The Overflow! where souls are filled and faith is spilled

If You’re Haunted by Hurry (And a Give-away!)

free_156483I  knew something had to change when I yelled at my four-year-old for studying a caterpillar on the side walk.
 
It was a decade ago, but I remember the moment like it were yesterday…
 
We were making our way to the mini-van to drive to swimming lessons when the baby, already buckled in the infant carrier, interrupted our rush with a blow-out diaper. 
 
I grumbled. Huffed. Sighed. And told Lizzy, my preschooler at the time, to get in the van and wait for me.
 
Then I headed back inside to perform a quick bottom-cleaning and clothes-changing routine on the baby. 
 
By the time I’d rescued my littlest one from her mess, we were inarguably late. Again. 
 
I felt the anxiety rising from my toes to my eyebrows and tried to ignore that all-too familiar squeeze in my chest. My mental rant was merciless. Why can’t I ever get anywhere on time? Why am I always the late mom?  What will the swimming teacher think of me? 
 
I raced back to the garage, buckled the infant carrier in the van, and noticed the empty booster seat.
 
Where was Lizzy?
 
I glanced at the drive way. No missing child.
 
I jogged around to the back yard. No curly-headed girl.
 
I began hollering my daughter’s name as I wove between the giant pine trees in our front yard. No response.
 
I was ready to call the police when I spotted a splash of purple on the sidewalk a half block down the street. Head bent and shoulders bowed, Lizzy was crouched on the cement, her eyes fixed on something on the cement in front of her.  The slick sheen of her polka-dot swimming suit sparkled in the sun, a gleaming reminder of our must-keep schedule.
 
I hurried to my daughter’s side and put a hand on her fly-away curls.  “What are you doing?” I asked curtly as I wrapped my fingers around Lizzy’s slender wrists and tugged upward as a quiet reminder that we needed to go.
 
Rarely still for anything, my firstborn girl sat motionless, her expression one of sheer reverence and wonder.
 
“Honey, I asked you to get in the van.” I tightened my grip and tried once again to pull my preschooler toward the garage. But her bare feet remained planted on the sidewalk, her knees refusing to straighten and stand.
 
She flashed me a mindful smile and pointed a silent finger to the ground. “Mommy, look what I found on the sidewalk!”
 
I leaned over her shoulder and for the first time, I noticed the fuzzy orange caterpillar lying in the shadow of her knees.
 
Lizzy lowered her voice to a conspiratorial hush. “This little fella doesn’t even know I’m here,” she said as she rocked back and forth on her haunches, her blue eyes ablaze with wonderment.
 
  “We’re going to be late for swimming lessons,” I warned.
 
“But, Mommy,” she pleaded,  “I’m watching to see if he’s gonna turn into a butterfly. I wanna see a miracle.
 
“We don’t have time for miracles,” I exploded as I swept up my pensive child and carried her like a football tucked beneath my armpit.
 
The baby was red-faced and screaming when we reached the van, and I felt like hollering right along with my little grump.
 
I buckled Lizzy into her booster  seat and slid behind the wheel with a wordless grumble.
 
Hurry pulls out the worst in me. 

slowtherushWe tore out of the garage and onto the street, and I exhaled a ragged breath as the clenching in my stomach pulsed in sync with the racing of my frenzied heart.  

What kind of mom won’t let her kid watch a caterpillar?

What kind of mom shows up late for swimming lessons?

What kind of mom leaves her baby crying in the minivan?      

The dashboard clock taunted me.  But the face in my rear view mirror haunted me. 

Silent tears drizzled down Lizzy’s flushed pink cheeks and the shimmer of awe that had lit up her baby blues just moments before had disappeared.

 I swallowed hard, trying to rid myself of that lump of guilt rising in my throat. 
 
“What’s wrong?” I asked as we speeded toward the pool, “I thought you liked swimming lessons.”
 
