Today was a rough day.
I’m a blamer, so of course I’ve been focusing all my energy this evening on figuring out whose fault it was that today was rough. Mine? Ha! Never. Must be kid #1, she’s always pushing my buttons. Or kid #3, she was a hot mess all day, making messes faster than I could clean them up. But most likely, it’s the fault of that husband of mine who wasn’t even here all day but somehow telepathically ruined everything and interfered with my usually-impeccable Fruits of the Spirit. Yes, him for sure.
After making this determination, I quickly let him (and all the kids, just to cover all the bases) know how they had messed up and caused me to stumble in anger. It certainly wasn’t my fault I had yelled at them, it was their fault, their behavior warranted it. They just didn’t behave as well as they normally do, and so I didn’t react like I ‘normally’ do…
Sounded okay in my head, but God never lets me get away with this kind of thinking for very long. He waits until I have finished making a fool of myself and lets the flawed words reverberate a little in the silence as I’m walking away from my victims.
He is always a gentleman, that Holy Spirit. Never raising his voice to be heard. Waiting patiently for me to think of him, and to ask him for his thoughts. I always know I’ve done wrong, don’t we all? But I don’t want to hear it from my conscience til I’m good and ready.
So, tonight I thought I’d draw a bath and grab something to read while I soaked. What was nearby? A parenting book…pass. Don’t need that obviously. How about this sweet booklet Fiona made at Christmas time, titled “Names of Jesus”? Perfect.
Commence evening bubble bath of denial. I open the booklet to the first page, the first name of Jesus: Friend. The verse, Matthew 11:19, “He is a friend to tax collectors and sinners.” Friend to sinners. Friend to mothers who yell at their children. Friend to me when I don’t want to hear from him. Oh, Lord, I hear you. I was wrong, so wrong today, so many times. I made it all about me, was so self-absorbed, blaming everyone else for my own actions and choices. I don’t even deserve to read your Word, yet here you have come to me so gently to show me my errors. You are truly a Good Father, you are never harsh with me, you never use your strength against me, though you could. You are everything I want to be as a mother, everything I can never be without You.
I never welcome the sting of conviction when it comes, or the shame and guilt I feel after receiving it. But oh I welcome the grace He offers me, and the bear-hug that is forgiveness. The Bible says that those who are forgiven little love little (Luke 7:47). I have been forgiven of so much, used up more than my share of grace, and still He gives me more.
One of the tangible examples of God’s grace to me is my husband, whom I went to after reading the “Friend” passage to ask forgiveness. He, too, is always a gentleman. He is never harsh with me, and never rubs a defeat in my face. He never reminds me of past failures, but encourages me to grow to be better. He always forgives me. He reminds me of Jesus.
Maybe, just maybe, I won’t blame him next time.