My daughter is not what you would call a “natural swimmer”. She loves the water but attaining the skill of not sinking to the bottom has been something we have really had to work on. Honestly, I’m not a huge fan of pools or the ocean. It stirs my anxiety… “Hey let’s all hang out around a giant potential death pool!” Not my idea of fun. One day when my kids are pro-swimmers, I might be able to relax and read a book while they swim… maybe.
So we are working with our girl. She is getting better. The other day, she wanted to swim to the deep end of the pool. Reluctantly I let her do it, while I swam right beside her. About half way to the edge she got tired. She lifted her head and restlessly flapped around in the middle of the deep in. Although I wanted to swoop in, grab her and convince her it was time to get out of the pool, I didn’t. Instead I started yelling, “Swim baby girl! Swim!”. Something clicked in her. She ducked her head underwater and swam like a pro to the edge of the pool. She was so proud and I was too.
This morning in church the pastor spoke on a passage in Luke. He talked about Simon (later Peter) making the decision to lay down his nets and follow Jesus. The pastor’s main point was “getting in the deep end” with our faith – really trusting God and letting go of control.
The water/ocean analogy hit a cord with me. My husband and I have made the decision to “get in the deep end” with God and really trust Him. Since that time we have faced financial pit falls, failed ministry, depression, mysterious illnesses, broken relationships, painful moves, failed adoption, challenging parenting situations and more. I can not tell you how many times in the past 10 years I have said, “Lord, I feel like I’m sinking! I just need to catch my breath!” There has been so much good and blessing through the years but there has also been debilitating pain and struggle. So the whole idea “leaving the shore” and “diving deep” into following Christ, resonated. The longer I listened, bitterness began to turn. I thought, “Sure this sounds good from the “shore” but when you are being tossed by the waves with sea water going up your ears and nose, things get really confusing! “.
I remember feeling so lonely, confused and afraid… like I was drowning. I could almost see it – blankets of ocean, me struggling to get through, flailing around restlessly in the middle of the deep. But as we prayed, God gave me a different picture.
I could see Jesus swimming next to me saying “Swim baby girl! Swim!”. I fought to get through. I ducked my head under water and swam. And as clear as day, I heard Him whisper in my spirit, “And you are now a great swimmer”.
All figurative analogies aside, an easy and calm life makes for a weak person. Through each trial and struggle, God has built strength. There is pain. There is confusion. But God draws me closer with each one. He builds endurance and stregnth through Him. To keep swimming (obviously I resisted the urge to name this blog “just keep swimming”) is to get up everyday and do that day for Jesus. Maybe it is big, maybe small but you do it all for the Lord with purpose and peace. It doing the ordinary things well. Its not complaining. Its loving unlovable ones. Its speaking up when you would rather keep quiet. Its working hard. Its obedience.
Today was a sad, sad day for our country. We are in turbulent times. We need to be strong not flabby and weak.
So, yes! Leave the shore, get in the deep end! Be “submerged” in the will of God! It is going to be hard and it is going to hurt at times. But, you will be with your God. You will know Him more deeply and You will become a great swimmer!
Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds,for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. James 1:2-4
I have decided to start writing about my struggle with depression. I’ve debated this for awhile. I’m not ashamed of it. I don’t care who knows about it. As a Christian, I think we should talk about it more actually. I guess I just wanted to wait until I was 100% healed so I could write about what I “used to” struggle with but…. its been years now and I still struggle.
I don’t want to mislead. I’m not stuck or in the same place I was 5 years ago. I am miles down the road (to God be the Glory!) but my ‘road’ has taken turns, highs, lows and everything in between. There has been, however, one end and one goal through out it all: Jesus! Around every dark corner and in every low, He has been there. And wow! I am so thankful!
There is no way to tell my story from beginning to present. No one would read that blog… not even me. So, I just want share different stories and moments of revelations God has given me along the way.
