New Mercy

I was so thankful to see the sun this morning.  I took the dog from our still-dim living room into the bright yard and felt such relief. I needed a fresh start today.  I needed the picture of Lamentations 3 alive in front of me ~ This I call to mind, & therefore I have hope…The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; His mercy never comes to an end; they are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness! (vs. 22-23)

I had a parenting meltdown yesterday evening… the kind where you find yourself yelling at your kid in a voice you barely recognize, crying as you scrub a floor on hands and knees, and telling yourself it’s time to re-invent your entire personality to become a better kind of… well, everything.

It used to feel like I was trying to juggle all the balls of what matters to me;
these days, it’s more like I’m in a giant ball pit and I’m doing what I can to keep my head above it all.  Yesterday, I was depending on my own strength and abilities to handle it all… and it did not work, full stop.

My old inclination would’ve been to hide from anyone and everyone after a meltdown like this.  But one thing God has been teaching me (a hard lesson for me, and a long story for another time) is the power of NOT hiding.  So I went to band practice anyway and I didn’t pretend like it had been a normal day.  I talked to people I trust about how sideways it all went.  I talked to my husband.  And…
I found understanding.  I found encouragement.  And, watching the lyrics in front of me, I found reminders I needed like  “there’s a grace when the heart is under fire/another way when the walls are closing in…” …which made me think of the scripture I’d read JUST THAT morning (and written in my journal!) about the energy and boundless strength we are promised in Jesus.  Just being in the presence of Truth calmed my heart and silenced the condemnation in my ears.

Our hands are so full these days.  We aren’t going to get it all right.  There are days when we will mess up, not get things done, yell at our kids, et cetera,
et cetera.  What I’m saying to me and to you is that if/when this happens… first of all, you’re not alone.  Not one of us is perfect.  Not one of us has it all together.  My brain was telling me yesterday that “EVERYone else is doing it all with ease!” as I listed my flaws, but that’s just NOT true.

EVERYone has their struggles.  We are not somehow defective or less than other people when we mess up or feel overwhelmed.  We’re all a work in progress… and being okay with being in process gives me the freedom and space to grow and to be honest about trying… even when I fail.

Secondly, we have to be careful about the voice we listen to in these moments.  The voice of condemnation?  That is the enemy of your heart, trying to keep your spirit defeated.  The one kicking you when you’re already down is NOT the voice of the Father.  I had a whole spiral of “I can’t… I failed… I should just give up everything I’m doing…” ~ which is the scheme to steal from our lives and our purpose, right?  This is entirely different from the voice of conviction, which is the Holy Spirit showing us where we’ve stepped out of alignment with Him… AND how to find our right place and right attitude again.  The Father’s kindness brings us to repentance (Rom. 2:4) where needed and tells us to try again because His mercies are new every day, to forget what’s behind and press on.  His voice invites me into a new day, new chances to change and live like Jesus even in the messiest of moments.  He doesn’t leave us where we are.

And that’s my third important decision ~ the onward! moment.  Because it is eeeeeeasy for me to stay in the spiral, to focus on what’s wrong, and get stuck there.

But the sun rose this morning.  And new mercy has already been given to me… so I won’t stay in yesterday’s defeat, because that’s not who I am anymore.
This is the mystery and gift of grace ~ we are made new and covered by the righteousness of Jesus.  He helps us.  He holds us, ball pit and all.  He prays for us (which I will never get over how amazing that is).  He makes us more than conquerors over all these things(Rom. 8:37) … gives us the vocabulary of yes and amen and possibility when our natural inclination is no and ‘I can’t’.  So we move forward, into a new day with fresh mercy.

We’re in this together through the ups and downs ~ you and me, family ~ and
He is with us, too.  He stays, whether we’re standing in the sunlight or crying on a bathroom floor.  Our hope is in the faithfulness of His steadfast love and grace, through everything.  The chorus of that song I quoted earlier goes like this and I’m keeping its truth close today.  I hope you will, too.

“There is another in the fire
standing next to me.
There is another in the waters
holding back the seas
& should I ever need reminding
of how I’ve been set free,
there is a cross that bears the burden
where another died for me…
& should I ever need reminding
what power set me free,
there is a grave that holds no body
& now that power lives in me…
& should I ever need reminding
how good You’ve been to me,
I’ll count the joy come every battle
’cause I know that’s where You’ll be.”

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