Yesterday was the one year anniversary of our move to Chicago. It's a day I won't forget, driving seven hours across states in two different cars. Me with the kids in the "nice car" and my husband following behind in the "crap car," chock full of the few things we chose to take with us to temporary housing for two months.
I cried most of the way there, and my kids did too. I remember walking into the pre-furnished, two-bedroom apartment and biting my lip, trying to figure out how we would sleep - but let's be honest, that was a waste of precious energy: I had a 23 month old with night-terrors and a three month old with a predictable colic schedule, every night from 7 p.m. - 4 a.m.
This was the start of one of the lowest points in my life. I was three-months postpartum and my life had been in upheaval ever since my second entered the world. I felt alone and drained. Like I was an empty vessel asked to pour out more, and more and more, when there wasn't anything left.
I can't honestly say that I was alone in it all. People called me and sent sweet notes, my parents and in-laws even came to stay with me for a few days each. But it was the in-between that did me in. The unavoidable lull between each pick-me-up of visits, messages and calls. It was in those moments of being cooped up in a tiny apartment with nothing familiar around besides the clothes I was wearing and the toys at my feet that I broke.
During those days, I spent plenty of time dragging around a tissue box, lying on the floor or leaning against the walls (the furniture was incredibly uncomfortable) as I spoke impatiently with my kids, stared at them blankly while trying to figure out why on earth they enjoyed the banging sounds they were making so much, and said, "no," much more than I said, "yes."
But there were days, sweet, sweet days, where I cracked open my Bible in-between the sniffles. My kids rarely napped for more than 15 - 30 minutes at a time, and never together (Seriously, because of all the changes, they both went on strike for about a month.), so I read it aloud to them while they crawled all over my lap and tried to rip out the pages. I wasn't sure what would be best to read, so I often worked through the Palms, crying out for help in David's words.
I call them sweet days, not because I actually felt refreshed after reading the Bible and not because anything "magically" went better after the Word was read aloud in my apartment. Did you think that's where this was going? Because it's not.
They were sweet days because they were the days I chose to seek healing instead of brokenness, to be found instead of wondering lost, to apply salve instead of wallowing in my wounds, to be washed clean instead of remaining deep in the pit I was in.
They were sweet days because they were the days I chose Christ. They were the days I stood at the base of the mountain in the fog, waiting for God to come to clean me and mend me back together. They were the days that by only His grace, I stood knocking, like the persistent widow, insistent that he answer me, begging him to help me.
If you're hurting today, if you're in a low of all lows, I encourage you to choose Christ. I can't say that everything will magically be fixed or that you'll suddenly feel your burden is immediately lifted. We don't serve a genie God, one that looks at our small, failed efforts at righteousness and then decides if we will be granted our wishes. No, we serve a God much greater than that. One that recognizes our paltry efforts for what they are, worthless, but sent his Son, to make all the effort on our behalf, once and for all.
Which means we don't have to worry that we will never measure up. We don't have to worry about the fact that we spent all morning mournful on the couch while our kids watched too much TV. Or that we snapped at our toddler in a moment of frustration instead of showing him patience and grace. We have nothing to worry about - because of the work on the cross.
Because when we come to the cross, all is made new. We are not seen for the things we did five years ago or for the things we did five minutes ago. We are seen pure, holy and perfect - which honestly should blow your mind. And the beautiful thing is, we can come to the cross at anytime - even when we've had a crappy attitude for too many days in our tiny, pre-furnished living rooms in a brand-new city with our children crawling all over us.
In those moments of wondering what in the world is happening to you - your job is to take the first step of opening the Bible. To look at your heart and evaluate what it's focusing on - is it on you? Or The Great Work of the Cross? Is it on your problems? Or on The Great Problem-Solver? Is it on your hurt? Or on The Great Healer?
When you follow Christ, your problems will not automatically be solved. But when you turn your eyes off yourself and onto Him, you will find hope, healing and redemption. It may not come in just one morning of turning the thin, yet weighty pages of the Bible, but over time and in faithfulness, it will.
I am on the other side now. One year later and I see God's perfect plan to bring me low, then raise me up. I understand his purpose in those days I was wandering in the fog, desperate for any sign from Him that he still loved me. And now I know, He never stopped loving me. The thing is, He loved me so much, He let me go through it so I could receive the great privilege knowing Him more.
There is hope, momma. Make today a sweet, sweet day where you run to the cross instead of simmering in sorrow. These are refining, sanctifying days where all you can do is continue to be faithful, seeking him insistently and asking for hope and right vision in the midst of the fog. Let him do a healing work in your heart, as you grow in appreciation and understanding of how precious and wonderful the work on the cross is for you.
ps. A new episode of Risen Motherhood is live! Today we're talking all about the momiform - you know, what you wear every day as a mom. Does it matter? Does the gospel say anything about it? OF COURSE IT DOES. Head over and listen in.