“I do like swimming lessons, Mommy,” my little girl answered. “I just don’t like hurrying. It makes my heart hurt.”
 
Now mine was the heart that was hurting. 
 
I was just three kids and six years into motherhood and my days felt like the spin cycle on my overloaded washing machine.
 
We spent our hours going through the motions of a full life–play dates and church activities, swimming lessons and dance lessons, school commitments and social events. All of our doing had a purpose–learning and growing, serving and gaining. But it also had a price. 
 
Rushing may speed our steps but it stifles our souls.
 
Haste may propel our agendas but it steals our awe.
 
Hurry  makes us numb. Numb to the miracles unfolding right beneath our scampering feet. Numb to the One who isn’t bound by time or tempo.
 
I didn’t know it then, but that ache in my heart was a telegraph from Heaven; a silent reminder that we’ve been created for more than just  a full life.  
 
We’ve been fashioned for life to the full.
 
 Lizzy sat silent in the backseat of the van, her eyes bulging red with tears. And I wanted to turn the van around and race back to the caterpillar on the sidewalk instead of speeding to the pool for another round of swimming lessons. I wanted to see a miracle unfold there on the concrete, even if it meant squatting until my legs grew numb.  Because numb legs are better than a numb spirit. swimming-pool-hi
 
We made it to swimming lessons ten minutes late that afternoon, my eyes burning from those tears that were threatening to drizzle down my cheeks. When Lizzy’sswimming instructor asked me if I was okay, I mumbled something about the irritating chlorine, and I headed for the empty bleachers on the opposite side of the pool where I could be alone and catch my breath.
 
My screaming baby had finally succumbed to sleep, so I rocked the infant carrier with my toes and tried not to think about the wrestling match in my soul.
 
Not far from where I sat, a little boy with bright orange hair clung to the edge of the pool. His teacher was planted in the water about ten feet away. I watched as she beckoned him to swim to her side.
 
He flashed her a confident smile and then launched himself off the pool wall with a mighty push. Once his momentum died, the little swimmer kicked his feet frantically and slapped his arms in a circular motion on top of the water. When his torso began to sink, Carrot Top increased the speed of his wily nilly flapping and wiggled his legs with earnest vigor. However, the faster he kicked and the harder he slapped, the more that sweet boy simply spun in place, his chin bobbing precariously just above the water line. 
 
“Slow down,” his swimming teacher urged as she took two steps closer to her flailing student. “Faster isn’t better. Just move your arms slow and steady. Find your rhythm”
 
The little boy jutted his chin and continued to flutter his arms in rapid circles. He sputtered and swallowed a mouthful of pool water; then his green eyes grew wide and panicked. He yelped as his head dipped beneath the waterline.
 
His teacher reached out and reeled the little swimmer to her side. With a ragged breath and a shake of his head, the frightened boy wrapped his arms around her neck and announced  he couldn’t swim. 
 
That sage instructor pulled her wet worrier close and murmured calming words into his ears.  Finally, she patted his bare chest with her fist and said, “There’s a great swimmer in there. Just slow down and let him out!”
 
My stomach twisted and churned, my own frazzled words ringing in my head. “We don’t have time for a miracle.”
 
I looked at Lizzy, splashing happily across the pool, and I knew she’d already forgotten our caterpillar clash. But I hadn’t. 
 
I didn’t like the me that emerged in the hustle. I didn’t like the mom that surfaced in the sprint.
 
I turned by eyes back to the swimmer in my corner of the pool. Carrot Top was moving his arms slow and steady now, his feet kicking in a rhythmic paddle rather than a wet and wild fury. His skinny form was moving across the water, heading straight for his teacher’s smile.
 
Faster isn’t better. 
 
Like that little swimmer, I was spinning in circles, drowning in my own flurry.
 
