Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Tidings of Comfort and Joy

It finally hit me, yesterday- Christmas is a week away. Yesterday I suddenly went into a frenzy of running around, shopping with a vengeance and with more focus on the particular people I still have on my list. I came home last night after a long afternoon of errands and shopping, made a quick spaghetti dinner, and fell apart at the dinner table. Everything that was bothering me, deep inside, these last couple days, came to the surface.

I really felt the most frustrated with my teenage son, but I don't even want to go there. Let's just say I am constantly aware of Life's challenges and responsibilities and I do not see that he is. In fact it irks me when I am exhausted and concerned about so many details so that everyone's life can be enhanced- and he is barely covering the basic details of his own existence. But it all comes down to perspective, I guess. I could have a son who is wild, out of control, and off doing God only knows what. Instead I have a son who is ....maturing. Maturity, or call it Inner Growth, takes time.

So I calmed down a bit, rested on my bed, and watched the new T.V. reality show about the competing choirs led by famous stars, such as Patti Labelle. Boy, can that woman belt it out. As I watched her choir sing, and saw the recap of the first song, it was like having a rousing worship experience. My deflated spirit got pumped up again. I saw my own emotional exhaustion and my worries for what they were- and was able to recognize how off kilter I got. I needed to repent. I needed to apologize.

Abby came in my room and flopped next to me. She chatted with me about her vacation week and who she wanted to get together with. I turned to her and tried to assess if I had traumatized her with my outburst at the table.

"Abby, I'm sorry for the outburst. I was wrong to act that way, " I told her, with my eyes down on the patterned comforter.

"What outburst?" she asked me.

"The one at dinner," I replied, puzzled that she seemed to not know what I was talking about.

"Oh, that," she said. "That wasn't even a bad one Mom. I've seen worse."

Apparently I've made progress- although I'm not sure if her perspective of my behavior is an accurate indicator of how well I am doing. I have one child who constantly extends grace to me, and another child (a young man) who causes me to need grace, and grace more abundantly.

"And great grace was upon them all" is the fragment of the verse that comes to mind (Acts 4:33). The disciples preached the resurrection of Christ AND great grace was upon them, as well.

"The doctrine preached was the resurrection of Christ;... which being duly explained, was a summary of all the duties, privileges, and comforts of Christians. There were evident fruits of Christ's grace in all they said and did," says Matthew Henry's commentary.

I need to remember not just the duties we have in this life- our work and our labor, the raising of our children, the labor of our soul in prayer, but also the comfort and the privilege I have to know a God who can refuel me when I'm low, infuse me with strength, and give me grace to go on again in an attitude of joy and expectation of His good.

There's a canopy of grace over me, but I think I feel the touch of grace deep down inside me, as well. On top of that deep inner assurance, I hear the tidings of Comfort and Joy.

I'm off again, humming that song, and so thankful for it.


Mike said...

Thank God for His grace! Is it only a week till Christmas??!! Thanks for the warning, I have done nothing!
This I Do...

Andrea said...

Hi Lauren-
Great entry - I can relate wholeheartedly. