This past week, my women’s bible study began a new study (Seed Pack 1 by Priscilla Shirer), and yesterday during the boys’ naptime, the verse that I focused on was this:
“But the Lord said to Samuel, ‘Do not look at his appearance or at the height of his stature, because I have rejected him; for God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”
1 Samuel 16 (NASB)
Seed studies encourage you to go through 5 steps when studying scripture: position, pore and paraphrase, pull, pose, and plan. When I got to the pose portion, I wrote down:
How do I deal with not living up to my own expectations? and How do I remind myself that I will never live up to the appearance of Pinterest-perfect moms?
My plan for tackling these questions of doubt? Accept grace and cling to scripture for strength and Remind myself that no mom “does it all.”
Roughly an hour after studying this verse, Beau woke up from his nap and it was obvious he had pink eye. I had suspected it when he woke up from his morning nap, but this sealed the deal and I made a late afternoon appointment with the pediatrician. I piled the boys into the car at 4 p.m., only to realize I couldn’t find my keys. James had taken the boys to vote earlier in the day (a debacle in and of itself) and I had no idea where he put my keys. After searching high and low, calling and texting him despite him already working at the gym, I finally discovered them in his jeans pocket upstairs. This little experience pretty much set the tone for the rest of the evening.
Thankfully, the boys love all the entertainment at the pediatrician’s office. James Michael is always excited to go see the fishes and the trains that circle the top of the waiting room walls. Beau did his best to spread his germs on every surface possible and also stand on every adult chair, because in his mind, every experience would be just a little different.
The pediatrician confirmed a case of pink eye, which likely had developed from a viral cold two weeks ago that had turned into a bacterial infection. So after more than an hour of keeping tabs on the Rowdy boys at the doctor’s office, we were on our way to pick up Beau’s prescription from Publix.
Only after shopping for groceries for 20 minutes, the pharmacist informed us they were out of the medication. They listed off the nearby Publix pharmacies that had it in stock, and I told them my next preferred location and they said that pharmacy would have it ready in 15 minutes. Wonderful.
So I loaded the boys and groceries in the car and set off for Publix No. 2. It was now dark, and instead of putting the boys in a buggy because I thought it’d be a quick pickup, I carried Beau on my hip while holding JM’s hand. Bad idea.
Now at 6 p.m., the pharmacy was busy and JM was distracted by all the fun toys near the front of the store. While waiting in line, I was attempting to verbally keep JM away from the front sliding doors as droves of people came through (all as Beau was squirming in my arms wanting to be put down).
A little 10-year-old boy walked by and said, “Look at the cute baby” to his mom, except when he got a few feet from us his eyes got real big as he wondered what in the world was wrong with my baby’s eyes 🙂 After waiting in line for a few minutes and doing crazy antics with Beau to keep him happy and avoid him smushing Scarlett, by the time it was our turn JM decided to run off out of sight as I was giving our information to the tech. So I ran away from the counter with Beau on my hip as the other patrons in line pointed me in the direction JM ran, oh, and I left my wallet on the counter because Mama only has two hands.
After tracking JM down behind an aisle, verbally reprimanding him, getting him to stop pitching a fit on the floor and walk back to the counter with me, the tech informed me that I was at the wrong Publix because they didn’t have the medicine in stock either. You can imagine the “Are you kidding me?” look that popped up on my face. But I bit my tongue and asked which location had my prescription ready, got the tech to call to confirm, then walked out the door to continue the wild goose chase.
I took some deep breaths, hoping that would dispel any sudden onset of labor caused by our situation, and almost laughed thinking about how this experience either served as birth control for the young people in the pharmacy line or made the older people thankful their children were grown. I received countless looks of pity, mixed with surprise at the state of Beau’s poor eyes and the undeniable size of my belly. I thought to myself, I know what you’re thinking, and yes, I am crazy; yes, life is crazy.
As we hit the road enroute to our third Publix pharmacy, I called my mom to recount the craziness of our adventure so far, and she said, “Can I make a suggestion? Why don’t you switch to a stand-alone pharmacy because they have drive thrus, which would make it so much easier for you and the boys?” I told her, “You may make a suggestion tomorrow, not tonight.” Obviously, I was in a stellar mood.
We eventually made it to our final Publix pharmacy and successfully retrieved Beau’s medicine. At this point, the boys were starving and tired of being hauled around like cargo. They had already ravaged the snack I brought to the doctor’s office as well as two bananas I purchased from the first Publix.
And just like that, the moon (because it was fully dark at 6:45 p.m.) shone upon a Burger King across the street, and I thought to myself, to heck with it.
Besides the occasional Chick-fil-a, which I frequent with the boys every couple months, we don’t eat fast food. Usually, I find it’s just as fast to fix something in my pantry or fridge for them to eat, and a lot healthier. Plus, the Rowdy boys aren’t those kids who sit quietly at a restaurant. So I’m not exactly sure what I was thinking, but I decided to press my luck.
I ordered one kid’s meal to split between them, then three small chocolate shakes. Not that we needed that many, but I wanted to contain the spread of germs. JM ate about 8 french fries and 1/3 of his shake. Beau ate two chicken nuggets, two fries and about 1/4 of his shake. And I drank about half my shake. So we ended up trashing the majority of our food, but it was worth the $10 spent. JM thought of it as a special treat, and obviously loved the crowns. Beau was just happy to get something in his belly, and he lapped up his first taste of a shake.
Me? I felt super guilty for taking my kids to eat at Burger King. After all, I’m the kind of mom who cooks every dinner, rarely eats out and tries to avoid all the crazy ingredients that are put into food. I was embarrassed by what others would think of me for taking the easy way out, and also felt like I hadn’t lived up to my own expecations, which is often worse than others’ perception (for me at least).
Then, I remembered the verses I studied just a few hours before. I shook off the judgement of the other people in the pharmacy line. I know I looked disheveled and my boys were incontrollable. That doesn’t make me a bad mom. Desperate, maybe. But God knows my heart. I sloughed off the embarrassment and guilt from taking my boys to a fast food restaurant for dinner. I set aside my own expectations.
I accepted His grace, knowing I am far from perfect and conceding that some days I am a better mom (from all outward appearances) than others. I reminded myself that God didn’t choose the Pinterest-perfect mom to raise the Rowdy boys; He chose me.
He has me in the right place and by seeking Him, I pray that he keeps my heart in the right place.