Gratitude for the Undone


Some call it mom guilt.  I don’t know what to call it, maybe just the list of today’s failures.  Whatever it is, almost without fail, I finish my days slumping into a remembrance of all the things I wished I had done but didn’t get to.  Going to the library usually finds its way to the top of the list every night, sometimes it is just the pile of laundry that I still didn’t fold, sometimes it is the dozens of emails that I never managed to respond to, or the fort that I wanted to build with the kids but never found the time for.  Some of these things can be fixed with organizational tweaking, but most of the days I am running around doing one thing after the other, helping one person after the other, and I never make it through my list.  It’s a terrible way to finish a day- completely exhausted, falling into a bed that was never made and letting my mind cloud over with all the regret, the regret of the undone.  But regret cannot stay alive in a heart that is full of gratitude.  Thankfulness can quickly choke regret, replacing it with contentment, contentment with my hours and contentment with my assignments.  If I have really been lazy and disorganized and unkind, then that is another problem that needs to be confessed.  But so many days I try my hardest and still come up short.  Can I just be thankful for the shortness?  Thankful for my finitude? Can I be especially grateful because it usually means I have spent my time serving others rather than checking off my to-do list?  The Lord has given me a life where self-sacrifice is not optional.  Can I be grateful for all the things I do not have and all the things I am not?

When my whirling head finally meets the quietness of evening, Lord, thank you for my headache today.

When my dishes are high and my laundry is spilling over, Lord, thank you that I didn’t get to these today.  Thank you that You required self-sacrifice of me today instead of self-serving.

When I didn’t have time to read to the kids, when I did not make a blanket fort, when I did not get on the floor and do puzzles like I was hoping to, Lord, thank you for my hours, give me grace to do better tomorrow.

When my bathrooms are still not clean, Lord, thank you.

When I have skipped my workout too many days in a row and my skinny jeans still don’t fit, Lord, thank you for this body you have put my soul in so that I can have life.

When I have set a meal on the table that the whole family pushes around with their forks, Lord, thank you for these little failures that chip away at my pride.

When we are going on a week or more of too little sleep and I have drunk my weight in coffee, Lord, thank you for coffee.

When I see the stack of books by my bed that I still have not cracked, Lord, thank you for books and thank you for teaching me without them during this season.

When I’m pacing the halls during service every Sunday, and I hear about 1/8th of the sermon, Lord, thank you for this baby that keeps me from worship, and thank you that you offer me grace even in the hallways.

When my house still isn’t looking very cute and we have lived here a full year, and my Pinterest boards that were meant to inspire just leave me wishing I had the time for a project, Lord, thank you for this house and for all the happens here, for all the games and the meals and the learning and the snuggling.

When I miss another get-together with friends so that I can spend the evening tucking my kids into bed and cleaning up their daily messes, Lord, thank you for my kids and for my friendship with them.

When I have over-spent and under-planned and missed too many phone calls and stretched my time too thin and pushed my body too hard, Lord, thank you for my weakness.  Thank you that I can’t be perfect.  Your power is made perfect in my dog paddle life.