Monday: The most-hated day of the week. Most Mondays go okay for me. Of all the days of the week, I prepare the most meticulously for Monday. I suppose I do it because it seems to set the tone for the rest of the work-week. I lay out clothes, set my alarm thirty minutes earlier, have all of our lessons prepared and (usually) have the grocery list is made. I tackle my devotions, then get ready for the day, then we begin school. That lasts 4-5 hours. Then I go grocery shopping with whichever child has a turn that week.
My first mistake on this Monday, was not making my menu and grocery list on Sunday like I usually do. I have no excuse other than the one my kids always use: I didn’t feel like it. Shame on me. That was all it took to derail a perfectly good day. Well, that and the fact I was feeling a bit out of sorts for some reason. I blame womanhood.
I had started out okay. I’d had my devotional time. I’d gone on a two mile walk/run. I got dressed for the day. Ate breakfast, started school and then it all fell apart. Math was harder than usual. The doorbell rang. The kids asked me if we should hide. No, weren’t hiding, but I wasn’t answering., I told them. I got some emails with bad news. Did I mention that whole math thing? Yeah. That was pretty much the final straw right there at the beginning.
I frowned a lot today. I was snippy with the kids. I gave a lecture to one of the kids that (shudder) was probably an over reaction. Then, it was time to tackle that stupid menu and list! (If only food weren’t so important to life.) I made the list, clipped and gathered my coupons, checked my funds. got my oldest boy and left for the store.
And that’s when this rotten, very bad, horrible day got better.
Mitchell dropped forty Gospel tracts as we were leaving. Forty. He had counted them.
“What are you doing with those?” I asked.
“I’m giving them out at the store.” He said. “I want us to get over 100.” He said. (Our church keeps count of how many tracts we distribute each year. Last year, it was over 7,000, This year, so far, it’s about 70.)
I was thinking, “But I’m upset. I can’t go hand out tracts about the Lord. Nor can I be seen with someone doing that.” But I didn’t say anything, I just smiled. The feeling of humiliation was beginning at my feet and slowly creeping upward.
I know what you think about me. I was thinking it, too. “Why do I feel that way? Am I ashamed of the Gospel? Am I afraid?” I’m pretty sure my face turned red, but I didn’t have a mirror to see for sure.
Mitch hopped out at Walmart and promptly started placing tracts on the cars surrounding ours. I looked straight ahead, embarrassed. Then I was ashamed for being embarrassed. It was a tug-of-war in my heart! Where’s an altar when you need one? And “Just as I Am” being played on a piano? And a bunch of other Christians who love you and understand that you’re not exactly nuts, you’re just a sinner? I had no place to pray or anything. I tried to smile. But it was fake. I was all eaten up inside with my own problems. I just wanted to buy the food and get home and hide under the bed. Or something like that. But now I needed to go forward and repent.
I tried to ignore Mitchell as he handed them to everyone we passed and as he placed them on displays. I’m sure people wondered how in the world such a sweet, smiling boy could be with such a frowny-faced woman. I wondered that, too.
Well, without an altar or piano music, I repented. Right there in the aisles of Walmart, I asked the Lord to forgive me and help me. I changed my attitude. I started smiling. I stopped being embarrassed. I helped Mitch think of places to leave the tracts. I have to be real – I still felt somewhat downhearted, but the day was taking a much needed upswing!
As we left Walmart, I saw an elderly lady sitting on a bench outside of McDonald’s. She looked at Mitch with a smile of recognition and a wave. Mitch waved back, grinning ear-to-ear. He told me that he had started speaking with her at the self-checkout when he paid for something he had wanted. He smiles and talks to everyone, and they usually smile back.
I got home and put everything away, all the while wishing that the Earth would open up and swallow me. I don’t deserve this life. I had nothing about which to be discouraged. And from where, exactly, did these sweet children come? I know they didn’t get this sweetness from me. Maybe their dad? Nah. (Just kidding)
I often feel that as a parent, I’m supposed to have all the answers. But today, it was my son who taught the lesson. He taught me by his life. In fact, I’ve learned a lot from these five kiddos who call me “Mom”. Today, I was reminded not to let my emotions rule me and to be excited about the Savior.
Telling others about Christ is a wonderful way to turn a horrible day, into a horribly terrific one.