A Cure For The Jonah Days

November 5, 2012

Yesterday was unpleasant.  Things were difficult the moment my toes tickled the carpet that morning, and I saw it coming then. The freight train of a struggling day. I knew as I headed down to make breakfast that I was not in a right frame of mind, and of course, as any Mom will tell you, when the Mom is unhappy, so goes the house.

It seemed that every task, even the smallest, simplest ones, were monumental and a fight to achieve. We barely managed a somewhat embarrassing trip through the grocery, where my entourage bounded down aisles and touched and squeezed practically every single item within reach.

The only thanks I managed to give was that the store was almost empty of customers at that early hour. And of course, checking out took longer than it should have, as the computer debated repeatedly on weather or not to accept my form of payment.  I sighed too loud and flushed red as the woman in line behind me grew impatient and my own children behaved in a manner better suited to jungle animals.

We made it home, in the rain, this cold unseasonably wet weather we have been having, and waded our way through the school work.  All the while I counted down the minutes until ‘quiet time’, for them, for me. And once they were all tucked away for a bit I wandered into the kitchen.

Baking as therapy, it seemed.  All of the mixing, pouring, stirring, watching, all of the pieces coming together, making something whole, making something fulfilling, comforting.

I read Edith Schaffer’s book, The Hidden Art of Homemaking a couple of years ago, and one part in particular stuck out to me.  She talked about how when a child is having a rough day, and is being particularly difficult, instead of punishing them, you should throw an impromptu tea party, she emphasized the need to spend quality time with them, changing the course of action, and drawing the child close, rather than pushing them away for their behavior. She talked about how special that is, and how effective it could be in changing the attitude of discontent.

This does not come easy for me. My default reaction is to push away, to banish the offender so that I can breath without steam wafting from my head, but yesterday, I remembered this. So I baked for them. Chocolate Chip cookies.

 A treat in efforts to turn the day around.

It did help. Of course, so did prayers and pleas made to God who was looking down on the crazy flying through the house yesterday. I credit God for the change more than the cookies, of course, But Edith is right. On these Jonah days, we should draw them in not push them away.  Though it feels the hardest thing to do.

Today has not been much better, but I am looking for God in this chaos, waiting patiently to see how He moves and stirs our attitudes and hearts.

But you, Lord, do not be far from me.
You are my strength; come quickly to help me. Psalm 22:19

How do you turn the day around when you’re all falling down?

*An edited re-post from the archives, thank you for grace

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  • Jolene

    Kris, I’m praying that today will be a good, fruitful, and enjoyable day. Running in the opposite direction is something I’m very good at doing. Just thinking about my day today (Parent teacher conferences, staying late at work, missing time with my husband, driving home in the dark)… I want to shirk my duites and stay in bed. But I know I can’t so I’m just going rely on God to help me through. For Wednesday too, because I have to do in again. Do you have any cookies left over?

    • Kris Camealy

      Thanks Jolene 😉 thankfully our day yesterday was not *this* day as this is an older post, but we certainly have these and I was reminded as I edited this of the need to pull them closer, not cast them out. Not always an easy task. Praying God’s strength today for you, that you would draw in His deep well of joy as you go through the necessary. He is with you, in all the moments of your busy schedule. Rest in that, my friend 😉

  • AshlieWrites

    Oh, we’ve had more than a handful of these ‘Jonah’ days around here…I appreciate your honest peek, it helps to know others have them, too. I love what you said about drawing them close, the tea party, the cookies, when you feel like pushing them away. That is hard for me…but I’m going to tuck that nugget away. Pursuing their hearts the way God pursues mine…so hard sometimes…makes me realize how much of “self” is still roaring!!

    Hugs, dear friend :)

    • Kris Camealy

      It’s hard for me too, Ashlie. More than I’d like to admit. {sigh} But I needed this reminder today as much as anyone. Tucking this truth away again today, Lord knows I will need it! Love you my friend, thank you for commenting. Praying for you!

  • P. Warring, PT

    Such a wonderful reminder to do what doesn’t come naturally at the moment.

    I remember I was talking to one of my girls after “one of those days” when she had been really letting her tantrums out, she asked me why I hadn’t just hugged her and pulled her close in the middle of it all. It was heartbreaking to me when I realized that I hadn’t even considered that as a possibility — because I was mad at the situation and I was keeping at a safe distance to keep from getting physically hurt. Thanks for the reminder!

    Now that we have a 4 year old in the house again, I need to remember to hold her close during her frustrating times, even when I just might want to put her down for an early quiet time.

    • Kris Camealy

      Oh friend, isn’t it shocking the ways they open our eyes to our own behavior? I know the sting of that too well. thanks so much for sharing this, you have reminded me the critical value of touching them tenderly, even when I’d rather just not. Bless you, my friend. Four years olds are a whole barrel of fun, aren’t they? 😉 I’ve got one myself.

