When Your List Blows Away

Hope cuddled on my chest, finally lulled to sleep by her favorite quiet music and the steady rhythm of the rocking chair. I was looking forward to the couple hours of nap time to check off some things on my to do list. Maybe I’d even treat myself to an episode of a show off the DVR while I finished lunch and folded laundry.

But then, when I tried to lay her in bed, she woke up and started crying. After attempting to console her a while, my stomach was grumbling too much to ignore, so I left her in the crib, hoping she’d settle herself, and popped downstairs for at least a few bites of something to eat.

Peeking at my phone I discovered several missed calls and texts. Natalie was sick and needed to come home from school. And just like that my to do list was forgotten, pushed aside for the more important task of taking care of my daughter.

That evening, I read some stories from Frog and Toad (by Arnold Lobel) to Natalie as she rested on the couch munching saltines and chicken noodle soup. In one story, called The List, Toad makes a list of all the things he has to do in his day, but while on a walk a strong wind blows the list out of his hand. He cries out for help saying, “My list is blowing away. What will I do without my list?”

It struck me as a surprisingly poignant picture of my day that only became more meaningful a few days later when life would change suddenly, and drastically, for so many of us.

The world seems like a pretty crazy place right now. Last week at this time I never could have imagined school being cancelled “until further notice” or toilet paper being the most desired item in the grocery store!

And it kinda feels like our “list” for life has blown away.

So much of what we took for granted as normal has changed and we can’t help but wonder how long it will be until that normal returns.

In the story of Toad’s list, he bemoans his loss saying, “I cannot remember any of the things that were on my list of things to do. I will just have to sit here and do nothing.”

While the story makes me laugh, I don’t want that same attitude to be true of me. I am admittedly a planner and avid list maker. I like to look ahead and have some idea what to expect. But as life has temporarily changed and plans need to be rearranged, I want to adapt and use the time well. I want to honor God and be an example for my girls in how I respond.

Philippians 4:4-7 is a good reminder right now:

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice! Let your gentle spirit be known to all men. The Lord is near. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

When we’re disappointed over the things we can’t do, let us remember to rejoice in the Lord always. When we start to feel stir crazy and are tempted to snap at each other over silly things, let us remember to be gentle instead. When we start to worry about the what ifs ahead, let us remember to be anxious for nothing, but instead to pray.

Most of all, may we remember that through our challenges, our fears, and even potentially our sickness, God’s peace can still reign in our lives.

This isn’t a time to dwell on our list that “blew away” but instead to dwell on our God who holds all things in His hands. His plans are never thwarted, no matter how the wind may blow.


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