Every vacation has the potential for disaster. As a mom, every DAY has the potential for disaster! Instead of being paralyzed or panicking, we can focus on what matters most in such moments and chalk it up as a “victory” for motherhood! Here’s how to respond in a moment of mayhem.
Half chewed blue gummy sharks flashed before my eyes and pooled into my lap, as my husband swerved to stop and get the van door open. Our four year old sat limp in his car seat. With all my planning for our mountain vacation, I wasn’t fast enough for nausea.
A mom plans for every anticipated scenario, but despite the instincts God gives, we aren’t omniscient. Sometimes we can’t see calamity coming. A plan is a starting point, preparation based on goals. I never hoped to be covered with lunch and blue gummy sharks on an isolated country road. Game plans in a our play book have to be flexible to respond to the unexpected.
A good mom knows her plan, but a great mom knows her priorities.
“In their hearts humans plan their course, but the LORD establishes their steps” (Prov. 16:9). Once we make our plan and watch it unfold God’s way, we have to be ready to adjust, taking into account what matters most. More than having every base covered, ever item clean, or every need anticipated, our families first need us to provide comfort and then to help provide control.
As children of God, we crave comfort when life throws a curve at us that our plan doesn’t cover. The Psalmist told God that, “I cry to you when my heart is overwhelmed” (Psalm 61:2, NLT). In the same way a mom cries to her Heavenly Father, our children need comfort in the first overwhelmed moments of a crisis. That means forgetting about the wet lap of gummy sharks long enough to cradle a cheek or wipe a mouth or hold a hand and speak soothing words of comfort. Each heart longs to know, in times of distress, “It’s okay. You’re not alone.” We should plan our course, but when we hit unseen curves, the first priority is comfort.
Once comfort is extended, a mom does one of the things she does best: get control. The reality is that the mess has to be mopped up, and things need to be put right. It’s not pretty, but this part of working a plan is necessary. Sometimes we rejoice to find we’re prepared with a box of wipes and change of clothes, but sometimes we find we can’t plan for every possibility without driving a semi. We have to be resourceful and calm as we restore control, trying not to undo the comfort we just gave.
In a moment of chaos a mom has the challenge of adjusting her messed up plan to provide comfort and regain control. God has a tender heart for those with little ones, and He “gently leads those that have young” (Isaiah 40:11). He helps us do what we need to do when our game plan encounters the unexpected.
To work your plan when things get messy, let others help you. For a mom, it may mean she works with her spouse, so one partner comforts while another starts to get control. If you have a friend or support person, communicate practical needs, so you are free to provide comfort the hurting person needs most immediately. Sometimes you may be best equipped to manage the practical issues, so invite a partner to supply the comfort, while you work on getting things under control. God often fills in the gaps in our plans by using people around us.
A flexible game plan is a great place to start at any place along life’s journey, remembering that comfort and control are essentials, even in a car full of gummy sharks.
- Have you encountered a “mayhem moment” this summer?
- How did you respond?
- Can you chalk it up to a victory or score one in the “better job next time” category?