gospel

Plans, Resentments, and Being a Mom.

Abe

A few months ago, I found myself sitting in my church office conference room, sobbing and speaking of feelings I didn’t know I felt.

Well, until that moment.

I couldn’t tell you the details of the conversation I was having with my pastor, because I honestly can’t remember what it was about. I know it was pretty light hearted and general, nothing too deep or major. But a few of Dale’s questions later and there I was, letting go of something and allowing a healing process to begin.

ANOTHER HEALING PROCESS. Gosh, it feels like it never ends, you know?

What grace.

For some reason I brought up my frustration over my son waking up so unbearably early (he gets up anywhere between 4:30 and 6 am), and my deeper frustration over why I can’t just accept that and be an adult and start my day. I shared how I struggled with wanting to be up at all, and how I would sit Abe on the couch to watch a cartoon, and I would fall asleep next to him.

I had identified  my sleep idol a long time ago, but this felt deeper.

I asked myself questions like, “Why am I ok with getting up at 5:30 in the morning to be at the first session of Catalyst, but treat my son waking up like it’s the end of the world?”

I shared with Dale that I love my son like I’ve never loved anyone else. I mean, I would KILL for this kid in a heart beat, no questions asked. I love him so much that I am in constant fear of failing him as a mom.

So how could I possibly feel this way about my son, and at the same time enjoy my life more when he is away from me rather than when he is in my presence?

Why wasn’t I happy to see his little face every morning, regardless of what time it was?

And then Dale’s big question came.

“Do you think you might have some resentments against having a child so early in your marriage?”

You know when you cut yourself really bad, but there are a few seconds before you look at the blood and you think “Oh, it’s probably not to bad.” Then you look down and find an unbelievable amount of blood gushing out, giving you a sense of reality and triggering the emotion. That’s when the crying or screaming or fainting happens.

Sometimes I don’t realize how bloody a wound is, or how deep a sin can be. And then someone asks a question, and all of a sudden my vision is clear, and I can see the blood.

This time, it made me cry. It made me cry so much, right in that room. It made me cry for weeks after that conversation, and is kinda making my cry right now.

Needless to say, the answer to Dale’s question was “YES.”

Abe came along about 4 years earlier than planned. We wanted to have great jobs established. We wanted to have several years of solid “married” time. We wanted to travel, and blah blah blah.

You get the point. It’s so incredibly selfish that I don’t even want to keep typing everything Daniel and I felt entitled to.

But instead, God gave us Abram Isaiah Webb. He gave us Medicaid and food assistance. He gave us a house to live in that looked like someone painted it with pepto bismol and used horse fertilizer to stain the carpets. He gave Daniel a job at a machine shop and me little things here and there. He put us back into Lake City, Florida. He spurred our marriage into honesty and sanctification, and I didn’t like it.

It was all just so overwhelming and so fast that I don’t think I really took it all in and processed it. Up until that day in the conference room, I was treating the past two and a half years, in regards to my family,  like I had treated past situations; with bitterness, apathy and repression.

Can I be totally honest right now?

Realizing that you resent your child and even your husband a little bit HURTS LIKE HELL.

So my initial gaze at the wound was not pleasant. It was gross, painful and heart breaking.

But in that moment, a spark ignited.

When heart and wound meet face to face, something begins.

Recognition. Acceptance. Mourning. Repentance. Restoration. New life.

The love and adoration I feel for my son now is unexplainable. What an undeserving gift God would give to me. Not to say I don’t have days where remnants of that resentment are uncovered. The difference now is that I recognize what it is and how to fight it.

Dale encouraged me to share this on my blog. I agreed with him that it was something I needed to share, but I wasn’t quite ready to put it down on the internet yet. The main reason being this: being a mother is the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do, therefore it is the area of my life I am most insecure. And in those times when I am drowning in that insecurity, I am crippled by the thought that other moms think I’m not cutting it. I also find it very easy to condemn other moms over their decisions, giving me the illusion of confidence. Maybe not always out loud, but most definitely in my thoughts.

So here it is, I’m laying it all bare. I resented my child for coming to early. I resented Daniel for being the other number in the math equation that equaled a baby. I lost my awe for God because I felt like He was wrapping grace and blessing in a very strange box, and I didn’t approve.

I’ve repented of that to God, but I also repent of that to you. If these resentments have ever made themselves manifest in the way I’ve talked or treated you, then I am sorry.

The truth is, I know almost nothing about anything with complete sure-ity (even when I act like I do). But I am starting to discover who God is, which gives me 100% confidence that I am not Him.

He is deep, He is wide, and He knows of and cares for every fiber that makes up who I am. 

