Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Lessons in Threes (and Lent.)

On the last book before naptime, Mom falls asleep and wakes up to twins' photographic evidence. Mom says she's just relieved they were busy taking pictures on her phone the whole time.

Lent is trending this year - right? I'm not a high order kind of person; my perception of our faith is basic and free, but darn if we non-denominational freebirds can't get in on some high order traditions that start with MAGNIFICENT ideas that will pierce your heart. (Like taking 40 days to repent and prepare to perceive the reality of what Christ did for us leading up to the celebration of His resurrection.)

I've been participating in this easy to follow Lent study at She Reads Truth, and it has been timely for my soul. There have been a lot of changes up in the Hill huddle, with Daddy getting ready to exit grad school, a plot-twist of a job search, and with these new-found three-year-old identities.  Actually, they've been hard for Mommy lately. Lots more "I do it," and "I WANT to!" around these parts, and while I'm battling that seemingly ever-present attitude up-in-my-face all day, much bigger questions about what God is doing on the job front and where we'll settle are constantly in the back of my mind.

Let's start with the 'tude: I'll just tell you, my boys, the new "I know better" attitude around here is killing me - admittedly, a little bit because this Mommy craves control. But these days, it's like your sense that I know what's best, and I want what's best for you, is waning. You second guess me. You suppose I might even be keeping the good stuff from you. Often. And it's frustrating. Sometimes, it's even hurtful, but not because you are doing anything outside of the perfect natural order of new three-year-olds... The sting is that once again, you've pointed me to my own heart - to my place as daughter of The Creator King, and shown me how very three-year-old I can still be. You've made me stand on the other side of my own questioning, balking, not trusting... The Lord I love most endures this so frequently from me right now, and, (poetically?) I'm walking out how difficult it is, as you, little loves, are asserting your own will, to not just snap at you because I KNOW BETTER! So at the beginning, middle, or end of each day, (or days like yesterday, ALL THREE), I try to get my stuff together. I'll briefly pray about keeping my cool, having patience that's beyond me - shoot, more often than that I've been trying to make realistic lists that will empower me to refrain from any reactions that don't make my pre-approved list! Guess what... NOT WORKING.

Lately, I can't escape the reality of my own failure. Praying as I get up, losing it at breakfast. Making a list before lunch, straying from said list before nap time. But beautifully, seeing the reality of my sin has helped me see the truth of my salvation.

Take this little instance from today... In real life, filtering nothing, here's what happened:

During nap time, I was processing an event from earlier in the day, saying something like... Self? Why don't THEY (whoever they is) just ask those of us who clearly KNOW to speak out on the topic (which was ironically related to parenting)...  I started imagining my dream "Today Show" interview, where my look was modest and fresh, my words were wise and smooth all of which was going splendidly until I was rudely interrupted by my toddlers in the next room who were getting up from their beds at naptime after specifically being told not to for the THIRD time, which is when I stormed in there and yelled so loud it hurt my voice.

*hangs head*

I walked out of there a little shocked at myself, and after cooling down and feeling pretty mortified at such an eruption, I went in to apologize, and had to do it to one sleeping toddler, who'd fallen asleep within five minutes, to the memory of his Mama LOSING HER COOL all over him. Heartbreaking. I had to whisper my apologies and truths to his little sleeping self, hope he could feel the sincere Mama kisses on his cheeks, and trust the Lord to make his dreams peaceful ones, despite me.  

I still felt sick until he woke up and we could talk about it. The talk was good, and it made me feel better, but my words were not erased, and the damage was not undone.

And so it comes back to this: We just can't. WE JUST CANNOT be as good as we want to believe we can. I've been reading lots of the cries of the Israelites and other followers of the Lord, and they sound just like mine- Lord, if You just deliver us in this way, if You just help us with this one thing... (and so quickly the end of the plea becomes) ...Then WE! WE can. WE will! But ya'll... WE WON'T! We don't!! It's tragic and painful, and... it's true. Through all of history. Through my friggin morning. Despite man's best efforts, WE JUST CANNOT STAY GOOD. We need help. And more than each other. We need the divine. We need a Savior.

And He came. I recommend to the highest of highs spending time looking at the days leading up to Jesus' choice to die on the cross. I challenge you. Who could dream up this Savior? Divinity that walks in our shoes, has mercy on us, even offers Himself in our place. And what other way could there be for us to be connected to the Holy of Holies? What could better fulfill the longing in my heart, than to know and be known by such a Savior? I'm looking forward in a new way to celebrating and sharing in the fact that after laying down His life in my place, Jesus lives, and He has made a place for me.

Until then, I'll be busy trying to curb the three-year-old in my own nature, and to stay awake at least until the twins' naptime. If you have other advice for navigating the waters of THREES, I'll be happy to hear from you in the comments...


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