I was tired of collapsing into bed each night and wishing for a re-do;  tired of living on the fray, one small slip away from an unkind word, an cross comeback or a tetchy riposte. I was tired of hours brimming full but my soul seeping empty, tired of hurrying feet and a hurting heart, tired of  letting haste blur my blessings and hurry steal my joy.
 
The best mom I could be was buried somewhere beneath all that hurry. But I needed to slow down and let her out!
 
 In her beautiful new book, The Best Yes, Lysa Terkeurst reminds us, “We have to slow the rhythm of rush in our lives so the best of who we are can emerge.”
 
I wish I would have had The Best Yes on my bookshelf a decade ago when my kids were enamored with caterpillars and my heart was tangled and numb.
 
But shortly after that day at the swimming pool, I picked up another book and scribbled King David’s ancient words in my prayer journal–“We are merely moving shadows, and all our busy rushing ends in nothing.” Psalm 39:6–and I begged God to show me how to break free from the frenzy.
 
My rhythm didn’t change overnight, but little by little, I’ve became more prayerful about the pace that marks my days.
 

free_273062Ten years after I unraveled on the sidewalk next to my little girl and a fuzzy orange caterpillar, I’m learning to slow my soul and un-rush my heart.

 I’m discovering that saying “yes” to life to the full sometimes means saying “no”  to a full schedule. And that leaving white space on my calendar makes room for the best me to emerge.
 
That little girl who once wanted to watch a miracle doesn’t invite me to study insects anymore. But she does still invite me to join her in impromptu dance parties in the kitchen or to play  board games on the living room floor. And her wistful spirit reminds me to slow down and savor the wonder of this ordinary life that we live.
 
Maybe that’s why yesterday when the only preschooler left in our house raced into the kitchen and begged me to come and see something A-M-A-Z-I-N-G, I followed her out the door and tromped through the muddy flower bed. Then, together, we squatted next to a wispy purple bloom and watched a butterfly spread its bold orange wings in the radiant August sunlight.
 
And when Maggie laced her fingers through mine and asked me if I thought she was as “beautiful as that butterfly,” I kissed the tip of her head and answered slowly and surely.
And I knew without a doubt that I was right where I belonged, in the middle of an every-day miracle.
 
sub_logoThis post is part of Lysa TerKeurst’s “The Best Yes” Blog Tour which I am delighted to be a part of along with many other inspiring bloggers.  To learn more and join us, CLICK HERE. (http://goo.gl/bQVJW0)
 
And if you’re tired of feeling hopeless in the hurry, if you’re ready to unearth the BEST YOU, this book is a great place to start. Packed with Biblical wisdom and friend-to-friend advice, The “Best Yes” is a game-changer for any woman who is tired of living with an overwhelmed schedule and an underwhelmed soul. Today, I’m giving away two copies of Lysa’s book! Just leave a comment telling me why you or someone you know need the message of “The Best Yes” and you’ll be entered into a drawing to win a free copy for your own bookshelf. 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 
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37 thoughts on “If You’re Haunted by Hurry (And a Give-away!)

  1. Krista

    I’m confident EVERY woman needs to learn how to only say “yes” to God and leave the rest behind! I would love to win a copy of “The Best Yes” so that I can share it with our church.

    August 14, 2014 at 3:27 pm
    1. Alicia Bruxvoort

      Krista, Lysa has a Bible study that goes right along with her book. It might be a fabulous fit for the women at your church. Blessings to you, friend.

      August 18, 2014 at 3:17 pm
  2. Sarah

    Beautifully written Alicia! I’ll be homeschooling all 4 of our kiddos this year, as our twins begin kindergarten! I know I need to slow down and enjoy this!

    August 14, 2014 at 3:30 pm
    1. Alicia Bruxvoort

      Oh, Sarah, your hands are full. I can’t believe your twins are already starting kindergarten. They sure are lucky to be in your “classroom.” Praying for you all as you launch into a new school year. Thanks for taking time to swing by the Overflow in the midst of your busy days.

