The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life and have it to the full. John 10:10
I struggle with clutter in my house. I have fought and lost this same battle for years. The girls’ toys scattered in every room. School papers and letters I still plan to respond to, stacked on the counters. Projects splayed on the dining room table. Incomplete chapters jutting out from tucked away spaces. And not enough time to deal with any of it. It’s a death wish to say artists are supposed to be messy and unorganized because clutter kills me.
Sunday afternoon, we were headed home from church when Phil turned the music down in the truck. “Girls? I want to talk to y’all about something. Your mama needs our help. One of her weaknesses is staying ahead of the housework and we are not helping by adding more to her pile of work. She is overwhelmed. Where Mommy is weak, we need to help her. Ok?”
He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Isaiah 33:2
Finally. It was so simple, so easy for him. And this time, I witnessed them listen. What is it about this man? I felt one of my outer shells crumbling. Tears welling. All those times before, late at night…
How can this not bother you?
You think this doesn’t bother me?
Then why don’t you do something about it?
I’m exhausted. And I’m drowning in toys. Please—
This is life-giving.
“So we’re going to help Mommy, ok? You’re about to get your own rooms and it won’t be so easy to blame each other for the mess. I’ll be able to tell exactly who did what.” Amazing what goes on in our house now. After all these years, he is changing. He sees me struggling and now he reaches out a hand. He is softening. What is it about him? He’ll tell you it’s Jesus. God’s story is changing his, slowly and sweetly, and I have a front row seat.
The tears tipped and fell. He knew without looking, reached over and laid his hand on my leg.
Are you ok?
Thank you. Thank you for saying that.
Well yeah. They are old enough. They should be helping.
That makes me feel loved.
Did you hear that girls? Mommy said that makes her feel loved.
Baby Girl folded both legs underneath her, raised up and gripped both shoulders of the driver’s seat, then leaned forward in between us, “It’s the life cycle.” That’s all she said. Then she leaned back, untucked her legs and tipped each toe to the sky at her own beat.
I laughed through soft tears, “Yes. She’s exactly right. This is life-giving. Y’all are giving me life right now.”
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation: The old has gone, the new has come! 2 Corinthians 5:17
All those years I was drowning in motherhood. I failed so often it felt like motherhood was stolen from me and replaced with a new grave marker of defeat. No one knew I was drowning because no one heard those lies whispered in the dark except me.
The problem was never the toys, the clutter, the arguments, the weight gain, the drinking. The problem was who I was listening to.
Breath or death.
There are only two sources of power in this world- good and evil. Wonder how or why people can do the most horrific things you could never imagine? That’s evil. Wonder how or why people can forgive and love the unforgivable and the unlovable? That’s good. Take your pick- a Savior or a poisoned flavor. One true Guide or the great divide. Redemption or deception. Hope or hopelessness. Life or lifelessness. Breath or death.
When Phil shows me full compassion instead of limited rations, he chooses life in Christ.
When I absorb his tender care instead of reject and despair, I choose redemption through Christ.
When we both stop trying to do it all ourselves and lean into the Holy Spirit, He breathes life into our lifelessness. And the thief becomes the rightful owner of defeat once again, not me.
This is the life cycle. This is a living, breathing marriage. This is what we live for- Jesus.