I have come to the realization that depression looks differently on everyone. This makes sense because we are all different. Some have the Cymbalta commercial experience – in bed all day, dreary, sick, achy, never leave the house… just gloomy and gray – and there’s no judgement here for that! I have always hated those commercials though. My depression struggle was deep and dark but I could function through it. Most people would never know. But behind closed doors and alone my struggle emerged and inside I was those people on the commercial.
Anyway, in the lowest times, my ‘triggers’ (those things that would cause me to go from functional to very very dark) are not sad things but actually the opposite. A sunny day, my kids laughing, activities I used to enjoy.
We used to live in Ardsley Park in Savannah – a neighborhood I still think is one of the most beautiful neighborhoods in the country. One spring day, I was walking my son to the neighborhood park. It was April. There is seriously no where in the world more beautiful than Savannah, Georgia in the Spring. The azaleas were in full bloom. The colors were bright, it wasn’t insanely hot yet – I’m sure it was gorgeous. But through the lenses of my depression, all was gray. I was numb and cold. I remember walking along the road and while taking it all in, I realized there was something wrong with me. I used to love spring. I used to get a jolt of zeal in a circumstance like this. Instead, I was tired and just wanted to turn the stroller around and climb in bed. I was almost annoyed by the beauty.
Anyway, that was a side-story but hopefully it helped paint a picture of my struggle.
So fast forward about two years. We were living in a spacious apartment on the edge of Atlanta. I loved loved loved where we lived (God has really blessed us to live in some awesome areas… but I digress)! Our circumstances were pretty good but my depression was only deepening. It was like this a thick under current that would take me under as soon as I got on my feet again. By year three of this struggle, I was over it. There was a lot of good sprinkled in the former three years but this depression thing was not leaving. I had started believing the lie that my kids deserved a better (Happy!) mom and my husband deserved a better (not crazy screwed up) wife!
I was low. On this particular day, I was doing laundry. Outside the laundry room my kids were laughing and playing. They really are best friends. I could hear their sweet giggles. Instead of hearing them, smiling and going on with my laundry, dark feelings flooded my mind. I felt like I was in a prison with no door – just bars all around. If this nagging sadness was going to fill my life forever – then I just wanted out.
I sank down the laundry room wall, curled up in a ball and cried. My back was against the wall and my knees were drawn up under my chin. I put my head down and closed my eyes. Now, I’m baptist ya’ll but that day I saw a vision. With my eyes closed, I had weird like out of body experience (hang on… I know that just got weird). In my ‘vision’ I could see me crying in the laundry room but I wasn’t alone. I saw a clear vision of Jesus holding me. I was in the same position but His arms were wrapped all the way around me and His head was tucked close to mine.
I opened my eyes and peace flooded me in the laundry room that day. I realized this:
God is not mad at me for struggling with depression!
In fact, He is with me…. like really really with me – even though I can’t always feel it.
Now my “vision” is cool but I’ll back this up Biblically:
“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for You are with me.” Psalm 23:4
“I will give you treasures in the darkness And hidden wealth in the secret places, So that you may know that it is I, the Lord, the God of Israel, who calls you by your name.”
“You are a hiding place for me; you preserve me from trouble; you surround me with shouts of deliverance. Selah” Psalm 32:7
“The Lord is a stronghold for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble.” Psalm 9:9
Is it possible to struggle with depression and still have joy? In my opinion, with Christ, absolutely! In fact, I have experience more true Biblical joy in the past 5 years than before. Happiness? No. But happiness is fleeting and dependent on circumstances. In my lexicon “joy” ,as referenced in James 1:2, is defined as “to attain blessedness at the righthand of God”. Joy is the nearness of God.
I experienced joy on one of my darkest days of depression because I realized my God is with me. He is not angry at me. He is not waiting for me to “get over it” so we can move on with ministry. He is not annoyed by how long it is taking me to be “healed”.
On the contrary, He is with me and with you if you too struggle. He is holding you, even if you don’t feel Him. He is walking with you in to those dark places in your heart. He knows they are there. He is holding your hand as you discover feelings and hurt you never knew you had. He wants you to see Him in a way you never have before. He wants to give you the “treasures in the darkness” which is His light-Himself. He is patient and kind. When its time, He will lead you out of this. But don’t shortcut the journey. Just remain faithful to the Lord. Take joy, peace and contentment in knowing He is with you!
“Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence? If I ascend to heaven,You are there; If I make my bed in Sheol, behold You are there. If I take wings of the dawn, I dwell in the remotest part of the sea, Even there Your hand will lead me, And Your right hand will lay hold of me. If I say, “Surely darkness will overwhelm me, And light around me will be night, Even the darkness is not dark to You, And the night is as bright as the day. Darkness and light are alike to You.”
We are trying to work on getting better about reading the Bible as a family. Congrats to those who have this figured out! We are not that family… but we are working on it.
Our church has been using The Gospel Project in Sunday School for the past few years. I can not commend this program enough! It is awesome! My kids know the Word! They are in Exodus right now. We decided to read Exodus 13, right before where the Israelites cross the Red Sea.
I love the Word of God. I have read this account many, many times. Tonight this part stood out to me for the first time:
When Pharaoh let the people go, God did not lead them along the road to the land of the Philistines, even though it was nearby; for God said, “The people will change their minds and return to Egypt if they face war. So He led the people around toward the Red Sea along the road of the wilderness. And the Israelites left the land of Egypt in battle formation.” Exodus 13:17-18
Here is why this spoke to me:
- God knows the hearts of His people! I can’t, not put an exclamation mark there! The God of the Universe knows the hearts of His people. He knew they would be tempted to go back to slavery if they were led via the road nearby. I am wrestling with a decision right now. To be completely honest, I myself do not even know which option I want. The good news is that God knows my heart. He knows what is best for His glory and my good (Romans 8:28).
- God was setting them up to see a miracle. My son is a thinker. When I brought this up with them he said, “Yeah but God could have done a miracle on the road nearby too if He wanted to…. That’s right mom I know you have been at work all day but let’s see how well your brain works tonight” Okay, maybe he didn’t say that last part. The parting of the Red Sea was an awesome miracle! The Isrealites were privileged to be on the front row of this spectacular display of God’s power. The Isrealites had long road ahead of them. They needed to see this miracle. God knows the hearts of His people to led them away from temptation and give them the (massive) encouragement they needed.
- They knew Him more because of the harder road. If you have studied the Bible for any length of time, you know the Isrealites struggled. They loved God and served Him one day and were stripping off their jewelry the next day to make an idol. And yet, God’s covenant remained. They are still His people. This part of the journey was difficult but through it they knew God more.
I take comfort in that. I am in a season that (more times than not), I think “God, why didn’t you fix this another way? Why didn’t you make that other job available or never have allowed me to do make that one decision? You could have kept me from this frustration. You could have prevented this pain. You could have kept me from this hard road.”
A year or so ago, Comcast had these commercials the sequenced these crazy events all because of one decision to not “choose Comcast”. I do this with almost every life decision…. and even not so life decisions like where to go grocery shopping. If I pick the wrong grocery store and don’t save as much money…. this could obviously led to my family living in a cardboard box next month. I struggle with even doubting decisions that I know God has called me do. I weekly have to ask, “You did tell me to do this right?”
Why do I do this?
Because that decision, that path, that “road” that God told me to take gets HARD! And somewhere in my Christian brain I have been programmed to think that, that is not how it is supposed to work!
Instead, somewhat of the opposite is true. God calls us take the “hard” road sometimes. He calls us to take that road because He knows us, and He wants us to know Him more.
So chin up my friends. Brush off the dirt and keep walking. There is a miracle ahead.
Before Christmas my church started a study on Genesis. I love Genesis! During the week we studied the Tower of Babel (Genesis 11), at small group, a question was asked that has stuck in my brain.
In context with the Tower of Babel, you have a host of people saying, “Come, let us build ourselves a city and tower with its top in the heavens, and let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be dispersed over the face of the earth.” Genesis 11:4
“What are some ways Christians make a name for themselves?”
