The day before was a perfect Wisconsin day—sunny, low eighties, completely still. I could hear the spring peepers still out in our ponds and the barn swallow hatchlings in their nests as mamas flew in with their meal.
But weather often changes fast around here.
It rolled in last night after dark. A low rumble in the west announced its coming as I lay in bed, ending the day. I like the sound of storms brewing, winds picking up. Except when the storms are inside our house.
We can’t seem to get a break from the storms and having to alter plans to address immediate needs. Usually, I’m pretty good at crisis management, but the day the latest storm started inside our house, I was fried like the circuits after a too-close lightning strike that took out our electricity last night, sent our fire alarm screaming, blew off the drywall by the dining room light switch, collapsed my husband’s computer, and shut down our Wi-Fi.
Really? OK. That’s IT! I’m officially changing my name to Job-ette—the female version of Job with a long “o” for the biblically illiterate. Wait! I can’t do that. Our animals are still alive and so are our kids. Phew! Thank you Lord!
So back to the in-home storm that fried ME before the outside storm fried lots of stuff in our house . . .
So we had this meltdown in the house the other day due to some extremely anti-social and illegal behavior that I shall not specify in order to protect the guilty. And no, it wasn’t the typical growing up/adolescent stupid behavior. This is serious. This is a pattern. And we, the parents, have to do something about it. We have been doing something about it. But now we have to up the ante.
We’ve taken immediate, appropriate action. But the problem is complex. We’re not dealing with a whole brain here. We’re dealing with a damaged brain from prenatal exposure to alcohol AND birth trauma AND extreme premature delivery AND institutionalization in an underprivileged Russian orphanage for years. AND we’re dealing with typical Reactive Attachment Disorder issues that most people have absolutely no idea what I’m talking about. (You can Google it for a briefing.)
In the midst of the meltdown, I had my own. I admit it. I had an anxiety attack right in the family room and couldn’t even sit down to talk. I walked. I walked and walked, around and around the perimeter of the family room, trying not to hyperventilate, trying to breathe deeply and slowly, trying to pray my way through, not knowing what to do in the moment but begging for some holy manna.
We could have called the cops. We didn’t. It’s complicated.
We could have kicked the offender out. We didn’t. It’s complicated.
Some believe we’re too tough. Some believe we’re enabling. All are wrong, in my professional opinion, confirmed by other professional opinions just to be sure we remain able to see reality as it is, not as we want.
So I type up the new program, clinician that I once was, and we go over it. We feel horrible. But love must be tough sometimes when soft love isn’t loving because it isn’t working to assist growth. In love, merciful love, we’re taking a new tack—hoping, praying for healing and growing, trying our best to love justly but with mercy and grace—just like our God loves us all.
But it’s so very hard and painful when you’ve laid down your life and the one you love so much looks you in the eyes and . . .
I keep reminding myself . . .
Jesus laid his life down for me.
And I say to myself . . .
You lie to Jesus. You tell Him He’s your Lord every day and then in a moment, you push Him off the throne and take back the scepter.
You steal from Jesus. Every—single—time—YOUR will tells Him “I will NOT follow!”—you steal from Jesus the heart He made—the heart He meant to fill with nothing but good and all of Himself. But you insist on lying and stealing and having what you want when you want it. And mostly, the wanting is not of material things. It’s the wanting of SELF things. Your opinions. Your preferences. Your hopes. Your dreams. Your expectations. Your _____________.
I could fill in the blank, ad nauseam. All this lying to and stealing from God is just a sign of an attachment problem.
We’re not securely attached.
We ALL have attachment disorders to a greater or lesser degree with our Maker. This is the essence of idol worship—of idol seeking. We ALL attach indiscriminately to whoever or whatever we believe will meet our immediate wants and needs. So when following God doesn’t lead to immediate gratification, the way we define gratification, we go searching for something (or someone) else.
Sure! If He’s not giving us what we want when we want it.
Be honest. Who hasn’t related with God this way? Who hasn’t wanted to take the easy path rather than the difficult?
But here’s the good news.
Here’s the GOSPEL (which mean “good news”) . . .
God loves us anyway! Jesus loves us anyway! Holy Spirit loves us anyway! And when we’re weary of trying our own ways and come back crawling, God is there with open arms.
C.S. Lewis wrote:
It is a poor thing to strike our colours to God when the ship is going down under us; a poor thing to come to Him as a last resort, to offer up “our own” when it is no longer worth keeping. If God were proud He would hardly have us on such terms: but He is not proud, He stoops to conquer, He will have us even though we have shown that we prefer everything else to Him, and come to Him because there is “nothing better” now to be had.
How crazy AWEsome is THAT?
It’s certainly not of THIS world.
In THIS world, I should reject the offender.
So I suppose I should reject myself?
I AM an offender!
But I’m not JUST an offender.
I’m mostly viewed as God’s beloved creation, not living up to all I can be with Him at the helm of my heart. And so is the one we love.
Only God really knows what’s going on inside these damaged brains and wounded hearts we all have so it’s not my role to judge, even myself. It’s my role to pray and assess—to discern with God’s help and wisdom—to plan and take action with God’s leading and help for the good of us all. It’s not easy.
What’s easy is casting stones instead of casting crowns.
But when I remember that all I’ve been given is a gift, I can crown another with love.
Often, our lives are beyond difficult.
Often, our lives seem IMPOSSIBLE.
And yet, our God keeps giving us manna for the moment.
He provides exactly what we need, when we need it—not what I want when I want it.
Even when I’m confused and I can’t quite hear and I’m not quite sure what to do, I know this . . .
God is always with me—with us—and He will always guide us through, always providing a way through.
And after the storms have passed and the landscapes of our lives are drenched soggy and still at bit dark?
Still, there is beauty!
As my favorite painter Monet showed so well, there is beauty to be found and seen and embraced in all atmospheric conditions, in all seasons, in all times of each day.
Because beauty is boundless.
Just like love.
Love always woos.
Love always wins.
Sooner or later.
Because God is love.
And God never, ever gives up on us.