March 4, 2011

Running in the Night

Running in the Night
So today was one of those days. Dark, murky, hard to see my way. I wandered around the house...grumpy, distracted, not knowing where to begin. I wanted to hide, so I tried to take a nap with my children. I chose the wrong location, and instead of resting I became an "under cover" dictator, trying to control things beyond my children.

Yep, I'm one of those people who deal with stress and anxiety by trying to control the things around me. I knew I was doing it. In fact, I knew how it was going to go before I even laid down in my bed. But I did it anyway, hoping that it would be different just this one time.

(Have I mentioned that I'm very excited about my new three-bedroom house????)

Noise in my Head
Anyway, it was a bad feeling...knowing that not only did I not get the rest I so desperately needed, but I wasn't the mom I wanted to be in those moments. When I finally threw in the towel, my daughter was asleep (phew!), and my son was playing in the living room by himself, desperate for some time with me. But I was a hollowed out shell...nothing to give him. And it was truly, terribly awful because I just wanted solitude, and he just wanted to be with me. Two people...valuable, beautiful people...struggling because the only other person in the room couldn't meet their needs.

I tried to spend time with the Lord. I tried to hear His still small voice, but it was drowned out by the noise in my head yelling at me that I am a terrible mother, a terrible person, that I will never change. Funny how the lies seem so real in those moments, isn't it? I know these lies. They are familiar to me. In fact, I know they are lies! These are not the words my Lord speaks to me. I know the truth about myself, and it is not that I'm a bad mother.

Thankfully, I had the courage to reach out and call a friend and tell her the truth about how I was feeling. As I talked with her, I heard the cry of every mother's heart in my own words. I will never be as good as I hope to be, but that's because I'm not meant to be. Those prototypes in the recesses of my soul, the ones that seem to govern my expectations of myself; they are not from God.

There are just days like these when our job is bigger than we are, when what is asked of us is more than we can give. It is these days, that we must call upon the grace that is available to all of us. It is these days that we must remember that we are all children, even those of us charged with the responsibility of raising our own children. My friend wisely reminded me that by being human in front of my children, I am teaching them how to be human. Yes, I make mistakes and they will too! So even in my weakest moments, I am still being a good mother!
Paradox of Perfection
She also reminded me that the point of this life is that it's a journey...the joy comes from realizing that I'm farther along than I was a year ago, and a year from now I'll be farther along than I am now. And then she told me she heard me. I don't know if you've ever felt the true relief that comes when you know someone has heard you. Not only did she listen, but she heard and she understood! And from her understanding, she could pray for me in a way that was a balm to my weary soul.

Slowly, the haze began to lift. I was able to do the next thing on my list, and as I made progress I made adjustments in my expectations and in the expectations others had of me. I shared my needs with those who could help me, and my husband picked up pizza for dinner and another friend came over to help me run errands and pack things in my kitchen. We made so much progress, even after being away from the house for an hour or so. It more than made up for any lack of progress I was feeling earlier in the day.

And then I heard this song...another Jars of Clay song from The Shelter album. This one is called "Run in the Night (Psalm 27)."

The first verse reminds me of what I know, even if I forget it sometimes:

I know who I am
Once I was nameless,
alone and you found me

You formed my knees to bend
You call me Beloved,
I am perfection

All my failures won't condemn me
Or leave me paralyzed and bound
When I'm at my worst
Your Love, it finds me first

I love that part that says "I am perfection." You know what that means to me? I am my own standard. I know...that could be a dangerous statement to make, but I think there is a deeper truth in that. After all, aren't I a snowflake? There's no one like can I measure up to anyone other than me?

Night Horses
And the chorus calls to the depths of me:

for by You I can run in the night

What does it mean to run in the night? Running without care...not worrying about what you're going to stumble over or fall over. Not being able to see your destination, but going for it nonetheless. Freedom!

Then there's the second verse, the cry of my heart:

For I am such a [wo]man
Seized by the power of a great affection
No matter where I am
Peace spreads below me in every direction

When evil sets the war upon me
I won't stumble, I won't fall
Though they do their worst
Your love has found me first

And then the my bridge was the phone call to my friend, my shelter in the storm:

Hide me in the shelter of
Keep me in the cover of
Lead me in the light of
Your Love
Hide me in the light of
Your Love
No matter where I am
Whom shall I fear
Lead me in the light


  1. Beautiful, just like you! Love Mom

  2. Love it. Yesterday I woke up in prayer, knowing that I was heading into a day so busy and full of work that if I didn't do "something" it could go very bad; in other words, I'd be a crabby, bad mom and wife without divine intervention.

    I prayed then heard the criticism and accusations start, and I began to feel hopeless. Then I remembered what I'd read just minutes before, Christ came not to condemn me but to save me through Him.

    My next thought was, "Satan, I will not believe your lies! You are not God, get away from me!"

    Was my day perfect; no. But I could live in days like yesterday. There were moments when I responded to my oldest daughter with such patience, gentleness and love that it gave me pause, because I knew I couldn't have done it on my own.

    Thanks for sharing your day. It is inspiring me to head into today with a firm grasp of my Saviour's hand.

    Love you!

  3. I once said to my dear Grandmother that I was trying to be SuperMom. In all her wisdom and years and experience, she told me in not so many words, to GIVE UP! It's impossible! ;) There is no such thing as SuperMom! It sure took the weight off my shoulders hearing someone wise in their years tell me just what I needed to hear!