Thursday, June 14, 2012

Just Remember, Mom...

Have you ever said horrible, nasty things to the people you love? And then calmed down and wanted to actually repent in actual dust and actual ashes? Tear your robes? Whole nine yards? Ever wished you could rewind a conversation and be a better version of yourself?

Yesterday, I said super cranky things that hurt Jeff's feelings a lot. Then I felt super duper terrible for saying them. At the end of the day, after I was all calm and remorseful, I mumbled disconsolately to him, as we sat together at our breakfast bar chopping fruits and vegetables for kabobs, "I don't know how to come back from that. From the things I said." I wouldn't have blamed him if he had taken the boys and moved out.

But instead, he replied softly, gently, "Well, I didn't believe you..."

Grace. Lavished on me.

I burst into tears and fled to the bedroom, leaving a strawberry half cut, to keep the boys from hearing my gut-wrenching sobs. I could not bear up under the weight of such undeserved grace.

When I had composed myself, I returned to the kitchen and continued preparing fruit as Jeff explained to me tenderly that he thought he might know what was wrong and what we could do to get me some help.

The longer he talked, the less I was able to keep it together, until I was a huge, blubbering mess, seated pathetically at the breakfast bar, tears rolling down my cheeks, trying diligently not to get snot in the pineapple chunks under my paring knife.

Jonathan walked by, and having witnessed previously that chopping stuff in the kitchen can make people cry, he put his hand on my shoulder and said kindly, "Mom, is this about the fruit?"

"No," I replied, smiling through snot and tears, "I'm crying because I made some mistakes today and I just feel really sad about it."

"Just remember, Mom," Jonathan replied, "God plans to let the bad stuff happen so that good stuff can happen afterwards."

Somehow I felt burned by truth. Like physically burned, as if by bright sunlight. Searing, but warm, and good.

"You're right, Jonathan," I answered shakily, "That is very true. Thank you."

Jonathan gave me a quick nod, as if to say, Done. Solved *that* one. Then he wandered away.

"That's something good from our pain right there," Jeff murmured as he leaned toward me over his cutting board full of mushrooms. "The fact that our kids know that and believe that is worth this."

It is.

Usually, when I think about God allowing evil for the sake of good, I think in terms of evil happening to me, or my getting hurt or suffering a loss. External evil that affects my life.

But as Jonathan pointed out so innocently, it's not just evil happening to me that God uses for good. It's also my sin that He uses for good. My mistakes that He covers and fixes and repairs and perfects and turns into praise of His glorious grace.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved.

~Ephesians 1:3-6
Somehow, my broken, ugly bits are useful. Divinely useful. And so are yours.