heart is unsettled, I take it out on the house. I find relief somehow in the scent of Method Cucumber Melon cleaner, it soothes me as I frantically scrub and scour tiny sticky fingerprints from everything.

I then made the kids lunch, got Hope down for nap and Ben settled for rest time and I got to work on dinner. Once I had dinner done I jumped in the shower and got myself ready for Luke's baseball practice and then church. I packed bags and got things organized and was feeling pretty darn good about things. I almost felt like I had it all under control. The house was sparkling, I was dressed and primped, the bags for practice and church were packed and by the door and I still had a few minutes until Luke's arrival.

I set the table and began getting things gathered for dinner. I had just pulled the bagels out of the oven for bagel sandwiches and was reaching up into a cupboard high above my head to get the deep fryer down when Luke walked in. I looked over and smiled at him. I felt accomplished. I asked about his day and as he began to talk I lost my grip. I had used the oil the night before and put he fryer away with the oil in it as it was still fresh. As I fumbled the fryer tilted forward toward me. And then it happened...the oil spilled out and hit the top of my head and began running down my face and suffocating my joy. There was oil everywhere. All over the counters, cabinets and floors I had JUST scrubbed, all over the stove I had just cleaned with a toothbrush, and ALL down my head, face, and clothes.

Luke stood there stunned and I stood there the world blurred by the oil in my eyes trying not to completely lose it. Luke looked at me carefully, trying to judge what I was going to do next. I laughed...not like, funny haha laugh, but the inappropriate, I really want to scream and cry but I am going to laugh anyhow kind of laugh...the I should probably be in an asylum laugh. I stripped down to my underwear so as not to track the oil through the whole house, grabbed kitchen towels and skated on them back to my bathroom carrying a bottle of Dawn. Luke laughed as I am sure it was quite a sight and asked if he could help clean up. I told him I would take care of it and that he should go start his reading.

I jumped into the shower for the second time that day, which has to be a record because usually I am lucky to get ONE. I washed and washed trying to get the oil out of my eyes, nose, mouth, hair. I stood in the shower tears streaming down my oily face trying hard to find something to thank God aloud for. "Thank you Lord, that Hope is sleeping right now so I don't have to worry about her running through the pond of oil on the kitchen floor. Thank you Lord, for soap and water...." I got out of the shower but could still feel a film all over me and I now had NO time to dry or flat iron my hair. I added some product, attempted to scrunch it. I threw on an old tshirt and shorts so I could go begin cleaning. I smelled like a salad and I felt defeated.

We were out of paper towels. I threw the shirts I had been wearing in the garbage as there was NO saving them. They were so saturated they would for sure not be worth the effort. I picked up my favorite pants and began to douse them with Dawn and put them in the sink. Howard walked in. He saw me on the floor, tears streaming and he knew I was struggling. He hugged the kids, came over and bent down and began helping me sop up the oily mess. He said, "Kristy, I know you are frustrated, I know this has to be very disheartening, but it is okay. I will clean up, please go take a few moments and collect yourself and get ready for church." I protested. "What about dinner." He assured me we would figure it out and gently nudged me toward the hallway.

I stood there in our bathroom looking in the mirror and wondering why on earth I fail so badly when I try so hard. Tears fell again,tears of frustration beaded up and streamed down my hot face. It was just an oil spill and it was minor in the grand scheme of life, but my heart was so broken. I had spent the entire day trying so hard to have everything just so, I wanted to be organized and I wanted Howard to come home to such a different scenario than what he walked in on. I was disappointed in myself. Who keeps a deep fryer on the top shelf? (A mom who doesn't want her kids to get into it) I breathed deep. Thanked God that there was no permanent damage to anything and for such a fantastic husband, and got myself ready.

We ran through the drive through (gasp) on our way to baseball and then headed to church. When we got home we gave the kitchen another once over to remove any remaining residue and we sat down to talk. I thanked Howard for how he handled things. He was just what I needed to defuse the situation. He is never easily frazzled and jumps right into my troubles with me. I am so blessed to have him.

As we talked, he asked what I was doing prior to the Bolte Oil Spill of 2011. I told him that I was just trying to have things ready so our evening could go smoothly because we had so much to do. He smiled. He said, I think God did it. I laughed. "You think God dumped a vat of oil on my head?" He insisted it seemed too random and coincidental. He told me to give it some thought. I had a vat of oil poured over my head there must be some significance there.

I sometimes feel like the harder I try to do things the harder I fail. I think sometimes I work myself into a frenzy trying so hard to make things perfect that I forget to include the Perfect One in my plans. I get wrapped up in myself and what I can do and my to do list and I forget what He is capable of and what might be on HIS to do list for me. I forget that I don't need to run around like a mad woman all the time. I need to rest in Him. I need to let him take the reigns and direct my path and yet as a "do-er" I tend to spin my wheels frantically trying to move forward on my own and in turn I get nowhere. I felt like the entire day I had spent ALL of my time working hard, preparing dinner, cleaning the house and primping myself. ALL of those things were undone in a moment. I felt like the entire day did not matter. I might as well have set on the couch and watched TV all day eating bon bons!