I think it is so easy to think we are beyond this. This account has always been so silly to me. Seriously, people? A tower? But when you look closely at verse 4 it brings is home a little. They wanted to make a “name for themselves”.
My small group probably could have come up with a hundred ways Christians make a name for themselves but the kids in the bonus room have an expiration so it keeps our time limited. Here where a few…
“Political, Republican Christian”
“Cool, Trendy Christian”
“Human Rights Christian”
“Stay at Home mom Christian”
Ouch! That one got me…. so much so that I was the one who brought it up. Its not that any of these things are bad by themselves. They go wrong when they become your identity. When they are the basis for which you have made your “name” as a Christian. Thus, its more about your name or platform that it is about Jesus.
This hit close to home because I am guilty. I was a primarily “SAHM” for six years. I would be lying my tail off if I said it didn’t become my identity. The whole preschool, toddler, baby-mom stage is hard to emerge from regardless… especially if you are at home with them 24/7. Not only did all of that become my identity, it was (for a while) my mode to making a “name” for myself. I built my “SAHM tower” brick by brick with perfect “moments” captured on Instagram with the intention of looking perfect or godly, by caring more about how people saw me as a mom than a Christ-follower, by reading more mommy books than spending time with God, by stressing over rather or not my kids day was themed and eventful enough to compare to the Pinterest goddesses out there and so on….
Over the past 18 months, God has wrecked me… again… in several ways but mainly with the call to go back to work. This brick did not fit in my tower. I have spent a lot of time searching scripture and seeking God to confirm the direction of my path. It turns out this “brick” of going back to work is a brick designed to smash my “SAHM tower”. He is not interested in me making a name for myself. Because I am me. I am a human. I am fallible, broken and easily disillusioned. Trusting in my own tower will only led to failure and disappointment.
Look at the mercy of God…
“Let us go down there and confuse their language, so that they may not understand one another’s speech” v.7
It doesn’t seem like mercy but it is. I think about my cat. She is so sweet but she lack a lot of sense. She has been inside our house her whole life. She is very domestic, has no clue how to make it in the wild. She has escaped two times. The only reason she is still with us today is because I went and rescued her.
So everyday when I open my laundry room door I nudge her back in the house. Why? Because I hate her? No, the opposite it true… our family loves her. If she is left to her own devices she will be trapped, or hurt, or killed. I want her to live, so I want her within our boundaries.
Although this is pathetic example, I believe the Lord operates with the same – what can seem confusing – love for us. Every time I try to build a name… “church planter Christian”…. ” (fill in the blank) ministry Christian”…. “SAHM Christian”…. He smashes it down.
“Therefore, I will hedge up her way with thorns, And I will build a wall against her so that she cannot find her paths…. Then she will say, I will go back to my first husband, for it was better for me then than now!” Hosea 2:6-7
My primary role as a wife and mom is to love and serve my family. I am just loving and serving in a different way.
My primary role as a believe and follower of Christ is to follow…. to walk… to not get set on one idea or one principle truth from His Word so much so that I worship the ideology instead of my Living God.
A few chapters back we read about Enoch…
“Enoch walked with God…. Thus all of the days of Enoch were 365 years. Enoch walked with God, and he was not, for God took him.” Genesis 5:22-24
Now there is something. All that we know about Enoch is that he walked with God. We don’t know how but that he did. I’d like that… I’d like that a lot more than some stupid “mommy Christian” tower. A tower is a tower. But when you walk with God…. You WALK WITH GOD. Hello? Imagine all that Enoch saw, enjoyed, endured and experienced!
So… I’m sorry blog readers. I’m sorry I made this blog… which is an extension of me… apart of my stupid tower….
Writing about the Journey is about Jesus… Christianity is a journey not a tower.
I enjoy reading the account of Peter walking on water in Matthew 14. I love Peter. He is tenacious and bold. He is zealous.
I married a man who is a lot like Peter. My husband would follow God to the ends of the earth. It doesn’t matter how crazy or “foolish” it might look. My husband will do if he feels the Spirit leading. “Peter’s” have little caution to them. They just go for it. That is why I love my husband and that is also why it is a good thing God paired him with someone like me. I remind him of the need for grocery money and little things like that.
