for when you can't hold it together

Coffeeshop Prop Humor No. 1

I creep out of bed, and sneak out of the house.  It's is a strange feeling for a full-time mom of teeny children to drive away from her house in the early early dark, well before any child has a chance to call "Mama!"

Actually it feels a little wrong, but I get over it pretty quickly.  *Grin*

I take this Saturday morning coffee shop break a few times a month, and usually I feel giddy as I settle in with my Americano, frittata, and journal.  I mean, not only do I not have to get breakfast served as if trying to diffuse a ticking bomb (do any one else's kids wake up starving??), I also don't have to make my own food.  What a treat!

But today, I was so low as I dragged myself out of bed.  Even as I sat down at my table in the coffee shop, I didn't feel any of the lightness that normally comes with such freedom.  Bleh.

I had planned to do some work fixing up a post about our homeschool.  I started it late one night this week, and it sort of turned into a rant and was thus relegated to the shelf where all bad-mannered posts go to cool the heck off.  My blog has been silent all week, and I really wanted to get something up there, even if just to shut down the nagging voice that tells me it's some kind of failure not to post regularly.

Early morning fog

Instead, I journal a bit, trying to understand my mood, or more importantly, trying to figure out how to make it go away.  I get majorly annoyed with this-feeling-crappy-for-no-good-reason junk.  The journaling doesn't help; honestly it just reveals how absorbed I've been with petty irritations and my lack of commitment to the task at hand (that is - keeping the children from turning into uncivilized heathens).

Ahh yes. . .misery loves company, and nothing comforts a bad mood quite like a quick round of "how am I failing today?"  Can you relate?  Sometimes, just for good measure, I also indulge in the game of "things everyone else is doing to make my life more difficult."  Pity party much?  Yuck.

At this point, I find myself absently flipping through the apps on my phone, staring as if there might be some answers in there.  And actually, there are.

I recently downloaded this app called God Tools from Campus Crusade for Christ.  It's primary purpose is as an aid for Campus Crusade workers trying to help people understand how very much God loves them.  My eyes fell on it this morning, and I started tapping through it until I came to the section about the Holy Spirit.

Almost there

It's so interesting how God will start to tell you something- quietly at first, but then there will be so many signs and connections you start to feel like you're in a benevolent hailstorm.  My friend Heidi calls them billboards:
"Do you ever feel like you are heading down life’s highway, and suddenly a billboard pops up that seems to be speaking directly to you? And then another one. And then another one. And at some point, you realize God has a big message he is trying to get through to you?"
God's big message to me over the last few months has been about the Holy Spirit; or rather, about how much I do not know about the Holy Spirit.  I started to write a post a few weeks ago about all the ways this was popping up in my life, but I guess the words weren't ready to come out yet.  References just kept coming though: in my Bible reading; in my Jesus Calling devotional; through the women in my Hello Mornings group. . .too many to list.

But today . . .today my Lord caught me up and led me down a path of repentance.  From the God Tools app: "We cannot experience intimacy with God and enjoy all He has for us if we fail to depend on the Holy Spirit."

Am I, Lord? Search me! Am I failing to depend on the Holy Spirit for my joy and peace? Am I letting my feelings rule me? Could I be somehow shutting out the Love I claim to believe in?

Faith is the only way we can live by the Spirit.  But what does this mean?  I believe in God, I believe my life is a mess apart from His guidance.  I pray, I ask whole heartedly for that guidance.  And I fail!  I feel abandoned when I fail and find I can't keep all the balls spinning, (or even some of them) and I certainly don't have reliable peace or joy about any of the ball-spinning/dropping madness.

The enemy wants nothing more at the end of the day than to make you and all your offered years feel like a piece of chopped up meat. You’ve just got to call Satan by what his ugly name really means: prosecutor. The work of the enemy isn’t ultimately to tempt you, but to try you.  If Satan can ultimately prosecute you — you will ultimately imprison yourself. He’s like this glossy headline mocking your weathered life: “And you look around at your life and call yourself a Christian?” 
I move through the app's questions and prompts about the Holy Spirit and think about all the things bringing me down this morning.  It's true that there are big, sad things hanging over my heart, but they are not responsible for the discouraged state of my soul today.  It's the grasping for control that I can't seem to stop.  It's my attempts to manage everything in my life - to line up all my ducks in a neat row - and my frustration and disappointment when I can't.  My particular sins of criticism and frantic motion stem from a grasping at control and self protection.  This, of course, is the opposite of the example Jesus showed us on His journey to the cross.

Oh Heavenly Father, I know this is not Your will for me!  Forgive me, for I see You desire to flood me with peace, and my tight grip on everything blocks your work.

When I first arrived this morning, I tried to write in my gratitude journal (which is just a list in the back of my regular journal) and this is all I could up with: "For hope, though I struggle to hold it some days."

But now I remember I don't need to hold on at all.  Hope comes when I release my grip on the things of this world.  Hope reigns when I choose to believe that I am completely loved and equipped for each moment of each day, no matter the pressure that comes to bear.

Fill me with Your Holy Spirit, Lord.  I don't understand all of what that means, but I know Your word tells me You want to do this in me, commands me to allow it to happen.  The enemy whispers that it can't work.  That this is like all the other ways I try to comfort myself.  That I will only fail again.  Maybe so, for I am yet a fallen creature.  But I know from your Word you have promised to fill me up if I ask in faith, in the holy name of Jesus.
I thank you, in faith, for the filling of my heart with the mysterious Spirit of God.  Direct my life - my daily actions and reactions - according to your love and will.  Keep me in step with You.  I know You will do this based on Your trustworthiness, no matter how I may feel moment to moment.


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