Do you see that?
People are watching us. They want to see how we do this whole life thing with faith in Christ.
Will we slip up? Will we yell at God? Will we forget what the cross was for?
I can’t really say. Some of us might.
Life is hard, and the fluffy moments are not really what faith is for, are they? Sure, faith is present in those moments, but faith is not tested when life is cuddly, warm, prosperous, and carefree.
Yesterday, I felt like several balls were in the air at once. I had just gotten over being bed-bound for two days, and I had just survived the Let’s-See-All-Specialists-for-Myself-and-My-Children-All-in-the-First-Two-Weeks-of-January stress that I put on myself. Yup, eye doctor, dental torture, mammography, child psychiatrist, child therapist, pediatrician, and a long line-up of other such Happy Copay Collectors. I was apparently fulfilling some kind of unrealistic New Year’s resolution to maintain the family health. It felt like penance more than anything else—although for what, I wasn’t quite sure.
I thought, finally waking well, that it could be that often-just-out-of-reach day of rest. I wrongly assumed, after a four-day weekend off from school, that my kids would be in their respective learning institutions, and me? I’d catch up on some things—although I’m not putting the Christmas decorations away yet. I’m not that ambitious, and after all, my daughter tells all her friends (and their moms) that I keep them up until Valentine’s Day, so why ruin that little rumor? That’s too hyperbolic to pass up! 🙂
But then, after completing some tasks and starting to bury myself under some nice flannel sheets for a half-hour snooze,
the phone rang.
It was the middle school nurse. The Day of Peace and Catch-Up came crashing down. I had to pick up my sickie Little Chickie. (I knew she was really sick because she’s my best patient and one tough cookie.)
After settling down Chickie, I headed to the elementary school to help with math in my son’s class, but when I arrived, I saw that The Look That Rips My Heart in Two was on his face.
The one where he’s given up.
The one where he’s overwhelmed and tear-filled but hiding it because he has looked over his math sheet a gazillion times and doesn’t know how to start.
Dear ADHD: Some days I admire your amazingness, and I want your incredibly swift-moving mind. But today, you put that look of failure and disappointment on Little Man’s face, and I just want to bash your face in. Love, Not-Feelin-the-Love-for-You-Today-ADHD, Mom
I choked back that sick feeling and shushed that haunting voice…the one that whispered to me we were doing last year’s depressive spiraling all over again. I got a grip, pulled my big girl trousers (such an awesome, antiquated word!) on, and backed off. I helped other students in the room. I kept a distant eye on him, but I didn’t hover, and I didn’t display Mama Panic.
Awesome Teacher and I exchanged a knowing glance. She would catch me up later. It was okay. She’s got this.
Yes, it’s very hard to understand the “whys” of the struggle and if it will ever end. I cried on the way home and had this conversation with My Very Best Friend:
“Jesus, You know how much I love him. How I want to help him.” And then I said: “You love him so much more! So much more. I know You do.”
And with that statement of faith came a peace that I cannot explain.
But I find that in these testing moments, declarations of faith in God release His work in our lives.
He certainly doesn’t need our permission, but it’s like a big nod or “go-ahead” that we trust what He is already doing and about to do.
James 1:3, ESV, James, brother of Jesus, speaking
…for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.
The day didn’t end before a dog ate something she shouldn’t have and my oldest fell sick on the way home from karate. Some days just stink like a sewer. And this was my post on some social media platform (can’t even remember which one now) by the end of the day:
Okay, what happens when we’re frazzled?
When I’m frazzled, it usually means scrapping everything I had planned and begrudgingly accepting a rework when illness/crisis/advocacy can’t be put down. To me, not being able to do it all used to equate to feelings of failure. Ridiculous, right?
Dinner might not be made.
Deadlines may suffer.
I might not meet the needs of Children #1 and #2 as well as I would like to, since #3 needs my help right now.
The dogs may chew the couch or leave a little mess because they aren’t getting the usual dose of attention.
Dust might pitch more than a few tents on my furniture.
Permission slips might not be signed on time.
Tests might not be assisted in being studied for.
My spouse and I might be quick to quarrel.
I might rage at times about the feeling of lack of control a disorder or disease may bring.
Kids might go to bed after a cereal dinner in the clothes they wore to school.
These sound like silly standards, right? And yet, how many of us get derailed by not meeting them?
But I can’t do everything. And neither can you.
So, I ask God to help me do my best, but I try to keep in mind that:
The only one interested in me beating myself up is the liar to my soul.
It certainly isn’t God, even on the days I’m wondering why I fail to trust, why I slip into measuring myself by ridiculous standards, why I forget I’m only human and need His amazing grace to cover where I fall short.
— Bonnie Lyn Smith (@BonnieLynSmith) July 8, 2015
Maybe you’re going through something significantly tougher than what I describe here in my own personal anguish about my son. Jesus’s hand is warm whenever we remember to grab it. I’m squeezing it tightly. You can too.
He never leaves us. And He holds up what we cannot carry when we ask Him.
Deuteronomy 31:6, ESV, Moses writing
Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the LORD your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.
I ask God to help me do my best, but I try to keep in mind that the only one interested in me beating myself up is the liar to my soul.
— Bonnie Lyn Smith (@BonnieLynSmith) July 8, 2015