After Christmas haze

You know how kids act in those lack-luster days just after New Years? The sparkle of Christmas gives way to the cacophony of New Years, and suddenly, there you are, a few dozen new toys later, feeling just the same as you always did. It is a time of returning to center, getting back to normal, reorganizing, and coming to grips with the fact that all the celebration in the world doesn't change reality. Because the truth is, life is a series of small tasks, small joys, small sorrows. There are a few major events thrown in to the mix, but life, the everyday living of it, is a collection of small details that make up mundane, tiny parts of a more majestic whole. "After Christmas burn-out" - I think that is the term I am describing. Climbing a hill necessitates the coming down afterward. Anyone who has scaled a mountain knows it is much easier to climb up than down.

I am in the after-Christmas phase of this trial. I woke up that morning of reunion with the same butterflies in my stomach I have had on Christmas Eve morning ever since I can remember. The joy of seeing my children and husband again - holding them - was better than unwrapping any gift I've ever been given. Now I am experiencing that period of being overwhelmed, feeling as though my world has been turned upside down. I feel a bit like a stranger in my own home, with routines, chores, and sleep schedules all just a little different than they were when I left. Not only that, but I feel frustrated with being overwhelmed! I wish I could say that yes, I've learned my lessons, and I value and cherish these children more than ever and delight to care for their every need. I do, in one sense, but it is still difficult. Cherishing the tasks does not make them easy. Christ warned us of this, and now I am learning it firsthand in new ways. If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it. (Luke 9:23-24) I am taking up my cross, the heavy, rough wood of it scratching into my shoulder, making me ache by bedtime. I am taking it up daily, each morning inhaling deeply and rising to the needs of the little ones I am called to tend today. I am fixing my eyes on Christ, determinedly, in spite of the burn-out. When I am overwhelmed, I am closing my eyes in prayer for strength. I want nothing...burn-out, stress, plethora of tasks and studies, little troubles in relationship...to distract me from the work I have been assigned, and the joy I have been provided.

You're the Light in this darkness
You're the Hope to the hopeless
You're the Peace to the restless

You're the strength in our weakness
You're the love to the broken
You're the joy in the sadness
You Are

Greater things have yet to come
Great things are still to be done
In this city
Where glory shines from hearts alive
With praise for you and love for you
In this city
~ God of This City, Chris Tomlin