Frazzled and Frayed – but Never Forgotten or Forsaken!

Be still, and know that I am God!
   I am exalted among the nations,
   I am exalted in the earth.
The Lord of hosts is with us;
   the God of Jacob is our refuge. – Psalm 46

I strive to be a stop and smell the roses and the lavender and the marigolds kind of person.  I will even stop to smell tomato plants.  Actually I really like the smell of tomato plants.  The smell of tomato plants reminds me of working alongside the love of my life on long summer evenings in our garden.

But these past few weeks stopping to smell much of anything has felt a lot harder for me.  I have been feeling a bit stressed and pressured and ever so slightly frazzled and frayed around the edges which just isn’t my style.  I just don’t do frazzled and frayed.  Just like I don’t procrastinate.  I have calendars and lists and plans.  Actually – every single week of my life begins with a nice tidy to do list.  Lists make me happy!

I don’t over-schedule myself or anyone else in my immediate family.  I make sure I have plenty of time to balance work and family and fun.  I get enough sleep.  I eat healthy food (most of the time.)  I exercise.  I knit and then I knit some more and then I knit again!  I used to go to the gym (and will again – once it feels safe to go back.)

I do all of  this just so I don’t become THAT mom.  The one everyone is just a little afraid of.  The one – even her husband – thinks is just one cup of coffee away from a great big rant about just how stressed out and busy and overworked and exhausted she is.

But ever since NTI 2.0 started – I have been feeling just a little frazzled and stressed.  I have been struggling a bit to stop and smell the roses.

It feels like I went from being a working mom to being a WORKING MOM!  COVID-19 already meant that I was doing some extra intense parenting.  But now – well now – well – I am feeling busy – busy – busy. 

And I know that I am not alone.  Everyone is in this boat with me.  Everyone is just trying to get through these strange – strange times.

And I am blessed.  I am so incredibly thankful for a life and a job that are flexible. 

And Jason is an awesome dad and husband.  In fact Jason keeps saying to me “Kerri – you aren’t in this alone.”  Which is a truly important reminder to me on so many different levels – I am not in this alone.

But NTI 2.0 with a 2nd grader is quite frankly a lot of work for the parents too.  Jason and I need to be around and attentive.  Will needs our help and attention and our care during his school day.  Will needs us.   So – we write sermons and computer code and help with reading and math assignments.  I proof read my newsletter article and oversee spelling words and phonics.  Jason trouble shoots something important for his office right before he gets Will logged on to his next Google meeting.  Our days have become a dance of parenting – work – school – work – parenting – and work.  And then parenting some more!  And it feels seriously INTENSE some days!  Good – but intense!

I love my life and I love my family and I love my career.  Truly I do – but by the time Labor Day rolled around it was time for me to spend some time practicing what I preach.

It was time for me to seek God’s presence.  It was time for me to slow down.  To slow way – way down.  So we headed off to one of our favorite places for the afternoon.

We spent the afternoon hiking the trails at Perryville Battlefield State Historic Site.  We love hiking there. 

It is truly beautiful and incredibly peaceful at Perryville.  It is so quiet there – you can hear the wind blowing through the tall prairie grass, and I delighted in listening to the sounds of the crickets/grasshoppers.  The crickets were feeling very chatty on Monday. 

We watched and listened and hiked.  We delighted and gave thanks for the blessing of God’s gifts to us.

Labor Day was a gift and a blessing to us in the midst of what has become an incredibly busy time in our lives.  It was quiet and peaceful and incredibly beautiful to be out in nature enjoying the sun and the wind and the blue skies. 

The fields were absolutely overflowing with all sorts of flowers.

I ended our hike feeling more grounded.  More thankful.  More blessed.  Much more peaceful.  Much – much more thankful!

What do you do when your life starts to feel too busy and you start to feel stressed and frazzled? How do you stop to smell the roses? How do you seek God’s presence in the midst of your own full – busy lives?  Where are you seeing God at work in your lives?

Apparently some Perryville wanted to come home with me!

God is here!  God is with us!

You are all in my heart – thoughts – and prayers. 

In Christ and with Love –

Pastor Kerri

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