  • lindseyfoj

    Of course you are an Anne of Green Gables lover! I wrote about Jonah days too…long ago…I love the lesson you shared of throwing a tea party and how you translated that into something that they would love…chocolate chip cookies! 😉 I love you, dear girl!

    • Kris Camealy

      Of course. I wanted to BE Anne, when I was younger. (maybe still a little bit!) I love the expression “Jonha days” it’s so fitting a description isn’t it? Love you too, sister. So much!

  • SouthernGalThoughts

    I so understand the “steam wafting from my head” part. 😉 Cookies are a much better option. I love this post.

    • Kris Camealy

      Yes, I choose cookies as well! My waistline bares the proof! Bless you, kind friend!!

  • Leigh Kay

    I am thankful you reposted. This is my first privileged time reading of this day – this event. What a wonderful though process Edith had. What obedience and courage for you to meander through to completion. Until reaching the change. The turn. What grace. :)

    • Kris Camealy

      Thanks for reading, Leigh, I always appreciate your sweet encouragement, my friend.

  • Maria Perrine

    Ah, I have had my share of Jonah days lately. It’s funny how well I can relate to Jonah right now…. as some of his suffering was circumstantial and yet most of it was because he was his own worst enemy!
    Happily, I can relate to your cookie baking, it is my “go to” in times like these. :)
    In fact, it seems now might be a wonderful time for some pumpkin muffins…. right after the dog gets walked and the math gets checked!

    • Kris Camealy

      I hope the day went smoothly, and the pumpkin muffins got made 😉 I am so glad to have friends who understand this.

  • Mary Bonner

    Friend, you are not the only one to have a day like this…or days. This line resonates with me: “…the need to spend quality time with them, changing the course of action, and drawing the child close, rather than pushing them away for their behavior. ” I read it and needed to hear it at just this moment…and my child is 24!

    God used you to minister to me today, Kris. In a big way…VERY. BIG. WAY. Thank you.

    • Kris Camealy

      Oh Mary. I am so thankful taht you found encouragement here. Honestly, that is ALL I could ever ask for, and I feel deeply humbled and grateful that you found a sliver of encouragement here in my messy words. That is ALL His grace. Priasing Him with you today. The Lord is so good. Love to you, my sweet friend. So much!

  • Nikki

    I’m glad you re-posted this cuz I needed to hear it! When we look up to see, you’re right. There He is in the chaos…

    {HUGS} to you, sweet friend!

  • Jennifer Camp

    Kris, oh, my this day you describe has been mine. And no matter how much I know this–that I am not alone in this parenting craziness sometimes–I can make choices that reveal that I go about this life a lot on my own. . .without turning, without surrendering, without loving, like He did. I so appreciate your words here, friend. So blessed by you. Thank you.

  • sarahannrogers

    Oh, today was one of those days. It is SO great to know that I’m in good company! Sometimes, even when everything is going well, there are moments where I am just run out and dried up. Thanks for being honest! Glad today was good!

  • Amanda

    I am glad you re-posted this. I loved the wisdom you passed on from Edith Schaffer. I can certainly relate to those kind of days (why I do believe I had one Monday… weekly grocery shopping day… ha!)
    And PS… thank you for your sweet words yesterday–thank you SO much! Of course I remember you! And seriously so touching that you would remember me that way!

    • Kris Camealy

      Amanda, you’re a gem. So thankful to have met you and shared a few moments with you at Allume. Lord willing our paths will cross again. I have much to learn from you.

  • Jennifer_StudioJRU

    Such a wonderful post! “Looking for God in this chaos”… I hear you, girl! Me too. And He is always there! :)

    • Kris Camealy

      Indeed, Jennifer! Thankfully, He is always there, and always speaking order into our lives when we stop and listen. 😉

  • Annie |

    Oh, friend. This was me today, right down to the chocolate chip cookies. I’ll be praying for much grace in all the little things the rest of this week. Love, love, love you!

    • Kris Camealy

      Ahh we are so a like! 😉 Praying your days are filled with grace and joy as you continue to learn how to do this mothering thing. I am the perpetual student in the arena of parenthood, may the spirit win over the selfishness of flesh! By His grace…. Love you!

  • Jessica Heights

    We have been having days like that this week too…and I also found myself baking!! Now, I just want to go hug them all…

    • Kris Camealy

      Thankful you understand, Jessica. Motherhood is not for the faint of heart–and how rich the rewards! Love those babies well, you are such a tremendous mother to them.

  • Christina

    I love, love this! I have so many days like that, especially at the grocery store. I have her book but have not opened it yet. Going to now!

    • Kris Camealy

      Christina, I know you’ll just appreciate the book so much. I’d love to hear your thoughts on it after you’ve read it. 😉 Thanks for reading and saying “hello”!