Here I was at home with two screaming babies, and he was in a quiet conference room with other adults.
I decided to leave to a message — without saying a word.
For 45 seconds, I let my husband’s voicemail record the shrill cries of two infants. Musically, there was crescendo and dissonance and plenty of staccato as the crying would slow down and fade and then build steam to forte for the bridge and repeat chorus.
After hanging up, I tried everything to soothe the shrieking cherubs. I fed them, changed them, bathed them, and dressed them. When that didn’t work, I swaddled, bounced, swayed, and burbled.
Forlorn and weary, I buckled my babies in their car seats and took them for a drive around the neighborhood. A ride in the mini-van usually quieted both of them.
As I turned the same corner for the third time, I wondered: Where can we go?
Then I had a brilliant idea. I knew where we could go, and it wouldn’t even require getting out of the car!
The McDonald’s drive-thru.
I ordered a cheeseburger and fries and then pulled into a parking space. With both babies finally asleep, I ate my happy meal and cried.
“Stolen water is sweet;
food eaten in secret is delicious.”
~ Proverbs 9:17
Food eaten in secret.
I can relate to this proverb — not because I creep downstairs in the middle of the night to raid the fridge, but because I’m usually home alone all day. It’s easy to hop in the mini-van and find my way to the nearest drive-thru.
Nowadays, my babies are no longer babies, and it’s been a few years since I left the now-infamous message on my husband’s voicemail. But whenever I feel depressed, guess where I’m tempted to go first?
Not to my knees.
And not to God’s Word.
But to the altar of the Golden Arches.
This isn’t what I want to be true of me.
So when loneliness and fatigue set in, I pray: Lord, help me to turn to You first. Fill me with Your presence and Your peace.
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they will be filled.”
~ Matthew 5:6
I want to hunger and thirst for righteousness more than a cheeseburger and fries. Because only God can fill the desperate heart.
My experiences as a full-time-stay-at-home mom have also filled me with a tender heart for other moms, especially young moms who are doing their best to get through long days without much support from extended family. It can feel as though “you’re doing this alone,” but I’ve learned that our experiences in motherhood are not that different.
We have so much to offer each other. After turning to the One who can fill us, we can also turn to other moms who can hear us with open hearts and offer the friendship of a fellow traveler.
When you’re having a hard day, where do you turn?
Photo Credit: Keoni Cabral (Creative Commons)
Denise J. Hughes lives in Southern California with her husband and three kids. Denise speaks at Bible studies and Women’s Retreats, and she serves as an editor and writing coach. She devotes her blog to helping others deepen their faith and develop their craft. Denise has an M.A. in Rhetoric and Composition and teaches writing seminars at Azusa Pacific University.