Do you ever get up in the morning and just know you're going to have a rough day? Sometimes just getting out of bed and pouring that first cup of coffee is the only "win" we have all day. I understand. Oh boy, do I understand!
Call me crazy, but when I became a parent I envisioned early mornings (maybe not this early) of happy children skipping into our bedroom as we woke up to their smiling faces eager to take on the beauty of a new day. It's not like I had delusions of perfect lighting and birds singing like in those coffee commercials you see on TV...but, I certainly never anticipated the adrenaline-erupting scene from Rambo that gives me a heart attack each and every day.
I don't know what sets these crazy girls off, but within minutes of waking up, they are screaming and fighting with each other nearly every morning. Someone bursts into tears and then bursts into our room demanding justice which usually involves the negotiating talents of a Harvard-educated lawyer (neither of which we are) to talk one of them off the ledge. The momentary apocalypse subsides within minutes, but by this time...well, to say we've been catapulted from the wrong side of the bed is an understatement.
It can take all of my patience, prayers, and poise to pull myself together and not have a sour mood the rest of the day. You know when you want to punch your family in the face before breakfast, it's going to be a rough one. Whew. (Can I get an AMEN?)
You often hear that the best remedy to diffuse a bad attitude is to think of everything you are grateful for. Ok (deep breath) deal. I pray, I thank God for my screaming-yet-healthy children, for my home, for my husband, for the coffee I'm making the third round of by this time of the morning, and so forth. And I am reminded of the old adage to "look at the glass as half full and not as half empty" as they say. The power of positivity can be incredible, no doubt (thank you, Norman Vincent Peale).
My day can be turned around in this moment, or not. It's really my choice, and it's a powerful one. My next prayer is for my attitude to not only change, but to be useful...I'm pouring into two-legged-sponges-with-feisty-brains, after all. A Mother isn't just a title - it's a lifestyle, 24/7, and I'm going to need that second helping of grace to make it to nap time!
It's during this prayer that I realize my glass isn't half full. It's FULL. Really full. I was so focused on trying to see the half-way mark that I didn't realize there wasn't one.
There's no "half full" with Jesus - it's all or nothing. Jesus doesn't need me to be positive - Jesus needs me to need HIM. And, when I'm having one of those terrible days that drives me to the point of needing to remind myself of the tiniest things to be grateful for, I might be missing exactly what to focus on.
I can't change the day if I can't be changed.
And I can't lead my girls by example if I'm not letting myself be changed by the power of Christ on a daily basis - yes, even before my first cup of coffee on a morning full of mayhem. The volume of my children's yelling and fighting might not change by my viewing them in a more positive light. I might wait a few extra minutes before I lose my mind, but the fuse is still too short. Instead, I am reminded of the goodness of the power of Christ in me - how, in moments like these and many others, I don't have to call on my own strength for extra patience or guidance (Hallelujah).
If you're struggling to see the halfway mark on your glass...stop. Your gratitude can't save you. You can name every hair on your head and it will never match the understanding, wholly accepting, merciful peace that Jesus grants us in our most ugly moments. Only Jesus can quench our thirst for harmony.
We should all be "more" grateful, "more" understanding, "more" thoughtful, and "more" positive (aren't you exhausted and feeling guilty already?) But, whenever I am those things, don't be mistaken to think it's by my own strength, it's not! I can only ever be those things when I've finally given up on my half, and I'm fully focused on the overflowing, brim-toppling, surface-spilling grace from the Heavenly Father.
That's when I can know for sure - it's gonna be a good day.