The heart itself is only a small vessel,
yet dragons are there, and lions,
there are poisonous beasts, and all the treasures of evil,
there are rough and uneven roads,
there are precipes;
but there too is God and the angels,
life is there, and the Kingdom,
there too is light, and there the apostles
and heavenly cities, and treasures of grace.
All things lie within that little space.
~ Makarios the Great

It had been a great day. The house was tidy. The dinner was Crock-Potting away, filling the house with delicious smells. The kids had completed their schoolwork and were now happily playing outside. My husband called from out of town to let me know he was having a great time, and I bragged about how well everyone was doing here on the home front. Now I had a few minutes to steal away and read. I picked up my book, settled on the couch, and smiled.

Three sentences into the first page, my great day started going south. The happy little people playing in the yard came thundering into the house, having turned into grumpy, hot, messy creatures intent on wreaking havoc in my sanctuary. "Mom, my straw busted through the bottom of my drink," one cried as carried the dripping cup through the living room, through the kitchen, and parked in front of me on the den carpet. I jumped from the couch, grabbed the drink, and turned to find another creature standing behind me, her new church outfit covered mud. Then started the whining in the kitchen from one staring down at the Crock-Pot. "Why can’t we be like normal families and eat out at restaurants? We always eat at home."

With all my might I wanted to give a June Cleaver sweet answer that included the words "That’s all right, dear, and it would be swell to eat out sometime." But I couldn’t find her inside me. I gritted my teeth and said, "Sweetheart," (don’t you love how this word takes on a completely different meaning when spoken through gritted teeth?) "did it ever cross your mind to leave the dripping cup outside instead of carrying the sticky, orange, carpet-staining juice throughout the house?"

I then turned to mud girl. "Why are we wearing our nice clothes to play outside?" I shook my head in disbelief while thinking, We have drawers full of play clothes that have seen better days. But to play in the mud, of course only church clothes will do.

And to the Crock-Pot complainer who couldn’t have picked a worse time, I wanted to go into a long diatribe about what it took to go to the store, buy the food, bring it home, unload it, and prepare it. But I was up to my elbows in mud and orange juice, so I fired off a quick answer about the expense of going out to eat and how he should be more grateful. I gave up on the book reading and with a frustrated huff finished cleaning and called everyone to an early dinner.

That didn’t go as I would have liked either, and by the end of the meal I’d had enough. I stood up at the end of the table, cleared my throat in a very dramatic fashion, and announced it was time for everyone to go to bed. "But it’s still light outside," they protested. I had no idea what time the clock said, and frankly I didn’t care. Bedtime was going to rescue me, and I was a woman on a mission. To add even more drama to my announcement, I concluded by saying that after they got ready for bed they should go sit on their beds and moan…for the Bible says that the Holy Spirit will lift up prayers on our behalf if all we can do is moan. "So the Holy Spirit will be tucking you into bed tonight. I am done!"

I turned, grabbed the book I never got to read, and marched off to my bedroom. Mommy was putting herself in a time-out.