October 11, 2011

The mother of all lists

Yesterday, I created the mother of all to-do lists. It's giant and detailed and it's two pages long.

I made a to-do list for the entire week. From the meals I was going to eat, to the things I was going to do when I went home and wasn't at work. I mapped out my every day from waking up until going to bed. I even added in extra ideas of things to do or get done if I had time leftover after completing those day's activities.

Like I said - the MOTHER of to-do lists. Pretty sure I've never made one like this before. But I felt like I had to. I needed to.

And before you think I've just gone crazy, let me explain.

Todd is gone all week - he left on Sunday and won't return until Saturday evening. He's in Michigan attending The Journey with Open Hearts Ministry where I have been twice now. His going there is an answer to a long-time prayer of mine. But with him gone, I am left here alone in the tension of his absence. Waiting, hoping, praying, longing....waiting.

"Hope's waiting is dark." - Anne Voskamp. That quote feels true for where I am at this week.

I tend to be destructive when I'm alone. Being alone often times sucks me back into damaging patterns and I did not want my week to look like that this week. Which was why I formed the to-do list of epic proportions. I wanted to remain alive and tender and feeling everything that came for me as my husband is there and I am left here. And maybe making a list and planning every hour of every day until he returns doesn't sound like a way to remain alive and tender, but for me - it really is. Being able to map out my day, my meals, my time spent at home, especially after Tommy has gone to bed for the night, is what I need to remain grounded and present.

I'm tired of living my life checked out and numb. It's a fight to live any other way than that, but it's worth it to try. Todd is worth it - I'm worth it. And I feel like Todd's heart needs mine to be alive this week. Even if it's just on my knees and uttering prayers to God throughout the day.

Lists aren't always a good thing for me, but in this case, it's an act of kindness for my heart. The list isn't just to keep me busy and distracted - though that's part of it for sure. It's to keep me mindful and conscious, to keep me praying, and to help keep me from running to my addictions to soothe the tension of where I have to live this week. I'm not just cleaning out closets (and catching up on my long lost organizing challenge); I've made time for reading and Bible study and exercise and possible Pinterest projects.

I didn't get to everything on my list last night. But I didn't do any damage to myself either. I made my dinner and I played with Tommy. I talked to God while folding my laundry. I cried a little bit when I was folding Todd's socks and hanging up his shirts because I just love that man so much..... I organized my spice cabinet and cleaned up Tommy's toys. And I read a book until I got tired enough to fall asleep without my husband next to me.

This week is an opportunity to make a conscious decision to just live differently than what I would tend to do if I let my "old self" call the shots of what I do when I'm alone. The list is a guide and a reminder of how I want my days to look - mindful, prayerful, productive, kind, still, and quiet.


  1. "just keep swimming, just keep swimming"

    WTG! Keep yourself busy, that's the best distraction there is.

  2. I like Julie's comment. Good old Finding Nemo is actually rather wise, I think. :)

  3. I am praying for you this week, sweet Jen...for supernatural strength, for supernatural resolve, and for supernatural victory!!!...May God's presence hover over you every second of every day leading you moment by moment!!

  4. Praying for you this week friend!

  5. I can relate to times when the hubby is gone, and the struggle to resist the damaging behaviors and numbness! I'm impressed that you are so proactive--I can't say I was the same way while Matt was deployed. God is powerful--praying you feel His presence this week!