Anyway, I always had this image of a night sky, a boat full of disciples, Peter standing and calling out to Jesus who was not far from the boat. All while the water lay quietly beneath them. Scripture doesn’t support that though. Look up at verse 24, “But the boat was already a long distance from the land, battered by the waves; for the wind was contrary“. Contrary defined in the Greek Lexicon means “that which is over or against” (blueletterbible).
Instead there is a storm. The disciples are working together to keep the boat on track. Across the waves, wind and (maybe) rain, they see a glimpse of what looks like a man or a ghost walking on water. Peter being seemingly nuts, calls out to this man. And not only does he call but he decides to get out of the boat and go to him.
And as most church-going folks may remember. It doesn’t go so well from here. Peter begins to sink and cries out to the Lord.
We like to preach the “get out of the boat” sermon or in a Sunday School lesson. But what happens when you get out of the boat with a burst of zeal and step out on to the water? There is a good chance, like Peter, you will realize:
“I just stepped out of a boat into be a hurricane!!!”
I’ll give you a real life example. Several years ago, Mark and I felt led to go with some friends and plant a church in another city. After looking for work in the church plant city for about 9 months to no avail, my husband was able to work out a “deal” with his current employer in our hometown. He was to work a 3/12 schedule (3 days 12 hours). He would live there 3 days and with us 4. We decided to pull the trigger, make the jump, and move. We left our home, family and jobs (our “boat”). As we are unloading the moving truck, however, Mark gets a call. His boss said, “the deal is off. I’ll see you at 8am on Monday (‘if you want to still have a job’ was implied).
That was a big real-life gust of “wind”. It knocked us out a bit. It shock our faith.
We ended up living apart for about 4 months until he took another “step out of the boat” and quit his job. He took a job cutting grass and moved to our church plant city with us.
Peter took a big step of faith only to find himself drowning and trying to survive. Knowing “my Peter”, I imagine he did not even consider the wind and waves before getting out of the boat. Maybe he thought Jesus would calm the storm immediately. Who knows? I imagine he just wanted to be with Him and be apart of His work.
Jesus did eventually stop the storm. But it was after they got back in the boat.
“When they got back in the boat, the wind stopped“. Matthew 14:32
Huh? So obviously Jesus has the power to stop the storm. Why did he wait? Throw poor Peter a bone! He had the faith to get out. Why let him almost drown? (the Lord is good to me to allow openness and honesty. I mean no disrespect in the wisdom of His ways).
I know first hand what it feels like to be battered by those kinds of waves. I know what it feels like to be pumped and full of faith only to then feel the ground from under us give way. When you are gasping for air and struggling to survive, you feel sucker punched. It hurts. And I would be lying if I said I didn’t say, “Hello? Lord are you there? You said “Come!”… didn’t you?” (All while everybody else sits securely in a boat).
I don’t know why he waited. I don’t have that answer. But a couple of things stood out to me as I read this familiar story.
1. Jesus didn’t get mad at Peter – The story doesn’t wrap up with Jesus lecturing Peter about what is wise and responsible, but yet that Peter lacked faith.
2. Jesus reached out his hand and took hold of him – The image of that is just so beautiful. And He does it still today. When you step out on faith, you get to be rescued and touched by the hand of God.
3. Everyone worshiped Jesus – Others, not just Peter, saw the work of God and were led to worship Him. Everybody else was scared. They cried out in fear. Peter took a step of faith, took a risk and got out of the boat. In return everyone – not just Peter – everyone worshiped Jesus.
So, I don’t know friends. When you “get out of the boat”, you will probably walk into a hurricane. But faith is more than taking one big step out of the boat. You have to keep walking, keep going. The wind is going to come. You are not alone. Jesus is there. He was there the whole time.
I’ve seen lots posts on why people choose to homeschool, so I thought I would throw in my two cents on public school.
