My three-year-old has started something new that creates a different level of excitement in his life. Anytime he asks for something and I respond with what he has to do first, he repeats it after me. This is typically how our dialogue goes:

“Mommy, can I have two cookies?” asks Kellus.

“After lunch, son. First, go to sleep. Then, wake up. Eat lunch– then eat cookies,” I reply as I tuck him in his bed.

Kellus’ eyes immediately bolt out of their sockets. “So, you mean, step one: take a nap. Step two, each lunch. And step three, get two cookies?”

“Yes son, that’s exactly right. So, lay down and take your nap so that after you wake up and eat lunch, you can have two cookies.”

“Oh boy! Yes!” he shouts.

Now, what’s really funny about this is that after our small chat, he’ll lay down quietly in his bed. I won’t hear a peep out of him if he anticipates a treat. But under normal circumstances, nap time can be a little different. There’s one thing that I’m sure of, though. Once he wakes up from his nap, he’ll be sure to remind me that I promised two cookies after he ate lunch.

Through my son’s funny story, I believe God is showing me something that I need to see about life. You see, it can get a little haywire sometimes–so much so that we forget the importance of trying to keep things in some sort of order. Now, granted, if you have small children like I do, you’re more likely to fall a bit off schedule from time to time. I know I do. Sleep deprivation has a lot to do with an off-balanced schedule. However, some type of order must still be in effect if I’d like a happy household and a happy Mommy!

Lately, God has been dealing with me about order and structure between motherhood and work. For a little while after Karina was born, I felt I neglected to be consistent with things. The kids would take a nap whenever they dropped, lunch hardly included a vegetable and they ate snacks before, after, and sometimes during meals. It was getting a bit haywire. And besides that, I slacked on house duties and I barely met writing goals. But God, in all of His grace, began to speak to me and remind me of how smoother life would be if I made sure to keep structure and order in the home— most importantly, how He’d show me how to balance it all by maintaining that way.

Here are a couple things that help me:

1. Remembering to start my day with prayer and quiet moments with God. It is a fact that, every time I start my day off with prayer and quiet moments with God, my day goes a wee bit smoother than, let’s say, the mornings I don’t. God gives me supernatural peace. It’s like the Holy Spirit helps me move right along with his plan. And that brings me to number two.

2. Submit my plan to God’s hands. Sometimes this one is a little hard because I’m normally a stickler about things going my way in the house. I’m sure most women reading this agree with me. We have our routine. And even when it’s an “off day,” I still like things to be a certain way. Well, with three small children under four, my plan doesn’t go as well as I’d like it to most days. So, I have to pray and ask God to give me direction. He helps me prioritize the most important things and the things that can wait a little later.

3. My children come before my work. Before I had children, I raced to do any and everything with such zeal and ambition. Today, I have the same zeal and ambition for work as a freelance writer and author and it’s a ministry I do take very seriously. And yet with children I’m happy if I am able to write a good page, let alone meet a 2,000-word-a-day goal. It’s hard. But many times I have to sacrifice my desire to write and thank God for things like Evernote for note taking purposes. Most times I substitute work with coloring, dancing and Veggie Tales sing-a-longs. But I don’t worry because God always gives me the time to make it up while they nap.

Like my son, I have to remember to keep things in order. I have decided to try really hard to make sure I don’t have any more slip-ups when it comes to my intimate time with Christ as well as my most important responsibilities and obligations. Having an effective schedule really helps. I’m just glad God used my three-year-old to teach this mommy an important lesson!