In a household of six people, a crazy cat and a couple of corgis, things get broken, as you might imagine.
Currently we’re operating on a reduced supply of drinking glasses and we’re down a couple of place settings.
Chips. Cracks. Shatters.
I keep what I can to be super-glued. I place spare handle parts in the mugs, collect the broken pieces and when I have the extra time, I take to mending broken things.
It’s not common in our consumer-minded society to repair, but instead, we rush to replace. We don’t darn socks or sew seams or patch knees worn through on jeans. We toss them and go to the store.
But when something gets broken, like that ceramic birdy-shaped cream pitcher or one of my favorite robin’s egg blue mugs loses it’s handle, I step in, super-glue in hand, to repair the damage everyday life inflicted upon my favorite things.
But today, as rain pours from the sky and my back and legs ache from lack of sleep, my mending efforts seem paltry, impotent even, against the forces that break trust and leave eyes puffy from tears and hearts sore from the loving.
Because my favorite things aren’t things, but people.
I cannot mend, cannot seal the cracks, cannot repair the broken places or worse, keep the Liar from sneaking in through the broken places whispering shame. My hands are empty and lay upon my lap, or rub my forehead for the hundredth time, or busy themselves with distraction. But they cannot mend.
So many years ago, when I had fewer children, less experience in life, my only daughter at the time broke one of my china bowls. I was angry; she felt bad. I sighed deeply and decided the bowl wasn’t worth more than my little girl’s heart. A few minutes later, she runs into the room with a bottle of school glue.
“I’ll fix it, mommy,” she says, “I’ll glue it!”
And she was small, so I could gather her in my arms and hold her on my lap. I gently removed the glue bottle from her hands and told her it wouldn’t work. The glue wasn’t strong enough; the pieces were too many and too small. No glue could repair the dish. And we were sad together. But I gazed into her dark eyes and affirmed her idea, thanked her for trying.
I told her she would always be more important to me than dishes.
And last night, when truth broke through the filmy veneer of deceit, we all felt the splinters.
And I’ll tell you mammas out there, and daddies, too, you never stop breaking into pieces. You will always be surprised by the intensity of the battle you must fight for your children.
You will always clamor for more grace, scramble for wisdom, stand in the gap no matter how shaky the ground feels beneath you. That is, if you know what your mission is.
So we were battling the lie but not our little liar, seeking the truth, flipping through pages on the iPad, looking for signs – any signs – that we could trust her, our youngest girl. And with every question we posed, her response was yet another lie.
We’ve been here before, this place where small fissures of dishonesty that lay beneath the visible surface break wide into yawning chasms. And every time we’re there, she panics and curls into herself and looks, to me, like Eve. Grasping at leaves, looking for a cover-up, afraid and insecure and panicking.
Eve and her lost innocence.
I have to be honest. I’ve never much liked the story of the fall of mankind in Genesis. It’s symbolism and storyline, it’s slippery characters and magical trees reek of mythology to me. Always has. Yet there it sits in its ancient truth as the beginning of the end and the inception of redemption.
Without the failure, there is no grace.
Without the lie, there is no truth.
Without the fear, there is no hope.
Without the breaking apart of all good things, there is no chance for redemption.
And I am ruined all over again, picking splinters of our broken relationship from tender skin. My heart whispers again, as it always does in times like this, “Thank you God, that I am here, seeing her through to maturity.” Because I nearly died, almost exited this earth and had that happened, my children would have no mother, my husband, no partner in this task.
This morning, we’re all soul worn and covered in battle wounds.
She’s sleeping it off, because weeping indeed endures for a night, but joy comes in the morning.
It isn’t all better in the morning, just infused with light, cleaned by the rain and symbolized by a clean, open square on the calendar.
And I am listening to the dripping and the drizzle and the soft rhythm of her breathing and I remember my God-given mission, and the primary role and work I have as a parent:
2 Corinthians 5:11-21
11 Because we understand our fearful responsibility to the Lord, we work hard to persuade others. God knows we are sincere, and I hope you know this, too.
12 Are we commending ourselves to you again? No, we are giving you a reason to be proud of us, so you can answer those who brag about having a spectacular ministry rather than having a sincere heart.
13 If it seems we are crazy, it is to bring glory to God. And if we are in our right minds, it is for your benefit.
14 Either way, Christ’s love controls us. Since we believe that Christ died for all, we also believe that we have all died to our old life.
15 He died for everyone so that those who receive his new life will no longer live for themselves. Instead, they will live for Christ, who died and was raised for them.
16 So we have stopped evaluating others from a human point of view. At one time we thought of Christ merely from a human point of view. How differently we know him now!
17 This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!
18 And all of this is a gift from God, who brought us back to himself through Christ. And God has given us this task of reconciling people to him.
19 For God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, no longer counting people’s sins against them. And he gave us this wonderful message of reconciliation.
20 So we are Christ’s ambassadors; God is making his appeal through us. We speak for Christ when we plead, “Come back to God!”
21 For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ.
My husband, before he padded off to bed said this, “This isn’t our first rodeo. We know how to get in there and fight.”
And we know the strength is not our own, the battle is for us to fight but the winning has been done and the mission is a holy one.
Don’t lose heart. As a parent, a friend, even as you learn to love your own self in a healthy way, there will be brokenness. God made Christ to be the offering, the glue that spreads across the chasms and holds our pieces fast and true, so that we could be made right with God.
You are preapproved.
Even the mistakes and the bad choices and lies and deceit cannot ever separate you from the love of God in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:31-39). No temptation has seized you (or those you love) except what is common to man, but when you are tempted, he will be faithful to show you a way out (1 Corinthians 10:13).
Our way out is often through. As my friend, Jennifer, wrote in her book, Love Idol, something her pastor said: “the cure is the process…”.
No, this isn’t our first rodeo. We’ve evicted idols from our household before. Not just kicked out idols from our hearts, but from the culture of our family.
In a society informed by media and a childhood marked by status updates and display pics, fan fiction and endless gaming, my kids are awash in culture.
And that’s okay with me. We’ve chosen public schooling and raising our kids to be salt and light within a culture of reheated misguided religiosity and dark, futile thinking. We’re raising our kids to be cultural change-agents, and we can’t do that if we’re sheltering them with our fears of them being polluted.
And it will be over our bruised, dead bodies if we will give in without a fight. Our kids will know in their own broken and grace-glued hearts that they are approved, dearly loved children of God.
We’re on a mission from God ;). Don’t ever doubt it.
If it seems we are crazy, it is to bring glory to God.
And if we are in our right minds, it is for your benefit. (2 Corinthians 5:13)
Also linked up at the lovely Laura Bogess’ Playdates at the Wellspring
And, at Finding Heaven Today, with Jennifer