Tuesday, March 1, 2011


For about a week now, my Suburban's Check Engine Oil light has been staring me in the face.  Also about a week ago, one of my brake lights went out and the windshield wiper fluid started stinking of rotten eggs.  Then today, the Oil light started toggling off and on, sharing the spotlight with my Low Fuel light.  Everything seems to be running low or needing to be refreshed on my vehicle.  I started wondering how my life would work if I had my own warning signals.

I've written a little about the extra family members in the house and overall, I have felt so blessed by this.  I mean, the household is a little more crowded, a little crazier and a little more expensive to run, but in all, I've been able to maintain a fairly positive attitude.

The extra family members have helped take on a fair share of household chores -- catching me up on laundry and certain jobs of cleaning that I didn't know when I'd get to.  I even appreciate the moments they are right there to help me with impromptu messes.

We like to keep a couple glasses in the freezer for our late night icy-cold milk.  We actually haven't been able to maintain our ritual most nights since hosting an extra family because by the time late night comes when we normally have it, we're so tired, we have been skipping it in lieu of a slightly earlier bedtime.

Well, two nights ago, C was trying to put something in the freezer and he accidentally knocked one of our freezing glasses out.  I don't know if you've ever dropped a frozen glass on a ceramic tile floor, but it shatters and sends tiny shards to the furthest reaches of the universe!  What a mess!  He felt horrible, but was in the middle of five other things, so I put on a pair of his shoes over my barefeet (what?  they were handy) and started to sweep.  Then a member of the other family came and grabbed the dustpan to help me.  What a treat!

I recalled a time when a jar of dill pickles had fallen off a pantry shelf and oh how I would have loved help to clean up that mess!  Though less stinky, this mess wasn't much fun either.  But the burden was far less with an extra set of hands.

Today, the house for this family is finally ready for them to start moving in.  It's an exciting time!  They'll have their own space(s) and we'll regain some of ours.  They'll get to use actual beds instead of air mattresses on the family room floor.  But I will miss their presence, too.  The house will be a little quieter and we can return to some familiar rhythms, but I've found joy in the extra noise and chaos.

Anyway, today, as this family moved forward with plans for transitioning to the new home, I knew was needed to fill in the gaps, but I wasn't really sure where these gaps existed.  I felt overwhelmed even before I got out of bed.  Nevermind that my reminder call for two of our kids' dental appointment scheduled for 8:50am, wasn't called in till 8:19am.  That threw the whole morning into chaos first thing.

My head was scrambling and I kept trying to talk to my husband to clear my mind, but of course, he was trying to do actual work.  I felt like I was really falling apart.  Low on fuel.  Brake light out.  Requiring a refill.

As I prayed about the swirly feeling in my brain, God heard.  He provided me an opportunity to both help this family and take a break to refocus and refuel.  At their request, I went to pick up their kids from school.  While I waited in my car out front of their schools, I rolled down the window to allow the fresh air to blow through.  It's in the 60s today and sunny.  Gorgeous.

I still had my Bible study book in my purse from our study group meeting last night.  I pulled it out and read through a chapter in the quiet, breezy sunshine.  It was a wonderful twenty minutes that added hours of energy and clarity to my day.

So even though I don't have warning signals flashing to the world about my needs for refueling, God knows.  He recognizes my need for rest and provides it in unusual and wonderful ways.

After picking up one of their children, I used the opportunity to refill the gas tank in my Suburban and run it through the car wash (which it also needed desperately).  Now it's shiny looking!  Still old and rusting in parts, still telling me to check the oil, but it's been refreshed some and looks a lot more ready to hit the road.

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