So, I am not sure if the Lord was teaching me a lesson in taking a breath and really enjoying my day and spending the bulk of my days doing things that cannot be undone such as reading, studying, playing with the kids and letting them make the fingerprints instead of frantically erasing them, snuggling with them and having fun, things that really matter or if he anointed me ;), but a lesson was learned and I am eternally grateful that He always gives me perspective and has given me the perfect person to walk this weary land with because Howard blesses me more than words can say.

You love righteousness and hate wickedness; therefore God, your God, has set you above your companions by anointing you with the oil of joy.
Psalm 45:6-8

Oil of joy...yeah...let's go with that. ;)


Jamie said...

I agree...there's so many times that we try to be in control of the situation instead of giving it all to Him. If we had just asked Him in the first place then maybe the plan would have been completely different. That sounded like a very tough ending to a day. Just to let you know, your family is very precious and I enjoy reading your blog. Hope the next day is better!

kg said...

Oh dear! I'm so glad the oil wasn't HOT!
I thought of Psalm 23: "You annoint my head with oil, my cup runs over..."
Thankful for dear husbands!

kg said...

Oh, so glad the oil wasn't HOT! And thankful for dear husbands!

Psalm 23...."You annoint my head with cup runs over...You are with me...."

Inkling said...

This post has to be put here on purpose for this moment as a gift for me.

I finally had a breakthrough in debilitating depression this past weekend and have been trying to catch up with life this week now that I'm not just trying to keep on breathing. Last night, I checked my calendar and saw that I had an appointment today at 2 p.m. So my plan was to eat lunch, get my toddler ready, and then get myself showered and dressed to be out the door by 1:30.

At 12:40, we're in the bathroom dealing with severe constipation with our two year old, and I'm doing everything in my power to help him not get another fissure. I asked my husband for help, but he didn't understand that I mainly needed him to just be with us for support. I got angry at him for not understanding and totally lost my temper and any self-control I had left. He of course did not respond well to my disrespect and shut down. So our son is crying in pain, I'm a mess of mineral oil and xylocaine, and my husband is sitting on the floor of the bathroom not speaking in order to control his temper.

Then the phone rings and I get it on the fourth ring only to hear my counselor leaving me a voice mail saying that my appointment with her was as 12:30. I checked my calendar and saw that I looked at May 6th and not this Friday. And that means I have to pay her for this week anyway since it was my mistake. And my hubby hasn't had regular work in three weeks and our bank account is literally in the negative numbers.

Back to the bathroom I went totally dejected and feeling like the biggest failure that ever walked the planet. It seemed like all the work God had done in me last week got undone in a matter of minutes because I made one mistake after another.

Then I come here and read your post and see a different way to handle things. And somehow, God totally encouraged me and it's almost like I can hear Him chuckling and saying, "Sara, my little bird, you've been flying into all sorts of trees today. But I still love you. And I want to show you a better way. Here, read this from one of My other little birds. Let Me love on you through her words and give you a do-over."

Thanks, Kristy. You totally blessed me today. I may still be in my pajamas and in need of a shower, but you've given me a different perspective and lots to think about. And that's worth even more than a shower. =)

Laurie in Ca. said...

I love this Kristy and love you so much girl. I love how Howard is such a blessing to you, as Corky is to me:) You are anointed my sweet friend:) And you make me smile so much!

Love and Hugs, Laurie

Veronique said...

I agree with kg who said I`m sure happy the oil wasn`t hot! Thank God for that!

I love your blog and have nominated you for versatile blogger award. You can check it out here:


Unknown said...

Thank you for sharing! It is a lesson God has to teach me time and time again. You def have an awesome hubby!

Heather said...

Do you know what it made me think of? I thought of how people were anointed with oil in the Old Testament. Remember David? Samuel POURED oil over his head to anoint him to be the next king. We tend to give people a little dab when we anoint them with oil in our church and pray over them, but that is not how it happened in the OT. They totally got doused in oil! Consider yourself anointed for the task He has for you!

Cheryl said...

Glad you made it through that trial and have a good outlook about it! :)

Your husband knew just what you needed...what a blessing! Thank you God!

I remember when my little Caleb mom refused to wash his fingerprints from her kitchen door window. She kept them on the glass for as long as they would stay there.

Oh how I wish I had more fingerprints from him!

That has really helped to put my "fingerprints" cleaning into perspective.

Kristy said...

Kristy, I don't know how God wants you to spend each moment, but He does, and I know He'll show you. I'll bet at least some of those moments are meant to be spent doing exactly the same things you were doing last Wednesday.

The question I'm trying to keep in front of me is what spirit the "doing" flows out of? Is it flowing out of love and God's direction, or out of some lack or need inside of me? The same moments, the same tasks, take on a whole different quality when they're flowing out of a connection with the Spirit, and that gets easier and easier to recognize with practice.

And as we know, when we miss the signs, He finds a way to point it out, so no worries!