Distraction Proof

by Bailey on June 16, 2011 in Grace, Nurture, Training Ground for Mature Adult Character

I’m home alone with a bunch of little siblings for two days. I’m vacuuming because I stepped on a sticky juice spill, and cleaning up the sticky juice spill made me realize how crummy the hardwood is. I’m vacuuming, and the baby sister is chirping the same syllable every split second. I’m vacuuming, and the little brother is pushing the vacuum cleaner along with me, making weird zooming noises and whipping the hose out of my hand every now and then. I’m vacuuming, and the little sisters are singing one note ten octaves above normal.

I’m vacuuming, and I’m about to explode. It’s been a week of little sleep, big decisions and frayed emotions. An introverted week, the one where everything is kept inside and rolled over and over, every minute, until it seeps into one’s psyche, almost. Every nerve in my body responds to the mess, the responsibility, the utter chaos of keeping a big house in the little woods filled with needy, noisy children.

Fingers tap. Voices hum. Computer games blare—and I’m trying to read, trying breathe, trying to live in a tornado vortex. But this is how God distraction proofs my soul.

You know when someone calls a horse “bomb proof”? It’s been trained to not shy at its shadow, to stand still in fire and brimstone, to stay calm when everything around it is crumbling. (I learned that reading one of the million cheap horse series I consumed between nine and thirteen. Happy that I can take one meaningful lesson from that intense period of study.) Those horses do the great things. They’re the police horses, the therapy horses, the horses people trust to keep their head. They’re dependable, unflappable.

I thought of that while living life this week. Every time some annoying anthem began blaring in our house while I was trying to study the feminist impact on the attachment theory between mothers and babies—every time an overly loud voice began laughing uncontrollably and distastefully—every time a sibling came up and poked me or almost slapped me in the face or in all other ways waved a red bandana before my crazed eyes—I kept feeling that I couldn’t snap.

I did once, you know.

The last time I volunteered at kindergarten I was exhausted and emotionally drained, barely getting out of bed on time and remembering to brush my teeth. I didn’t feel like dealing with fourteen hyper students who crawled all over me and bickered and didn’t listen to a thing I said. That particular day was terrible. Every time the teacher left for a couple minutes, the decibel level zoomed. I was usually so calm and collected, never raising my voice even when I was most annoyed—it’s something I’ve worked on—but having all fourteen students up out of their seats and crowding around the pencil sharpener with perfectly sharpened pencils and without my permission—I was going to blow my top.

“I’m going to sharpen my pencil!” exclaimed the normally-tearful girl who I love with all my heart. She was so happy today.

But right then I snapped—nothing terribly explosive or angry, but I blew off a rolling cloud of frustration and bitterness. The smile drained off her face. “Never mind, I’m not going to sharpen my pencil,” she said, hesitantly cheerful and backing away to her seat.

She believed I was a safe haven from trouble—I was the shoulder she cried on and the arms that encircled her when she was struggling to learn. To see her negatively draw back from me spewing the chaos and frustration of my life and messy circumstances—that pricked my conscience.

Perfect love drives out fear. Little ones especially need to know that how they are loved will not change even if they are out of hand or circumstances get a bit choppy. It’s a core they depend on. It’s a core that we, as hearts of the home (and hearts-of-the-home-in-training), should build up and maintain, starting when we are sisters and daughters and kindergarten volunteers.

When life is crazy, especially with imperfect people, it is so important that we be “distraction proofed” souls. We’re unflappable no matter how high the decibels climb. We’re dependable and safe and trustworthy, because in the chaos of existence, we’re at peace. Even in the scattered lives and shattered hopes and every-which-way living, we unite our homes through an inner anchor of grace (Ephesians 4:1-4). We overlook faults and rough edges. We let the fingers tap and the voices hum. We don’t lash out when our personal space is invaded. Our peace isn’t tied to our circumstances.

People respond to that. It isn’t a common trait.

I’m vacuuming, and I let the baby squeal, the brother “help,” the sisters sing, the craziness roll. It will pass. I can wait. A couple minutes later, they’re running around the house five times. I’m inside, typing this down. And now it’s almost too quiet.

by Bailey, Big House in the Little Woods


Picture: Norman Rockwell, “The Babysitter”


Bailey is a seventeen-year-old homeschooler in love with anything literary or theological. The second oldest of nine children, she finds joy in romping with her younger siblings, scribbling in her ever-expanding notebook and trying her hand at the home arts.

