No matter how I slice it, today was a bad day. It started with a wake up scream at 3:14 as Jamie was rushing Piper to the bathroom. Two words: projectile vomit. Enough said. Day two of our "escape from reality" included a healthy dose of reality.... there's NO escaping it. As Jamie played the role of bedside nurse, I took the other three kids out... feeling completely defeated. All I wanted... all I DESPERATELY wanted... was family time. The last month had been so incredibly stressful: friends and family coming in and out; frequent stays at the hospital; split shifts for me and Jamie during the night with my mom and during the day with the kids. We held things together the best we could but it was hard. Before my mom lost consciousness, she told me that she wanted us to take the kids to Florida after everything was said and done... her last parting gift to the kids. So, of course, we want it to be perfect... but projectile vomit doesn't exactly scream "perfection."
In the middle of the chaos, I had my first "moment." I went to call my mom, only to remember that I couldn't. In the middle of a crowded room, kids in toe, I held it together as I began to think about my parents: my dad died at 54 (three months before retirement) and my mom died at 64 (five months before retirement). In both cases, my parents threw themselves into work... looking forward to a time when they could retire and enjoy life, their family... a time that never came. And immediately my heart was grieved... because I thought of Jesus. I thought about how many times I've pushed Him aside... thinking that I would "get to Him later." How I haven't made Him a priority.
And even in the chaos of the day, God still shows mercy. I sit here now at the kitchen table as Piper lays in bed. I have a moment to myself... and I must admit that my first inclination was to turn on the television and "veg out." But I immediately thought of Jesus and decided to spend time getting to know Him better. And I have to say that the weirdest thing happened... like when you first get to know someone that you really like... I was excited to sit down and spend time with Him. It wasn't a chore... it was a delight.
Looking back on the past year, I get exhausted. It's been a lot... even for someone like me that works really well in chaos. Right now, I'm reading a book that's really challenging me: The Explicit Gospel by Matt Chandler. If you spend any time with me, you know I LOVE MATT CHANDLER. And the reason I love him is because he speaks the truth in such a way that you can't twist it into something it's not. I think this book is for people like me: people who grew up in the church but didn't REALLY know Jesus. And the passage I read today underscored that dangerous reality in a way that hit home:
"Be very careful about going to church, reading your Bible, saying prayers, doing good deeds, and reading books like this through anything but faith in the living Lord. Because the result of all that is belief in a phony Jesus and inoculation to the gospel. You can end up knowing the jargon and playing pretend. Be very careful. Watch your life and your doctrine closely (1 Tim 4:16). Some of you are so good that you've deceived yourselves. God help you." (p. 85)
These words have hit home to both me and Jamie. We think about how we were raised... by good (albeit, not even close to perfect) parents that tried their best, but who really just pushed upon us a moralist deity falsely cloaked in name of Christian faith. And God has pressed upon us the urgent need to do better for our children... our responsibility to be better for our kids because we know the truth. We owe it to them.... but more importantly, we owe it to Jesus. As I look back on the past year, I can only marvel at what God has opened my eyes to... and I'm so incredibly thankful that His mercy is made new everyday. Even on bad days... God is STILL good.