Because they are when I am most teachable.
This morning started out rough. I was frustrated to start with because of lack of sleep. The Furacaoinha awoke at 7am and it truly felt as though my frustration became greater than my affection. You have to understand, this had not been a regular occurrence since…what feels like ages ago. I did begin praying almost immediately but I got nothing. In honest retrospect, I wasn’t really attuned to the Spirit because I was feeling a bit justified in my unwarranted anger. As though I was at least owed these few moments because, heck, I do a great job at maintaining my cool and blah blah blah. I can only sit and shake my head at myself.
At around 11am, I just felt stupid. Silly. Bossy. Meany. The whole morning I had been impatient and unempathetic. I owed The Furacaoinha an apology and explanation. I told her I was very tired and angry because I was tired and how I hated waking up so early and how I was sorry it seemed like I was unaffected by her cries. I wasn’t. I was just feeling selfish. And my selfishness along with my frustration was greater than my affection.
Her response? An understanding “Yeah” as she leaned in to kiss me. That was followed by “Huuuuh” (she has a tough time with that ‘G’!) and her little arms wrapped tightly around as much of me as possible. My little toddler showed me the heart of Jesus and in that moment I was so thankful that His affection for me is always greatest.
Then we snuggled close and napped.
There is Eden in my heart.
I am staring down the barrel of burn-out…if I’m not, in fact, in its throes already. And the only reason I’m afloat (albeit slightly) is because I have an open-door policy–so I’m not the Bible-thumping Recluse (as has been found throughout my bloodline, sigh). What I am is the quiet check-out line worshiper, thankful I can afford groceries to feed myself and family. I am the park bench praiser, amused and amazed at the little marvel that is my daughter. In the shower. In bed. At the desk. Watching TV. I have recently become fully cognizant of my contented humming every time I walk outside with my toddler resting on my hip. No, I don’t ever find the time for tea and devotions these days, but it’s okay because it’s that time at any time and all the time. AND THAT IS WHAT’S SAVING MY LIFE RIGHT NOW.
So how in the heck have I found myself surrounded by a very real and no-nonsense burnout? Because of my open-door policy. Parenthood is draining.
So I’m needing to mend this the only way I know how: Worship. And not my usual check-out line “Thank You, Lord” or playground “Hallelujah”….because that’s become ordinary, and ordinarily that would be just fine…but not today.
I need to go to my heart’s Eden. Where You are worthy to be worshiped not because of what You have done. Not because I am needy. Not because of any ulterior “when praises go up…” gravity spiel.
But because YOU ARE GOD. Because I know this to be true so far down deep in my being, that it’s primal.
And oh my…honestly, if nothing mends and burnout is still waiting for its supper and the piles of clothes still need to be washed…YOU ARE GOD.
And God, You are glorious.
It is past midnight. I feel frustrated and tired. The Kismet is still awake, unable to sleep easily. I know my little one is probably more frustrated and tired than I, but…still, I feel I have reached my limit.
“GO TO SLEEP DAMN IT!”
I can see her feelings are hurt. She cries and cries and I feel defeated.
“Do you want to nurse?” No.
“Do you want to sleep?” No.
“Do you want some water?” No.
“Can I hold you and we dance slowly and sing?” Yeah.
And we do. And just like that I am redeemed.
I am learning something that may prove too provocative for some. Nevertheless, it is drawing me ever closer.
“Not my will but Thy Will be done, oh Lord” frequently resounds amongst the largest congregation to the smallest prayer group. Collectively we, of course, lay claim to knowing what His ultimate Will is (or we pretend to know lest we find ourselves shamefaced before our Brethren). The importance of the Collective Body/Bride is for another day. The singular, very personal and at times intensely private walk with our Lord influences the Collective more than we think. And it is in this walk that we leave the comfort of the Collective to go home and repeat the same “Not my will but…” with a little less abandonment. And often with tears and an intensity that is so because of a secret, quiet resentment.
“WHY NOT MY WILL?”
And then feeling slightly ashamed at thinking something so decidedly un-Christian. But let me tell you, I found a Holy Respite while frazzled, ashamed, annoyed and sitting on my toilet. Right there–brushes and combs and lotions and creams scattered all about. Right there–mirror streaked, water spots from flicked toothbrushes, cat litter strewn all over the tiles. Right there, this drops into my spirit: “My Will is to shape and guide. To help you define your will within the confines of My Love and Mercy and Grace.” Holy Respite.
Thoughts of my same desires for my own little Kismet arose to further cement this truth. I don’t want her to be a Good Little Girl Automaton, irrespective of her autonomy. I want her to be Kismet, strong and free within the safety of my watchful eyes and comforting arms. I desire to guide her toward that which is good and whole. To aid her in the shaping of her will and desires to be most beneficial for her (and in turn the Collective).
I flushed that secret resentment and got up a little more free. Because He wasn’t asking me to relinquish my autonomy. My desires. My will. He was asking me to allow Him in. To edit. To fine-tune. To aid. All within the parameters of His Presence.
And there I love to be.
Lord, I’m saying I need You in this capacity.
And I started in the middle because something quietly terrifying and gripping threatens to hold me in its comfortable silence. So I have to force it out before I truly realize what I’m doing and LORD, I NEED A FRIEND.
I am tired. Soul disheveled. Hair unkempt. Hormonal. Daily battling the depression Your Spirit refuses to let me embrace. I feel alone and am wondering how on Earth You entrust me to care for–to guide–this precious and fragile gift. And I am sometimes afraid that my little child can see right through me and maybe thinks I am a fraud. Because some days, there is no happiness in here. But I love You, still. And I don’t know if that shines brighter than the Darkness Your Spirit refuses to let me embrace.
And I’m telling You that I want You, NEED You to be my friend. Because I am sitting down right now to cry over some gelato I splurged on. And I want You to sit with me and this extra spoon and tell me how much You agree that everything sucks but we have each other, this pint of decadence, and a movie.
I had written the above a few weeks ago and I remember doing just as I felt that I needed. Sitting on my couch and inviting Jesus to hang with me and my extra spoon. I sobbed a little. Maybe a lot. What I clearly recall now, is the feeling of relief. Like a long conversation with a sister or best girlfriend in which one does all the talking and the other nods. I felt Him listening to me, not offering advice or a “Word”…just listening and nodding. Right now, as I type, I am realizing that He understands that sometimes what we truly need is to take a load off. No unsolicited advice. No condemnation. It was a holy moment for me. I felt His tangible Presence and His appreciation of that extra spoon.
I am Celeste.
As much healing as I’ve experienced, I still have quite a few hang-ups. The more mature I become, the more the healing process seems to change–almost appears to slow down.
[Funny how we come all shattered and humble at first, then we get all been-there-done-that-no-longer-on-the-milk-of-the-Word Christian. Must I be broken to be willing? Oh Lord, change my piety to pliability.]
I just want to be open in this space.
I just may need a proverbial pillow to cuss in from time to time.
I won’t always be all polished and sanctified…in fact, I may never be.
But He never stops freeing me.