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Amy D June 16, 2011

Oh, how I love this. Such a reminder to love the little ones and love them well. 🙂

Karissa Wright June 16, 2011

This was such a great read! Your very last paragraph really hit home to me. I have been struggling with my own mother as I am now a mother. I know that this is very common, but that’s not a comfort. In sharing with my mentor she reminded me to “pray-up” before my visits and lately I have been praying for God to prepare my heart to encounter my mom with grace. My home with my husband and sweet children is actually rather graceful, and full of love! The verses you included remind me that God is calling me to bring that same grace and love into my parents home, no matter how chaotic or stressful it may be there. thanks 🙂

Gail June 16, 2011

Such wisdom from a young lady! I think you might be able to teach us moms a thing or two 🙂 Thank you for sharing this! I needed to hear it this morning!

sara June 16, 2011

Great post Bailey!
I love the tie-in with the horse! That snippet of information provides a fantastic visual! Thanks! I will be striving to keep that before me today – and be more bomb proof!

Jennifer June 16, 2011

What a wonderful post, its EXACTLY what I needed, I deal with sensory issues and the noise that comes from my 5 blessings just seems to be too much. Thank you, Baily, you are a wonderful writer!

Renee June 16, 2011

This certainly encouraged me today. It is exactly what I needed to read.

Christin June 16, 2011

I can handle the distractions…it’s the demands of many children I struggle to keep up with. {sigh} 🙂

Lindsey June 16, 2011

This, my dear, was beautiful. Exquisite. Thank you for your words. I needed them today 🙂

Heather :) :) :) June 16, 2011

I only have one younger sibling. This post was really cute and a good lesson on loving others, too 🙂 🙂 Love and hugs from Oregon, Heather 🙂

Anna June 16, 2011

Oh.. I’ve had those days – the crazy ones in which all of my siblings seem to be flying around like nuts. (Sometimes I am too!)

It’s important to let Christ live His life through us. If we do, his self control can control us and his gentleness can be manifested.

Alexxus June 16, 2011


Thank you for this. I know it feels a bit redundant and repetitive to say, but I needed this, not just for today, but for….oh, I dunno….the rest of my life? ;0)

*hugs* Who says our cyper-hugs have to exist only through email? Or better yet….



Love ya Bayleaf!


arabah June 16, 2011

Wonderful post, Bailey. Thank you for this encouragement.

Sarah June 16, 2011

Wonderful post! Like you climbed into my head and wrote about what was going on in there… Thank you!

Sarah June 16, 2011

And I LOVE your pic! 😉

Alisha June 16, 2011

I found your post to be encouraging. I LOVE my kids, but sometimes feel the very same way. Thank you !

Bailey June 16, 2011

Sarah, that picture is a definitely a snapshot of my life, babysitting-wise. I truly think that I am the worst babysitter ever to walk the earth. Not to brag about my capabilities or anything, but this afternoon’s babysitting events are typical: my baby sister sprayed fabric starch all over a bedroom wall, all over the carpet, all over her hands, because *someone* forgot to put it back on the ironing board while sewing a dress.

I swear I left her for only three minutes. Talk about distracting. 🙂

Christa June 16, 2011

Dear Bailey,
Thank you for speaking the truth in love. Your words spoke right to my heart and I see that I have some repenting to do in regards to my parenting. You are going to be an awesome mom and I am sure your own mom finds you to be invaluable.

Jessica June 17, 2011

Fantastic post! So many adult women haven’t grasped this yet and here you are already knowing what it takes us years to discover. You are on a very successful path. Keep up the great writing! Can’t wait to read you one day writing about your stalwart faith as a mommy to your own!

Mimi2mykids June 17, 2011

“Our peace isn’t tied to our circumstances.”

Thank you for this wonderful reminder! 🙂

Rebecca June 17, 2011

Isn’t it amazing how God works? I did have time to read this when it hit my inbox. I put it off again yesterday. But today, for five minutes, things got quiet and I was able to sit down.

THANK YOU! You are a wise young woman. I needed this gentle reminder today, as things are just a little too much and my head is swirling. Your writing is keeping me afloat. And, since things are still quiet, I think I’ll open the Bible and get a little more wisdom. Thank you.

Rebecca June 17, 2011

Sorry — my post was supposed to read that I did NOT have time to read it right away, or the next day, etc.

Jamie June 19, 2011

I’ve saved this to re-read. Often.

Thanks for sharing your wisdom with us moms. 😉

Cassandra June 20, 2011

Amen. This is so true – and I’ve been there too often! If you are realizing these things at your age Bailey, I can only imagine the wonderful Mom you will be one day! Some Mothers don’t get this wrapped around their heart until they are Granmothers and beyond. (hug)
Cass @ Unplug Your Family

Dawn@OneFaithfulMom June 27, 2011

I am blown away by this!! I am Mom to 10, and you have nailed it. The need to practice self control…to love them even when, especially when, they are being little boogers. I am giving this to my 16 yr old daughter to read…for now, and for later. Thank you for this wonderful post!!

Carol Flett October 21, 2011

I am amazed by both your ability to write it down and, what is far more important, your perception. In this world that is telling us that we should let it all hang out, scream if we feel like it, paint wild strokes on canvas to show our frustration with our world, you see it from God’s perspective.
Blessings, from a Grandma

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