“Mommy, don’t ever talk to me like that!” The quiver in her lip reveals the damage I’ve done, but I hear the anger in her voice and call it rebellion.
My fuse has already been lit, and I could close my mouth, but I don’t. Isn’t my own rebellion really the fuel for this fire seeking to destroy us both?
“Don’t you ever tell me what to do!” My voice is large and powerful, but inside I wince even as I’m still forming the words. Oh! Where do words like these come from? That tone of voice. The daggers in my eyes.
The quivering lip can’t hold it in now, and the wounded one shrieks as she runs to her bed. Tears spill onto her pillow, as my own tears sting my eyes. The bitterness of failure biting the edges, as I struggle to see, to grasp for Grace.
She crumples on the bed, I crumple to the floor. We both quiver with liquid prayers flowing over faces and hearts.
It’s here, right here in these moments, where I am learning to find Jesus. In the weak places. The broken places. The ones that make my heart reel and my head spin with pain over what I’ve done. When I see my sin for what it is and I cannot hide it from my eyes.
I’m learning to hear Him in the dark and lonely places. The places that used to make me cower in fear and shame. When that accusing voice calling me a failure as a mother sounds true, because what kind of mother talks to her daughter like that? When the tempter comes with his searing whisper “You’ve tried and you’ve failed. You’re beyond hope now.”
But lies aren’t Truth, no matter what I feel or how I fail. And I’m beginning to see that the One who is Faithful and True has been speaking the whole time. But what He says seems so impossible, for so long I didn’t dare to believe Him.
He has clothed me with garments of salvation
and arrayed me in a robe of his righteousness, Is. 61:10
Here in the mud and the muck of my heart, God Himself has claimed me as His own possession. Jesus paid the highest price for my freedom, all so that He can clothe me with His finest garments.
And yet, I’ve slipped and fallen in the mud again. Hasn’t He done enough? Hasn’t He tired of me continually needing rescuing? Shouldn’t I be stronger by now, able to walk on my own without tripping and stumbling again and again?
And this, THIS is the lie, the one that makes hopelessness inevitable. The lie that I am supposed to be able to do this on my own.
When I come out of hiding, that sweet, still, small voice never fails. “Come to me.”
Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light. Matthew 11:28-30
The ease doesn’t come in me finding my own strength, it comes from being yoked to Him. Somehow I wandered, tried to carry a load that I thought was mine to bear alone. But as my tears and His voice draw me home, I turn my heart again to the One who is forming me into His own likeness. I have no strength to bring, only the one thing I can give, my heart. If I don't give up, I win!
In the coming to Him, I go to her. The sobs have quieted, but her voice still shakes when I come near. Low and gentle, on my knees by her bed, I offer my sincere repentance. And she too, washed by Grace, holds me tight as we let Love heal us and repair the breach.
For more on the power of words, read Ann Voskamp's fabulous post today,