Tuesday, November 27, 2012

At Least I Didn't Forget the Baby

(This post was included in The Christian Home Magazine Issue 91. Check it out to read what other Christian bloggers have to say.)

What's up with this photo?
     I got to church early today. Which is miraculous in its own right considering I have a toddler, a preschooler, and a first grader who still hasn’t mastered that whole zip-up-your-own-coat rite of passage into full winter independence. And it’s definitely winter here, if you were wondering.

     I actually didn’t just happen to show up at church before my usual 10:34 am entrance. (I am of the persuasion that four minutes late is completely acceptable. It’s a lot like the speed limit, I figure. As long as you’re not five over, nobody’s going to give you a hard time about it, right?)

     Showing up early to church today, along with my three bundled Eskimos, was actually a pre-meditated feat. You see, apparently some people in our congregation feel I must have the spiritual gift of janitor, because I’ve been asked to clean the church building once a week (which, I assure you, would never have happened if any of the deacons had ever stepped foot into our home. Let this be a lesson to you to always invite your deacons over for dinner at least once in your early days attending a new church).

     Anyway, this morning I was cleaning the men’s room (a sanctifying work in itself) and I decided that my long hair was definitely not an asset at that moment. (Another point at which long hair becomes a liability: changing poopy diapers. But I digress…) As I went to pull my hair up, I realized: I didn’t brush my hair today.

     All right. There’s something you need to know about me. I am not high maintenance. I brush my hair for exactly one minute a day: half a minute in the morning, and half a minute at night. But today, in the rush of getting three pairs of coats, three pairs of mittens, and three pairs of boots on my three little snow babies, I not only forgot my own coat; I apparently also forgot to brush my own hair.

     With my tangles pulled back for the rest of the morning in a messy bun, I’m sure nobody noticed my grooming faux paux. (In case anybody’s wondering, I still haven’t brushed my mange and it’s close to bedtime now.) The truth is I’m often forgetting things, only to notice my mistake at the most inconvenient times. You don’t even want to know about shopping trip I had almost completed before I realized I had forgotten to put on my bra. And this happened at about three in the afternoon!

     Whenever I feel like I must be losing part of my brain (blame it on three full-term pregnancies and two miscarriages) I encourage myself with the thought: At least I’ve never forgotten my kids.

     Maybe I shouldn’t joke about it, because I know some parents who seriously traumatized either themselves or their offspring by doing that exact thing. One night in youth group we were discussing the verse about how a mother can never forget the children she has borne, and the conversation took a fifteen-minute turn towards the ugly as everyone shared stories of how their parents lost them at some point or another. Let me assure you, that as soon as I forgot one of my kids somewhere, I’ll post a column about it (once Child Protective Services is through with me, that is).

     What I’m trying to say is that we women have to constantly juggle so many tasks and roles (not to mention handbags) that it’s no wonder we forget things every once in a while. But I figure that as long as we’re not forgetting the really important stuff, we must be doing all right.

     But what exactly is this important stuff (besides the baby), you ask? Each woman is going to have her own list, but a few things are probably universal to all of us.

     For example, never forget to be thankful. Even during hard times. Even on bad days. Gratitude is not an option, at least not according to Scripture. So let’s “enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise” (Psalm 100:4) every day of the year … not just on days when we’re stuffing turkeys and drawing the play-by-play schematics of our Black Friday plans of attack.

     And what about this one? Never forget that “the tongue has the power of life and death” (Proverbs 18:21). It’s no wonder that James says the woman who learns never sins with her mouth has reached total perfection. Our words can breathe life and hope to those we love, or completely tear them down. When we forget to “tame our tongues,” we can actually speak words that bring death … death to dreams, death to trust, or death to relationships. Not a pretty picture, is it?

     In addition to cleaning urinals (did you know those things actually flush?) my Sunday included a pretty sad reminder that we should never forget how short life is. Our kids may drive us crazy. Our spouses may never get over that one bad habit that's been driving us bonkers for years. But our loved ones might not be with us tomorrow. Are we going to let petty inconveniences ruin our relationships?

     When I worked at an assisted living home as a caregiver, I met a woman who couldn’t remember her name. She couldn’t remember what she ate for breakfast. She couldn’t remember who her husband was, how many children she had, or what she was doing living on the Alzheimer floor. But she remembered a song, a song she sang to herself all the time. In spite of her Alzheimer’s, she still remembered Jesus loves me. Which brings me to my last point:

     Never forget that you are loved. You and I might forget to be thankful. We might forget to hold our tongues. We might even forget to pick up our kids, or – maybe worse - forget to cherish them. But just like Martha on the Alzheimer’s floor, may we never forget: Jesus loves us, this we know for the Bible tells us so.

     Because that would be even worse than forgetting to wear a bra to WalMart.

What about you? When has your memory gotten the better of you? Have you ever forgotten something really important (like the kids)? (Feel free to leave your comment below.)  

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