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It's All in the Approach

  • 2010 16 Aug
It's All in the Approach

In my mind, this particular day was doomed from the get go. All the components had arranged themselves in such a manner that I was certain of the impending danger... much the same way that one senses the threat of an approaching storm.

The night before we had stayed up way too late enjoying our end-of-year AWANA carnival, our sleep had been disturbed repeatedly by earsplitting claps of thunder, and our youngest had also been frequently awakened by a pesky mosquito and teething (only later explained by numerous angry, red bites and four newly emerging molars). By the time everyone else was finally asleep, I was too wound up to wind down! However, Thursday morning's dreaded storm was quickly approaching, so I attempted to just doze a bit before daylight broke.

You see, Thursday is cleaning day at the Painter household so that our home is spic and span for the weekend's anticipated real estate showings, and, hopefully, long awaited SALE!!! Plus, I well knew that the boys still really needed to school since we were "behind" due to months of unexpected remodeling back in the fall... even though by this time of year we have already settled into the relaxation of summer vacation. So, I had resolved that it was just going to be one of THOSE days!!!

However, God compassionately prepared me for this day. After my thirty minutes of sleep, I arose unusually refreshed before the boys, got dressed, prepared an especially strong pot of coffee, heard God speak in my daily e-devotionals as I nursed my oversized mug of brewed perfection (coffee, hot chocolate, a touch of milk, topped with whipped cream), and simply prayed for God to just help us get through this horrendous day.

At 8 o'clock, I heard the restless testosterone natives stirring. Again, I was God-prepared. I "God-o-matically" welcomed each boy with cheerful morning greetings as they entered the schoolroom. I joyfully explained our schedule for the day, kindly clarified the need for their pleasant teamwork to accomplish the day's long list of responsibilities, sweetly outfitted our very intestinally regular youngest with a fresh diaper, excitedly pulled out a self-service breakfast, enthusiastically thanked God for granola bars, yogurt, and chores, and eagerly began tackling our list of household tasks.

Without being asked, the boys quickly finished their meal, happily cleaned up the entire breakfast mess, and busily started schooling as I occasionally answered questions and explained new concepts while I cleaned and organized the room around them. Our youngest happily played with lacing toys as his brothers thoughtfully encouraged his stringed accomplishments. Before I knew it, my older sons were asking, "Mommy, we're finished with school, what would you like for us to do to help you?" Miraculously, the entire day's schooling and cleaning were completed by 11 a.m., and I was amazed with God's blessing of good-humored diligence and inexplicable efficiency.

By 11:01 we were preparing to go play outside! There were magnificent chalk murals adorning our driveway, cozy coupe races, and extreme scooter and bicycle demonstrations for my viewing enjoyment. The rest of the day gloriously followed suit. What I thought was going to be a laborious day of whining, complaining, and tears from everyone including myself, instead turned into a fun-filled day of blessings.

Truly, "With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God." Mark 10:27 (NIV). I could have skipped devotionals and lain in bed for another hour of much needed sleep. I could have made an even stronger pot of coffee. I could have tried to enthusiastically encourage the boys and myself through this difficult day. But, I truly believe that I would have failed miserably approaching it within my own power.

The extra sleep is what my tired, aching body yearned for, but the dependency on God is what my Lord rewarded. When I am weak, He is truly strong (2 Corinthians 12: 9-10).

So, the next time your day towers before you larger than Mt. Everest, simply rethink your approach, and He will reward you, too, with His all-sufficient strength!

*This article published June 18, 2007.

Michelle Painter is a wife and best friend to Bobby, a mother to 3 wonderful sons, and a former Texas public school teacher called by God to home school. She considers home schooling a challenge, a privilege, and an undreamt of blessing. She prays that others may glean encouragement, empowerment, and blessings from what she writes. She would love to hear from you on her new blog page at