Last week, I had one day where I pretty much fell apart.
Even when I was struggling with a newborn and a young toddler, I never felt like I had a day like this. I was dealing with one really grumpy baby (Honestly, I can't even remember the reason anymore--teething, maybe?), one increasingly grumpy toddler who wanted more attention than what the baby was taking away from him, and no afternoon naps.
When my husband came home, he was frustrated with me about some miscommunication that we had had, and, for some reason, that was the last straw for this overwrought mama. I felt like an all-out failure, but at the same time, I was offended that this should all seem like my fault. I just couldn't let things go, and after a couple of hours my frustration and anger went from simmering to boiling over. And I--a woman who usually thinks of herself as easy-going and laid-back--yelled at my family.
Oh, it kills me just to put that in writing.
I really felt like I needed to get out of the house, but when my husband (bless his soul) suggested that I stay and talk it out, I burst out with something to the effect of, "Why?!" Then, pointing to each family member in turn, I exclaimed, "You don't like me! You don't like me!! And you don't like me!!!" Believe me, I regretted it as soon as my little rant was over. I eventually apologized to the people I love most in the world and was able to put it aside for awhile, but at the end of the evening, I was just racked with guilt.
"I hate myself," I told my husband. We talked about how the day went. We talked about how, in the span of a few short hours, I felt like I had become the parent that I never wanted to be. But it wasn't until I opened up my Bible that I really understood why I could not let this go. I knew I needed to read Psalm 51, so that's where I and all of my emotional turbulence turned.
For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me. Against You, You only, have I sinned and done what is evil in Your sight....
The reason I couldn't get past what had happened was not because I had become "that mom."
It was because I had become God.
In that moment, I had decided that what I wanted and felt I needed were more important than anything or anyone else. I chose not to live out Galatians 5:22-23, "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness,self-control; against such things there is no law."
Instead of choosing love of my family, I chose love of myself.
Instead of choosing joy in my circumstances, I chose despair.
Instead of choosing peace, I chose strife.
Instead of choosing patience, I chose short-temperedness.
Instead of choosing kindness and goodness, I chose anger.
Instead of choosing gentleness, I chose harsh words.
Instead of choosing faithfulness and self-control, I chose to give into my desires.
There I laid, on my bed, condemned as a wife and a mother--a failure as a child of God. But God reminded me--and reminds me still--that I am, in fact, not condemned but forgiven and loved. I am not--you are not--a lost cause. "The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise."
A friend recently shared an article that really helped me to put all of my thoughts into words:
The next time you’re tempted to say “I myself” because of the lingering sin in your life, take a deep breath, regroup, read Psalm 139, and get back in the game. “The righteous falls seven times and rises again, but the wicked stumble in times of calamity” (Proverbs 24:16). The righteous . Falling is not the defining issue. The wicked listen to the accuser (Revelation 12:10) and don’t get back up. The righteous get back up.
Oftentimes, it's how we deal with our failures and shortcomings that defines us. It is just heart-wrenching to know that what you have said and done cannot be unsaid or undone. And I, for one, can begin to hate myself as I see myself branded by one moment in time. As Paul so eloquently said, "I don’t really understand myself, for I want to do what is right, but I don’t do it. Instead, I do what I hate" (Romans 7:15).
Somewhere between the wrong and the rightThrough it all, the amazing truth is that God's love never fails and never gives up on us. Rather than being branded by our ugliest moments, we are branded as God's own. Instead of finding ourselves weighed down by our failures, we find grace springing up from an unending Source. We find that His mercies are indeed new every morning.
Somewhere between the darkness and the light
Somewhere between who I was and who You're making me
Somewhere in the middle, You'll find me
|Okay, so I am very loosely tying in this photograph with the idea of "grace springing up." ;)|