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Monday, August 15, 2005

Flowers from a Friend

I am so glad summer is almost over. My four children - ages 7, 5, 3, and 1 - can be very trying when “blessed” with their combined presence 8am to 8pm, seven days per week. Because I am an introvert, engaging with people, even my own children, is an emotionally draining experience. Usually by the “witching hour” – 5pm, when dinner preparations have begun in earnest – all of us are tired, hungry, and cranky.

Tonight was no exception, and when, despite my daily, morning pledge to resist my innate desire to holler, while on my way upstairs to change perpetually poopy Evan, I thundered at 5-year-old Sabrina for playing dolls on the stairs.

Sabrina burst into hysterics and ran away. Already guilty, when I saw the raw, oozing sores on Evan’s butt from yet another skin-burning poop, I started sobbing as well.

Nothing is ever simple when it comes to kids; one disaster leads to another. As I rinsed Evan’s privates under the tub faucet using tepid water, which is gentler than stinging wipes, I started to pray. Aloud, crying and desperate, I begged God to help me, imploring Him to maybe, just a little bit, supernaturally restrain the three other kids when one is in crisis. All four kids got an earful of my words and tears. It’s the least they deserve.

Now, I know that the same God who allows my household to fall apart is also the same God who allows unimaginable tsunamis and genocide to occur, so I know that supernatural intervention is not usually in God’s character to grant. But I also know that God is compassionate, so when, in the middle of begging and pleading, my husband walked through the front door holding not only a bouquet of flowers but a greeting card, I knew without a doubt that it was Jesus Himself holding out those flowers and those words of love. (I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve gotten a “just-because” card from Bruce in the past ten years, so take my word for it, it’s more than a coincidence.)

My tears redoubled in gratitude, and poor Bruce didn’t have a clue what he’d done.

So, once again I am reminded what my head has long-known to be true, but what my heart daily forgets: God not only sees everything, but He knows everything. He knew I was going to have a bad afternoon, and, for whatever reason, saw fit to step out of the ether during a moment of heartfelt petition.

God doesn’t miraculously manifest Himself every time I ask Him to. I can remember many times when I implored Him to become flesh for just five minutes so that I could touch Him, smell Him, see Him, and He remained discouragingly silent.

But until I realized that the whole purpose of “the church” here on earth is to be the physical manifestation of Christ (sadly, as a whole, we do lousy job of it), I always missed it when, through other people, those prayers were answered. I have, I think, grown somewhat in this area, because the moment Bruce walked through the front door tonight, in the middle of my brokenness, I saw God and felt His loving presence.

The conclusion? I will continue to have meltdowns, I will continue to get overwhelmed and struggle with my temper and my emotions, but God loves me, hollering and all. He is always there, watching me and encouraging me.

You may be curious about the content of the greeting card “He” sent. In a nutshell: every day spent with me is as thrilling as “cafeteria-pizza-day” was in elementary school. Wow. It doesn’t get much better than that.


At 10:47 AM, Blogger Sarah said...

I can so relate to this post. :) Thank you for your thoughts.

--Sarah, a mom of 3 under 4.


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