Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Jesus in my bathroom

I sat on the edge of the cold porcelain bathtub. Hot water pounding out of the shower head into the empty tub. Steam slowly filled the bathroom.

I rocked Jude and prayed the warm misty air would soothe his lungs and offer some relief.

Why does croup always hit in the middle of the night? Why does it have to steal my sleeping babe and replace him with a barking seal imposter?

My 17 month old fussed and fidgeted on my lap. He held my hairbrush and his brother's lime green squirt bottle until he chucked them on the floor in protest of being sick and tired.

My heavy eyelids begged to close, but Jude needed a few more minutes of steamy therapy.

So I began to sing.

The usual soothing bedtime tunes...Jesus Loves Me gave way to Gentle Shepherd which ushered in a chorus of As the Deer.

Then without a conscious thought or decision, I found the words of Silent Night pouring from my lips.

Silent night. Holy night. All is calm. All is bright.

Jude's little jammied body snuggled into mine and his breathing settled.

It was barely November and Christmas was hardly on my radar. But there in my steam-filled bathroom with dingy grout and a pile of little boys' discarded dirty clothes crumpled on the floor, the words of this classic Christmas carol washed over my heart.

I imagined how the air in that stable where the Christ child was born might have also been thick and steamy from the sweat of labor, the hot breath of animals, the stench of manure. I thought about how this sweet melodic song was really depicting a story that, to the mother living it, could not have been nearly as picturesque as our postcards and nativty scene figurines might make us believe.

I have given birth three times in a hospital (twice with drugs) and, let's be honest, it was not a pretty picture. How might my new mother horror have been magnified had I been laying on dirty straw instead of a sterile hospital bed with my virgin-delivery husband catching my babe instead of a seasoned doctor?

Silent night. Holy night. 
All is calm, all is bright. 
Round young virgin, mother and child
Holy infant so tender and mild
Sleep in heavenly peace! Sleep in heavenly peace.

After the chaos and confusion of birth there was this Holy child. A Holy child whose presence must have masked his mother's pain, who made that smelly stable holy, too.

Heaven's peace filled that otherwise ordinary space. 

Glories stream from heaven above
Heavenly hosts sing Hallelujah

And God whispered to my heart,
I love you. I am here, filling THIS musty, ordinary room. My heavenly peace is available to you, too. I am Holy. Praise me for my holiness!
I didn't want to be pulled from the comfort of my cozy bed and restful slumber to care for a sick child. But, oh, what a gift it turned out to be!

Because there in my steamy bathroom, Jesus showed up.

And my heart was filled with joy. Not happiness for circumstance. But joy for Christ.

Silent night! Holy night!
Son of God, love's pure light
Radiant beams from thy holy face
With the dawn of redeeming grace
Jesus, Lord at thy birth.
Jesus, Lord at thy birth!

Monday, November 4, 2013

Wiped Away

Do you ever feel like an entire day of good parenting is wiped away by one bad mom moment?

The homemade wholewheat and oatmeal chocolate chip pancakes for breakfasterased.

The living room fort you built, the sprawled-out jigsaw puzzles you guided, the choo choo train you constructedvoided.

The way you kept your cool when you discovered the four year old had stolen gum out of your purse and distributed the sweet and sticky treats to his brothersundone.

The wrestling and cuddling, the singing silly songs while dancing delirium until little boys wrapped round your waist squealed in delight, the lunch making and floor sweeping and diaper changing, the giving children quiet playtime so they could see you quiet your soul to commune with your Saviorever feel like ALL of it was negated by one negative moment?

If you have, you're not alone.

Because today, that's how I feel. 

I feel like it was all for nothing because in one moment where the baby was screaming because I wouldn't let him stand on the arm of the couch and his biggest brother was sulking over not being allowed to watch another show and then the middle one tried to pick up the screaming baby around the neck and he wouldn't release his headlock vice grip when I sternly instructed him to LET GO, in that one moment, I lost it.

The yell vibrated from my belly and the anger shot fiery darts from my eyes and I put the child with the big deer eyes roughly on the couch and told him over and over how bad and dangerous and mean that was until hot tears were pouring down his satin pillow cheeks all flushed with shame and fear.

And then I cried, too.

Cried I'm sorry, please forgive me.

Cried it to my son. Cried it to the Son.

Elias wouldn't let go of his brother quickly enough. And I was too quick to let go of my God.

...Recently I wrote about grace. How all the sweet and meaningful blessings that fill up our days are God's sweet grace in our lives. But the thing is, grace is not just about the blessings. It's also about the belonging. 

Grace is God never letting go.

I felt like all the good and fun, precious and purposeful moments in my day were wiped away by one moment of rage.

But thankfully how I feel isn't always what is true.

Because the truth is, what's really been wiped away is my sin. And He remembers it no more.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Five Minute Friday: Grace

It's seeing 49 pop up on the airline scale when 50 lbs is the checked-bag limit.

It's dying to read her story because you couldn't get it out of your mind, and then finding the divine tale among the treasure loot in the best swag bag--the perfect airplane reading for the twelve hour journey home.

It's being convinced that the red and black stowaway crayolas ruined an entire load of laundry and then finding a post about how to get the crayon out and the crazy method actually worked!

It's your husband coming home early on the one afternoon he had to himself because he knew that boys smashing raw eggs under the dining room table made you come undone.

It's tears of joy over an ordinary trip to Costco turned extraordinary.

It's losing your mind to brothers bickering and then catching the biggest one cuddling the littlest.

It's praying for two years for the perfect house, the bigger house, while trying to be content in the smallness where the baby has to sleep in the bathroom because there's just no other room... and then once content, receiving the home long desired.

It's hearing the raspy words birthed from the three-year-old's soul that "You're my bestest mommy ever"--words that don't remember you lost your patience at all things boyish and yelled at those sweet boys.

It's clear blue skies and warm October breezes. 

It's baby eyelashes long and dark. It's afternoons swinging with friends in the park.

It's hot peppermint tea and the Word in a quiet house.

It's a friend who really knows even though you're just getting to know her.

It's hot showers, water pounding calm down your back. It's Jesus standing in the gap for everything you lack.

It's every time He makes beauty out of the mess, every time He gives more when you deserve much less. It's the light when you thought there would only be dark. It's the gift that gives joy's fullest spark.

Grace is cream in my coffee. Hugs tight around my neck. It's being okay with being a wreck.

 Fall leaves in every autumnal hue. Forgiveness for me. Forgiveness for you.

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This post is part of Lisa-Jo's fabulous Five Minute Fridays. Come check it out.

Five Minute Friday