Tuesday, August 27, 2013

What really matters

I remember the day I started writing again.
courtesy of nuttakit at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

image courtesy of JHogan at Dreamstime Stock Photos

February 12, 2012. Sitting on my sofa. Crying. Sad. Confused. Worried.

When I was in college, journaling became my way of talking to God. My way of grounding myself and processing what happened in my life and in my heart. And then my life changed and I got married and had kids and writing went by the wayside, as so many things do once we have kids.

And then I found one of my old journals, saved and stashed in the back corners of a closet and I sat down to read. And marveled at how clearly I could see the hand of God in my life in hindsight, even when I couldn't see it then. How often do we forget that faith is a life lived believing in that which we can't see.

And on the day when I started writing again, it was a good reminder that even though I couldn't see the hand of God in my life on that day didn't mean He wasn't moving and working. Life is hard. That probably will always be truth. Sure there are seasons where life isn't so hard, but when life ceases to be hard altogether, we cease to grow. Growth in Jesus is birthed when we are at the end of ourselves, when we surrender our meager for Jesus' grace. When I acknowledge that I can do nothing apart from grace, Jesus takes that as an invitation to jump into the maddening fray with me and make some sense of the mess I have made.

And believe me, I have made some fine messes. In fact, I might just be an expert in making messes. Why? you ask. Because I'm what some like to call a control freak. I know it's hard to believe that any hard-working mama could possibly be a control freak, but I'm pretty sure that's where most of my heart-troubles, grace-troubles, life-troubles begin and end: me wanting to control the circumstances I find myself in for an outcome that I think is best. I do this with my kids. I do this in my marriage. I do this with my friends.

So most of my messes are those that I have created, actively participated in, contributed to, or otherwise encouraged. When my children are screaming headaches and my husband is visibly disappearing, the trouble probably started with me. My unwillingness to choose a different road. My stubborn refusal to take a deep breath and count to ten before I let the ugly fly from my heart.

The day I started writing again was a hard day. A day that wasn't the start of the hard but a continuing of the hard that left me heart weak and heart sad. A hard that started weeks, months before. Being a wife-mama-teacher is hard work. Work that sometimes leaves me gasping to catch my breath. In a nutshell, I felt like I was failing as a wife, failing as a mama, failing as a human being, drowning in a mess of my own creation.

It's true that the ones we love the most are also the ones we treat the worst. Especially when we are broken. Our brokenness becomes our weapon instead of our healing. 

I was broken. And I raged against the broken places in me instead of running them to Jesus. And in my raging, I painfully took others down with me. My relationship with my husband: strained. My relationship with my kids: rocky. My relationship with God: questionable.

We often define ourselves by what we aren't instead of by what we are. 

I had forgotten who I was.

image courtesy of Dan at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
I am grace-saved by the blood of Jesus. I am a child of the Most High God. A princess. I was hand-crafted by God's heart. My name is written on His Hand, His heart. He calls me His Beloved.

I could not fix my mess. I could not fix my brokenness. I could not change the circumstances I found myself wallowing in. I could only Be. Be still. Be quiet. Be. So easy to say. So hard to do. So as I started writing again, I have also relearned the sitting, the being, the waiting, the believing.

Newsflash: There are no re-dos or do-overs. I can't go back and undo the damage I create. I have only now and only this and only moving forward.

There is only grace.

Moments where the hand of God comes down and shields the storm long enough for a reprieve, a regrouping. Moments where Grace covers a multitude of wrong-doings and wipes the slate clean. Again. Moments of gasping free from the burden of failings of marks missed.

A moment where I get exactly what I don't deserve. 

I'm not one to live regretfully. Frankly, I don't have time or energy to relive what was painfully difficult the first time around, thinking that by reliving it, I will somehow avoid that road the next time. I know myself better. I will trip up again. I will go down this same road and probably fall into this same hole a few more times before I finally grow and heart-learn the lesson Jesus has for me. But the next time I'm down this trouble-road, perhaps it will take me longer before I fumble and fall. Perhaps I will break a little less than the time before and be a little less stubborn and a little more gentle. Perhaps my brokenness will not be a banner of anger but a banner of love. Perhaps I will walk more with Grace and less with pride.

Because I remember who I am.

Grace Always Rises,

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

A Mama's Heart

I remember when I sent the first daughter to her first day of school. The bittersweet celebration of growing up. And how I tried so hard to love that moment and not wish for moments gone by because that moment would only last but for a heartbeat, so quickly replaced by another moment. I remember how she walked so tall and proud and confident. And her mama was so proud. In that moment. Of this girl-child and her growing up.

A mama's heart is a river running swift when school starts. When life changes. And we knew it would. From the moment we heard that first cry, we knew this moment would come. When our children, our hearts walking, would go bravely forth into their small worlds.

And today my world changed again as I dropped off my twins, daughters two and three, my last, and my heart kicked a little in my chest. And isn't it ironic how we mamas work so hard to prepare our little people for this day, and then when this day finally arrives, we want to stop the flow of time and hold it fast and tight and still.

Perhaps it's because with each first day of school, we are forced to acknowledge that time is passing, we are growing older, our kids are growing older. As much as I'd like to say I embrace growing older with grace, there are days, like today, that my heart beats sad and I want to say to the world: "Stop! Slow down just a little. I'm not done here yet." And time marches on.

Perhaps it's because we can never go back. We can never turn back the clock, back to the day we labored hard and delivered joy, though isn't each day a bit of laboring and delivering one thing or another. But the days of diapers and bottles and cribs and naps have fled us. The days of big alligator tears and tear tracked cheeks have faded dull. And perhaps it's good. That the mamas we were then are not the mamas we are now. Time grows us, too.

I should be glad that my girls were unconcerned when I left them at school today. I should be so glad-happy that they are confident, independent little people, who trust implicitly that their mama will show up later with hugs and kisses and smiles. And their trust humbles me just a little.

Today, instead of wishing hard for the impossible, I will seek the face of Jesus a little harder as I wrestle with time and trust and growing. And today I press harder into the heart of Him who is the keeper of all time.

Grace always Rises,