I jumped out of the way as one of my blue fiesta ware type bowls slid out of the dish drainer and on to the floor right in front of my feet. Stink! Not only did I lose one of my favorite bowls, but I also had to immediately do one of my least favorite chores - sweeping. I grabbed the broom and heard the boys debating in the next room about which bowl I broke. It was done in a jesting way, and it got me thinking.
Yesterday was a bad day for me emotionally. I have found so much freedom from falling into the pit of self pity and despair, but every once in a while it hits me over the head and before I even understand what is happening I am in full-on self deprecation mode. "I've failed my kids." "I'm a terrible mom." "If people knew the real me they would run the other direction." "What a joke that I am in ministry when I can't even spiritually fight for myself. " "I thought I was over this - that I had become more steadfast in this part of my life." Sigh...
But as I stood with broom in hand today hearing the boys laughing, I smiled. There would have been a time when they were younger that if I dropped a bowl and broke it they would have looked at each other with a worry that Mom was going to lose it. And if it had been them that did the breaking I would have spewed words of anger and shame upon them all the while crying and knowing that in a matter of minutes I would hate myself for being so toxic.
After cleaning it up I walked in the room and told the boys which bowl I broke and they laughed about who guessed correctly. Then I asked them, "If it was you that dropped the bowl, what would your first thought be?"
Both of them said basically the same thing I has thought - "Ah man, now I have to sweep." I asked if they would be scared to tell me and they both looked like I was crazy. Andrew said, "No, you would just say to make sure we really clean it up so no one gets cut."
And there you have it, friends. Growth.
This is not for a pat on the back. But sometimes we need to give ourselves a little grace and step back a little bit so we clearly see the way God is working and has worked in our own lives. Shawn and I have been purposeful in creating an environment to make our home a place where everyone - including our kids - can feel safe. Safe from the world around them, but also safe from the struggle within. I think going through things likes war and evacuation as a family has made up more hyper-aware of the putting words to our feelings, and watching our kids navigate those things while we felt helpless and unable to truly change anything put us on our knees a lot more than we would have liked.
But we don't need to be in emergency, life-threatening situations to desire a safe setting. The atmosphere of our house when my children were little was a lot more volatile than it is now. I tried to make it feel safe for others coming in, but my kids and husband got what was left. And that was not very much! Through the years though, the Holy Spirit has worked in me and healed me and given me the ability to filter thoughts as they go from my head or heart to my tongue (believe it or not!) and I continue to offer that to Him daily. My roots are deeper than they were, and it takes more of a storm to sway me usually.
I shouldn't be surprised that I found myself in the middle of battle unprepared yesterday. We started a study on the armor of God and I have found my heart diving deep into prayer since being here. Of course the enemy is attacking. He was just so sneaky and subtle I didn't see him coming. I gave in for a few hours and felt defeated, but was reminded anew today that I am on the winning side.
So today I hold my broom and broken glass and stand tall, ready to fight again. I woke up singing, "Leave behind your regret and mistakes. Come today there's no reason to wait." (Come to the Altar) I can see clearly the things I have to be thankful for, and that prayer of thanksgiving will be one of my most powerful weapons today.