Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Running From God

Yesterday was a bad day for me.  In fact, to use the title of a children's book, it was a:

Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day.

Not the entire day, mind you.  The day began very peacefully.  It was almost like a Disney movie in Technicolor, with little woodland creatures frolicking around and birds happily chirping in the background up until That Moment.  That Moment when I lost my temper and opened my big, ugly mouth and let the verbiage fly forth, like those hideous winged creatures in the Lord of the Rings.

It started off as a simple trip to the bank and the library, but it ended in a War of the Worlds battle and we never did get to where we were going. Instead of responding like an adult to my two teens' constant bickering with each other and with me, I reacted like a spoiled, rotten child. I allowed my anger and my frustration to get the better of me and the vile, hurtful words just spewed out of me.  That's the bad thing about words....once you say them, you can't grab them back.  They just kind of hang there in the atmosphere for a bit, like a smelly green mist. And then they attach themselves to the minds and hearts of those who are the unlucky victims of the verbal attack, much like barnacles attach themselves to oceanfront piers....and they don't let go. There's no playbacks, no rewrites, no alternate endings in this kind of script.  Vocal arrows strike hard, their poison goes deep and does it damage well.

I stayed angry and resentful and hostile for the rest of the day.  Sitting out in our backyard, I hoped to calm down, but the opposite occured.  I just angrily boiled away, like a black cauldron of witches' brew, feeling and thinking things that no good Christian mom (or any mom, for that matter) should EVER feel and think towards her family. I questioned my maturity and my parenting skills.  I questioned whether I should have ever become a mother. I wondered if this is how Casey Anthony may have felt. And that scared me to death. So I shoved the thought far away. But still I seethed.

Later, my one teen, who is always the first one to come and seek forgiveness and offer forgiveness when I screw up, tried to do so.  And I'm ashamed to admit it, but I blew them off.  Told them I had nothing to say and to go back in the house and leave me alone, which they very quietly and meekly did.  It was at that precise moment that I heard the still, small voice of God encouraging me to come to Him, to talk to Him, to let it all out.  But I purposely brushed His voice away like one brushes away an annoying mosquito that keeps buzzing in their ear.  I didn't want to talk to God, and I SURE didn't want to listen to what He had to say either. I didn't want to hear about forgiveness. I didn't want to hear about anything.  I ceased listening. I ceased caring.  And for a time, He ceased speaking.  What a lonely, deafening silence it was.

Oh, I fell, and fell hard yesterday.   Do you remember back when you were a little kid, running fast, then you tripped and fell hard?  It felt like you had the wind knocked out of you.  Well, that's how I felt, only I felt like I had my spirit knocked out of me.  I didn't just take a few steps backward in my journey.  No, I went back light years, back to the wide path, back to the old me. And who should be there to greet me on that path but an old, familiar demon of mine: alcohol. I haven't had a real drink in years (a sip of beer here and there) but yesterday, the voice of the enemy replaced Jesus' and his was the voice I heard loud and clear, saying, "Why not? Have a couple of cold ones, who's gonna care? You know you'll feel better!"  And I wanted to so badly, just to shut up the stupid voice and to also stop the feelings of anger, guilt, shame and pain that kept rising to the surface. 

The battle inside of me raged for almost an hour. It was ugly and exhausting.  I wish I could tell you I had an epiphany moment and cried out to Jesus for help, and that I called on some of my godly gal pals for prayer support, as I always encourage them to do. But I remained silent. I'm great at handing out sage advice, obviously not so great at following it myself.   Thankfully, however, I didn't give in.  And I'd have to chalk that up to God's loving mercy and grace, in spite of my stupidity, my stubbornness and my silent treatment towards Him. The remainder of the evening, I kept to myself, not saying much to anyone, doing what I do best during times I act like a total jerk: I cleaned and decluttered portions of my house. I'm certain my garbage men will be thrilled to death when they pull up to my place on garbage day.  Tired, embarrassed, disgusted with myself and fairly depressed, I went to bed early.

Today is a brand new day. I wish I could report that everything is just peachy keen right now.  But it isn't.  My one teen again came to me to ask for forgiveness for the part they played in this nasty little scenario and also to say that they forgave me.  We have made peace, and for that I'm grateful.  When I humbled myself before my other teen to ask for their forgiveness and wanting to talk it over, I was met with extreme coldness. While they said they forgave me, their manner, attitude and voice conveyed a different story to me. It sickens me to know I've done some major damage to this child's heart and spirit. And I'm at a loss as to what to do, if anything, to reverse it. 

And God?  Well, I'm not proud to say that He continues to wait patiently for me as I do everything to avoid meeting and talking with Him.  Like a wounded, bleeding animal, I'm tearfully snarling at and running and hiding from the very One Who could help and heal me. And I'm not sure why. I am quite the prodigal today.  Struggling for control of my life.  Not yet to the point of brokenness.  Not ready to choose to make my way back into the forgiving arms of the faithful, ever-on-the-lookout Father.

Why are you striving these days?
Why are you trying to earn grace?
Why are you crying?
Let me lift up your face
Just don't turn away.

Why are you looking for love?
Why are you still searching as if I'm not enough?
To where will you go, child?
Tell Me where will you run
To where will you run?

And I'll be by your side
Wherever you fall
In the dead of night
Whenever you call
And please don't fight
These hands that are holding you
My hands are holding you ~'By Your Side,' by Tenth Avenue North

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