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Regaining the Right Focus

“ … The nights of crying your eyes out give way to days of laughter.”

Psalm 30:5 (The Message)


We got back from a wonderful, memory-making vacation this past spring. A week-long chance to bond, really bond with each other without the distraction of work, school, paying bills, doing laundry, and cleaning the house. It was great. It also occurred right before the season that occurs every year around this time – when our lives get extra busy with Easter, birthday celebrations, and our anniversary which then rolls into spring activities and “end-of-the-school year” activities soon to follow. This year we’re adding our oldest’s high school graduation into the mix as well. All wonderful things. Just all requiring extra attention and extra work.

The weeks that followed  seemed extremely long, probably because I’m definitely out of vacation mode and back into real life mode. While dropping off our youngest, I started complaining to a friend about how our morning was quite rough … when God checked my spirit and made me realize I was the one who had the rough morning and brought the complaining spirit into our household. It was me, not the rest of the family. I quickly apologized to her and said I didn’t want to be someone who complained. Then I had a conversation with God about my attitude on the way to run a few errands.

Once I got home, I started to change out the laundry, load three. It was while I was transferring clothes from the washer to the dryer and adding another load to the washer, Abba continued our conversation from the car earlier this morning. He reminded me of a friend who doesn’t have the privilege of doing the mundane chores of laundry for their family anymore. This friend is going through something painful which takes this friend out of the picture from enjoying the simple pleasures of cleaning, doing laundry, and going grocery shopping as a family unit.

Instantly I realized how privileged I am, blessed really, to have dirty dishes in the sink less than five feet away from the empty dishwasher. Blessed to have an extra load of laundry to do this morning due to dog throw up because it means I have a husband, children and yes, even pets to clean up after. It means the clutter on the floor (despite the majority of the house looking quite neat and tidy) reminds me of the lives God has blessed me with to share life together.

Please don’t get the impression that my family doesn’t know how to put a dish in the dishwasher or pick up after themselves. They do, better than this woman in the family does at times. They are wonderful at pitching in and we all work together on assigned chores to keep the house running smoothly. The workload doesn’t fall on me. The reason the dishwasher was empty this morning, ready for more dishes? Our youngest did his job of emptying it before heading off to school.

The point I’m trying to make is this one … I lost focus on what was important and Abba invited me to remember the blessings He gives me each and every day to share life with those I love. Some days, like today, will be messier and busier than others but which would I rather have? Quiet and alone or messy and loud and together?

I choose messy and loud and together. I was so grateful after that conversation with my Heavenly Father that I actually enjoyed finishing the laundry, folding it in piles ready for the child whose job it is to put it all away. I texted my husband and let him know how grateful I am that he’s the head of our household and how much I love sharing life with him. I also thanked him for putting up with me and my many “not-so-pleasant” moods at times.

What started out as a “rough morning” was actually just a reminder for me to regain the right focus and change my attitude. I’m so grateful I’m close enough to my Heavenly Father to hear Him when He gives me those gentle reminders to be thankful for what I have. And I truly am.

© Cheri Swalwell 2018

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