I Completely Lost It

woman cryingMy life was chugging along with freight train force overwhelm when the bottom fell out. I was halted. Thrown into the Twilight Zone by the most virulent virus I have ever experienced. I had never heard about or even fathomed the degree of annihilation my body could endure due to gastroenteritis that took hold of my stomach and destroyed me…for 5 days. I really needed an IV for dehydration but I am stubborn and fought on. But what scarred me the most through all this was how I completely lost control and ended up hurting my little boy.

As typically occurs every 5 minutes, my almost 3 year-old twins were fighting and whining as I was forcing myself to get them ready for bed. As I reached into the dyer for their pajamas, I discovered a diaper that had exploded from going through the washer and dryer. Again. Little gooey particles were all over the clothes. I sat on the laundry room floor about to cry when Ethan comes in to me whining about Hayden taking a toy from him. I screamed, “Shut up!!!” and slammed the door in his face.

I felt then as I still do now like I’m a horrible mother to say that to my beautiful child, the image and likeness of Christ. I caved into anger and collapsed. As a result of my weakness and failing, Ethan now says, “When you cry, Mommy tells you shut up.” Thankfully he didn’t pick up on the curse words I used that week too.

How did I get to this point? Is my spiritual house built on sand? Am I so distant from the Lord that sin and selfishness have overtaken me? I know I am not and will not ever be perfect, but this person I am today must change.

I NEED Him. I need to spend time in His Word to drown my poisoned thoughts and wash over me so powerfully that my heart is cleansed. To transform what comes out of my mouth from anger and darkness into love, truth, and light.

What dominates our time and thoughts? What consumes our attention and money? Is it God, His Will, and living the Gospel? For me it is not. It’s work and managing all the comforts, wants, and obligations of life. It’s so difficult to admit but I am painfully aware that I am a flawed being stuck in this present world instead of the Kingdom of God.

Matthew 6:19-21: Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and decay destroy, and thieves break in and steal. But store up treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor decay destroys, nor thieves break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there also will your heart be.

I don’t have a simple, easy answer to this struggle other than to stop. Surrender and put down the baggage. Strip every self-serving project away even if the purge burns you. Repent and cling to Him. He is the way, the truth and the life. There is only need of Him. Let life unfold completely in His hands. Lay down your own will and life in this world. What does it profit you to gain the whole world and lose your soul? (Mark 8:36). I had a glimpse of losing my soul – several over the past week – and I want to wash it off like dirt.

Perhaps God’s message in the Book of Job summarized in The Purpose Driven Life will help me start a new direction of positive thought and steer my efforts back to him…

He is good and loving

He is all powerful

He notices every detail of my life

He is in control

He has a plan for my life

He will save me

For patience and grace, dear Lord, I pray.

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The Secret to Strong Faith

Faith The seed of faith is a gift. It’s there for all of us, tucked deep into our hearts by the designer of love, the curator of all life. Like a baby, it needs nurturing to grow. How do you grow this delicate seed? Root it so firmly in your soul that hurricane winds will not blow it down?

The very first step is to ASK for it.

Luke 11:9: So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.

The Lord IS good and He will absolutely help you grow your faith – if you ask and let Him. But you can’t just randomly ask once or twice and expect your faith seed to morph into an impenetrable steel foundation overnight. Make it your prayer mission and your meditation every day, throughout the day. Ask fervently, consistently with the expectation that your faith will strengthen.

Luke 11:13: If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him?

My friend, know that faith is not an easy gift to ask for. It’s not a pretty package with a neat ribbon, sunshine, and cupcakes. There are growing pains, agonizing trials that will mold and refine the gift of faith.

The next step is to persist through the fire of trial. When the rains come, and oh will it pour, don’t let the flood drown your faith. Through pain and tears, I have angrily said aloud, “God, why have you forsaken me? Why have you left me?” You have no doubt experienced heart-wrenching moments like this of your own.

But please, dear friend, hold on tight to Him and trust that this trial is a necessary, blessed part of His beautiful story for you. Persist. Don’t give up on Him for He will never give up on you. Your seed can then develop into the unshakeable faith you will need to live a life of confident obedience and peaceful surrender.

What’s the reward and the point of having a strong faith? Just look at life without it. I am baffled by and feel such sorrow for those who have no faith. I see loneliness, hopelessness, and too many people bearing the crushing weight of needless worldly burdens on falling shoulders. Faith doesn’t make your cross any lighter, but it will make you strong enough to carry it with Christ. And as you become stronger, you can begin to offer precious drops of faith to others.

So here’s the secret formula for a strong faith: Ask for it every day, persist through the trials, and share it with others, especially those who have lost faith. Help them carry on for a day or even a moment.

My friend, where are you on your faith journey? Have you found strength in Him?

Tell Me The Truth

perfected in weaknessYou’re hiding it. You’ve got to be. Behind the perky façade that’s always managing parenting, domestic life, and work so well, you must struggle with something deeper. We were not created to be yoga pant-wearing, carpooling mommy clones. We feel deeply and can help each other heal and grow in faith. If we are brave enough to open up and share our real, raw selves.

The author of Momnipotent (p132) writes: “Remember that we are all editors…We see what other people choose to share about themselves, and what they choose to share, for the most part, will be their very best, their most flattering details, and those things they are most proud of. These are their exterior details.”

This makes SO much sense. If you have safe, cheery walls up around you and cover up your flaws, fears, and dreams, God can’t use you. He uses weak people with a willing heart. My friend, are you willing to open your heart?

2 Corinthians 12:9: And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me.

Consumed with serving my own family and chasing a myriad of other tasks, I treasure every opportunity I get to spend with you. Even if much of it is in silence or over the screams of my fighting toddlers. Please, I’m asking you to tell me the truth. I need you and I’m betting you need me a bit too.

Next time our conversation ventures into the realm of resolutions, relationships, fears, and dreams, don’t say, “I don’t know.” Your authentic voice is clamoring to find its way out. Uncensored. Real. Will you dare to share what’s bubbling below your sweet composed surface? I’ll share my heart, my faith – everything – if you want it. Sure it’s easier said than done as there is always the risk of judgment, but if we end up in a hug, maybe even releasing buried tears, isn’t it worth it?

I do not want to complicate your schedule or rope you into hours of therapy talk. I’m just asking for a few precious moments of truth. Your truth in a world that hides behind a nice clean home, perfect marriage, material blessings, and endless chatter about our children’s sleep, eating, and school behaviors.

Maybe I’m an existential idealist, but I would much rather talk about faith, strength, pain, transformation, happiness, and love. Whatever you feel, I have tremendous empathy as I have likely walked in similar shoes, have been seared with the same emotions. So my friend, I invite you into the heart of authentic love. Let’s be honest, deep, true sisters in Christ.