April McGowan


I’ve been helping my son clean his room. I have to do this in bits and pieces, because my energy level is in the tank, and if I work for more than an hour or so, I get a raging headache and start to feel sick to my stomach. I can work so long, and then I meet the wall. Meanwhile, we’ve discovered that although his room appeared clean, he’d actually been shoving stuff behind other stuff and cramming things behind other things for quite some time! Anyway, while cleaning, we’ve been putting aside toys he no longer uses or that he’s outgrown. One in particular, a battery operated toy chainsaw, brought up a vivid memory of a time where he tried to help me.

A few years ago, in the middle of a huge windstorm, our fifteen-foot long, twelve-foot high hedge fell over—into the street. It just so happened that my husband was recovering from surgery, and I was unable to uproot it enough to move it out of the way (picture me in a rainstorm in the middle of the street, pulling on a rain soaked hedge). And it had to be moved. So, we called on some friends we knew owned a chainsaw and a truck that could haul it away. We told them how much we needed their help, and they came.

As we were working in the rain, I head a funny noise on the porch. Standing there was my son—age 5—with his very own ‘chainsaw’. He wore his safety goggles and was revving the engine. I almost laughed at the cuteness, but I could see the seriousness in his eyes, so I bit my lip instead. His dad was down, but he, as the other man of the house, was going to do his best to help. I had to explain that his chainsaw wouldn’t quite do the job, but I told him he could help load the branches that were being trimmed down. That satisfied him—but I could see the disappointment in his eyes.

I feel that disappointment some days, too. I have an idea of what I want to do, and how I’m going to do it—I love to help others, I love getting things done. These days, I’m having to learn what I want to do isn’t always what I’m able to do. Talk about frustrating! I never thought I’d be praying for the strength to clean my son’s room. Or praying for patience with myself (from whence my frustration arises!). Or asking God to remind me when I need to take a step back (I’m a push-through kinda gal). There’s a verse that keeps going through my head:

Psalm 121: 1-2 I lift up my eyes to the mountains— where does my help come from? My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth. (full text here.)

When your will meets the wall, what do you do?

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