Surviving Summer

And nothing can overwhelm me
— like grace can overtake me.”
~ Ann Voskamp
We’ve all had those moments where in the midst of the perfectly ordinary, something extraordinary suddenly captivates us, causing us to pause and catch our breath. It’s those moments that our eyes – and often, our hearts – are diverted from that which surrounds to that which abounds. I love this photograph for that reason. Chloe, carefree and barefoot last summer, swinging from the very same tree that I loved as a child in my granny’s front yard. The image is almost completely overtaken by rays of sunlight gleaming through the branches…
Yea, grace is like that.

I read yet another hilarious blog post (by Jen Hatmaker) last night that reminded me … I’d started out writing my own little blog by the same title, “surviving summer”, earlier this week. Althouth, as a single mother with a full-time job, surviving summer has an entirely different set of implications from most of what I’ve read on the topic. (And yes, I have in fact googled said subject in the hopes of finding some inspiration for said implications.) There are pages and pinboards filled with creative projects and ideas, bucket lists and book reading plans, and enough crafts and craziness to fill a lifetime of summers. There are similar resources for the working mother, too – only with the added organizational and time management tips.

But there wasn’t a project or pinboard that could calm my anxious heart. Because, for me, surviving summer isn’t about finding a creative solution to fill the time I spend with my children. It’s about finding that which is able to fill my heart with peace during the time I spend away from my children.
Summer isn’t much of a deviation from our normal schedule, only we pack backpacks with swimsuits and goggles instead of binders and books.
We slowly pull up to the curb in the car rider line every morning. There are goodbye kisses on their sun-kissed little faces, and in the afternoons, there are sweet smiles and hello hugs. The kids seemingly transition effortlessly from school to summer camp, but I become overwhelmed, grasping and groping at time. The days – and all these moments in between – that I’m missing. It haunts me daily, creeping in to the corners of my mind and of my heart. This thought, this thinking about all this time. It is time that I cannot ever get back.

The thought is enough to overwhelm the heart of even the strongest mama.

And the truth is, when we are overwhelmed, we are prone to be overtaken.

When we become weary and weak, we become tempted to lay down – and to wallow. The enemy of our souls desires to use our hurts and heavy hearts to his advantage – he desires for us to become so overwhelmed by our circumstances that we are easily overtaken by depression, defeat, dejection…
But God, by His mercy, He desires for us to be overtaken by His grace.
And so, when our hearts are overwhelmed – when we are in the middle of surviving summer – or life in general – we cry.

But we cry to the Healer of our hurts. Our Heavenly Father whose hands hold the only bandage worthy of binding our wounds, and our broken hearts:
“From the end of the earth I will cry to You, When my heart is overwhelmed; Lead me to the rock that is higher than I. For You have been a shelter for me, A strong tower from the enemy. I will abide in Your tabernacle forever; I will trust in the shelter of Your wings. Selah” ~ Psalm 61:2-4
It is the very essence of our human nature and all of our tech-savvy googledness to seek the answers for this life and all its circumstances on our own, apart from Him.

But the remedy for our anxious souls and hurting hearts can’t be found apart from His word and His Spirit.

He is the remedy. For both the full-time mama at home and the mama who works full-time outside of the home. The only cure for an overwhelmed heart is to be overtaken by His grace; and my only tip for surviving summer – and all the moments in the middle – is Jesus.

Just Jesus.

(oh, and maybe some coffee, too).
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” ~ Jesus (John 14:28)


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