Time of Need

This morning I apologized to God. “Oh, Lord, I’m sorry, but I need You again. That’s all I do, just need You, need You, need You. I never have it all together.”

And then I laughed.

Because I really was serious when I said it, but then God allowed me to see the absolute absurdity of my statement.

What, exactly, could I provide for God?

What do I have besides my very neediness?

When I think I have something—anything—I’m delusional. I belong in the spiritual nuthouse.

How interesting that I am most sane when I am at my most needy, when I see that I am a complete mess. And I am most INsane when I feel like I have some control, like I have things together.

The prophet Isaiah, when he was transported to heaven, said, “I am undone.” In the presence of the holy, holy God, Isaiah recognized his own true state of inability and lack. Our self-help culture would say this is an unhealthy mental state, that Isaiah needs to buck up, pull it together, and think positively. And yet God orchestrated this. He wanted Isaiah to feel (as other translations say it) “ruined.” It was only after this that He led Isaiah into a bold, powerful ministry. Isaiah’s un-doing allowed him to see that his source of strength really was God, that Isaiah was powerless on his own.

I want to see—more frequently and more deeply—the holy God.

These true visions will undo me, they will ruin me; but this holy God is also merciful. He tells me to call on Him in time of need.

And my “time of need” is ALL the time.

My Enough

The earmuffs are headphones, the pink shades are, well, shades," and the little man is pretending he is a disc jockey playing some tunes. One of our many "jam" sessions.

11/10/11  I yelled at Maddie this morning. No words, just a primal scream of frustration, eyes wild and wide (I was facing the bathroom mirror and saw myself). It was a “scream or throw something” moment. It was–horrific realization–a moment when I could imagine smacking her, hard. The scream scraped my throat. My ab muscles ached when it was done. Maddie, already in tears before it started, was, of course, in bigger tears when it finished.

I can make excuses: Dave’s out of town; I’m running ragged trying to get all six kids to the three different schools they attend; Maddie had another of her wailing, sobbing mornings because her pants actually touch her body and then the toothpaste stung her lip; I’m battling a cold that makes my head feel like toilet paper is scratching the inside of my ears. But. I. Screamed. At. My. Child.

There is no excuse for that.

I told Maddie I was sorry, I told everybody I was sorry (after all, they’d all heard it), we moved on, we eventually got out the door (though not without more grumbling on my part about hurrying and putting shoes on and getting out to the car), and we made it to our carpool location on time. But the morning felt ruined.

Before they got out of the car, I asked them if I could pray. “Oh, Lord, I blew it this morning,” I said. “Please heal my children’s hearts from the damage I caused. Please heal me. Thank You that You do not lose patience.”

“It’s okay, Mom,” Em said, and I thanked her, though I also said it wasn’t really ok. I held Maddie in a long hug before sending them off to the other van. I took Patrick to school, came home, and lay flat on my face on the library rug.

It took awhile to shut off my tumbling thoughts, to stop the battle going on in my head between penance and excuses. It took the Holy Spirit’s gentle “Shut up” for me to be still, to listen.

“You’re weary and burdened. Come to me.”

“You’ve confessed your sin. I am faithful. I will forgive and cleanse and change you.”

“You’re a new creature. You let the old, dead one rise up like a shrieking zombie this morning, and you sure didn’t seek Me in the midst of the trial, but I am still making you new. I will complete what I have begun in you.”

“Beating yourself up will not pay for your wrongdoing. I paid for it, and I will take care of it now.”

“How can you help Maddie with her clothing issues? Talk with Me about that.”

“I can and will make good from this. Learn more about Me. That will renew you.”

I lay on the rug for several more minutes, feeling limp but cleaned out, able to see more clearly what led to my zombie shriek.

I had gotten all my gears oiled and ready, scheduled this morning down to the minute, and thought of my children like cogs in a machine and myself as the master mechanic.

I’d begun to think, “Yeah, I can do this! A little issue here, little issue here. I’ve got it. I can handle it.”

Uh, obviously, no, I couldn’t. My system rested on ME, and I broke down this morning. Sooner or later I always will, so any plan that rests on my ability or character fails because I fail. I’m human.

Definition of human: “messed up.”

This would all be utterly hopeless if I did not have someone other than a human to rely on, Someone SUPER human, Someone good through and through, perfect to the core.

My God is the only one who does not fail. Therefore, He is the only reliable source of hope.

Only one source of hope. Not a whole bunch of systems and backup plans and “go-to” components.

It sounds a little like a pipe dream, like a machine that looks magnificent but doesn’t function. It sounds unreliable. It’s not enough to rely on.

But it IS—because the source of the hope is enough. Hope in God does not disappoint because HE does not disappoint.

Christ in me, the hope of glory. Christ in me, my All in All.

Christ in me, my ENOUGH.

Note: This was from last week. This morning I realized, with great gratitude, that we have had no tears about clothes for three straight morning!