I lost my cool today. I mean, I really lost my cool. My six year old son was careening through the house yelling like a banshee with a light saber pointed straight at his four year old sister, who in turn was screaming like a slightly higher pitched banshee. I had already asked nicely, say maybe a bazillion times, for them to stop playing so rough and so loud, and this was the last straw. I can only imagine the ugly and distorted look on my face, as I neatly clotheslined the kid, ripped the light saber out of his hand, and yelled at the top of my mom lungs. “ENOUGH!!”
Cue great big tears and even more unbearable noise than either one of us had yet made. I’m ashamedly certain that the only message my son received loud and clear from my rant in that moment was “I’m so sick of y’all”. Period.
Thankfully, that wasn’t the end of the story. I was able to apologize. I asked for forgiveness for losing my temper, and being so physically forceful. Forgiveness was freely given. Before long, the two of them were happily playing once again, and I was left alone to contemplate my own weaknesses, and the strange economy of our God.
But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness."
2 Corinthians 12:9
This is His economy. So why do I operate on the regular as if, when my weaknesses rear their ugly heads, the Father is up on his throne somewhere, throwing his hands in the air saying, “I’m so sick of you!”
I’ve lived too many days as if this were the case. Too many nights laying awake regretting that I’m weak and vulnerable and imperfect.
Friends, His mercies are new every morning and those mercies extend into the deepest cracks of our identities. He loves us! Just as we are. As a loving Father He desperately wants for us to walk in the freedom of who He’s created us to be. His forgiveness is so freely given.
If I want Him to make and mold me into the mother, spouse, woman I’m supposed to be, I must renounce the worry and regret, and hear the gentle, loving whisper of His voice as he gently calls, “ENOUGH!’ Enough running, enough hiding behind the pain of your weaknesses, wounds, and imperfections. Open yourself to receive, and I will make you whole. My power is made perfect in your weakness.”
"I will all the more gladly boast of my weaknesses, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities; for when I am weak, then I am strong." 2 Corinthians 12:9-10
I used to think that we’d eventually find a place in life where we could rest, where we could find balance and security. THE job, THE house, the perfect formation regimen for my kids. If only we had… then we’d be…
But I think I'm coming to realize that's all nonsense. I now know that I can either live dead, or I can live alive. And I haven’t seen any evidence that true life, freedom, and joy involves being safe. It’s actually pretty intense, more liken to a minefield than an oasis. You feel life, when you are alive and participating in it. The good and the bad. The consolation and the desolation.
So today I choose life. Whether it’s washing the dog, visiting with a neighbor, or getting up on stage. I want to bring my entire soul with me. This life, this gift you and I have, is way too amazing to simply pass by safely unaware. The captivating beauty of creation, satisfaction found in work, and supernatural joy in loving relationships. I want to feel life in my toes. I want to feel it everyday. The good, the tough, and even the unwelcome experiences are gifts I want to learn how to receive well.
So let’s quit looking past our life, toward something that's better, more safe, more secure. Let's dance with the life we have now. Knowing that God is making us all better, that He's for us. Everything in our life right now is for our benefit and for our growth.
God’s given us this life to live. Let’s turn it all the way up to 11!
"The path to heaven lies through heaven, and all the way to heaven is heaven." - St. Catherine of Sienna
Suffering is not optional for the Christian. 'Cause if you are really following Him, His steps lead right up to the foot of the cross every. single. time.
I wish it were different, but I don't make the rules.
He just told us to pick it up and follow Him. And so we do, and in the process He makes us more like Him.
We don't get to choose our cross. Jesus doesn't lay out a bunch of crosses and then we get to decide which one fits our time commitment or our state in life. They are what they are. Ours. We just have to decide to pick it up or not.
God's making us better through our ordinary struggles everyday. Quite often the ordinary, the mundane, the every day IS the stuff our crosses are made of. Another tantrum thrown by the tiny humans you're attempting to parent or spending your work day biting your tongue with a toxic co-worker -- even these crosses can feel weighty, especially before we choose to pick them up. Of course, sometimes we get the gift of a big heavy cross. Those are the real opportunities to be like Jesus.
Whatever your cross, suffering is hard, but we know what it leads to. Resurrection.
Proceed in hope.
Feel Abba's embrace.
It's all going to be okay.
There is resurrection.