My thoughts, my emotions, both have been such a jumbled mess lately. I feel torn in a hundred different directions and I find myself drawing inward, seeking grounding in this quiet inner place.
Part of me is reaching out, longing for stronger community, deeper connection, sincere and lasting relationships. Another part of me is drawing away, deeply hurt by other relationships, the desire for reconciliation warring with the desire to give in to the sadness and hurt and anger. Another part of me is frustrated that my desire for community and connection is so often thwarted, whether by circumstances or people or even myself. And still another part is quietly reminding me that while relationship is a good, God-ordained thing, my ultimate fulfillment must come from God alone.
I feel angered by the church, disgusted by twisted doctrines and misplaced priorities, repelled by the false humility, saddened by so many misunderstandings of God and Christ and what it all means. I long for more opportunities to serve Him, to speak of His irreplaceable Love, to fellowship with those who are sincere and beautifully imperfect, those saints who are covered in the blood of Jesus. I am wooed by my first Love, called back even as life tempts me away, and yet desperately clinging to the One truth, the One unfailing, the One unchanging, the One righteous.
I feel blessed beyond measure for what I have been granted in this life, these two boys. The weight and privilege of their upbringing bring me equal parts joy and terror. I feel confident one moment and overwhelmed the next. I want to be here for them when they need me; I want quiet moments to myself; I want time with my peers and my peers alone to develop and strengthen those soul-lifting friendships. How can I be everything to everyone, even myself?
My heart hurts for the sins and tragedies of this world. For those who are abused at the hands of another. For the children who grow up watching it, later becoming the abuser and the abused, always the cycles, those sins of the fathers! For those families torn apart by divorce. For the shocking cruelty humans can show one another. I long for Jesus to return, to wash this world of its sin.
My house began to reflect the chaos within. Odd how those habits which take so long to create can be dropped so quickly, dishes piling up, floors unswept, washing machine sitting idle, mornings beginning as untidily as they ended the night before. Interesting, too, how such outward chaos only feeds that within, not only for myself but for the rest of my family.
Again, always, it comes back to one thing: deliberation. Living with intention, with purpose, fully present in the moment.
And so I pull us back towards peace.
I clear away the clutter, climb back on top of the housework, and once again witness the calming effect that order and simplicity have on a family. I remind myself of the influence a mother has over her household. If I turn myself over to idleness, the rest follow suit. If I speak harshly and am quick to anger, my attitude is adopted by the rest. If I choose that which is easy over that which is good, I lead the rest down the same path. At times, this responsibility lays heavy and threatens to overwhelm, but I know that I must shoulder it nonetheless.
I begin to shape our days into a comforting routine. The go-with-the-flow infant days are over; my antsy preschooler and his distractable mama need a rhythm we can flow with through the days. A predictable beginning, middle, and end, with room to wander as life leads us, will lend stability and peace to our lives.
I return to my first Love, beginning our days with physical food followed by the living bread of God's Word. I sip tea from my favourite mug, warm under a blanket, and murmur the words aloud. My young audience comes and goes, sitting near me to listen for a while, then running off to play, soon back again to hear more.
It's not the quiet time I once knew, but I'm learning to work with this new reality.
"'The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge. He is my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.' Baby, I see you crawling towards the stairs..."
*excited baby squeal*
"'As for God, his way is perfect; the word of the LORD is flawless. He is a shield for all who take refuge in him. For who is God besides the LORD? And who is the Rock except our God? It is God who-'"
"Help, I'm stuck! Mommy, let me out, I'm stuck!"
"'This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God. After this, Jesus and his disciples-' No, sweetheart, the baby can't have one of your candies."
"But I wanted to share with him!"
Such is life, my life, and I praise God for it - for these two adorable little "interruptions", for the guiding light of His Word, and for His peace that passes all understanding.
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. (Romans 15:13)