The Juggling Act

I open my eyes. If I’m lucky, I’m opening them to the half hour right before the thunderous noise of my almost two-year-old shaking his crib. The light snakes in through our window, but only enough for me to vaguely read the words on the thin pages. I sit up enough to see the Psalms in front of me, and I read to awaken my mind from a night of (hopefully) restful sleep.

(It seems that most nights, though, someone’s face is inches from my own, whispering, “Mom. Mom. I peed my pants.” or “Mom. Mom. I have a bloody nose.” or “Mom. Mom. I’m going to throw up.”)

But when I’m not so lucky, I awake to the sounds of two boys fighting over a Lego piece, and the chatter of said two-year-old. I muster the ability to lift my body out of bed, and I go out in my kitchen to feed my kids. After, of course, the beloved fight over taking off someone’s pee-filled PullUp. (Why does he think it’s the end of the world to take that thing off?)

I eat. I read more. I scan Facebook. I make coffee. I talk to my husband about the day ahead.

And we go.

Here’s where I confess something:  I was never planning to work again, not while my boys were so young. I never considered being a writer when I didn’t have formal training.

Actually, no, that’s not quite right. I was outrageously afraid to do something besides be a mom. Mothering comes naturally. Juggling everything else on top of it was what scared me.

Some days I have deadlines to meet while my youngest has a fever. He needs me to hold him every moment he’s awake, and I cannot ignore him. There’s no one else here to do that job. That’s my job.

Some weeks I’m certain no one has cleaned my toilet for a month. And then I remember, oh yeah, that was me. I didn’t do it. Because that’s also my job.

Some days I easily say to my husband, “I don’t want to make dinner.” But, that’s always been my job, too. Who will do it if I don’t?

There’s groceries to buy, meals to plan, my hair to get in formation. All my job.

Another confession: I am not meant for juggling. No, really. I cannot juggle, literally and figuratively. I always drop a ball somewhere.

I don’t know about you. I know about me. And for me, juggling everything in my life is a sure sign I’ve only got my eyes on all my “things” and not on my Creator. I’m transfixed with the idea of keeping everything floating, keeping everything light and good and functional.

I gotta drop the ball. You know why? Because I can’t look at Christ when I’m focusing on juggling everything.

Maybe you can juggle well. Maybe it even comes naturally. Maybe for you, you can juggle five balls in the air while maintaining eye contact. Hey, that is not me. In general, I just prefer not to throw more than one ball above my head.

What if it’s less about juggling, about keeping everything going, and us being the hands doing it all? What if it’s less about how many balls we toss above us and more about the Person we’re doing all of this for? What if we simply stop trying to juggle and simply live with all our stuff in our hands, extended towards a God who tells us He does all things for our good?

It doesn’t mean I drop everything. It doesn’t mean I stop doing anything. It means I do what He gives me, allow others to do what I cannot, accept help, give myself grace, love myself better than expect myself to do everything.

My head will hit the pillow tonight, and I may start thinking about how I seriously dropped the ball. Or how I didn’t do all that I needed to do. But I know me. God knows me. And He knows I was never a juggler in the first place. I was always His daughter from the beginning. So I soak in grace, soak in truth that I am good because God says I am good, and He does what He sets out to do. He will complete the work. He can do more than these hands will ever see.

No juggling required.

Published by Janelle Delagrange

Wife to a graphic designer, mom to three young boys, and writer of the soul.

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