My phone dinged with a text from a friend with a link to a sermon. “Listen to it now!” she gushed. “It’s a game-changer.”
I don’t usually listen to sermons in the middle of the day, but I had just settled my toddler down for quiet time and was about to tackle the embarrassingly long list of to-do’s scratched on an assortment of post-its on my desk. I had some time, and I considered my options. Listen to the sermon? Get things done? Or drown in a vat of ice cream?
You see, the day had had a pretty awful start.
My oldest had thrown a tantrum because she could not find the matching stockings to go with the dress she just had to wear today. She lay on the stairs screaming. Everyone was late. The preschooler had a field trip scheduled for later in the day, and was so excited about it that he could do nothing else but sulk and suck his thumb because the three hours between now and field trip time were like dog years to him. And the toddler was doing a Houdini impersonation instead of getting dressed. As usual.
On top of this, I managed to somehow break something on my blog. My husband reminded me gently that one of our credit card bills was unpaid. I was running late for Bible study and I threw on a new maxi skirt from Target which I thought was both cute and forgiving. (Forgiving is my new favorite word for clothes. My jeans from last year are, by contrast, decidedly accusatory.) I grouched my way through the morning, and it was only when I found myself stating longingly at a white chocolate chip cookie that I realized that I don’t even like white chocolate, something else is going on here. A quick look at the calendar confirmed there was a reason for it all: a perfectly timed hormonally-induced Oscar-the-Grouch session.
I came home, settled the toddler, and my phone dinged with my friend’s text.
I opted to leave all the post-its abandoned and chose to listen to the sermon while diving into the mint Moose Tracks frozen goodness. I licked the last drops out of my bowl and lay back on my pillow, enthralled by the words of Revelation 5 brought to life by the preacher.
And then, I fell asleep.
My toddler woke me a half hour later, and I swam into consciousness with waves of guilt breaking over my head. Had I really just squandered that quiet time? I could have gotten things done! And instead I took an unplanned nap, didn’t even listen to something spiritually edifying, and I consumed 500 calories on top of it? “You deserve to have to wear forgiving skirts,” I chastised myself. “You are such a sloth.”
But then I was reminded of Jesus, my gentle Shepherd, who noticed that His disciples were exhausted and overwhelmed and said to them, “Come away with me. Let us go alone to a quiet place and rest for a while” (Mark 6:31). And so they withdrew. And they did super-spiritual things like eat. And talk. And nap.
I looked at my ice cream bowl and my rumpled pillow with fresh eyes: as gifts from my Shepherd on a day when I, too, felt harassed and helpless (Matthew 9:36). For the truth is that I am not the indentured slave of a task-master with endless post-its and to-do lists. I am a daughter. Someone beloved. A lamb in the care of a very kind Shepherd who knows that left to my own devices I will wander off and fall into the abyss of self-imposed expectations and accusations. He is a shepherd who knows I need to be led to quiet waters and green pastures.
And sometimes, those quiet waters are a 20-minute nap, and the green pastures comes in the form of mint Moose Tracks ice cream. They are gifts from His hand.
He restoreth my soul.
Welcome to Ungrind!
Do you want to be inspired, motivated, and equipped to live the everyday story of your life well?
If so, you’re in the right place. Whether you need encouragement in your relationships or in your faith, I hope you’ll find the transparent voices of mentors and friends here at Ungrind.
So, grab a cup of coffee and keep reading. We're so glad you're here!
Ashleigh Slater, Founder & Managing Editor
Get Our Free Ebook!
How the Psalms Speak to Our Emotions
The Psalms is a book that's rich with the reality of what life's like in this fallen world. Here are...
3 Ways to Navigate Personality Differences
Sometimes personality differences can wear on us. Here are three ways we can navigate them in a loving manner.
Surprised By ‘A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood’
If you haven't seen this film, God may speak to your heart through it in ways you weren't expecting.
The Wedding Ring
Are you struggling in your marriage? Here's how a wedding ring helped one wife fight for her marriage.
5 Ways to Live an Out-of-Control Life
Here are 5 ways to let go of control and trust your present and your future to God.
5 Creative Places to Find Prayer Accountability
Do you want to pray more, but are easily distracted? Here are some practical ways to stay focused.
How to Rescue a Day Gone Wrong in Your Marriage
Just because a day doesn't start well, doesn't mean you can't rescue it.
What Women Are Saying
-- Darlene Schacht, author of Messy Beautiful Love: Hope and Redemption for Real-Life Marriages and co-author of Reshaping it All: Motivation for Spiritual and Physical Fitness
"Real life is not always pleasant. Every marriage experiences disappointments, misunderstandings, sickness and financial crisis. Ashleigh doesn’t camouflage the pain in her own marriage, and offers practical ideas on how to walk through the difficulties and find intimacy on the journey. If you are anything like me, I predict that as you read, you too will find yourself laughing, wiping tears, and saying 'Oh, yes.'"
-- Gary Chapman, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The 5 Love Languages
We are a member of the Amazon affiliate program and regularly use affiliate links. If you purchase an item from an Amazon link we provide, we will receive a small referral commission. This doesn’t cost you anything additional. We only share books, music, and products that our writers personally have used and highly recommend.
Faith4 years ago
When Doing Justly, Loving Mercy, and Walking Humbly Stand at Odds
Motherhood4 years ago
Surviving a Strong-Willed Child
Faith5 years ago
7 Ways to Create A Family Altar
Friendship6 years ago
Beyond the Registry: The Ultimate Gift Guide for Expectant Parents
Relationships4 months ago
5 Ways to Teach Your Child to Hear God
Marriage6 years ago
4 Reasons I’m Not Facebook Friends With My Husband
Everyday Faith5 years ago
6 Simple Ways to Give Thanks in the Thick of It
Articles5 years ago
10 Ways Life is Like a Box of Chocolates
Articles7 years ago
How to Lift Up the One You Love
Articles5 years ago
Relationships9 months ago
Facing Our Motherhood Fears
Digging Into Scripture1 month ago
How the Psalms Speak to Our Emotions