Spilled Milk

July 19, 2012

So… you know those days when you wake up and something stupid happens and you just know you’re going to have one of “those days”??  “Those days” when just one little thing goes wrong and decides to tell all the other little things to go wrong and there you have the saying…”When it rains, it pours.”?  Well yesterday was one of “those days” for me.  You have all these expectations for the day to come.  All these hopes and desires….You even say to yourself…”Today is going to be a good day!!”  However, yesterday decided it was going to do things a little differently.

I woke up to Eisley (my 2 year old) waking up Nora (my one year old) at 6am.  Now if you know Nora she is a brute.  She loves food, loves to stomp around, loves to grunt, and loves to wrestle.  She’s a tough cookie, but when it comes to teething and sleep she is a diva.  She needs her beauty sleep or she will not be your best friend.  So knowing that Eisley decided to wake up her baby sister very early in the morning already sets me in a mood.  I’m angry, I’m frustrated, and I am not in the mood to “deal” with a cranky baby all day.  So this stinks!  First emotions I feel to start off my day… not a good start.  I go down stairs to get Eisley some Milk.  Grab the carton and the cap was barely on… so I go to pour, and yup, milk everywhere.  I definitely teared up over spilled milk.  Clean it all up and send my child to the couch to watch some cartoons.  Ok I can breathe.  Shortly after, cranky Nora gets up and after breakfast we all decide to go for our first family bike ride.  Mike has been dying to go on this bike trail by our house so we venture out.  Now it’s already 90 degrees and its really hilly around our neighborhood… so after 20 min of riding up hills, sweating through my shirt, Nora crying because her helmet keeps falling in her eyes and no luck in finding the trail.. we give up and go home.  Bummer.  After a long while of a crying baby and a testy 2 year old it’s finally nap time and we settle them in which should last for at least a couple of hours.  Finally peace.  Well not exactly.  Eisley wakes up 45 min later with a poopy diaper and wakes up her sister yet again!  I was so upset.  More upset than I should have been.  Grab the kids, Mikes busy in the yard, and sit down on the couch practically crying with them.  We decide to walk over to this little place by us for dinner… I’m sweaty and gross from the busy day, hadn’t had a chance to shower, wearing scrubby clothes with probably poop and milk on them… and Mike precedes to tell me that we are meeting some new friends for dinner.  What?!!!?   Have you seen what I look like?  Have you seen the mood Im in??  Have you noticed our children who may not be children after all… but wild african safari type animals??  Well, we went through with the dinner and ended up having a lovely time.  As we laid our children in bed that night we had Eisley pray like she usually does and I noticed something that I hadn’t noticed about her prayers before.  She only thanks God in her prayers.  She starts every prayer with “Fodder…Thank you for Dadda, thank you for Mamma…” She thanks Him for everything from her family, herself, to her toys in the bathtub.  It got me thinking.. did I thank God at all today??

It’s so easy for me to thank Him when everything is going right.  When everyone has a smile on their face, the milk pours nicely, the sun is shining, my makeup looks good, the kids are sitting quietly reading books and playing hopscotch in the yard while an ice cream truck man drives by with a smile and a wave (just a daydream ;)) My heart is thanking Him in the good moments.  But why would I thank Him in the chaos and when everything goes wrong?  What’s there to be thankful for?  Even deeper than that… why would I thank Him in the struggles, in the hurt, in the pain and in the confusion?  Why would a good God allow certain things to happen to me?  It’s a hard pill to swallow and an even harder pill to believe that God is good even in the pain and hard days.  He not only is good, but He is sovereign and it is when we thank Him in the midst of our trials that we begin to see things from a different perspective.  A godly perspective.  “One act of thanksgiving, when things go wrong with us, is worth a thousand thanks when things are agreeable to our inclinations.”- Saint John of Avila

