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Volume 17, Issue 5: Femina

Rainy Day Blues

Nancy Wilson

Okay, so it's a gray day. It's drizzling outside, or maybe it's even pouring rain. Maybe it's one of those days where it feels like it might rain any minute. And I'm not talking about one of those glorious summer thunderstorms that are so exciting to watch from the window, but rather just a muggy, bleak, very wet day. Whatever the case, it's easy to let the drizzle creep inside. The kids are a little whiney. Nobody will eat their breakfast. Squabbles are lurking, and the atmosphere is heavy with foreboding: this will be a day of dreariness. Mom may even be a little irritable. Let's face it: everyone has days like this. And when you are a mom at home with little ones, you need to be prepared to fend off the drizzle and keep it outside. After all, God made the rain and it's good, but it doesn't belong in the house. In other words, God doesn't want His children to be drooping and moping around, rain or not.

Bad weather really can affect the spirit. Some people love rainy, gray weather. It makes them feel cozy and snug when it is raining outside. They adore it. But for most of us, sunshine is the real spirit-lifter. We feel naturally more motivated, more cheerful, and more energetic when there is blue sky. But God has told us to take heed to our spirit. We have to be alert to those things that affect us, and we have to learn how to overcome the things that tend to make us feel crabby. And moms in particular need to learn how to shepherd all the little people in the house and keep the rain outside.
The first thing of course is to know your own frame. If you are not affected in any way by the weather, then you have a head start. And if a rainy day doesn't bring any blues to your house, then you can skip the rest of this article. Or maybe other things bring the dampness in: Dad's gone on a business trip, the grandparents just left after a wonderful visit, everyone has the flu, or maybe it's just the letdown after Christmas or a birthday. Whatever the case, Mom needs to keep her own spirit in order before she can manage the kids.
But then it is essential to know your own children. Moms really have a part in shaping their children's dispositions. The way you react to the weather is teaching your children to do the same. We are creatures and not blocks of wood. The world around us affects us. We have to learn to apply wisdom in every situation and not "spiritualize" every temptation. Sometimes we need to overcome temptation by prayer and receiving grace; other times we need to put on some cheery music, open the curtains, and make a pot of coffee. I think it is was Amy Carmichael who said something like, "Thank God for tea and a.s.p." (meaning aspirin). God has given us the blessing of food when we are hungry, Advil when we have a headache, and Starbucks when we need a serious perk-up. We should avail ourselves of these and other blessings with gratitude to God our Creator, and not think we are somehow being unspiritual if we look to His creation for help and comfort.
And our children can be ministered to in similar ways. If everyone is droopy and cross, Mom may need to get creative to steer things in a more cheerful direction. First, you need to be cheerful yourself. Put some chocolate syrup in the kids' milk for breakfast. That's starting out on the right foot. Let them stay in their jammies a little longer than usual and make them a fort out of blankets in the living room. Pull out the dress-up box or the rainy-day coloring books. Bake some cookies. Be extravagant with the bubble bath and float a bowl of fruit loops in the tub with them. Make some new play dough and get out the cookie cutters. Use the red napkins at dinner. Put some flowers on the table. You get the idea. Sometimes all that is needed is a little comfort and playfulness.
This might be fine and good with the little kids, but what about the school-age kids? They still need to go to school or hit the books at home. True. But you can send them out the door cheerfully, with a good breakfast and a jolly hug. And if you are schooling the kids at home, you can still light the candles and make their studies bright and pleasant by having a happy countenance and demeanor yourself. Bring them a snack or a cup of cocoa for a break. Read some poetry together. Go for a walk in the rain. Let them stomp in the puddles. Get soaked.
We know that only the Spirit of God can bring real joy and happiness to our souls. But when we find that joy challenged by dreary circumstances, we have an obligation to overcome it with a wisdom grounded in faith. "Happy are the people whose God is the Lord!" (Psalm 144:15). As God's people, we want to lay aside the hindrances of sin and take James' (5:13) advice: "Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing psalms."
Put away any murmuring about the weather. It is unworthy of a Christian and a waste of time. Not only that, but it is a set-up for other sins like laziness, self-pity, or envy. It only makes things worse, it distracts us away from our God-given duties, and it is mighty unproductive. Rather, we should ask God to stir up our hearts to joy and thanksgiving. This pleases Him and blesses us. Ask Him to help you manage your household joyfully. And when rain brings a case of the blues, break out the good spirits and glad comfort, and let the kids slosh around in it.

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