Heart of Glass

The theme for this week has been the challenge of parenting.  I have talked to several moms in a difficult state with children who turn their backs on the person who has given everything for them.  Usually it is a moment of rebellion.  It is a kid trying to look cool.  It is a girl trying to get her way.  It is a single dagger thrown in a moment of immaturity, but to a mother, it has a lasting effect.  I, myself, am not immune.  My own offspring have figuratively slapped me in the face, sometimes on a daily basis, despite the fact that I literally lay down my whole life for them.  I gave them my youth.  I sacrifice my days to attend to their needs.  I battle for them.  I rage for them.  I hurt for them.  I agonize for them.  And the little (bad word)s turn around and stab me in the back!  And I have to keep on loving them right through my hurt and insecurity.

I keep myself deliberately fragile.  I choose to have a heart of glass.  It is sensitive.  It is vulnerable.  It gets broken.  Daily.  By my kids.  By my closest friends.  For the youth that I see.  My vulnerabilities are countless.

But what is my other option, really?  I love the broken.  I am broken.  I used to be, even more so.  I don't want people to hurt like I hurt when I was so lost and alone.  And I know that's why they hurt me.  Because we are broken and alone, and we hurt, and we desire, and we get really confused, and we lose it.  And hurting people hurt people.  I can recover, but I refuse to close my heart.  Closing my heart would wall me off from pain.  But then I would be no help to anyone else.  Just another hurting person who has calloused myself to the brokenness of others.  That I WILL NOT do.  I refuse.

"Working with sin, suffering, and evil can easily numb the heart.  Numbness leads to death, if left alone."  -Diane Langberg

So hurt me.  Cut me deep.  I may get angry.  I may even confront.  (Actually, I guess I can be a little scary.  Intimidating, even...just ask my son's umps.  I think I was almost the first person ever ejected from a rec league game.  You guys...I didn't even yell.  I confronted.  Rationally.  Well...I get it.  I say things others expect me to not say.  I break the social rules.  Whatever.  I say, I only speak the truth in love.  😉)  But the one thing I will NEVER stop doing is loving.  Because the minute I stop loving, I cut myself off from the only thing that makes living worthwhile, and that is love.  God is love.

And, isn't this exactly what I should have expected?  I have read the book.  Many times.  So why am I still surprised?  Did I really think all of my beatings would come from sources I would feel free to hate?  Am I not to love my friends as much as my enemies?  I have been warned I would suffer.  I have been warned I would be smacked in the face.  I have been told to respond by presenting my other cheek for smacking.  Should not the fact that I had a head's up be enough to keep me?  It does not keep me from aching, but it does keep me recovering.  It keeps me getting back up, bruised and broken, and jumping back in the ring for more.  I will do my best to defend myself, but I will throw no punches.  I don't need to.  The victory has already been given.  It is MY hand that will be raised, in the end.  And the other person in the ring?  That was never the REAL enemy, nor my true opponent.

Sometimes I wonder, if I already know the victory is mine, why do I still have to fight?  Why can I not be swept away to some sweet utopia where all of this pain does not reside?  I have no solid answer.  A few incomplete theories, maybe, but no solid answer.  It's not always for me to know the answers.  Some things will remain incomplete, for a time.  But I know that I know that I know that there has to be some wise purpose in all of this, because my God lets NOTHING go to waste.  He is a finisher.  He is creative.  He is loving.  He is wise.  And I have

Given my life to the only one
Who makes the mood reflect the sun
Every starry night
That was his design
Given my life to the only son
Who was and is and yet to come
Let the praises ring
Cause he is everything
He is everything
-Chris August

And that is all that matters.  That is the answer to my every waking minute.  That is my every thought, my every breath, my very soul.  I follow Christ, and Christ fulfills...sometimes in ways that make no sense.  He reaches out his hand to the needy.  Sometimes the mouths that He feeds bite me.  He bandages my right hand and pleads me to offer the left.  I walk away resurrected.  Complete.

I face the broken, face to face.  I lay out my weapons.  I rip out my beating heart and place it on the table for inspection.  Sometimes, my heart is wounded, right before my eyes.  He enters the room, repairs and replaces the heart within me.  It is never in the same manner, but I am ALWAYS more complete.

I follow Christ.  Sometimes He leads me into the darkest of places.  Sometimes I am Harriet Tubman, going back into the land where I was once a slave...where it is not safe.  Sometimes, I feel I am nearly caught.  I can feel the breath of the enemy teasing my neck and tickling down my back.  All the hairs of my body stand on end, and I feel terror.  But I keep going, because there are slaves in there!  And I have been a slave before, and I have felt the lonely misery, and I REFUSE to allow it to continue with my back turned, because I am strong in Christ, and I will NOT be weak!  And every moment of suffering I relieve is a gift to the One who relieves my suffering, and it is a gift to the memory of that precious young girl who still so desperately aches within me.  I will BE the person she so desperately needed for the ones I see in present, desperate need.  And I WILL NOT TURN MY BACK, no matter how much I hurt.  I will look to MY GOD for healing, and I will return to the fight.

And sometimes, I am Mother Teresa, overwhelmed by the vastness of the suffering before me, and there is never an end, and I can never fulfill all of the need.  I am drowning in an ocean of sickness and decay.  So, I narrow my focus.  I close my eyes to the whole.  I look at the small picture.  I choose to not focus on the numbers:

“Never worry about numbers. Help one person at a time and always start with the person nearest you.” -Mother Teresa

I simply help the one who is right before me, and that is the only way to start.