Now I know what you’re thinking.  “Kelly, you just don’t know what I’m going through.  If you knew how hard my life is and the struggles that I’m facing you wouldn’t thank God either.”  And ya know… you’re right.  I don’t know exactly how you feel.  I don’t know your family life and your bitter circumstances.  But I do know how it feels to feel wronged by God.  I do know how it feels to be angry, depressed and alone.  And I would be lying if I said that in those times I was thanking God.  But that doesn’t excuse me, or you, from doing it.  Even though I struggle with thanking Him in the midst of pain, I also know that there is something mysterious that happens when you do.  A sense of peace, a sense of awareness that God is good and He knows what He’s doing.  A sense of humbleness as we lay down our pride.  It’s trust and it’s freeing, to let go of all the crap and hold on to His promises that all point to Him being a good God.  We may never figure it out and understand the ways of God… but we have the power to live this life fully and with joy in our hearts when we LEARN to thank Him even when it seems all wrong.  So why don’t we?  I was asking myself why I wouldn’t choose to be thankful if I knew that it would bring joy and peace.  And here’s my honest answer.  I would say it’s because it kinda feels good to be mad.  As if being mad brings justice.  This terrible thing happens to me and I am allowed to be upset.  I have the right to be angry at God and I have the right to feel the way I do.  What is that??  Pride?  Undeserving?  Selfishness?  Whatever it is… it’s not any way to live a life.  We get to live.  And we can live being mad at God because we believe we deserve something better.  Or we can lay down our pride and accept it as grace and trust Him which we will one day look back and never regret.  I don’t want to miss out on joy because of my pride.  Hear me out..It’s ok to be sad when bad things happen to you… please understand that.  We need to feel in order to be healed.  But we can also be thankful when we’re sad.  Because we are not made for this world.  We live for something bigger than us.  And there is a speechless beauty that we will one day bestow when God takes us home.  All the tears will be wiped away and there will be no more sorrow.  But for today… God gives us grace to live fully in the midst of our circumstances.  We just have to be thankful.

In her book, “One Thousand Gifts,” Ann Voskamp makes the case that ingratitude is actually the very root of sin.

“The first sin of all humanity is the sin of ingratitude.  Adam and Eve are, simply, painfully, ungrateful for what God gave.  Our fall was, has always been and always will be, that we aren’t satisfied in God and what He gives.  God’s intent, since He bent low and breathed His life into the dust of our lungs, since He kissed us into being, has never been to slyly orchestrate our ruin.  And yet I open the Bible and His plans lie there barefaced.  “His secret purpose framed from the very beginning is to bring us to our full glory” (1 Cor. 2:7)  He means to rename us- to return us to our true names, our truest selves.  He means to heal our souls.  And we are so unworthy. And yet since we took a bite out of the fruit and tore into our own souls, that drain hole where joy seeps away, God’s had this wild secretive plan.  He means to fill us with glory again.  With glory and grace.”

What if?  What if the losses, the emptiness, the pain might actually become places to see.  To see through to God.  “That that which tears open our souls, those holes that splatter our sight, may actually become the thin, open places to see through the mess of this place to the heart-aching beauty beyond.  To Him.  To the God whom we endlessly crave.”- Ann Voscomp  Girls… I know life can be hard… but we can choose to wallow in the hard and resentment… or we can turn our resentment into gratitude.  For God is good… and His plan for you is for your good and for a life filled with joy.  Whether it feels like that or not.  After all don’t we call ourselves Christians?  That our core belief is the idea that God brings redemption out of the most horrific act of human history?  His son’s death on the cross.  If God can bring beauty out of that than surely He can bring beauty out of our ugly things.  You can live fully!  So how do we learn to do this?  We start by thanking him for the smaller things.

I am doing a challenge where I plan to list one thousand things that I am thankful for.  It can be anything… clean floors, loud concerts, sweet potato fries, lightning bugs, chocolate, air-conditioning, the sound of a train.  Start looking for the little blessings that God gives you every day and write them down.  You’ll begin to notice that you’ll actually look for beauty rather than wait for beauty to find you.  You’re heart will naturally become more grateful.  ” Gratitude bestows reverence, allowing us to encounter everyday epiphanies, those transcendent moments of awe that change forever how we experience life and the world.”- Sarah Ban Breathnach  As we learn to be thankful in the little annoying moments… we will learn to be thankful in the seemingly impossible moments.  And that my friend is a supernatural mystery.  Freedom to rest in knowing that God is bringing about beauty from your ashes.  Knowing you will be restored to glory once again.  To remember that -will give us the strength to be thankful.  We can open our clenched fists and open to a clutch of faith that warms your holed filled souls.  Let’s look past our present circumstances into the eyes of Christ and see His good heart that is bringing us to glory.

