Ellie looked at the clock on the stove. It read 2:00 p.m. Three more hours until Rich came home from work. Three more hours of running after two preschoolers and a toddler who were bent on destroying each other, and their mother in the process. Ellie laid her head on the kitchen table. Placing her arms on top of her head to help cover her face, she allowed the tears to fall.
"Momma said there be days like this," she cried into the table, "but why do there have to be so many in a row?"
A loud crash from the living room sent her running to see what the imps were up to this time. A large green ball lying amid broken glass from the flower vase told her everything she needed to know.
"Look at this mess," she yelled at the boys while pointing at the broken vase. "How many times do I have to tell you not to play ball in the house? Obviously, not enough times." The three little boys cringed from the harshness of her voice.
"Go to your rooms. Once I clean up the mess, I'll be there to deal with you."
While picking of shards of glass, she began to reflect back on the day. Her four-year-old twins, Matt and Nick, had woken up before the alarm went off at 6:00 a.m. She had walked into the kitchen to find an entire box of cereal piled onto the floor. There was also an empty milk jug. The milk, of course, had spilled across the floor to the delight of their cat, Percy.
In the midst of all the mess, a wail had come from two-year-old Micah's room. He had fallen out of his bed. Once she realized Micah was okay, she passed him off to Daddy for a diaper change. She knew the twins had been left alone too long. Sure enough, she found the boys still in the kitchen cramming cereal in each others' ears trying to perform Daddy's special money-from-the-ear magic trick.
Later in the morning, the twins had taken great delight in hitting each other over the head with their plastic baseball bats. Micah had another knot on his head too, as a result of falling off the couch when he attempted to climb the curtains. To top it off, she had errands to run but couldn't find her car keys which the boys said they had used to play race cars with in the playroom.
Once the glass was picked up, Ellie knew she had to settle herself down before going into the boys' room. Rubbing her forehead where she was felt a headache forming, she knew what was needed. She needed it yesterday, definitely today and probably tomorrow. Picking up her Bible she crawled into her "secret hiding place" under the kitchen table.
"Stay in your rooms for a few more minutes," she called to the boys. "Mommy is in her special place with Jesus."
The boys knew it was important to leave Mommy alone when she crawled under the table. She closed herself in, pulling the tablecloth down to give herself some privacy. While the tears flowed, Ellie began to pray.
"Lord, I need you. I need you here in this moment. I love my boys, Lord, but some days it's just plain hard. Like today. I need your wisdom and I desperately need your grace. Please forgive me for my anger. Help me, Jesus! I desire to sit at your feet, Jesus, even for just a few minutes."
Ellie sat quietly, allowing the Lord to reach out to her, to touch her soul and caress away the frustrations of the day. Feeling a release she began to sing:
"I desire to sit in your presence, Lord,
I desire to feel your strong embrace,
I desire to see your compassionate heart,
Full of mercy and grace.
So, here I sit in your presence, Lord,
For here I feel your strong embrace,
Here I can sense your compassionate heart,
Full of mercy and grace."
After Ellie came out of her hiding place, she felt the Lord's refreshing touch on her soul. Her spirit was calmer. Taking a deep, cleaning breath, she realized that the rest of the day wouldn't necessarily go according to plan; and yet, she knew she would be okay.
Serenely, she walked to the boys' room just in time to hear the cat's loud meow and Micah's painful cry.
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