      August 18, 2014 at 3:17 pm
  3. Leah

    Thank you for the post! A very much neede reminder as school starts and the business of it!

    August 14, 2014 at 4:26 pm
  4. Ann

    Transparent and meaningful, as usual for your posts. Thank you, Alicia!

    August 14, 2014 at 4:38 pm
    1. Alicia Bruxvoort

      Thanks for stopping by, Ann.

      August 18, 2014 at 3:14 pm
  5. I absolutely love this post!! I’ve been reading and hearing much about Lysa’s new book, but your words here really hit my heart. Probably because I’m the Mom with lots of little people needing me to experience life’s miracles with them. Thank you for this beautiful convicting and encouraging post.

    As I read I was also reminded of a quote I used to share with my basketball girls – “Be quick, but never hurry.” (John Wooden) Hurry led to troubles on the court and it leads to even bigger ones in life. Asking God to help me slow down and treasure the time I have!!!

    Thank you again for this!!

    August 14, 2014 at 4:42 pm
    1. Alicia Bruxvoort

      Jill, I LOVE your “basketball quote.” And you are so right, hurry always leads to trouble. I am going to share this quote with my own ball players and life-livers:)

      August 18, 2014 at 3:14 pm
  6. Jodi

    Thank you for this Alicia, what an important message! Especially as schedules ramp up for school and extra-curricular activities. I really need the message of THE BEST YES, as I find a way to juggle my own growing business which constantly demands my attention, time and energy, and balance that with the needs of my family with 3 young ones. I am not just hurried, but harried – I cling to Jesus for grace, and praying I can see and seize those opportunities to leave space to appreciate those everyday miracles!

    August 14, 2014 at 4:53 pm
  7. Shawn

    This would be a great book for any mom. I am a stay at home mom (substitute teaching some). I often feel I do too much for others(mostly my family) and don’t take time for me. This book will help me focus…and I love any book from Lysa TerKeurst.

    August 14, 2014 at 5:02 pm
  8. Rochelle

    Alicia! Absolutely! Seven years and four kids into being a mother and hurry makes my heart hurt too. I become someone I dislike very much as I race to get anywhere on time and without delays or detours. I keep telling myself to model patience and peace for my kids because it is clear that they see how I respond to rush/stress and throw fits right along side of me. Now I despair because I feel like I have to fix what I broke in them, but I can’t seem to fix what’s broke in me!

    August 14, 2014 at 5:04 pm
    1. Alicia Bruxvoort

      Oh, Rochelle, your words are so honest and they sound like an excerpt right out of my prayer journal. “Help, Lord! I’m broken and I’m afraid I’m breaking my children, too!” Dear friend, He is BIG ENOUGH to carry you AND those sweet four. And I’m praying right along with you that He will keep leading us as we lead our children. Love your heart and I am blessed by your transparency. Hugs from Holland!

      August 18, 2014 at 3:28 pm
  9. Karyn

    Alicia, you have such a delightful style of writing! I could see myself in similar situations with comparable emotions when my children were little. They’re teenagers now and I can feel the time slipping through my fingers. If only I could slow down and enjoy their final few years at home. “The Best Yes” would certainly help in my attempts to refocus upon what really matters. Thank you for your transparency about life. You are an encouragement!

    August 14, 2014 at 5:44 pm
    1. Alicia Bruxvoort

      Karyn, there’s something about the teen years that gives us a reality check, doesn’t it? Time doesn’t wait for us to pull ourselves together and savor the gift of today. My oldest just turned 16 yesterday- I’m praying like you that I can slow down and enjoy his last few years at home. Blessings from my house to yours.

      August 18, 2014 at 2:53 pm
  10. Connie Moody

    Alicia,
    Once again, you spoke to my heart today. We are just coming through yet another season of loss and there is something about facing loss head on that makes you look at the “treasures” you have in life and realize how precious and valuable each one of them is. It’s a good reminder to cherish the moments, especially the small memory-making moments of life.