I know this is a hard thing to learn…trust me, I struggle being thankful when the milk spills.  But let’s learn together how to be thankful and not miss out on a mysterious joy in the midst of struggle.  Joy is always possible.  I challenge you to write down one thousand things that you are grateful for in your every day life.  Look for them starting when you wake in the morning to when you go to sleep at night.  And when we find ourselves wanting to wallow in pity because of a tough day or a messy life… let’s try to loose sight of ourself  and gaze upon the cross.  The one place where God took our sin, experienced every evil thing we could possibly experience,  and is in the process of replacing our dirt for beauty.  I want to be restored to glory.  Don’t you?  If you want to dig deeper into this I suggest reading “One Thousand Gifts” by Ann Voskamp.  It will rock your world and change your life.  It did mine.  Today I am thankful for coffee, little painted toes, Chipotle, smirks, the chance to write my thoughts, and my child’s prayer that led me to conviction.  Maybe even spilled milk.  😉

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  • McKenzie July 19, 2012 at 8:38 am

    Thanks for writing this Kelly. This is exactly what I needed to hear today! :)

  • Lisa July 19, 2012 at 9:21 am

    love love love this!! Just got done reading One Thousand Gifts and it also rocked my world:) thanks so much for sharing..sometimes we feel like we are the only ones going through hard times, so it’s kind of reassuring to know we are not alone!!

  • Cindy Lesinski July 19, 2012 at 9:31 am

    Thank you Kelly for your words of encouragement today. I am facing some pretty scary and serious situations this upcoming week. My husband was diagionsed with cancer and is having surgery on Monday 7/23 and after reading your post, and I have read one thousand gifts it was a great reminder to thank God for so many good things, instead of will owing in my life. I praise God today for you and this blog , it’s so important for us to have a grateful heart!! Thank you for reminding me!!!
    I meet you Kelly a few years ago right after you and mike were married mike had a concert at our church in Dallas pa. I helped you in the back table I am so happy for you and your family. Two little girls what a huge blessing!!!
    God bless you!!

  • Kristen July 19, 2012 at 9:40 am

    Thank you for the reminder. Yesterday wasn’t my best day either and it was really good to hear your thoughts. :)

  • stmarkqt July 19, 2012 at 9:48 am

    Reblogged this on St. Mark's Quiet Time.

  • Venessa July 19, 2012 at 10:07 am

    Thank you for sharing this, it really helps me to think about what I am thankful for. Your “one of those days” sounds a lot like the ones I’ve had! I have caught myself thinking “I should be mad” and all that has done was stolen my joy and opportunity to turn the frustrating circumstances into thankful ones. Thank you for helping me open my eyes through your writing today, I really appreciate your open heart and honesty. I like the “one thousand things I am thankful for” challenge. I’m going to start one myself. :)

  • wearechristschildren July 19, 2012 at 10:26 am

    will you ask Mike to see about getting somewhere in Arkansas on the tour list preferrably Jonesboro but I really just need Arkansas so I can go to the tour.
    Also I neeed to tell him something.

  • Winter Dryden July 19, 2012 at 10:44 am

    That’s the story of my life….well my Mom life anyway…lol I get so frustrated on days like this & never do I just laugh it off at the time & remember how blessed I am. That all comes after everything settles down, and by then I’m already convicted over the way I behaved. I think I act just as much like my toddler when I throw my temper tantrums as they are acting up…lol I wish there were some Mom groups out by me, especially with me being a stay-at-home Mom. I don’t know many Mom who stay home these days though so this Blog is such a blessing for me. It’s nice to know there’s others out there going through the same things!

