Well, if you ever ask God to honestly reveal the hidden sins of your heart, be careful because He will! He will gladly SHOW you the real you and not the one you have settled for. Hmm … He will take you on an adventure that the Discovery Channel or any Hollywood production could not compete with! Yes, you will laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll be filled with suspense, hold your breath, sigh with relief, question, misunderstand, understand later, want intermission, eat junk food while more drama ensues. Like me, you don’t want to look so you cover your eyes then peek as your heart pounds, so you cover your eyes up again. It is one SHOW where you can’t wait for the ending but it doesn’t end because the story called YOU never does! If you really want to be a Christian (“Christ-one”) it’s just going to hurt! If you want to see Him and want the pure heart which is the pre-requisite, it’s going to cost “THE YOU” right out of you!
I found out some things I knew but didn’t really think were such a big deal. However, I got to see how even the little things have a trickle-down effect and can splash over onto other areas and most importantly, other people. I don’t think dwelling in the past is healthy but looking at it, as a point of reference, is sometimes necessary for our growth. We see where our pursuits were misguided so we cannot repeat the same mistakes or repair what we can. Truth is always the compass on the path of pursuit. I often quote Jamie Buckingham who said, “The truth will set you free but first it will make you miserable”! How true is that?! One of my favorite authors Flannery O’Connor said, “The truth will set you free but also make you odd.” Now I have an excuse!
It’s hard to admit you to yourself, let alone to other people, but when we share our story, healing always happens. One of my biggest pursuits was to be great at something. I decided to be great at motherhood which is a noble quest and all mothers should try to do their best, however you cannot get caught up in the rhetoric of the day. The media drives an image of the great parent. We just had books, magazines, TV shows, talk radio and especially talk shows spreading the message. Bless the poor parents with the onslaught of media today, because there are so many voices saying so many different things. But if you’re up at 2:00 am trying to make homemade baby food and getting a few hours’ sleep so you can be awesome, what kind of mood will your kids see all day? If you have the time, do as you will but also know that parenting is not a competition. God always leads with peace. If you’re stressed out, then there are three words to learn: yes, no, and help! My problem began with always saying yes, rarely saying no and asking for help but not enough. God was on my list but often got shoved aside until bedtime where I would fall asleep with my Bible!
How could I hear His voice? I was too busy! Busy equals stress which equals a list of negative results way longer than my to-do list. But, I had to be great like everyone was describing on Oprah which was always on while I was fixing dinner! What I missed was knowing if God’s voice is the loudest, then all other voices will be drowned out. The Holy Spirit is a gentleman and He will not interrupt or scream over the clutter in our minds. He isn’t Siri or a GPS! That still-small voice can be heard when we are still in pursuit. “Be still and know that I am God.” (Psalm 46:10) Being still is a state of being, not an action. You can be moving and yet be “still”! If we really know God then we will be at peace regardless of what comes our way. It doesn’t matter if the kids drew on the walls with markers or the bills are piling up, God will guide you in peace if He gets to wear the hat! I’m still in the process of learning to give up control and get the right perspective in any given situation on any given day. Some days I get it right and others I fail miserably but if I take a look I see where I missed it. I miss it when I get in the way of His way.
In the nineties, when my son and daughter were children, it was all about self-esteem and self-worth and reinforcing all the positives, not emphasizing any negatives, and praise, praise, praise your child. Now the result is our current generation called the Millennials. We wonder why this is a self-entitled, self-absorbed generation with little to no work ethic. Not all are this way but I’m only echoing the description of the current media. Social media gives everyone a platform instead of a picket sign. It’s much easier to be opinionated in the shadows than joining a cause and being on the front-lines. Have an opinion, please but be sure it’s one you’re willing to fight for or state face to face! Social media is not a passive-aggressive way to plead your case with just a load of comments that’s enabled people to just be nasty without consequence … or so they think.
We are permitted to “be angry but sin not.” That’s one hard balance to strike! I wish I would’ve been more of a fighter, showing rather than hiding my anger because I was not wanting to relinquish my crown of Miss Peacemaker, Miss Wonderful and/or Miss Great Mom. I was wrong. So much changed when the diagnosis of an autism disorder, known as Aspergers Syndrome, was given to our beautiful boy at age three. What I was given was a big plate of peril and a heaping dose of confusion. It seemed like a semi-truck load filled with questions came with that diagnosis with only a tiny smart car filled with information and answers, at the time. Nonetheless, the conclusion was my precious son needed me.
I had a daughter that needed me too. I also needed my son and my daughter and I wanted them so much it ached. I would look into their rooms hoping they’d wake up because, no matter what the day had for me, I had them. These were my dreams; the culmination of what I had wanted and planned for my life.
The day my daughter was born was the happiest of my life because it was the first gasp of elation and you can only experience it once. I was elated with the birth of my son but it wasn’t like that brand new, never before experienced hallmark event in one’s life. Any first is the moment we remember most because it can’t be recaptured even though people will try and try. That night, was all I wanted in one hospital room; a beautiful baby girl and a husband that loved me. I was 29 years old and life had not battered me around much … yet. Sure, I had some wounds, fears, and bad experiences, but none of them had any real bearing on my “usual” life because I thought that was “usual” life.
Later, I began to notice how I was becoming this shrinking violet so no one would stomp out my sweet fragrance of semi-perfection that I had planted and watered with never having a contrary opinion because I was afraid to. I thought I’d be viewed through a flawed lens and my character would not match the re-touched photo that took those away. If I was flawed, I was a poor example. If I was upset and voiced my honest opinion maybe someone could stumble, or I’d bring reproach and I couldn’t live up to the expectations of others. Most of all, I never wanted to hurt a soul and worst of all, not be liked by somebody. I know there are people who don’t like me but I didn’t want to be the reason! There are people that I’ve hurt and I hate knowing it. I’ve said “I’m sorry” so much I think I’ve earned a spot in some hall of fame somewhere. Oddly, all of the above were my fears that I collected instead of rejected. I created the story and imagined the ending if I did anything but be agreeable. I was losing who I was created to be by God because the lie was bigger than the truth. Joni had left the building.