"She Reads, She Paints, She Sets Things On Fire"

The only people who can believe in a God who says “Bury yourself” are the people who know they deserve to die.

He tells us to die and be made new, and I forget it’s a daily choice. I forget my cross carrying and start throwing myself a parade.
I was busy tossing candy at the commoners when someone poked a hole in my pride. Unnatural things took place. Fountain sodas flew, and so did car keys. Soon it was plastic gun, and a small voice saying, “I’m throwing things because I don’t like what you said. Mommy taught me.”
Mommies teach a lot of things.
He looks at me and asks me to promise, but promise is a glass word, easily broken, and I’m tired of breaking things. I close my eyes when he tells me he loves me. He tells me that I need to have grace and forgiveness for myself.
Bury it.
But, it seems easier to take my shredded pride and ride off into the sunset. I keep my eyes closed.
He tells me that the best thing would be for me to apologize to the boys, make them breakfast, show their daddy love. I’ve already shown them ugly, but what comes after sin?
It’s too hard. I rock the baby and mourn my shattered self image. I thought I was doing better. I thought I was better. He comes to me again and tells me that he doesn’t understand it. He’s been on the outside, and he’s seen the Christians, and they hide. He doesn’t understand why they don’t come out and say, “I’m sorry” and make it better.
I understand. It’s because we think we are supposed to be better. But really? We are supposed to be dead.
It’s morning and I open my eyes to the sunshine and I do the hard thing: I live like I’ve been forgiven.
O to grace how great a debtor, daily I’m constrained to be…


“Jesus came to cancel that written code that was against us and stood opposed to us; took it away, nailing it to the cross.” –Col. 2:14

20 thoughts on “"She Reads, She Paints, She Sets Things On Fire"

  1. Oh friend, “I thought I was doing better. I thought I was better.” I hear ya. Friday I think I uttered an eerily similar phrase to my husband regarding my attitude. Some days it is so hard to live forgiven, isn't it?
    We are not alone in this journey of daily choices. There are a community of us out there, aren't there? Blogging has shown me that, and He is using us, I believe, to encourage each other. Praying for you.

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  2. oh i've been there many times, having to ask my childrens' forgiveness. It is so hard yet so powerful, and in some way I can't fully comprehend. It helped them to understand their own need for forgiveness before God, and how to forgive themselves. Press on, friend. It's a marathon, not a sprint. xox

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  3. If I had written a post today, it would have included the very same line from the same hymn. Daily. Hourly. Minute-by-minute I am in need of grace. And He bestows it. Lavishly. Love you.

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  4. Oh, I love this. It is so encouraging to know that I am not the only one who has thoughts/feelings like these. I beat myself up for losing my cool with my 2 year old… feel endlessly guilty for feeling like some days I just want to run away! And like your previous post said, somedays you feel like the hardest job you've ever done is insignificant… it's not flashy or exciting and others rarely seem to validate all that you do. We all need the reminder that being a Christian doesn't mean being a Stepford mom… it's being a mom who chooses to live in grace.
    So great to catch up with you blog… Looks like our new little ones are really close in age. XO
    BTW, you inspired my post today.

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  5. JoAnn,
    I've been there too. Confession: It is a daily struggle for me to keep my temper and patience, especially now that I have 4. Latley, I've had the hardest time being happy. I know God is meeting me here and he will bring me through this again.
    Thank you for loaning that book and for your honesty.

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  6. JoAnn, yes, I thought I was better, too. Hot tears of shame has often been a part of my day. My anger is too, too quick.
    But also this, for you and for me:
    “My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. BUT IF ANYONE DOES SIN, WE HAVE AN ADVOCATE WITH THE FATHER, JESUS CHRIST THE RIGHTEOUS.” I John 2:1
    He IS changing you, He IS. And me, too.

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  7. Love that idea that we aren't supposed to be better, but dead to ourselves. Living like we're forgiven … that's a hard place to be find … only through confession. Thanks for sharing your heart!

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  8. oh honey, how i know this bit. not only do i throw my own parade, but i'm in the lead with that twirly baton, and off scaling those giant balloons, and i am totally hording all the candy for myself. it's ugly.

    the dying near 'bout kills me. (i'm sorry, i'm sorry, my cheesiness near 'bout kills me too.)

    love that verse from colossians.

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  9. you write what we all have lived. and isn't it a wonder that He loves us, so? that He loves us, still? mommys teach a lot of things, and one of the best lessons is this knowing how to admit failure and accept forgiveness. how to be perfected by grace, and not self-effort.

    oh, and kids know how to push those mommy-guilt buttons, big-time. “I'm throwing things because I don't like what you said. Mommy taught me.” ummm, yep, mommy maybe did, and maybe little boys know how to throw things, all on their own…

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  10. I read this before, and I try to comment, always, when I read the posts of someone I love and trust, but I didn't have words. So now I'm back (having reread), and I find I still don't really have words beyond: yes; and I believe in you and in Jesus, who lives inside you; and we're all fighting the same, tired mommy battle. You're choosing the right thing in living like you've been forgiven, but you're right: it's hard. Really, really hard.

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