Humility can be so painful. Today I felt it, deeply. I was sitting with a new friend at church talking between Sunday school and the church service. This friend's name is Beth and she is probably about 15 years ahead of me in life. She is wise, honest, and so lovely. (The name Beth must have that effect on people, because I have never met a "Beth" whom I didn't love immediately.) So there we were, sharing about our lives, and my eleven year old walks up and sits by us. I introduce him, he smiles quietly, and sits and listens. Then she says, "This move to the farm seems so effortless for you. We're all amazed at how little you seem effected." As I smile and ponder how to share with her just how much of a difficult, life-changing, struggle it is, my son speaks. He says, and I quote, "She's pretty much been grumpy for months." He doesn't look up from his drink at her or me. He just mumbles it and sits and waits for me to digest it. So I confess, "Yes, he's probably right. It's been a really big struggle. Maybe if it doesn't look that way it's because being around you is such a pick me up!" And I look back over at the eleven year old, still sulking and not looking up. I am not concerned about what Beth thinks about me at this moment, but I am crushed by what my boy thinks.
Once the opening hymn begins, I decide to go ahead and have a talk with my little man. I motion towards the back door and ask him to follow me. We sit in the foyer and he says, "Am I in trouble? Did I say something wrong?" He's obviously shaking in his boots at this point. I take a deep breath. And I ask the question I am so afraid to hear answered, "Son, are you mad at me? Do you feel anger towards me...even hatred?" He mumbles. I say, "You have to tell me the truth. We have to talk this out right now." And he crumbles, crying, head in hands. He says, "You blame me for things that aren't my fault. And you don't like living at the farm. Dad and I are the only ones who really like it. And I just want things to be good again. If we could have just bought a farm in Atlanta you wouldn't feel this way and everything would be like it used to be." Sigh.
I wrap my arm around him and we take a walk out in the grass. I tell him (but mostly myself) that he is right, I have been grumpy often. It is impossible to hide even a hint of a negative emotion from this kiddo. He is like a walking lie detector- intensely intuitive. I tell him I have struggled to trust that this move is good. I have lacked faith. And I have often not run to God to receive all He has for me, so I failed to pass that love and grace on to him. I reassure him God loves us and will eventually give us peace, as we seek Him. I reminded him (and myself) that I will be okay, it just takes me a while to lament. I do not apologize for my feelings, but I do ask for forgiveness for the times when my difficult feelings have led me to be distant or grumpy. (*I wish I would have thought to tell him that he can not feel responsible for making me feel better. I know he wants me to feel happy, but he can not make me happy. But I didn't think of that until now. I did, however, ask him to pray for me.) I reminded him that even when he is angry, hurtful, distant, or sulky I will always, always love him. Then I tell him the next time he says something disrespectful to me there will be SERIOUS repercussions...but he is welcome to come to me respectfully when he is hurt, confused, or angry. We hug and cry and join the others just in time for a sermon...on trusting God. And we nudge, and write notes, and smile at God's provision in every word the pastor delivered.
My heart resonates with Paul when he claimed, "I am the chief sinner!" I am often selfish, stubborn, and cold when I do not get my way. But because of God's lavish grace, I am humbled and broken. And I thank God that a Momma sinner and a boy sinner can come together in all their sulky anger and find rest and love in a heavenly Father who uses our weakness for good. I am weak, He is strong. I am feeble, inconsistent, and unfaithful. And He gave us Jesus. I am completely consumed with His love for us! And I am reminded of the consequences I face when I grip too tightly my own desires.