This house is not for the faint of heart.
It was a simple quip that my husband just tossed out there into the atmosphere.
I had never thought of our home quite in that manner. As though it may not be a place for the fragile, the weak. Rather I tend to think of it as exactly the opposite. Our haven. Our place of reprieve. Of peace.
It’s funny though because as I looked around the room I knew he was right. Anyone entering in through the front doors of our home would have been wise to pivot exactly around and march right back out.
There was one boy pounding away on the piano. Just this week he found the love. Got the feeling. Learned the song that made him realize that he can do this piano playing thing and it doesn’t feel like drudgery but fun! Of course he plays it at top decibels and way too fast and on repeat for up to an hour. That’s what little boys do, right?
Another boy was stretched out on the couch in between us with headphones in singing as though he were in his own little world. Or on the stage of a large stadium. I can’t really tell the two apart.
All the while another was pacing back and forth in the room peppering with questions about his birthday. Can my friends come at 5? Is that okay? And will we eat first or watch a movie first? What can we eat mom? Can we have steak and key lime cheesecake? (ha ha ha! The boys a dreamer!) Should I text them now? How should I start? Does, “To my fellow humans…” sound alright?
Then the dog started to bark.
Not for the faint of heart, indeed. When you stand back and take just a glimpse outside of yourself for just a moment it changes the whole picture because I didn’t feel especially taxed by the situation or like my heart had to be prepared for it. It just was. Life with a family. Life lived together. Close quarters. Interaction.
It made me think of that cheesy quote I’ve had kicking around the house on a post card for years. Something about peace not being the absence of noise or chaos but rather being a contentment of the heart. It’s so true, isn’t it?
Because it’s easy to be surrounded by chaos if your heart is peaceful. It’s easy to handle the noise and the questions if it’s your family that you just freakin’ love so much. It doesn’t feel like chaos if it’s your crew and you’re a part of it adding your own voice to the mix of too loud and slightly obnoxious.
It made me think of other things that aren’t for the faint of heart. Things like, oh, following Christ. Cause it’s not. You know that, right?
I think of the things that he’s asked me to do. Things like willingly confess my sins to those I’ve sinned against at the risk of them abandoning me, thinking me a loser and moving on with life without me. Things like mothering a family of 3 boys. Things like moving out of my comfort zone to befriend people that wouldn’t be a natural choice. Things like speaking the truth about what I believe to those who clearly don’t.
I’m sure you have your own moments. Things God has asked of you. Maybe it’s filling out those adoption papers when you’re unsure of where the money is going to come from. Or maybe it’s confessing to your wife where you really got the money for all these new things. Or maybe it’s taking cookies across to your new neighbours or teaching a class where you have to interact with a puppet!
In any case, whatever it is that God has called you to I’m sure it’s not for the faint of heart. But I do know that it is for the weak. Because all of us are and in these moments of being asked to do big things, things we don’t want to do, things we think we most certainly can’t do, he gives us the strength. It’s from Him. Not from us. Which is what makes it so awesome!
See, the very fact that I know that I’m weak, that I know I am unable on my own strength to conquer certain feats, is the very reason God chooses me for such things. He chooses me for things that terrify me because I need Him to do them and by needing Him to do them I release myself of all bragging rights!
I can never stand up before you and tell you of this amazing time that I mothered my boys so well and had the very best parenting tactic ever! Because on my own I’m a really sucky mom. It’s true. I’m selfish and proud and I feel like I deserve things that I don’t and I just want to plug my ears and yell La La La La and run away because some days it’s really hard! On my own I’m the mom who raises her voice too often and demands too much and offers very little in the way of forgiveness and grace but rather rules with a triumphant and authoritative, “because I said so!”
But Jesus changes all that. Because he tells me to lay aside my selfishness and the things I think I deserve and he tells me to be patient and kind and to be a servant. He also tells me that he will give me the strength to accomplish this. And he does. There are many a day I remind him of that. You said, Jesus! You said you’d give me strength for this!
Of course, I still mess up
daily hourly but I know he’s there to help me pick up the pieces and move on.
I love that Jesus takes away all of my bragging rights in everything in my life. It offers so much freedom. It means that on my own I wasn’t smart enough to write this post, or financially responsible enough to own this house, or hot enough to score my husband or wise enough to raise 3 boys.
All I can take credit for is that I’ve been willing to say yes, but even this not of my own accord and in his strength. He gets all credit for all things because I am his and he has a plan and the very fact that I’m breathing right now is not because I don’t smoke or I run sometimes but because he’s blessed me this moment with breath! That’s a might good God, huh?
So it’s not for the faint of heart, this life, but it’s also not for the mighty and strong. It’s for all of us. And he’ll give the strength we need when we need it and it won’t feel crazy or chaotic because just like my heart has peace in the midst of the chaos of our home he’ll give us peace in what he asks of us too.
Now excuse me, I’ve got some pandemonium to return to, some unruliness to set straight and some clutter to attack. It’s really too bad we can’t order up peace like we do at Starbucks cause if we could I’d take a quad grande dose of harmony with a pump of normality and a dollop of tidiness on top. All nonfat, of course.