Experiencing delay is inevitable in a mother’s life. As a new mom, it’s the diaper explosion as you’re running out the door. It’s the mother of the teenager in the car waiting while their daughter is trying on her third outfit that isn’t working…the struggle is real for us all though. It’s the tantrum that prevents us from even getting close to exiting the building, and that’s just us, not counting our toddler’s tantrum yet! Getting on time anywhere is a mother’s dream (at least it’s mine).
I am a timely person….in my heart. I plan to be prompt, but it’s really rare that I actually arrive to the desired destination on time. I really hate this about myself because I am fully aware of how it adversely affects others. They end up waiting on me and their schedule is ultimately offset because of me. I don’t want them to think that I don’t care about them or their time. But sadly, the reality is that I’m not being considerate of their time. If I truly was, I would always plan for margin and buffer in scheduling my on-time arrival.
I recently passed by a road sign that stated, “expect delays.” And it warned the reader to expect these delays during a certain time period. I see these kinds of signs all the time, but this time it impacted me.
These signs are meant to prepare us that there will be slower movement during designated days. They help us to be mindful that as we go into a certain day or week or month, we will need to plan a little extra margin – an added hour or so to our travel plans. We will need to leave the house a little earlier, and be prepared for the traffic we’ll sit in. Plan to be delayed.
How often in life do we not give ourselves some margin? Not only in our day, not only in our travel plans, but in our relationships, in our marriage, in our parenting?
We all know that life tends to generally not go as expected. We have to prepare for delays. Plan for disappointment. Plan for when we’re offended. Plan for our apology. Plan for the hard days. My husband calls this very thing “training for the trial we are not yet in” and it’s such a wise concept.
As mothers, we’ve got to plan this even more. We will always need some buffer, some cushion in our spirit. On the day when our little one spills milk in the kitchen and it spreads underneath the oven where it’s impossible to reach, and now the whole morning is spent moving the oven, only to find there’s not only milk, but dust bunnies that would scare a zombie, and on top of that, you have an ant problem. Now your “chill morning” has turned into crying over spilled milk times one hundred.
We can’t plan for everything, but we can certainly plan for buffer in our spirit. We can fly off the handle and yell and let these delays get to us, or we can use it as an opportunity to take a few deep fifteen second breaths, pray “God give me Your grace. Lord Jesus, help me” and grab the rag, and clean up that milk.
“We can’t plan for everything, but we can certainly plan for buffer in our spirit.”
Looking back on my life, there have sadly been too many times when I have allowed the little interruptions to get my goat. I want to be the wife, the mother, the woman who doesn’t let little road delays of life get me flustered and angry. I want to be prepared, and I want to expect the delays and be ready for them.
We need to expect delays. We need to grab what we need for the day, because it will be harder to run back home to get what we need. Grab the snacks, extra clothes, water bottles, plastic bags for car sickness. On the spiritual level, we’ve gotta grab from our Savior what we need for the day. Before the day happens we must wake up, asking for the Holy Spirit to fill us. We must allow God to speak to us through His word. Sometimes as moms, we get a verse and then the babies start crying. We read one word and a child comes in saying she wet the bed…and her stuffed animals.
“She is clothed with strength and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future.” Proverbs 31:25
The godly woman, the godly mother foresees the delay and is so prepared that she can laugh and say “I’m ready for the delay to come. No big deal! The One who is my strength and my shield will prepare me and protect me and give me everything I need to face it.”
We may not have perfect on-time attendance scores, but even in the mess of life, we can be strong and courageous and laugh without fear, ready for whatever the day may hold.
Rise up beautiful woman. Expect the delays, and embrace them.