On a Good Day – Genesis 16
The voices chant early, before the fog lifts, before the grass dries, and I listen to their lies.
Nobody loves you. Nothing will ever change. None of this is worth it.
Their poison shoots straight for my spine, paralyzing me in the place where I’ve come to pray. From where I sit, spirit and body stuck, I see what I’d written on the easel out in the kitchen just yesterday morning, like a banner snapping over my head now, inviting the voices, the mockery:
“Commit to the LORD whatever you do, and your plans will succeed” (Proverbs 16:3).
Yeah, right, they scoff. Whatever.
Because in the last 24 hours, dinner burns, a husband distances, a daughter threatens to run away. A toddler screams, a friend ignores, another daughter bristles at every word.
This? This is a mess, not a success.
But after listening to more lies, I will myself to open the Book in my lap, to turn the pages despite my despair, and I end up with Hagar in the wilderness. Together we’re in a desolate place, feeling utterly alone and forsaken. Soon, I hear another Voice telling her to go back, to submit to her mistress. And now I’m the one bristling.
Don’t do it, the voices suggest. Stay here in this desert.
But Hagar’s already turned around to go. It’s like she’s seen a Ghost. She can’t get out of there fast enough.
But I walk slower, my steps seem smaller: I put out breakfast plates. I wipe crumbs from the counter. I rub a sleepy head, wipe a runny nose. I listen with my ears and my eyes and my whole body when she speaks. Later, I fold his shirts then sit on the couch and paint tiny toenails.
Come the end of the day, the voices are gone, like they’ve been weakened somehow, and I greet a husband who’s returned from work with a bouquet of daisies.
Could it be, I wonder as night falls, that the success of my day is not in the end of it but in the beginning? When I choose to lay aside all my plans and all I want to accomplish and sit quietly in the Presence of the Living One who always sees me? Time with Him strengthens me and prepares me to face whatever the day will bring whether it’s clogged toilets, bad attitudes, or broken hearts. Even in the desert His Presence gives me courage to return to my circumstances – the bleak, the boring, the unbearable.
I ponder this as the sun dips, as the stars appear, and I finish the day where it began, Book open and hands folded. I’m unstuck now, and the only Voice I hear is the one singing over me.
The LORD your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing” (Zephaniah 3:17).
image credit: KelliCampbell – used with permission
Megan Oldfield is a writer, stay-at-home mom, and chronic user of the word, “Dude.” She earned a degree in television and film writing at Syracuse University, and while she once was a Web designer and television producer, she now homeschools and drives a mini-van, two things she swore she’d never do. Megan lives dangerously close to Hershey’s Chocolate World in rural Pennsylvania, along with her husband and three kids, and when she’s not feeding them or folding their laundry, she’s stringing words together about family, faith, marriage, and motherhood at her personal blog, RaineyDays.org.