1. My husband and I had fairly positive experiences growing up in the public school system.
2. My kids are very social creatures. We are excited for them to have the opportunity to meet other kids.
3. We want our kids to be in an environment that encourages awareness of others. I think one benefit that is not acknowledged as much in the whole “school” discussion is this. My son is in a class of 18 kids. They all have different learning styles, different preferences, different personality types, different needs and different strengths. Although this presents a challenges, I think this is a good thing. He is learning how to work with others. He is learning to submit to the needs of others sometimes. He is learning how to handle the challenges of being in a community of different people.
4. There is opportunity for other people to mold and shape their life. My husband and I are pretty awesome but it takes a lot of people to shape someone’s life. I think back to the teachers I had over the years. Some were not so good and had a negative affect on my life but some were great! I had an English teacher in high school that completely changed the way I thought about teaching. I had always wanted to be a teacher but she was just remarkable! I could go on… these teachers were very different from my parents and touched my life in a way that they couldn’t.
5. School Fun! School plays, class parties, talent shows, Field Day, and all that fun… we are excited about these things for our kids!
6. I am not the best teacher for my kids. I went (and am currently going) to school for to be an educator. I have an extensive knowledge in this area. But I am a terrible match for my son as a teacher. He loves rules, schedule, routine. (My daughter is like me and is very much more of a free spirit!) It is one thing to have a “bad match” as a teacher for a year but for 13…. either me or my son is not making it! Now, I am the best momma for them – I know that for a fact because God’s gave them to me. But it doesn’t mean I’m the best option as their teacher.
7. My husband said “no!” to homeschool. I gotta throw this in there. Just because the whole school issue is more of a “mom” conversation doesn’t mean it is outside of the realm of submission. There is a reason God put my husband and I together. There is a reason he has such strong convictions and opinions. I have to respect that and ultimately submit to it. Now, I didn’t have any dying conviction to homeschool or I would have handled it differently. I just have trust and control issues – I’m just being honest. That’s the appeal of homeschool for me.
8. Deepening my trust in God! My prayer life has increased 10 fold since sending my baby boy to kindergarten and my baby girl to preschool. When they were with me 24/7 it was very different. I was mostly in control of everything they did. It is different now but I do have the peace and confidence that this is where they should be and that God is in control.
9. Another ministry door opened- I love meeting new people. There is vast ministry opportunity for my kids and I in the schools. My son is such a light. I pray every day that his light shines for his teachers and friends. There is a lot of opportunity to minister to the teachers, administration and other parents and students also.
10. God said to do it! You could really just draw a virtual “X” over the first “9” reasons. Because they are just observations and opinions. I’m sure there are 20 better reasons for us to send our kids to private school or 30 reasons we should homeschool! I have read many compelling blogs and books about homeschooling, “unschooling” and everything in between. But the bottom line is that I am a human. I have human perspective. God is infinitely wise and sees all. He loves my son and daughter more than I do (which is sometimes hard for me to believe). He know what is best for my kids. He understands and sees their heart. My job as their momma is to seek the One who is infinitely wiser than me. I can’t see past my feelings or past hurts or fears. It’s easier to make wise decisions about other things but when my kids are concerned my heart is consumed with icky-sticky, insane, consuming love for them. My vision gets blurry! The most loving thing I can do for them is trust them to God and trust His way is best. My husband and I have agreed to take each year one step at a time. Maybe next year we will homeschool… I doubt it but we will always seek God. Each child is different. Each year is different. I am thankful I can trust a God who never changes and who knows what is best for my kids k – 12!
Mom guilt: you know that haunting feeling you get. To me it is “that darned if you do, darned if you don’t” feeling that never seems to leave. It comes after dinner because dinner included too many carbs and a processed box of mac & cheese (the horror!). It comes after you loose your temper and yell for the third time… today… It comes because you have to work to help make ends meet with your family’s budget. It’s there after you tell you daughter that you can’t read that book right now because you are busy (and you really are). It comes because you have to say “no” to doing that really cool thing because you don’t have the money. It’s present when your kid’s birthday party doesn’t turn out nearly as cute as you envisioned in your Pinterest-crazy mind. It is there when you finally get a break, get out of the house and do something for yourself.
