Bread that Sustains Hearts

It’s been a long week at our house, not necessarily a bad week, just a long one. We scheduled a four day weekend and took a roadtrip to visit family. As usual, I hadn’t found the time to get a head start on laundry and cleaning before we headed out of town and the house had been left in shambles.

Upon returning home, the week was already in full swing and we were starting it off behind schedule. There were the piles of laundry that needed to be washed. There was an empty refrigerator that needed to be filled. There were dirty dishes left from the previous week. There was homework that had been forgotten over the weekend. There were late nights scheduled at work. There were church commitments and meals to be delivered throughout the week. Plus there was a car and a variety of bags that needed to be unpacked and sorted. Add all of that to 11 straight hours of incessant chatter from small children and I was feeling mentally broken. I was crabby and short tempered for those first few days of the week. I wanted to be alone. I wanted silence. I wanted a minute to collect my thoughts and make my plan of attack for conquering the tasks of the week. But it wasn’t meant to be.

The silence didn’t come. It became clear that the state of the house wasn’t going to improve until later in the week. Our schedule was go-go-go. And I had temper tantrum. In a moment of anger, I threw my daughter’s toys on the floor-the ones that had been cluttering up the countertops for two days, despite repeatedly asking her to put them away-and I threatened to throw them away. She cried and I went to sit in the bathroom where I could be alone.

I apologized. We recovered. And I silently promised myself that I would work hard to make the rest of the week better. For those last two days of the week, I made the effort to set my to-do list aside and spend some time doing something fun with the kids after school. We spent those two late afternoons walking on the trails near our house to our favorite spot to play in the leaves. The kids were giddy with delight, my son enjoying his new found mobility by traipsing through the leaves, my daughter throwing piles of leaves up into the air and giggling as they gently fell down around her. And my heart was full. The pure delights of childhood unfolding before my eyes. Simple entertainment in a complicated life. My agitation melted away as I watched the carefree spirits of my children in action.

By week’s end, our routine had started to return to normal. I picked back up in my Bible Study of Psalms and came upon Psalm 104:15 (NIV) which states that the Lord gives his people “bread that sustains their hearts.” I couldn’t help but reflect on the bread that had restored my heart during the week. It was found in that time with my children. It was found in dinner with friends. It was found in a weekly stroll with a companion. And it was found in that moment that I actually spoke up in a Bible Study and someone else said “me too.”

I was embarrassed by the behavior and attitude that I had displayed throughout the week. But God restores. He provides what is needed in order to sustain our hearts. Sometimes it’s a matter of taking a moment to comprehend the significance of our day-to-day moments. And other times it’s just a matter of taking the opportunity to use what he’s put right in front of us.

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