Tuesday, March 29, 2011

When having nothing means everything

As my Grandmother is in her last days and hours, someone from our family has been with her around the clock.  Throughout the day Sunday and into the evening, things were looking pretty serious.  Quite a few of us stayed together with her until 2am Monday morning.  I fell into bed at 2:30, knowing I would have boys awake and hungry in about 4 1/2 hours.

I have been very aware in recent weeks of the words and tone I use when speaking to my boys.  I have been working to replace nagging and snapping with kinder, gentler words.  Or simply holding my tongue, if need be.  Most days I have set aside a few minutes every morning asking God for his help in that, and simply his guidance in our day.

On Monday morning, somewhere between waking up at 6:30 and getting out of bed at 7:00 I realized what a challenge being patient and gentle would be on this day.  And without a Bible reading, without a formally addressed prayer, without getting up out of bed or getting down on my knees, I simply offered a deeply sincere plea for help.  I did not regret my late night, but I certainly didn't want to take it out on my boys.  And I knew that with the lack of sleep I was working with, the task seemed nearly impossible.

After my short, simple, yet extremely sincere prayer, I got up and began my day as usual.  Our breakfast, school, and even morning house-keeping time (the biggest 'be nice' challenge) were great.  I was very aware of what a normal day it was.  They weren't little angels.  There were problems.  But I was able to handle it just like I had gotten 9 hours of sleep instead of 4.  In fact, I'm ashamed to admit I've done worse on 9, some days.

Last night I was thinking over how the day had gone, thankful for not being a grouchy bear that morning.  Although I had definitely given God the credit, I hadn't realized what made it different.  In one way I had started the day just like many others, with prayer for His help.  But my attitude Monday was different, in that I knew I had nothing to offer.  I had no resources to bring to the table, no faith in myself to do what was right.  I was completely dependent on the Holy Spirit to produce his fruits in me.

The lesson learned is that is the way it should always be.

Jesus said in John 15:15, "without me ye can do nothing."  Nothing.  Not "a little bit".  Not "a few things". Nothing.  Which means, I come into every day as empty-handed as I did yesterday.  But I stay so busy trying to do my part that I am not completely dependent on him.

Now the challenge is to remember that complete dependence and put it into practice, no matter how confident I am in the abilities I think I have.  Or how much sleep I got the night before.

What a handy lesson to learn with weeks of interrupted sleep in our near future.  What a blessing to have more opportunities to remember what little I have to offer, and the perfect source of strength I have available!

And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 2 Corinthians 12:9


ArkGrandma said...

Our prayers are with you, your family and your Grandmother.

Suzanne said...

Loved this post. Did I not already tell you that? Like, really, loved it.