My son just turned four years old and has broken two bones already in his short, little life. Now before you clutch your pearls around your neck, gasp, and call CPS, let me explain. Ok, actually, I don’t have an explanation. Not a good one, at least. The first was when he was 18 months and he pulled a huge, flat screen TV on himself. The second, was earlier in the week. I’m not sure exactly what happened because I wasn’t in the room. He said he plopped down on the bed and his arm was straight, “and it just crumpled and collapsed.” (I already told you about his vocabulary). So off we went to the emergency room as I wallow in my mommy guilt. I listened as the Dr asked my son if he was home alone and I saw the inspection for more bruises. They were just doing their job but this just pounded the guilt even further in. Guilt is kind of my thing. That and anxiety. I am super good at generating so much anxiety that I can make a chihuahua appear calm. My guilt fuels my anxiety which puts me in this vicious cycle of insecurity. Guilt over not knowing what to do when my oldest is out of control. Guilt over my kids eating pizza AGAIN, while I’m sure ya’ll are over there feeding your kids kale smoothies and salad with non GMO, completely organic, 100% homemade dressing. Guilt over getting frustrated, again, for something I know is beyond my oldest son’s capabilities. Guilt that I try so hard, but can’t find the joy in the mundane. Guilt that I can’t always savor every moment even though I KNOW one day I will miss this age, this stage in life. Guilt over not being the wife that my husband deserves.
God and I have been talking about this a lot lately, more than usual. Partly because I’m in a bible study which demands actually opening my bible. If I’m honest, I find it hard to just pick it up and read it. I used to get so annoyed when someone was asked what their favorite book was, and with their (no doubt) kale smoothie in hand, would answer, “The bible, of course!” (Eye roll, they need to get out. They probably aren’t readers. I bet they haven’t read since Moby Dick in high school.) But really, I was just jealous I didn’t feel that way. That’s why I adore my organized women’s bible studies. Well actually, it’s three reason. First, I grow closer to God by prayer and reading His word (novel idea). Second, I get to hang out with other women and have adult conversation. No one is going to ask me to make them juice, or fix their shoe, or wipe their bottom (thank you, big J for that). And the chances of me having to referee an argument between two women fighting over who gets a turn with the hulk lego (the one with BOTH arms) are slim to none. No meltdowns or kicking or screaming. And when I have to go to the bathroom? I just get up and go…by myself. I will never again take that luxury for granted.
There is something really cool about a group of women getting together to high five Jesus. Our background, financial status, number of Facebook friends, heck number of real friends, parenting style, numbers on a scale, hangups, etc etc…don’t matter. We all come to learn, from the study and from each other. Even if you’ve never owned (or even opened) a bible, or just finished writing your sixth book (with your kale smoothie) about the life of Jesus, it’s irrelevant to the purpose of the meeting. Which brings me to my third reason. Aside from my own growth, I get to see others learn and grow and it’s a refreshing, beautiful process.
But back to my God talks. I am struggling with the fact that my anxiety and guilt are so prevalent and real, but goes against everything that the Bible stands for. Insert my anxiety/guilt cycle for knowing this but not being able to apply it to my life. I know that my identity should not be rooted in my circumstance, I get it. I know that my son’s cast or my neighbor’s eye rolls or my pizza dinners or my utter exasperation with my life as a mom, don’t define me. James says to “consider it pure joy whenever you face trials of many kinds.” Slow your roll, James. I’m not there yet. I can’t imagine I will be saying, “bring on the chaos and turmoil” anytime soon. But I know God can take the ugly, wretched, broken, steaming hot pile of mess that is sometimes my life and make it beautiful. He can turn the guilt and anxiety into mercy and grace and hope. But for now, for today, I will start little. I accept the fact that I am who the bible says I am. I will hold my head high in the grocery store as my child with his splint (cast next week) and my oldest are too loud and act like caged animals that finally broke free. I see your stares. But I’ll try to smile from confidence knowing I don’t have kale in my teeth. That goes for my children, as well.
P.S. I actually love kale, but you get my point;)