Today was one of those days. You know the ones. Where starting from breakfast the wrongs of the day start to pile on, and you get sucked into this emotional spiral that twists every way downward with no emergency exit. And it takes you three hours to make it out of the house and the lady at the store refuses to restock the yarn you need and you realize that your three year old just emotionally bested you in front of a lot of people and your two year old won’t nap and the grocery store is out of the medicine you need and your daughter may or may not have a stomach bug and your son may or may not have said you smell like fat chicken.
And the only words you can think are: Defeat. Overwhelm. Failure. Inadequate.
And so you cry. Hard, fast , ugly tears that rush down your face, over your soul, and they burn. Because those salty tears are cleaning and healing the rawness that you rarely lay open. The rawness that speaks to insecurities of parenting and throwbacks to your childhood. The rawness that comes from constant feeling of overwhelm and inadequacy and being disrespected and disobeyed every. single. day. The rawness that is a result of the question, can I actually do this? And the resounding answer of, no, I cannot actually do this.
It’s the ugly cry. And those tears don’t just wash down your open soul, they wash into the cheese you’re grating for everyone’s lunch, which you can’t serve them anymore. Except you still use it to make yourself quesadillas because, after a morning like this one, anyone would need a little comfort food.
It’s one of those days. The ones that dragged your emotions through the mud. This is not a pity post or a plea for sympathy or an “it will get easier.” It’s a confessional, raw and laid bare, because I know you’ve experienced it too. And in the presence of such good company, I’m willing to bet I haven’t been the only one to cry in our cheese.
There is a danger and unpredictability in parenting. We become the emotional anchor of our small children, of these people who feel the intensity of the wide spectrum of emotions without the ability to control them at all. And being tossed in the winds and waves of feeling, they cannot bring themselves to a sense of balance or peace. They rely on us to anchor them, holding them steady and bringing them back to safety.
But what happens when we as anchors are blown and tossed along with them?
I look at the storm that blew through my home today, my responses, and my emotions, and I can humbly think only one thing. I am no savior. I couldn’t anchor us today. I couldn’t save us from being capsized. I, in fact , was the one who most desperately needed the anchor, Someone who would come and let the first words He speaks be “Peace. Be still. ”
I was at a seminar last night and the speaker told us that God always comes to us with love and grace first. Even in the need for correction, He acts in love and grace first. And while this is what I try (and often fail) to do with my kids, I forget that this is what Jesus willingly does (and never fails to do) for me. That in this day, while I am being blown about, the words He speaks to me are not “Defeat. Overwhelm. Failure. Inadequate. ” The words He speaks to me are, “Peace. Be still. My grace is enough for you and your circumstances.”
And unlike the burn my tears leave in my soul, He brings a soothing balm, a gentle healing that urges me to rest and stop trying to take it all on my shoulders. That lets me unload the stresses and fears and hurts and invites me to trust and be at peace.
It’s an invitation off the downward spiral. An invitation to look up and be brought up. An invitation to relinquish my position as the anchor. Jesus is the anchor, and I am simply the rope that connects my children to Him.