Let me tell you a little something about myself as a way of breaking the rather prolonged silence on my part. Life has been so wildly busy! We are getting deeper and deeper into what feels like the splits of parenting. A nursing baby but also junior high track meets. Moses is a darling, wonderful, lively and cheerful 6 month old. So far, his spiritual gifts have not included napping. He dabbles in them at best. I am not complaining, because really he is so happy and thriving – but he certainly makes sure that even though he is number 7, he gets his full share of our attention. He has initiative, that one.
The other day, it took me about 3 hours to do 15 minutes’worth of dishes. Because every two or three minutes I had to go nurse, or go change the venue of play, or put the baby in the ergo on my back, or take a shower, or whatever. I would pop back in, throw a few things in the dishwasher and then have to go help Shad with something. And that has been about the summary of life lately. No better things to be doing with my time than responding to my family’s varied needs like a shotgun blast – just hoping that I hit more than I miss!
I am no stranger to the wilds of life at home with littles. I’ve been here and done this before even if this time around does have a little extra sauce on top. Through the years I have developed the habit of laughing at (and enjoying) the downright bonkers side of it. The laundry just will be epic. The floor just will need to be swept at all times. The crayons will always be out. The books will be on our floors as though they came to us in a sudden hailstorm. The need to feed people will be constant, and the need to never sit down will remain with me for probably the rest of my life. And I am okay with that and I love it.
But here is the thing. Sometimes my coping mechanism of humor fails me. Sometimes I just don’t really think it is funny. Or just not funny enough. Or it feels a little too much like the knock-knock joke that just won’t ever say orange. It is at this point that I usually either cry or get annoyed. It would probably be better for us all if I would just cry because then I could pull out of that by laughing and possibly even make it through the whole crisis without indulging in sin.
Well a few weeks ago, I didn’t cry. I was just being generally annoyed. Not so much in the day (when I still kept thinking maybe I could recover at night) – but at night when I was going to bed again without having made the headway I wanted to make. Then I was getting downright peevish. As I told my husband, “I am trying to get a grip on things, but someone keeps Pam-ming my hands!”
So one morning I drew a line. I will see Jesus in this. I cannot be the annoyed and tedious person that I keep running into. I will, whatever it takes, see Him. So I sat down in my pajamas too late to be in pajamas, and the baby was playing on a blanket in just his diaper, the breakfast dishes were out to play still, and you could see the remains of the blowout carnage waiting to go down to the laundry room for stain treatment. The vacuum was sprawled out across the living room like so many broken dreams, and Shad was playing something that involved moving the benches and chairs from the table across the room, along with one million sheets of paper and pencil sharpening fragments. And I sat down with my Bible to start my normal reading.
And let me tell you, I have never in my life felt such a bond of solidarity with Zacchaeus.
“Then Jesus entered and passed through Jericho. Now behold, there was a man named Zacchaeus who was a chief tax collector, and he was rich. And he sought to see who Jesus was, but could not because of the crowd, for he was of short stature. So he ran ahead and climbed up into a sycamore tree to see Him, for He was going to pass that way. And when Jesus came to the place, He looked up and saw him, and said to him, ‘Zacchaeus, make haste and come down, for today I must stay at your house.’ So he made haste and came down, and received Him joyfully. “
Here I was being frustrated with all the crowds of little things getting in my way. I wanted to see Jesus, I wanted to have joy, I wanted to be at peace and not in my little nest of pettiness. And you know what was so great? Jesus wasn’t just passing by out in the distance. I felt exactly as if He looked at me and said, “Rachel. Get out of that dumb tree. I am coming to your house today.” And luckily, because Zacchaeus did this correctly, I knew what to do. Receive Him joyfully.
The thing is, Zacchaeus really was short. There really was a crowd. There really are reasons to sometimes feel like you are out of the loop. Like you need encouragement. Like Jesus might just walk on past because He has a lot of work to do elsewhere. People are needy all over the place. I’m just regular old me messing around with lame attitudes and sippy cups, and there ain’t nobody got time for that!
Here is the thing. When Jesus was here on earth in the body of a man, He could not be with us bodily all the time. But risen, at the right hand of God the Father, He is most certainly with us. Every day. At the end of the great commission He reassures us of just this when He says,
“And lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age. Amen.”
Amen. Amen. Amen. And since He is here, let us all receive Him joyfully. Every day. Every not-showered in a timely manner and nursed out of your brains day. Every too many errands and not enough naps day. Every beautiful, messy, fruitful, glorious, sticky, wild, breathless, regular day. Because we have the best of all possible companions, and the best of all possible guests. The Lord Jesus Christ – not passing us by, but staying with us. Forever. And Amen.