  • Anna July 19, 2012 at 11:19 am

    I’ve been going through a rough patch in my life during the past couple of weeks. Even though my relationship with God is still a bit distant, my favorite part of the day is talking with Him. This usually happens in the evening, and I’m able to reflect on the day. Once I’m to the point where I can reflect, I can admit, “yeah this day wasn’t the best, but look at all the blessings that I still had.” I’m able to think about what has happened, and I’m able to thank God for the day as a whole. It’s a really nice practice, and it’s one that I’m glad I learned and developed.

    Thank you for writing this. I love how you were convicted by a 2 year old who had also been frustrating you most of the day. God is tricky like that.

  • Elicia July 19, 2012 at 12:26 pm

    Great post, Kelly. Thanks for sharing. Hopefully today will go more smoothly! When I first read about Eisley’s prayer, I immediately thought of “1000 Gifts”, and I was going to recommend it to you! I see now that you’ve read it. Thanks for the reminder of how important thankfulness is. I read somewhere that gratitude should not be a product of joy, but rather joy is a product of gratitude. Enjoy your day today!

  • Amanda @ worthy of Agape July 19, 2012 at 12:28 pm

    Great post, it is so wonderful to see how God works through His little ones =)

  • Kaelly July 19, 2012 at 9:27 pm

    I read this blog entry before the kids I babysit woke up this morning. Thanks for reminding me to be thankful. I kind of needed that today– it was a crazy day of babysitting.

    I was reading in Romans 1 this evening and in some of it Paul is comparing some of the differences and similarities of the believers and non-believers. Verse 21 says “Yes, they knew God, but they wouldn’t worship him as God or even give him THANKS….”. That just shows how important it is to give God thanks. It is as important as worship (being thankful than turns into worship, since it’s giving him glory). Without worship…. I’m not sure where I would be. It also sets us apart from believers and non-believers by being thankful. Being thankful is one of those things I don’t think about everyday, especially as a 15 year old. Once again thank you for the reminder!!

  • Nicole July 19, 2012 at 9:58 pm

    Kelly I can relate to this exactly! Being a nanny everyday I do have those days where my patience is quite limited. So when the kids run around at dinner time instead of sitting really gets me sometimes! But I do need to thank god more often for the simple things … The happy smiles and hugs I get, the I love you when I put them to bed I’m so great full for it all. Thanks for helping me to realize that and to know that others struggle with it too.

  • Tammy July 20, 2012 at 8:44 pm

    Thanks so much for this entry. As a mom of 4 kids ages 8-17, I have experienced a little spilled milk. But I never thought of thanking God for it. I usually tell myself through hard times that it won’t be like this forever. I was out of work recently for almost a year. I couldn’t find anything. I had several interviews that never ended with a job offer. I did finally get a job. But I never thanked God for all that time I was out of work spending time with my kids because I was too busy struggling to pay the bills. I didn’t see the gift I was handed. I got to see where my kids were struggling and needed help so now that I am back to work things are running a lot smoother. Keep on writing. I look forward to all your blog entries. God’s Peace!

  • Catherine July 21, 2012 at 4:42 pm

    Thank you for this. I’ve been feeling and thinking of a lot of negative things (loneliness, heartache, jealousy) and that has affected my relationship with God and everyone else. With your reminder I realize how good I have it….and I feel the conviction too. Thank you for this.

  • Jessica Lorren August 2, 2012 at 8:55 am

    Great word Kel. Just finished that book this morning and the words are truly soul-touching. We have so much to be thankful for. Ps: You and those Wild African Safari Type darlings are on the top of my list. Love you deeply.

  • Kirstin August 10, 2012 at 11:17 am

    Today, I got up, made some hot chocolate, made an awesome worship playlist (Tenth Ave. being in there A LOT), and had my first ever Maté time with Jesus. It was so good. And the reason I posted this on this blog post is because I also started my own “One Thousand Gifts.” This blog was definitely on there. I started reading it from the very beginning a couple days ago, and it has helped my heart in more ways than one. Thank you for doing this. You are impacting more people than you know. May God bless you, Heather, and both your families.