Monday, May 14, 2012

Loving-Kindness


I am not a Great Mother. Not even a Good Mother. In my own strength I am a Yeller and a Blamer and a Leave-Me-Alone-Before-I-Hurt-You-er.
But God. Good Father. Great Father. Faithful Father. Kind Father.
Wednesday night we don’t even make it to church. Fed, teeth brushed, shoes on, Bibles read and ready. A singular request: Get in the van without fighting. Clearly unattainable. Overachieving Children elevate mere disobedience to knock-down drag-out screaming, hair-pulling, choke-slamming, head-locking.
Frustrated Mama’s singular right move: facedown in the grass before God after all 4 are in bed before 7. Begging for mercy. For them. And for me. Running through my head: Summer? Not happening. Weary Mama pours it all out, surrenders to the Good Father, Faithful Father whose strength will have to be enough if this brood is to be mothered.
Thursday is less fighty. Fiesty Youngest even naps. Then. Out of the yellow bus spill 3 schoolagers. Let the games begin. Again, a singular request, just too simple for one Stubborn Son. Ah, the heart of the matter. Like Sister Eve and that singular tree: I want that one. Now.
Then, an apology. Faux sorrow that depends on and demands the return of the confiscated symptom, a toy now outside with Obedient-just-this-once Brother.
So minor infraction spirals, heats up hot enough for the real impurities to surface–pride, selfishness, greed. Ah yes, that looks familiar. Definitely my child. My own flesh wants to meet my own flesh and blood’s pride with more pride. Ugly with uglier. He wants a fight? It’s on. I’m a first-born. We don’t lose.
Instead, Spirit speaks: Why not just cooperate, child? Just listen. Just trust me. Don’t you know how much I love you? Do think I gave you life just to punish you? Do you understand that I care for you, feed you, clothe you, provide for you because I love you and delight in your well-being?
Yes, Father, I do see how you did that. Pretty clever, speaking to me through my own words to my own child.
Although tempted in thought by my own evil desires that rage within me, the actions, His-not-mine, are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and yes, even self-control. In spite of all that fruit, Offending Son remains angry. Defensive. Determined that his is the one heart too hard to ever soften. All hope lost. Give up now. Nothing will ever be good again ever. Did I mention I call this son Hyperbole?
With firm truth and gentle love in his pocket, but not yet in his heart, he retreats to his room. Weary Mama again bends the knee, thoughts already swirling of teenage and young adult years to survive, and what if he’s right? What if his heart never softens? What if his needs exceed my resources? (They do, now watch Him provide.) 
Son returns, repentance brightening his face. A tiny, gigantic change of heart. True apology. True forgiveness. Thankful Mama joke-tests that toys will not be returned today. Forgiven Son laughs and hugs and passes with flying colors.
Obedient-just-this-once Brother bursts in from outside, offering confiscated toy and unsolicited words of uncommon brotherly kindness, then promptly bursts off the scene, wholly unaware of the weight and ordained timing of the gift he’s just offered.
The Grace-filled Son looks at the grace-gift in his hand and then at Tear-filled Mama. Arms and tears entwine. Thanks are offered to the Faithful Father who loves him even more, and even better, than Mama. Thanks for softened hearts and unexpected, unmerited tokens of favor. For opening the Skeptical Son’s eyes to, and reminding the Less-than-Good Mama of, the Great Father’s better-than-He-has-to-be love and mercy and flat-out thoughtfulness.
Tiny faith repaid in detailed kindness.

9 comments:

Teresa Kimbel said...

This is beyond words, Melanie. I hope this means you're getting back into writing. I knew once you got full to overflowing you'd have to share it or implode. You are such a gifted writer, sister, teacher, friend. I'm anxious to hear the stories you're going to tell about BSF. You're going to be a great leader. Please keep up the writing. Love you.

Jeanne said...

I agree wholeheartedly with Teresa. Your faith, dear daughter, floors me and at the same time makes want to be better at mine. I love you more than words can express.

jan colbert said...

Oh, wow, oh, wow......He has given you so many gifts--four precious young lives, the gifts of observation and understanding, and truly the gift of writing. I look forward to more....

Michael and Hannah said...

Beautiful and touching... and very VERY relatable.

Vivian McClellan said...

This was wonderful story and so well written. Thank you for sharing! Loved it

Vivian McClellan said...

This was wonderful story and so well written. Thank you for sharing! Loved it

Julie McFarland said...

Melanie, this blessed me so much. As a mother of a teenage daughter, I have spent many many hours praying and yes, even worrying, about her future. I'm a "less-than-good" mama too, a yeller-blamer as well. Not proud of it, but am human after all. Keep listening and following the Spirit. I remember when you were just a little girl - what a beautiful Christian woman you have blossomed into. Your mama and daddy are so blessed!\

Ruth Hudson said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ruth Hudson said...

I agree with all of the above comments. You are a gifted writer and I love your beautiful poetic style. You have a huge heart, and big, big love for the Lover of our Soul. I am so thankful that He blessed you with those children to keep you prostrate, praying, and in His presence. Thanks for sharing; and I, too, look forward to more.