I confess. I don't know what we're going to do today. It's Saturday. And we have absolutely no plans.
I used to be a perfectionist. I had a spreadsheet for almost everything. I had computerized lists for packing before a trip, how to wax my old-fashioned linoleum floor, what objectives my 1st grader needed to meet by the end of the school year. My grocery list was organized by aisle so I could walk through the store never having to back track. Our meal plan was a 6 week rotation.
That was before I got my wake-up call. I was diagnosed with cancer at 28. I only planned to have cancer for a few months. I printed off reams of research studies and brought them with me to doctor's appointments. But God had other plans for me: surgery and radiation didn't kill my cancer, and I had to change my plan.
Four years went by in no time flat. I hardly noticed the days passing. Worn out from cancer treatment and it's ravaging effects on my body, the slow slide out of my ultra-scheduled life started with the laundry. It started to pile up. And by pile up, I mean the clean clothes pile started to resemble a small mountain.
Soon other little things starting slipping, too. I didn't always have energy to clean the table after a meal. [enter another mountainous pile, this time the dishes.] Some days I couldn't help my kids with schoolwork. Sometimes I went weeks without vacuuming. I didn't always return the calls of my friends promptly. I took long naps when I "should" have been doing something productive.
Guilt lived in my belly like a nasty case of heartburn. It was eating a hole right through me. I felt failure so deeply it almost paralyzed me. Fear, too - what if I never got back to "normal", spreadsheets and schedules and meal plans "normal"?
Slowly, imperceptibly, the guilt ebbed away, replaced by something extraordinary. I started to see the children dancing on the dusty floors instead of seeing the dirt on the floor. I started seeing their smiles when I fed them a delicious warm lunch off of our last 4 clean plates. I decided looking in Laundry Mountain for a clean pair of jeans for the naked toddler was a treasure hunt, and we giggled and practiced our pirate lingo while we tore through the pile.
I must decrease...He must increase...
I don't live intentionally. It exhausts me. I usually don't know what we're doing tomorrow, much less next week. Does that mean I don't have grand dreams for my children, that I never do anything productive? No. Their schoolwork gets done (most days). We talk about Jesus every chance we get. I'm even teaching them to help me clean the messes around here, and search for their own clothes in Laundry Mountain.
The truth - at least in my disorganized life - is that He fills the empty places. His plans are what happen when my plans are flexible. He shows up when I turn away from the list and focus on living.
Joy was never on my list. Those joys, everyday miracles, that are hidden in the moments of the mundane - a child's smile, a daisy waving in the breeze, laughter with a friend, creativity. These fit themselves into the cracks the schedules left behind.
When He looks down at me, He doesn't see Laundry Mountain and all my other unintentional failures. He sees a mom giggling with her child, snarling "avast, Matey!" while digging tunnels in the clothes He provided this family. He is intentional. So maybe I don't need to be.