    August 14, 2014 at 7:09 pm
    1. Alicia Bruxvoort

      Oh, Connie, I’m praying for you RIGHT NOW- asking God to hold your heart, to breathe fresh hope and new vision into your day, and to give you a glimpse of those treasures even in the darkness. Love you, friend.

      August 18, 2014 at 2:52 pm
  11. Jana

    Oh I’d love this! We all tend to get lost in the midst of the busy daily lives. I, for one, need the reminder to slow down. I tend to over commit. What an inspiration this book will be!

    August 14, 2014 at 7:23 pm
    1. Alicia Bruxvoort

      Overcommit… that’s a word that I’d love to eliminate from my reality, but it’s SO HARD to say “no” to good things. Lysa’s book is really helping me discern between God’s good and best for me.

      August 18, 2014 at 2:51 pm
  12. Christine

    Wow, reading your post was like looking in the mirror and realizing I don’t like the “me” I see – the always rushed and flustered me trying to look like the calm, cool and completely put together me. The mom who puts everyone else’s needs first, but still feels like she is failing everyone. I would LOVE to have a copy of Lysa’s new book! I just need to make the time to read it 😉

    August 14, 2014 at 8:31 pm
    1. Alicia Bruxvoort

      Time to read.. yeah.. that’s another “yes” that can slip through the cracks of our busy calendars. I’ve been leaving Lysa’s book in my van and grabbing it every time I find myself waiting for a kid at soccer practice or something. It’s not the fastest way to work through a book, but it works! Of course, yesterday when I sat in the grocery store parking lot reading before I pulled out to go home to my crazies, the people walking by my van may have wondered what I was doing!

      August 18, 2014 at 2:50 pm
  13. A constant parent battle. You are so right, faster is not better.

    August 14, 2014 at 10:27 pm
    1. Alicia Bruxvoort

      Easy to say and SO HARD to practice, I think. One day at a time, right, friend?

      August 18, 2014 at 2:47 pm
  14. Uh, I need this book. Because when my fridge calendar is practically colored solid, it’s time to trade some of those “yes’s” for “no’s,” amen? Love you, sister!

    August 15, 2014 at 12:48 am
    1. Alicia Bruxvoort

      Oh, no, let’s not even say the word “calendar”. Mine is highlighted in five colors (one for each kid) like a happy little rainbow, so why don’t I feel happy when I look at it? I’m beginning to think my favorite color is white! You know I’m praying for you and can’t wait to see what God does with your BEST YES, sweet friend.

      August 18, 2014 at 2:46 pm
  15. Becky

    As school and opportunities and commitments loom ahead, our slow-summer coming to a screeching halt…This book looks like it has the perfect recipe for how to keep priorities straight! I’d love the insight it can offer! 🙂

    August 15, 2014 at 5:51 pm
    1. Alicia Bruxvoort

      I think the end of summer/beginning of a new school year is always bittersweet. Praying you’ll be empowered to live your “BEST YES” this year, Becky. Thanks for taking time to linger here a bit.

      August 18, 2014 at 2:44 pm
  16. Angie

    Alicia, I’ve never read a blog of yours that didn’t tug at my hearstrings, and this one is no exception. You hit the nail on the head and I needed to hear it. Thanks!

    August 15, 2014 at 7:19 pm
    1. Alicia Bruxvoort

      Oh, Angie, I miss sitting next to you on bleachers and sharing life face to face. Give those growing kids of yours a huge hug and I’ll keep praying that we can both slow down and enjoy these last few years with our tweens and teens. Blessings, dear friend.

      August 18, 2014 at 2:43 pm
  17. Lisa

    Alicia, love this reminder to slow down! I too often feel overwhelmed and hurried and get anxious just thinking about my schedule changing next week with kindergarten starting for my oldest and starting my workday earlier. Hope I remember your advise to slow down and enjoy these moments before they slip away! Miss you all.

