I’ve locked myself in the closet. Don’t ask me to come out, because I don’t want to.
Not after today. Not after all the failure.
With seven more weeks to go in this sixth pregnancy I’m maxed out. Too many children. Too much housework. Not enough sleep (thanks to huge belly). A mysterious pregnancy-related UTI that won’t go away and a head cold.
I’m done, God. Thanks.
My eldest crumpled her sister’s artwork in anger.
That’s when I lost it on my kids. Slamming doors. Voice at the top of my lungs.
All because of a crumpled paper.
But to me it was soooo much more. I work so hard to keep my temper. I am constantly giving up things for my children. I give. I give. I give. I am a mom. Why do they insist on being selfish and cruel when I try so hard to be a good example.
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But then, I see myself. Out of control. Cruel. Despite my efforts.
And they are like me.
Imperfectly perfect. Sometimes they mimic the side of myself that I hate. Sometimes they succeed in doing good.
My daughter wilted under my comments. Her eyes saying that she wants to be good, but just wasn’t and that she didn’t know why. And I am broken because she is me. Wanting. Begging. Pleading. To be perfect. To say all the right things and do all the right deeds at exactly the right time.
How many times must I be this mom? This mom I hate?
But I’m trapped inside myself. Unable to get out until death frees me of the chains of sin.
I am Paul who says:
I don’t really understand myself, for I want to do what is right, but I don’t do it. Instead, I do what I hate…I want to do what is right, but I can’t. I want to do what is good, but I don’t. I don’t want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway. Romans 7:15,18,19
I sit on the couch weeping. Three little ones come bearing teddy bears, snuggles and tissue. And I know I am not worthy of their affection.
I call out to my eldest. I apologize. She knows. She’s not angry. Just happy I still love her. Which makes me feel all the more horrible.
How can you deal with the guilt you feel when you lose your temper? When apologizing doesn’t feel like enough?
Throughout the day she continues to tell me that she loves me. Tells me it is just my hormones. We laugh. And then I cry again.
Sure. Hormones. That’s an easy excuse. But the truth is: no amount of stress, strain, sickness or hormones justifies my actions.
My friend was scheduled to come over today, I called to cancel. Then called back and begged her to come anyway. During our time together, she told me that she has had many meltdowns during each of her six pregnancies.
I try to have grace for myself. There is no other answer than repentance and grace. I can’t go back in time.
After she leaves, I pack up the kids and drop the oldest four off at church. I only have the baby. He toddles around the house while I watch TV half-waiting for the moment I can put him to bed and have a few moments alone before my husband comes home with the other children.
By God’s grace, he is happy and diligently playing with a Montessori toy I pulled out for him. Finally, he gets up and goes into our schoolroom. I pull my whale-like body off the couch to figure out what he’s doing.
And he’s just standing there. Glued to the glass of the French doors. Watching something. I don’t see what he sees…until I do.
The simple beauty of a sprinkler going back and forth. The sun hitting it just right.
He is mesmerized.
I walk up behind him and he looks at me, grunting for me to take him closer. I don’t want to. The mosquitoes are out. But for him, I do. I place him on the trampoline and he walks to the other side, hoping to get a better look at the water glistening back and forth.
He looks back and smiles. Jumps a little and then stares again. Soaking in the beauty.
And this is life. Awful moments surrounded by amazing ones.
Life. Beautifully ugly. Hideously wonderful. All wrapped up into a single day.
I wish it were perfect. I wish I were perfect. But I’m not. I’m beautifully ugly, hideously wonderful…all wrapped up into a single person.
In the film God’s Not Dead, the philosophical question arises: How can a good God allow bad things?
And I love the response: He only allow evil for a time.
But one day:
He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever. Revelations 21:4 NLT
One day it will only be beautiful. One day it will only be wonderful.