Redemption, Again

I cannot believe I have the coveted dvd set of Downton Abbey, Season 4 in my possession and here I sit writing a blog. Chris has the nerve to be holed up, studying to teach our small group lesson tomorrow morning instead of in here watching this all-important drama. How did I end up with someone with such warped priorities?

The kids and Chris actually made it through an entire week of school for the first time since December. Okay, technically, they got out thirty minutes early one day when snow arrived once again, so it wasn't a complete week. And Maddie was feeling crummy one day and came home. Then there was the day I checked her out for a $38 trip to the dentist so that I could pay someone to yank firmly on an already loose tooth. But it was pretty much a regular week. Alas, winter weather is in the forecast again for this week, which is unfortunate since I just declared myself "done" with winter on Thursday. I did later doubt my declaration as I sat imagining the months of sweating that most certainly lies ahead for those of us in the Deep South. Contentment is elusive.

In the end, it doesn't matter if I declare myself done with anything. God didn't ask my opinion about the weather, and I'm sure He has His purposes in it all. I never cease to be amazed at how He can take the cold and make us long for heat and take the warmth and have us desiring a refreshing coolness in the air. We are such fickle creatures and cannot seem to appreciate the one without the other.

I think it's the same with most areas of life. I appreciate the calm, fun days in our home so much more after a tumultuous one. The Lord specializes in redemption, and so even the hard days turn into something to be appreciated. Just a few days ago, I lost it. I lost my cool with one kid...the one kid who most often bears the brunt of my wrath. I know it's so, yet sometimes I'm just powerless to change it.

This one child did this one thing that he's done probably 150 times over the last few years. And he did it on a night when I was single-momming it and bedtime had passed...with no one in bed. He ticked me off, and I made sure he knew it. And the other three knew it. And anyone who was standing in my yard knew it, which I hope was no one, because that would totally creep me out at that time of night.

You know those moments when you know you're out of control and you should stop, just stop...just stop right now! But you can't, because you're just too mad and too stressed, and by golly he deserves it because 150 times already!!

And then everything calms down and everyone gets in bed and you get in the shower and cry.

Anyone with me? Please say yes.

I'll admit that we had one of those nights, but only so that I can tell you what has happened several times since. First of all, the next day there was a quiet moment when we got to talk, and I got to apologize. As only children do, he was quick to hug and reassure and declare his love, and we had a good talk.

And then today, as happens 99% of the times he goes out to play, he came in crying. I kid you not. 99%. Like clockwork, those tears. Sometimes it's a microscopic scrape. The other day, it was a face plant off of the trampoline. Very recently, it was a bottom-flop in the mud. Oh sweet laundry. But today, it was the really hard kind of thing. It was the mean, hurtful words. It was the faces lined up opposite him, laughing at his expense. It was kids being kids...and he's been one of them many times himself.

At first, I had my typical mature, wise reaction...complete frustration. Tears. Again?! But somehow the Lord gave me the grace to hear his problem, to see his pain, and to respond with wisdom. Before I knew it, we were getting to the root of the problem.

"We're all broken. Why are they so mean to you? You know why. For the same reason I, your very own mother, was mean to you just days ago. We're all broken. Our hearts are corrupted, and we know something is wrong. Those boys know something is wrong and they're trying desperately to figure out how to fix it. I feel like crap, so I want to make you feel like crap so that I feel a little less like crap. It's the same reason you like to point out every time your brother is wrong, because it makes you feel more right. It's the same reason I yell at you. Because inside, I feel ugly and hurt, and I want you to hurt, too."

And slowly, a conversation unfolded and the truth got untangled. The defenses came down and the tears fell. And we both remembered how desperately we need Jesus. Then he saw that his little friends need that same Jesus. We're all so much alike...hurting others because we hurt. Only one answer works, and we got to unravel that together, my boy and me. We got to claim victory over evil and lies and death as we ran to the strong tower that is our God.

That whole beautiful, deep, healing, teaching conversation came from our own brokenness and mistakes. And that's redemption. Jesus takes something that's been taken captive and declared worthless, and He buys it back and makes it beautiful again. He takes my mistakes and the neighbors' mocking and my boy's disobedience, and He shows us more of Himself. How does He do that time and again? How does He always find a way to make beauty from ashes?

The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, 
 because the Lord has anointed me 
 to proclaim good news to the poor. 
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, 
 to proclaim freedom for the captives 
 and release from darkness for the prisoners,
 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor 
 and the day of vengeance of our God, 
to comfort all who mourn, 
 and provide for those who grieve in Zion—
 to bestow on them a crown of beauty
 instead of ashes, 
the oil of joy 
 instead of mourning, 
and a garment of praise
 instead of a spirit of despair. 
They will be called oaks of righteousness, 
 a planting of the Lord 
 or the display of his splendor.


  1. Oh Amy, this mothering thing is so hard. And so good, and so wonderful. He keeps bringing us to the cross and what was done for us and what we really need and what real victory is.


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