It was after 11:30 – probably closer to midnight when it came out of my mouth, and it felt like it was never in my mind, before it came out. I was scrubbing the carpet in earnest, in the boys’ bedroom, and suddenly, there it was. Maybe I should back up and tell you how I got there first.

It was an answer to prayer, around Christmastime, when I was hoping and believing it would somehow be possible for the Hubs to go snowboarding sometime this winter. It’s one of his most favourite things to do in the world, and he hadn’t had the opportunity since before we were married. I was trying to work something out when an invitation came his way, and, even though it meant he’d be away for nearly a week, and I’d be at home with three kididdles, I was still very excited, very thankful, very encouraged that God made a way.


{The Belle, darling that she is, slept through the entire fiasco which will forthwith be described…}

He left early early on a Tuesday morning. His first night away, we had a pretty typical dinner — spaghetti bolognaise (or in the US just “spaghetti”). My Mom and I juggled the three sweet peas pretty well, and managed to get them bathed and in bed pretty close to bedtime. After my Mom headed home, my friend Mona arrived, who, bless her soul, was willing to camp out at our house for the week — a big blessing because I didn’t want to be the only adult around in the evenings.

It quickly became apparent that it was a good thing Mona was present.

very good thing.

{Before I continue: Laura Anne and other emetophobes, stop reading now!}

About the time I was planning to retire to bed, we heard a big cry come out of the boys’ bedroom. I knew it was the Bear and rushed in to find him, his pillow, his sheets, and a reasonable amount of the carpet by his bed covered in… how shall we say it?

His dinner.

The noodles were the oddest shade of almost-hot-pink, I noticed, but without a second thought I grabbed him up and hurried him into the bathroom for round two of the new mini-series Return of the Noodles. Moments later, I had the Bear soaking in a bubbly tub, his brother chillaxing on the couch with Yo Gabba Gabba (and precious Mona, watching along) and, armed with some carpet cleaner I’d just shaken together in a spray bottle (one part white vinegar, one part water, a few drops of tea tree oil, shake well…) I was ready to take those noodles head on.

I stripped the bed and began rinsing and scraping and piling things into the washing machine, and I began to start thinking about my thoughts as I vigorously scrubbed the carpet beside the Bear’s bed.

If this is the first night with the Hubs away… well, surely it can only get better from here…

Am I really scrubbing carpet at 11:30 at night right now? And is this the first time I’ve ever had to be the vomit cleaner? I guess the Hubs normally tackles this job…

It was after a pause, and a sigh and a deep breath that the words exited my mouth without entering my thoughts:

Teach Me, Jesus.

And strangely enough, while scrubbing that noodled carpet at an hour when all’s well when all sleep well (usually) He did.

I was met with a strange kind of peace — the unexpected kind that brings a smile to your face even though you don’t know why. It slows your anxious pulse, calms the whirlwind in your mind.

Then suddenly I was thankful. Thankful I’d decided to ask Mona to come and spend the week at our house. Thankful Tiger Tank was chilling on the couch with her instead of doing a dirty noodle dance or wailing because he couldn’t join his brother in the bath. Thankful there was the perfect amount of white vinegar left for this job, and how in the world did it happen that I finally found the tea tree oil at Walmart for the first time, just last week.

Coincidence? I think not.

I remembered Katie’s story. About the time a rat crawled into the back of her oven. She fought back the need to throw-up as she bleached and scrubbed and cleaned. She threw up once and got back to work.

My thoughts continued. Thank You, Lord — at least I’m not puking at all this.

Those three simple words put me back inside that 5 x7 of thankfulness.

And I’ve since discovered that they have a multitude of uses.

Now it seems that all the moments that find me like this — struggling to scoop up too much laundry at once, the four-year-old shouting for assistance with a bum wipe in the bathroom, the toddler, diaperless and missing, which is a risk because the baby is awake and dangerously vulnerable in her play place, and of course because he could pee somewhere — I can pause for a moment (or breathe on the way to check the baby before wiping the bum and finding the toddler) and just say it again:

Teach Me, Jesus.

Because I fully believe the Creator of the Universe is not sitting on a gigantic throne in the cosmos hurling challenges, distress and laundry our way for fun.

The glory of the moments where you feel like you’re suffering is that great stuff can, and does, come out of it:

Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us. {Rom. 5:3 -5}

From the bounty of His infinite goodness, God patiently walks us through the things we feel like we’re just striving to endure each day. He is stretching the muscles in our soul. Building a robust strength in our spirits.

Perhaps by the time I go to meet my maker, I will have supernatural six-pack abs.

If you need an extra little something to get you through one of those moments — you know, when your boss chews you out and lets you go, or the toddler stands up in excitement over having pooped in the potty only to discover the poop hasn’t dropped yet and OOOPS there it is (that happened to me last week), or you just don’t know how you are going to keep on putting one foot in front of the other — I wholeheartedly recommend giving these three words a try.

If you are willing to ask, He will.