|On my run this week. This picture has nothing to do with this post, but I liked it. So I'm sharing it.|
I am in another season of intensity in parenting. It feels like** every time I turn around someone is challenging my authority or being disagreeable, disrespectful, disobedient or sassy. The fact that I'm outnumbered 4-1 and that we have large quantities of quickly fluctuating pre-teen emotions adds to the chaos. I've been going through each day head down, internally chanting, "I will teach them to be obedient. They will be respectful, functioning members of society if I have anything to do about it."
(** DISCLAIMER: how things feel in a situation and the actual truth of the situation can be and often are two different things.)
I've been feeling spiritually depleted too. My assigned Bible reading has been taking me through Jeremiah, Lamentations, and now Ezekiel. While there are portions of beauty in these books, the majority of the text consists of prophesies of destruction against nations and people that rebelled against God. Not exactly uplifting, especially when I feel like every day is difficult. I am going through the motions of following Jesus but feel disconnected from Him. Kind of like when Curt's work schedule is so busy that we go for days coexisting but not connecting in any meaningful way.
All of these elements combined for the perfect storm this weekend. Curt and I had an uncharacteristic fight. The kind we used to have when we were newly married. I raised my voice and stormed off. Are we in Junior High here? How embarrassing. My epic failure and the shame surrounding it followed me as we headed to bed.
My problem is that I've been trying to power through this storm on my own strength. I will win this battle. I won't let him talk to me like that. I will get my way. I. I. I. It's so self-focused and self defeating. It's so wrong. But I was still too upset to really see things clearly.
|Jesus says, "I am the Light of the World. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness but will have the Light of Life." (John 8 verse 12)|
That night I woke suddenly from a sound sleep. It was like someone shook me awake. As soon as I opened my eyes the room appeared full of light even though in reality it was pitch black. I knew instantly it was Jesus trying to get my attention. I know it sounds cooky and I promise I'm not crazy. But God has been revealing Himself to me consistently through dreams and midnight awakenings in the past several months. It doesn't feel strange to me anymore.
I expected to lay awake and pray for the things God put on my mind but this time was different. In the bright light of that surreal, dreamlike state, I heard Jesus speak to my soul. The voice wasn't audible but the message was clear. "Invite me to join you." That was it.
As soon as the message was delivered, the light left and my mind got sleepy. I thought to myself, "You should get up and write this down so you don't forget in the morning," but it was so vivid I was convinced nothing would make me forgot.*
(*Note to self: put journal and pen by bedside to record things that come to mind in the middle of the night.)
The next morning, I could not remember the message. Isn't that ironic? I knew it was short. I knew it was powerful. I knew it would change my perspective on life right now. But I could not remember the exact words.
Later that day, as I was facing yet another blatant challenge from one of my kids, I asked Jesus, "What was that message? I know it was important. I know I need it." And then it came back. Quietly and softly. Not pushy or shaming. "Invite me to join you."
So simple. But the exact reason why I was failing so miserably. I forgot the entire reason I need a Savior.
Me on my own = failure.
Me with Jesus = success through His power.
Invite me to join you.
Last night I said out loud as I wandered the grocery aisle at Fred Meyer, "Jesus, I invite you to join me. In case you haven't noticed, I'm kind of a train wreck right now. Please help me. Fill me with your Spirit and help me to follow the way of love."
Guess what? Today is SO much better. I've been pausing a lot and saying, "Jesus? HELP!" And He has shown up.
My dear friends, Jesus cares about the things that matter to us. He COMES DOWN to rescue the people He created and loves. He runs TO us. Picks us up. Wipes away our tears of disappointment and shame and frustration. He helps us. Loves us. Saves us. Offers us an alternative to failure. He gives us peace and hope. Don't we all need hope?
But Jesus is NOT pushy. He sits and waits for us to invite Him to join us in the messiness of life. Won't you invite Him to join you?