Wednesday, June 16, 2010

The Best and the Worst

It isn't always fun times around here.  You, the blog reader, see the best of us.  Or at least you only see what I choose to reveal.  The really ugly stuff I pretty much keep to myself, and only allow you rare glimpses of the struggles in my own heart with sin (such as this one).  In fact, these struggles with my own sinful desires are a constant battle daily and, though I wish they were "rare", they are frequent.

Yesterday was a tough day.  As I sat at the end of the day, I felt as if I sat in the ashes of my own destruction.  As if I had burned all the bridges of relationship that I want so desperately to build between my children.  I "sat in the ashes" and reflected on the day, trying to reply in my mind what went wrong and how to avoid it today.  It is so difficult to be a parent.  Doubt crouches in every shadow, ready to pounce in both good times and bad...doubt about whether I am right or did the right thing.  And I know I did the wrong thing...the soreness in my throat tells me that my words were filled with anger.  All day.  And I hear my own words ringing in my head, when I actually said the words "shut up".  More than once.

Failure.  Sinner.  Screw-up.

Those are words that describe me and they burn into my conscience.

Then this morning the words of Sunday's sermon flood into my mind and bring a soothing balm.  Ephesians 2 begins "And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked..."

And it continues from verse 4:

[4] But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, [5] even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— [6] and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, [7] so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. [8] For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, [9] not a result of works, so that no one may boast. [10] For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. (Ephesians 2:3-10 ESV)

Pastor Matthew paraphrased, "I have made you good, so BE GOOD!"  Then he showed this video by the Skit Guys, called "God's Chisel," which I had seen before but still brought tears to my eyes:

It's not just hard to be a parent, it's hard to be a Christian.  To be conformed not to the world, but to the will of God.  Yes, God does not want me to be angry and frustrated with my children.  He gave them to me as a precious gift, and I am to enjoy them while it is my responsibility to train and teach them.  But "failure, sinner, screw-up" are NOT words that God uses to describe me, even though I get it wrong repeatedly.   These are also not words that God uses to describe my children, nor my fellow Christians, yet how often do I think thoughts like that?

I am thankful that God's mercies are new every morning!




  1. Steph, this post really hit home for me. It seems we all have those days and though we aren't proud of them, sometimes it's helpful to know that were not alone in our "days". (hugs) and prayers that today goes more smoothly for you(and me).

  2. "I sat in the ashes of my own destruction" -- those words are so poingiant - I may need to copy them down because they say it all. Your heart comes through in your writing. I have a lot of bad, angry days and I only have TWO kids. Your blogs inspire me, thank you for sharing these raw feelings - you are not alone!

    I will try to remember you in prayer today that you will have a better day :)

  3. I had a day of reflection yesterday just like you. A day where I felt like a failure, a day where I just felt like I may as well just go back to work. Because if I wasn't going to be successful in leading my children in the direction that I feel they ought to go, I may as well be living in comfort, right?

    It's hard to remember that children are fickle, that we're not the ones who will define their future, and that we HAVE to trust God to mold them. Ultimately, kids do NOT listen to us--they usually do the opposite and try to forge their own way because, hey, their parents are idiots, right?

    When Brad came home last night, I vented my frustration. I felt his hand on my shoulder and heard him say, "You're doing a fine job, but he'll go his own way, and the only thing you can do is point him in the direction he SHOULD go."

    And isn't that what God does for us as well? He paved the way, He points us in the direction we should go, but we often get distracted along the way and take many detours that lead us to a dead end.

    Take heart, Mama, and don't beat yourself up (although that's advice I need to take at heart, too).