    August 16, 2014 at 5:09 am
    1. Alicia Bruxvoort

      How can your little girl be starting kindergarten? Wow! Time does fly. I am praying for you as you step into a whole new season—asking God to help you embrace the present as He opens your eyes to those “everyday miracles” of motherhood. Miss you, too.

      August 18, 2014 at 2:42 pm
  18. Sharon

    It’s so awesome & comforting to read your stories and realize I’m not the only one who has experienced those exact same feelings! I have to constantly fight the guilt that tries to rise up when I compare myself to other moms who appear able to juggle more then myself and seem calm in the process. I am who God made me to be and I’m a much better wife, mom and friend and me when I’m not constantly rushing. I’ve also come to the realization that God has a plan for my kids, he’s heard my prayers, they’re his children and I don’t need to feel like if I don’t provide this or that opportunity they’re going to grow up disadvantaged. I can find comfort knowing that I can fashion a schedule that works for the whole family and our sanity and my kids will be just fine. He works beyond my limitations thank goodness! And he doesn’t even view them as limitations, he just views them as the person he made me to be, loved, treasured and valued. I would love to have these books to gain even more insight on this subject and share with others the valuable lessons that are probably inside it. Love you sweet friend that I’ve never met!

    August 16, 2014 at 12:43 pm
    1. Alicia Bruxvoort

      Oh, Sharon, your comment should be a whole new blog post:) “I can find comfort knowing that I can fashion a schedule that works for the whole family…and our kids will be just fine.” Wise words, friend- words I need to pin up right next to my calendar. Thanks for sharing your heart here. Hugs from my house to yours today!

      August 18, 2014 at 1:36 pm
  19. Jen Vos

    Thanks so much for the reminder to slow down! I rush through life finding myself it at my children to hurry up and do the same. There is so much to learn from those little ones. D we forget to let the. Be the teachers. God placed them in my hands to cherish.

    This hit home big for me today. Thank you as I have just cleared my a hexe today to watch the beauty life

    August 16, 2014 at 2:32 pm
    1. Alicia Bruxvoort

      Jen, it’s just like God to invite us to learn from the little ones in our midst, isn’t it? I think that sometimes it’s hard to pause and savor the moments with our own children, because we forget that we won’t have them under our roof forever. I forget that I won’t forever be tying shoes, taming tantrums and running carpools. Maybe if I could grasp the fleeting nature of this season, I’d be more apt to slow down and savor it. We’ll keep reminding each other and asking God to slow our souls!

      August 18, 2014 at 1:33 pm
  20. Cheri Pelic

    I’m part of a homeschooling group and the topic our first meeting this Fall is Lessons Learned. After 12 years of homeschooling, the biggest lesson I’ve learned is to hold many days empty so we don’t have to rush through life. Every year, I’ve had to learn that lesson again! There are way too many good things out there for homeschoolers these days and I always have to remind myself that days at home are even better than the all of the good things out there! I’d love to share a copy of Lysa’ book with one of the ladies in our group for our first drawing of the year.

    August 27, 2014 at 12:35 pm
  21. Carolyn Frey

    Living on the life of fray – Frey? I could have written this practically verbatim except the catapillar in my story was a small rosé on my floor length slip that I never even had the time to notice, and my daughter found, took in her hand, looked up at me and simply asked ‘pretty?’ It might be, but momma doesn’t have time to notice pretty. It’s heart breaking and I won’t forget that day, or others as they’ve come along. I’ve lost my best friend and husband over the working mother, who isn’t pulling their weight around here game. I would live to read your book and share it with my now 20 year old daughter and hope to learn th slow down and appreciate time. My best friend has stage 4 cancer – is that what it takes to appreciate today? It has shown me another lesson about living with anxiety and not realizing the beauty of today.

    August 27, 2014 at 7:03 pm

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