This week I had to apologize to one of our adult children.
I had used mom guilt in order to be heard.
I didn’t recognize it in the moment because my insides were too wadded up with fear. Only when my husband, whom I knew was “on my side”, pointed out that my text did, in fact, sound like a guilt trip, did the truth begin to unwind me.
I’ve had practice at this adult child parenting thing, but I still mess up. I still get emotional and my heart and head reel with fears often rooted in assumptions. I envision myself telling this “child” exactly the way I feel and why. Then God stops me in my tracks with one small dose of truth and I feel my argument starting to unravel.
I’ve made this mistake more than once, so as the truth began to release the fear that had ahold of me, I remembered those times. i remembered the hurt in my grown kids’ eyes and the sting of realizing that my selfishness and insecurity was being masqueraded as concern…concern that grew out of a lack of understanding.
“Seek to understand before being understood” kept resonating in my heart. Ask questions. Seek understanding. Be willing to say you’re sorry.
“For some of us the idea of repentance can bring to mind a particular emotional experience or the minor-key songs of an altar call at a revival meeting. But repentance and faith are the constant, daily rhythms of the Christian life our breathing out and breathing in.”-Trish Warren (The Liturgy of the Ordinary)
It’s easy to forget the discipline of repentance. We don’t live in a culture that embraces humility, but humility and repentance are foundational, not only to our salvation, but to our daily faith.
It always seems to be in those first morning moments of consciousness, before I even have a thought, that I will have a feeling.
Much of the time that feeling launches me into thinking hard about who I need to try to be and what I need to try to do. I am realizing that that moment doesn’t call for me to pick myself up by the bootstraps, but instead to recognize it as a sign of my brokenness and a place to invite God into.
As humans our tendency is to try and “clean up” for God as if we can hide the ugly and the broken from Him when what He really calls us to is to be okay with sitting in that messiness and acknowledging the reality of our humanity and fallenness. It’s a call to humility…to confession, a call to repentance and to invitation.
I invite God into what I cannot fix, what NEEDS a Savior. It’s a call to let go and just “be”.
This is an act of faith. Like Moses, we stand at the edge of the Red Sea with the enemy closing in…and we wait. While we wait we let God love us again. We trust in His mercy and receive his words of forgiveness and absolution (formal release of guilt or obligation for punishment). We don’t know HOW He will do it, but we can rest assured that He.will.do.it.