Saturday, January 27, 2018

My Difference Makers

Life has been gearing up in super speed. Two teens in sports, one guy in Cub Scouts, and a little lady dancing and tumbling away. Not to mention school activities on top of that. And in between all the running around, we have these pockets of time where we must parent, where ugly comes out and we are facing the same battles of emotional management, bad choices vs. good choices, and anger issues...just like when they hit the terrible twos--only so much more significant in their older ages.

If I allow myself to sit here and try and find the bright side of last night's tug-o-war with brothers fighting, or last week's slew of missing assignments, or consequence-dishing for bad language, I would be sorely disappointed.

This part of parenting stinks. 

It's the part of parenting that not only has me wade in turbulent waters of conflict, but also chips away at my confidence that I am doing my best as a parent. It makes me stare at my child and say, "Where did you come from?" (In my head...I hated being told that as a kid, so I promised myself I would never say it out loud. LOL).

This morning, I was on Facebook and an old memory popped up in my newsfeed. It was a status I had in 2012 about my son (7 years old at the time) giving the rest of his birthday money to a  family who wanted to adopt a baby girl in Africa. And then it brought to mind all the times my kids have poured out generously to others, have shown compassion without being asked to, have given a glimpse of the difference makers they will become.

I suddenly found myself looking from a heart view of each of my children, and remembering the good that was beneath all the necessary growing pains of becoming an adult. And it's so much more important than any drama we have today.  The bright side is there, amidst the mess, and I am just now realizing it. No matter their mistakes or disobedience, I know their hearts are compassionate. From the same naughty lips that speak foul language, come the heart language of a boy who wants to help the less fortunate. From the same brotherly discord, comes a defender of his brother's honor in face of a bully.

While I have been yanking my hair trying to direct these children into adulthood, there's something that I would argue is even more important going on in their rearing.

We've been growing hearts. 

And while there is lots of practical--sometimes excruciating--parenting to do, there are future adults here who will at least remember, and hopefully live out, one of the most important values we could teach them amidst the chaos, one that otherwise gets pushed aside in this culture of success and status. No matter how much my children accomplish on paper or on the field, I hope they remember the words and actions in those pockets of time where we parented beyond the reprimands, but impress upon them the need for compassion.

And, occasionally, my kids are displaying their roots in love and compassion, and I can forget the mess for a moment, knowing that it is truly fleeting. We are only wading through it to get to the good stuff--adults who will indeed make a difference in this world.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

My Holy Rubble

For the past four years, I've had this song in my heart. It's the song that would erupt when I sat in a puddle of defeat, splashing about, trying to find one ounce of hope in the mess. It holds the words that would crop up on my tongue when my spirit could only groan.

But I didn't know all the words. I just knew the first few,

Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God Almighty, God in Three Persons, Blessed Trinity.

And those weren't even in the correct order...I just knew, Holy Holy Holy is what my heart could muster when my head was blanketed in darkness. I didn't even think to look up the words, I just let them come forth and sprinkle some kind of partial comfort for my ears, maybe my heart.

During the singing, I'd think of Isaiah before the throne, with a red hot coal on his tongue. I'd think of the Cherubim and Seraphim and the unworthiness of a man and the great mercy of God Almighty. And I'd beg that God would stay close, even though I felt abandoned.

I'd remind myself, that even though He seemed absent, He had a hold of me beyond my comprehension. No matter how strapped to this earth I was, with this life I had sculpted for myself crumbling at my feet, there was something so much greater out there promising me more.

Even though I didn't feel it. Even if it was hard to believe.

While my flesh rebelled, and my tongue lashed out, my spirit still sang, Holy, Holy, Holy. My spirit still sings Holy, Holy, Holy, when any prayer falls bankrupt.

Today, I sang the song again, but not in the confines of my closet where I'd hide my crying fits. Today, I sang it with the words in front of me, words that I did not realize were part of it.

Holy, Holy, Holy
Though The Darkness Hide Thee
Though the Eyes of Sinful Man Thy Glory May Not See

Oh how my soul had sung those first three words over and over like a skipped rock that sank into the pool at the third skip...potential and momentum lost...sinking deep into darkness.

Would I have found comfort in knowing that darkness had the power to hide Him, and would I have fought harder to escape it when blinded from His Glory?

Could it have been God's plan all along, to allow me to sit in the darkness, void of the Glory I longed for, with only the rubble that had been my life surrounding me, in need of being sifted through so I could find a new path to Him? One that was untainted by my opinions and biases and that shone truer His Power, His Love, and His Purity?

The more distance I put between myself and the rubble of my darkest season, the deeper I go, the bigger He gets, and the Holy declarations become more my heart's song than ever before, even if darkness is there, and I know the words now--Holy is He, and my soul sings it regardless of my mind. I've been given the next glimpse into more, and I believe it's because this is the time that my heart can handle the next words...when my heart had battled and discovered the truth behind them.

Holy, holy, holy
Lord God almighty
Early in the morning my song shall rise to thee
Holy. holy, holy
Merciful and mighty
God in three persons, blessed Trinity
Holy, holy, holy
All the saints adore Thee
Casting down their golden crowns around the glassy sea
All the cherubim and seraphim are falling down before Thee
Which wert and art and evermore shalt be
Holy, holy, holy
Though the darkness hide Thee
Though the eyes of sinful man Thy glory may not see
Lord, only Thou art holy and there is none beside Thee
Perfect in power, in love and purity
And one day, I'll sing these with Truth abounding:

Holy, holy, holy
Lord God almighty
All Thy works shall praise Thy name in earth and sky and sea
Holy, holy, holy
Merciful and mighty
You are God in three persons, blessed Trinity
You are God in three persons, blessed Trinity
Oh, God in three persons, blessed Trinity

(Holy, Holy, Holy, by Donnie McClurkin)