Bits Into the Mouths of Horses

I’ve noticed something lately that leaves me both terribly burdened and deeply motivated.

As I read the constant stream of Facebook statuses and hear the things that come out of the peoples mouths around me, I’m reminded of an earlier time in my life. A time where I thought I knew Jesus really well, and God needed ME. A time of complete ignorance to my innate crookedness and my black heart. This was only 1-4 years ago, but I’ve been proclaiming “CHRISTIANITY!!!” for the majority of my short life.

During this season of life, I was constantly asserting my opinion into anything and everything that allowed it, and I regret to say that 99.9% of it was not of a redemptive, gospel nature. I didn’t know it at the time, but I think I kinda did. I didn’t care though. “Well it’s the truth, and if people don’t like it, oh well for them.”

How incredibly selfish.

How shamefully inaccurate.

I cringe at the reality that I probably hurt, isolated and destroyed a lot of people. This is the part of our walk with Christ, one of those awakening moments, that does not feel good. Oh, how greatly I need that abounding grace, and how grateful I am that it flows in streams eternal.

And I still do it on occasion! When my worth is in question, when I’ve been wronged, or if I’ve simply woken up on the wrong side of the bed, I can say (or type) something that the devil revels in.

When I originally wanted to write this post, I felt real fiery about it. That was a sign that I needed to wait a week or two. Continue to listen and be quiet, continue to receive grace. If I had written it immediately, then I most definitely would have committed the very offense I hate so much.

The reality is, I’m no better than the worst offender in this area. So, I say this with the utmost humility: if you call yourself a Christian, but your opinion constantly comes before others feelings, identities and salvation (or lack there of), then you are not promoting the gospel and all of the love, hope, justification and redemption that it brings. You simply aren’t. James 3 speaks for itself:

3 Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness. For we all stumble in many ways. And if anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle his whole body. If we put bits into the mouths of horses so that they obey us, we guide their whole bodies as well. Look at the ships also: though they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are guided by a very small rudder wherever the will of the pilot directs. So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things.

How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire! And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life, and set on fire by hell. For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by mankind, but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. 10 From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so. 11 Does a spring pour forth from the same opening both fresh and salt water? 12 Can a fig tree, my brothers, bear olives, or a grapevine produce figs? Neither can a salt pond yield fresh water.

13 Who is wise and understanding among you? By his good conduct let him show his works in the meekness of wisdom.14 But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast and be false to the truth. 15 This is notthe wisdom that comes down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. 16 For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice. 17 But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere. 18 And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.

With Jesus’ blood comes the death of our right to be right.

With Jesus’ blood comes the death of our right to assert our opinion and judgement.

With Jesus’ blood comes the desire to further the kingdom with a pure, peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere heart.

Is that what your heart looks like? If your not sure, read your Facebook statuses over the last month. Think about everything you’ve said since Monday.

How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire.

Deny-ers and Obsess-ers

There are going to be some days when I completely fail as a mother.

This is true for all of us, but what really gets under my skin is moms who don’t believe this could ever be so for them. Or at least they wouldn’t ever admit it out loud.

But it shouldn’t get under my skin, which probably means there’s a little bit of that “denial” in me too.

When we deny that we fail, we will stay in that failure, and the same goes true when we obsess over failure.

I usually lean towards the obsessing. I don’t like when I fail. I’ll admit that I do it, but boy does it crush me. It can get me down so bad that I don’t even want to get out of bed.

My fleshly pride is disappointed in myself for not living up to it’s expectations of excellence and perfection, because now it has nothing to boast about.

If you want, read that last sentence out loud.

Pretty vile, huh?

It’s true for you too.

Don’t think you deny-ers are getting out of this one. That same fleshly pride tells you that there’s no way you have failed, because you are just so awesome. It’s your kids or your husband that suck! That pride makes sure that vulnerability and confession stay far far away.

Go ahead, read that out loud too.

Cause that’s probably also true for you as well.

I know it is, because I know it of me. And at the end of the day, we are all the same human-y humans. Coming from a home where one parent denied failure and the other one drowned himself in it, neither of these is going to be good for your children. (disclaimer- I love my parents, and my mom and I are working on things together. At the end of the day, I’m responsible for my actions- no one else.)

Stop denying your failures, and learn from them.

Stop obsessing over your failures, and learn from them.

At the end of the yucky day, confess, repent, and resolve to start over tomorrow.

I promise you, your children (or spouse, friends, co-workers, team members, community group, etc) will watch how you handle failure. Use it as a tool for grace, learning and the gospel.

Its not even 10 yet. You still have time to start the day over.