Though the human body is born complete in one moment, the human heart is never completely born. It is being birthed in every experience of your life. Everything that happens to you has the potential to deepen you. It brings to birth new territories within your heart.
- John O'Donohue
His Prayer for Absolution
So shortly after the above photo was taken, I carelessly knocked my Nikon D50 off the kitchen table and watched in horror as the lens cracked off of the body, rendering my beloved camera … useless. For hours I sobbed. Months worth of stress, and some recent disappointments, swelled up and came flooding to the surface. The breaking of my camera brought on a gush of emotions I couldn't control for the major part of my morning. Luckily, the kids were all in school so there was no need for maintaining my composure. I finally cracked is what happened.
Praise be to God.
It is hard to admit to you that I got ahead of myself, forgetting, Lord Have Mercy on me! (though I thought I had the best of intentions), the "one thing needful." This was the fall, I'd decided, to really go for it – to pursue a career in writing. Along with that pursuit came late nights, mounds of ignored dirty laundry, dinners thrown together hurriedly at the last moment, the constant checking of e-mails, lines penned carelessly and ever increasing pressure to write more, to accomplish more, until my responsibilities as a wife and a mother started getting in the way of my best-laid plans. In some rather humbling ways, it was made abundantly clear to me that my priorities had gotten completely out of whack. I'd been burning the candle at both ends for what? What, really? I was ashamed and embarrassed to admit, while blubbering inconsolably on the living room couch, I'd gone too far. I'd put my desire for success ahead of my salvation (you know, ahead of longing to be patient, meek, gentle, in control of my impulses) and my family.
I've been reminded this past week that my salvation is a life-long journey – one in which truths unfold continuously, through my ups and downs, regarding my limits, God's mercy and the soul piercing power of love to bring me back around to repentance, and through repentance, peace. I finally know what I have to do: set up some serious boundaries for the sake of Troy, Elijah, Priscilla, Mary and Ben, and become extra vigilant about praying for wisdom and discipline in this area. I have been savoring, I have to tell you, the look of contentment on my husband's face when he comes home not to chaos but some semblance of order and a hot meal on the table, and when he leaves for work with his belly full of a real breakfast and a homemade lunch in his hands. By slowing down and surrendering fully my ambitions (and shutting down my lap top), I have undivided attention to spare and to invest in my marriage and friendships. I don't care how backwards or outdated it sounds, managing my house, equipping those I adore with the tools they need (healthy food, clean clothes, a tranquil home environment, a listening ear) to succeed in their classrooms and workplace is more satisfying than … well, just about anything else I guess. I'm sorry for losing sight of the fact that I am a mother and a wife, first and foremost (what a privilege!).
I ask for your prayers! I have no chance of finding balance (much less maintaining that balance) without Christ's unceasing intervention. I'm in the best place possible, I believe, an "aware of how in need I am of help" place. Isn't it so remarkably hopeful that our low points can become springboards for real growth and revelation? Yes, even while still grieving the tragedy that is my busted Nikon (sniff, sniff), I understand now, more than ever, that no set-back is in vain, and that God is good, and much, much wiser than yours truly.
The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases, His mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is Thy faithfulness. "The LORD is my portion," says my soul, "therefore I will hope in Him." (Lamentations 3:22-24).