A few Saturdays, I had to take Krys to school for a band event. I came home and decided to take a quick nap and then go back to pick him up. Unfortunately, I didn’t have a definitive time so I was going to wake up when he called, jump in the Incredible Hulk and scoop him. We live near the school. I’m the mom who has her cell phone on the night stand because I’m always on it. This particular day it was going off too much even though it was on vibrate. Most of the time my phone is on silent and I just pay attention to the blinking light, but because I was extremely tired from all the homecoming activities and the long work week I turned my phone off. GASPS!! I told myself it would be for an hour. Well it was closer to 3 hours and my son was left at school for 30 minutes unable to reach me or anyone in our village to pick him up. I apologized over and over to him (as well as the auxiliary leader of his section). I was so embarrassed and frustrated.
My son is so easing going that he moved on even though I think it worried him a bit. Me? I’m still dealing with feelings of guilt. I try to have a balance. I always always put him first. My life and activities are centered around his life. That’s not a complaint. That’s my job as a parent. This truth didn’t keep me from feeling like a total flop of a mommy. Add to that the stress of work and I was ready to move to a remote area and live off the land. I was so done with fighting to hold things together and pretending to like my job, myself and where I was in life. In the midst of this storm, I never stopped going before the Lord. I kept praying and pouring my heart out. Like David and Paul and Joseph and others in the Bible who faced difficulties.
I can only compare this to feeling like I’ve was living in a pressure cooker. Life had really gotten the best of me. It left me wondering if I was portraying a life of perfection as a single mom. That is far from my truth. Some days I just want to quit. Some days I wish whatever I did wrong to be single at 38, I hadn’t done. There are days I long for relief and help. Days I want my feet rubbed. I have days I wish I was coming home to dinner already prepared. A moment or two that I wish my son had driver’s license and we had two vehicles so I can take off my mom taxi hat. So many wishes that I was using my energy to elevate the problem rather than a solution. Even if all those problems were solved there would be others. That’s life. The decision I needed to make was to withstand the pressure and come out much better than before or stay upset, frustrated and overwhelmed by focusing on chaos in my life.
It is said foods prepared in a pressure cooker have more deep and complex flavor. That it is good for foods that need to be tenderized. It is also called a fast cooker. How does this relate to me or you? Well think of the pressure cooker as life’s trials and obstacles. Sometimes there are few. Other times there are moments of testing where it seems like you are being bombarded with troubles. Remember my post from this summer here and here? God is the chef. He is aware of what you or I can handle. When I feel the fire being turned up I have to appreciate that God is tenderdizing (ok, preparing) me from a shining moment just like the meal you will have when you open the pressure cooker. Trials are the things that add flavor to our character. Different spices give different tastes. When we are in the pressure cooker, life will sprinkle a little more seasoning on us. We have the opportunity to respond in a positive or negative manner. Our response is what determines if we have passed the test. Add the wrong spice and you can ruin a meal. Add the right flavor and you have a signature dish. The pressure cooker can’t do the work alone. The Chef has to include all the right ingredients to create perfection.
This Sunday after really surrendering to God all that I was feeling because I was emotionally spent I found solace in His word. I must endure the cross to get my crown. I am not exempt from suffering because I am a Christian. No one is exempt from bad things happening. We’ve all heard the saying, God didn’t promise this walk would be easy but He did promise to be with us.” Right? Life as a mom of a high school teenager is HUGE task. Teaching this generation of kids is an E N O R M O U S task but I had to remind myself that I was called to this position for this season. Because Christ is with me, I won’t fail. I won’t be defeated. I can’t afford to quit.
If you are a single parent or just experiencing the pressure of life do know that a moment of peace and clarity is on the way. Remain prayerful. Don’t hold back when talking to God. Tell him exactly how you feel. Share with a trusted love one so you don’t fall into a depressed state. Do what you can and forget about the rest. My life won’t fall a part because I am living out of the laundry basket or the towels are folded but not put away. I don’t have merry maids on speed dial. I want Krys to drive now because he can’t but when he does I’ll have the added pressure of insurance for him and being worried about his safety on the road. So I’ve decided to rest. To be a peace. To not explode because the pressure cooker does its work quickly. This too shall pass.