I’ve sowed my wild oats. I’ve walked some reckless paths, and I’ve trudged through some dark muck – you know, the deeper-than-your-boots kind that fills your shoes until you’re dragging through life with what feels like 100-pound feet. And I’ve been the prodigal, sloshing with the swine one day and welcomed back to the fold with love and forgiveness the next.
Now, I am a wife and stay-at-home mom. According to outward appearances, I live a very moral life. But the funny thing is I feel more desperately in need of God’s grace now in my tame, domestic existence than I ever did when I raucous and reckless. Simply trying to hack it as a wife and a parent has made me more aware of the depths of my depravity that the licentious living of my past ever did.
You see, the sins that plague me now – selfishness, anger, pride – might not be as obvious to the people around me or considered as taboo by the church, but they are just as dark and ugly and real as drinking or sexual immorality or drugs or etc, etc, etc. And like little gnats that swarm your face and fly up your nostrils on an oppressively hot afternoon, they seem to manifest themselves in millions of little ways every day.
Merging my life every. single. day. with a man who thinks differently than me, does things other than my way, and has his own set of needs and wants inconveniently in competition with mine. Spending every waking moment of my day with precious little ones looking to me, learning from me, wanting my time and attention when I’m tired and want to be alone, and disobeying me when I REALLY meant it that time. When I loose my patience and say something unkind to my 3-year-old daughter and watch the tears well up in her eyes. When things don’t go my way, I’m looking for someone to blame and I mouth off to my husband and see his back turn in hurt and disappointment. Oh, there are what seem like a million opportunities every living, breathing second of my day for my impatient attitude, my self-righteous anger, my selfish desires, my secret, ugly wish for my OWN TIME ALONE WITH MY CELL PHONE to rear their nasty heads.
And they do. And they cut like a hot knife through butter.
Matthew 18:6 – I desperately do not want that millstone.
1 Corinthians 13:1– I desperately do not want to be that noisy gong.
Now, NOW, are the days when I really, truly see how much I need Jesus, how broken I am, how badly I want to be first all the time and at the expense of everyone around me. This season of motherhood and marriage that is both blessed and hard, both joyful and heavy, these are the days that I truly understand the greatness of grace, the kindness of our savior. These are the days that I deeply know that I NEED him. These are the days when I am desperate for him.
And, praise God, these are the days that he is faithful. He answers me when I cry out. He forgives me when I come to him broken, again, over that same sin, again. He gives me JOY – you know, the deep, deep kind – and hope that lifts me up, sets me back on my feet and makes me beautiful again (even when I haven’t found time to pluck my eyebrows in two weeks and I'm wearing the same pajama pants I’ve been trying to pass as real pants for the last four days). And, he restores what I have broken and rains grace – just buckets and buckets of it.
And just when I think the grace has run out, he showers me again.