Monday, October 15, 2012

heart battles {part 1}

sin.  battle of the flesh.  whatever you want to call it...there is a dark and tainted part in all of us that we must confront.  it keeps returning to my own heart...the ugly, dirty filth of it.  

i wonder when it first showed its face in mine.  i wonder did my mother notice - the way i notice.  you close eyes tight and hope so hard that your mistakes will not be theirs.  that their path will be straight and they would walk it with ease.  but deep down you know they will get caught up in thickets and strain up the side of mountains.  but on that precarious journey their faith will be born...and raised.
several weeks ago lucy stole a pretzel out of oliver's bowl and then bit him when he tried to take it back.  thankfully i was so appalled that i was literally speechless and could only stomp my foot and point hard to the door {which meant - you better get in your room before i find the words that are churning up inside of me}.  her senses must have returned because she quickly followed my nonverbal cues and excused herself...still chewing up that pretzel.

after consoling oliver and convincing him that he would in fact survive and actually didn't even need a bandaid, i confronted the attacker.  as i sat on the floor cross-legged with her mirrored in front of me i saw it...that ugly side.  that deep-rooted creature that tries to fight it's way to the front.  i saw the war that was already being waged for her heart...and it broke mine.

lucy - i can not believe that you just did that.  you know that we never bite and we show kindness and gentleness to each other.  why in the world did you do that?

{looking me dead-on with a straight face}  because i wanted it.

wow...really?  just 4 years old and this battle has already begun.  and over a pretzel?

lucy - repeat after me...it's never ok - to hurt someone - to get what you want.  {repeat 10x}  

i wanted to open her chest and carve it inside of her.  it's never ok - to hurt someone - to get what you want.  i wanted to pour out example after example of the times in my own life and the lives of others that this one simple thing had caused such catastrophic damage.  

you know...it's ok to get things that you want when they are given to you.  and believe me...God does give good things...very good things.  it's when you take something that you want at another's expense that the trouble ensues.  you might receive momentary satisfaction but there are always consequences for these types of behaviors.

the bottom line is this...behaviors like those are the opposite of love.

i've spent a lot of time lately rereading the prodigal god by tim keller and examining the parable from luke 15 of the father and his two sons.  there is so much to be learned in those verses.  one thing that has haunted me is the realization that both brothers had a one track mind focused on getting what they wanted.  the younger brother went about it through rebellion and disobedience.  the older brother went about it with a self-righteous spirit of doing everything 'right'.  their methods were different but their goal was the same...get what i want whatever the cost.

ultimately they both hurt the father by their actions.  the younger brother broke his father's heart when he asked for his inheritance and chose a life apart from him.  the older brother revealed his true colors by turning on his father and brother when his own inheritance and his own favor was jeopardized...equally as heart-breaking for a parent.

i've been examining my own heart...digging around for the places where selfish motives lie.  the ways that i am probably breaking the father's heart by my actions.  they are there...those ugly places...in all of us.  some of them have become such a part of our character and personality that it's hard to see them for what they are...sin...darkness...a hindrance to our own spiritual well-being and the well-being of those around us.

being a mother has exposed my weaknesses.

little mirrors everywhere.

in all this heart-digging i keep hearing the same sweet truth whispered in my ear.  the words i want whispered in my children's ears...in a thousand different ways.

a few weeks ago joey and i sat across from a very different lucy than the one i described at the beginning of this post...

{we can't stop here...please join me tomorrow for the 2nd part of this post}
{this is day 15 of 31 days}