Once upon a time, I was a punctual person.
Then I had kids.
I hate being late. I hate being perpetually late even more. Yet any time I'm not going to work or dropping the kids at school, I'm running behind.
I've tried prepping things the night before. Arranging shoes in a neat line. Getting up extra early. But most of the time, right before we're meant to leave, someone has to go potty or needs another diaper change (even if I just changed him!). Shoes that were on nine seconds ago have gone missing, cups are misplaced, the dogs are let out when moments before, I called them in. Something inevitably delays us.
I cringe when we sneak into church several songs in. I sigh when everyone is loaded in the car, only to be told someone has to pee right now! I bury my face in my hands when we have to go back inside for a forgotten bag, phone, or beloved toy.
It's easy to get frustrated by these moments. Regardless of organization hacks and task efficiency and planning and prepping, something always pops up. It's easy to get mad, to be irritated we're late yet again.
I was having one of those days yesterday. It seemed like the boys' ears were just closed to me. They adore going to church, and we recently started a Wednesday evening study for the summer, so they get to go an extra day. They love their teachers and their playtime and just getting out of the house. Yet each time I asked them to put on shoes, I'd walk back by the playroom to find them still engrossed in their playtime. They were slow to walk out the door, painstakingly sluggish to get in the car, and the youngest literally crawled when I asked him to hurry. Most days, he'd give famed runner Usain Bolt a run for his money.
I was not feeling benevolent. I was grumpy that they'd been ignoring me all. day. long. I was seeing red that they were so blatantly disregarding my sense of urgency about going somewhere they adore. I was so, so frustrated.
No matter how late I am, I make sure to drive the same as I would if I were early. Better late than dead, right? So I'm driving my typical, reasonable pace while the radio is on scan, trying to drown out the negative thoughts in my brain. I stop on the NPR traffic report, because I'm already late and don't want to be later. That's when I hear that there was an accident along our route, right where we would've been had we left on time.
How many accidents have I not been in, simply because circumstances caused me to be late? I think in most of these instances, God has a reason for it. Last night, the reason was that I simply wasn't meant to be there at that time. He protected me, driving my two young boys, and kept us safe. Were their ears closed to my pleas to put on shoes? Yes. Did I have to drag-carry my heavy two-year-old because he insisted on crawling to the car? Did they dawdle during dinner, further delaying our departure? Typically one of these delays occurs, but not all of them. We don't usually leave twenty minutes later than I planned.
I often feel too small for God. I'm not a pastor, a worship leader, or even a Christian writer of any notability. I'm just a freelance writer, mom, wife, sister, daughter, friend. But God doesn't see me as just anything. He isn't inconvenienced by me. He has a plan for my life. I have value to Him. So do you.
So if you're stressing over running late, or feeling inconsequential, just remember: you are loved and valuable. God has you right where you're meant to be.