All is grace? Really God? Even this?
The words in my inbox were pure anger in Times New Roman beat out on a keyboard in the rage and fury that is a wounded animal mauling the vet trying to save her.
A former close friend, threatening now to try to turn me in to DFS.
My head knows she's lashing out, not knowing if she is going to lose her own children.
My head knows that I have friends in the local DFS office who would find this funny.
My head knows that opting out of some vaccinations as a personal choice is perfectly legal and not a reason for DFS to investigate.
My head knows there are many, many people who would call her unstable and hundreds of people that would give me a character reference.
My head knows that she has left her faith and is running from God and hates those who serve Him.
But for just a second, my heart squeezes and I can't breath and this question echoes through my being, "All is grace? This God? This?" It doesn't matter that she has said that I am hated, or that she has taken every personal thing I've shared with her as a friend and pistol-whipped me with it. It doesn't matter that she has mocked my post-partum depression. Oh, well. But threatening to try to have my kids removed from my home? This?
He answers in a gentle whisper in my heart.
Yes, even this.
And as I ponder how this threat could possibly be grace in my life and why God allows those who minister to be beaten down by those they minister to, it comes to me.....
.....Suddenly, after months of feeling down, fighting the doldrums and the exhaustion that comes with having 4 little ones and endless trials and tribulations in the lives of those around us, after many nights of laying my head on the pillow feeling like an utter failure as a mother, I see it. It's the answer to the prayer I prayed just last week, for God to give me strength and patience in my mothering.
I suddenly feel what has been missing for a long time, like the sun coming out for the first time after a long, cold blizzard.
I'm a good mother. Not a perfect mother. Not the best mother. Not a hero.
But, I'm a good mother.
....I love being a mom.
I'd rather be Alathia's, Jeremiah's, Justus's, and Katrielle's mother than anything else in the world.
It's hard, it's exhausting, it's often thankless, and sometimes looked down upon, but I wouldn't change a thing about my life.
And with this clarity, I have empathy and compassion for my friend, instead of harshness, vengefulness, and disbelief.
She is losing her children.
And while I don't think the safest place for her precious children to be right now is with her, I can understand, even just for a minute, why she has resorted to this animalistic rage. I forgive her and I choose to love her.
And the next day, and the next, and the next I wake up with a smile.
I squeeze my baby Katri and linger over her morning feeding.
I pray for Hannah, in prison unjustly, and missing her babies.
I take the extra time to put another bandage on Justus (the 5th today?)
I praise the efforts of my big-boy Jer Bear.
I take the time to talk with Ali.
I pray relentlessly for my friend, that God would pursue her with the tempest of His love.
I thank God for the cross, and for forgiving me, and loving me, though I have scorned him worse and loved him less than this.
It doesn't mean that life is magically easier.
There are still toys underfoot, dishes to wash, and sticky messes everywhere.
There are meals to make, mountains of laundry to wash, and errands to run.
There are tantrums and fights, and screams, and ouchies and dirty pants, and accidents, and runny noses.
There are still little kids we love going through a vicious court battle, a friend at church dying of a disease, and in this world there are churches splitting, children dying of hunger, and people fighting everywhere.
But I have seen the grace that comes in pain.
And that pain has its' purpose. A lesson I have to keep on learning, it seems, every year.
When we are pain-free, we watch TV. We eat chocolate cake. We worry about how our hair looks or if we can afford to go on vacation or are irritated that someone didn't flush the toilet or that we can never win an ebay auction.
When God allows us to experience pain, in whatever measure He chooses, we hit the floor with our knees.
We cry out to him in desperate need.
We dive into His Word like those dying of thirst discovering a pure well in the desert.
We set our sights on what truly matters and the superficial little things in our day fade away.
And He has us right where He wants us: in His presence.
All IS grace.
Go here to listen to the song All is Grace, on Shaun Groves new album, which I LOVE!!! This song was inspired by Ann Voskamp, whose blog I also love and read daily.
Side note: Might you join me in praying for the children involved in this serious and difficult situation? Pray for God's hand to mightily move on their behalf.