Some of you mommas may have no idea what I’m talking about. You are blessed.
The rest of you needed no definition. You know “mom guilt”. You know no matter how hard you try to be a ‘good mom’, its there.
As my friends can tell you, I struggle with this area more than most. But, as God is good about doing, He got in my face on this issue the other day.
I was writing in my prayer journal. It was the middle of the day and my kids were playing outside. I rarely have “quiet time” in the afternoon but on this day it worked. I watched my kids play and as soon as my soul felt the slightest hinge of joy, guilt choked it out! I’ll let you into my crazy brain, “I should be outside playing with them. But I am so tired. Maybe if I didn’t work, I would have more energy. Maybe if I’d let the house go more… ugh I am a terrible mom.”
I started to write this out on paper. As I was writing, I realized the unrealistic picture I had in my brain. Smiling kids, skipping, butterflies, blue skies…. okay not exactly but you know that ‘perfect/peaceful’ picture whatever that might be, was going on in my head. And it hit me: its a LIE! They are KIDS!
Kids are unreasonable & irrational! They test me on purpose! They are loud. They are messy. They have melt downs and cry. They are kids!
My little perfect scenario in my head, is ridiculous. And constantly beating myself up for not having this “opening scene of Cinderella”, day to day motherhood is ridiculous too! Because I’m parenting kids… children…. who lack maturity, wisdom, discipline and reason.
So this realization opened the door of my heart… In Isaiah 44 there is a visual picture painted of an ignorant idol worshiper:
“No one recalls, nor is there knowledge or understanding to say, “I have burned half of it in the fire and also have baked bread over its coals. I roast meat and eat it. Then I make rest of it an abomination, I fall down before a block of wood! He feeds on ashes; a deceived heart has turned him aside. And he cannot deliver himself, nor say, Is this not a lie in my right hand?” – Isaiah 44:20
This “worshiper” looks like a fool and is doing these crazy things because his heart is deceived. He can hold this idol in his hand yet, this is what he choses to worship?!
This bolded part of this verse kept coming to my mind, through out the day. “…Is there not a lie in my right hand?”
See, you know what? I am not a perfect mom. The “best parent” boat has long since sailed for me and my oldest is only 5. Yet I have this fantasy in my head of the “perfect mom scenario”. It is partly composed of blog posts I have read over the years, a few facebook statuses and Instagram photos but it is mostly a fabricated from my own ridiculously high expectations of myself. But the bottom line is …. its a LIE. Like this ‘worshiper’ in Isaiah though, I hold it in my right hand. If I’m honest I worship this image. I make choices around it, think and dwell on it, and most of all allow the guilt of NOT being this ‘image’ destroy me!
In Kelly Minter’s devotional ‘No Other Gods’ (which is an awesome study! btw), she quotes Ken Sande saying this about idols, “Most of us think of an idol as statue or wood, stone or metal…. In biblical terms, it is something other than God that we set our heart on that motivates us, that masters us and rules us, or that we trust, fear or serve.”
Ouch! We can make light of “mom guilt” thing, but if you are like me and have let it control you, it is serious stuff. My mom guilt has elevated to idol status. It steals my joy. It robs my peace. It demands action and perfection. None of these things are true of God.
The next verse in Isaiah 44 says,
Remember these things, O Jacob, And Israel, for you are My servant; I have formed you, you are My servant, O Israel, you will not be forgotten by Me. I have wiped out your transgression like a thick cloud And your sins like a heavy mist. Return to Me, for I have redeemed you.” – Isaiah 44:21-22
Practically for me, I think this means cutting out some facebook and Pinterest time and spending more time in the Word (predictable – yes, but necessary). I want to turn my attentions, heart and worship toward my Redeemer. If my motherhood flows through Him and to Him, there is not guilt. There is grace. And hopefully I can see the beauty in how He made me perfectly to be the mom of my two crazy kiddos.
What is in your right hand?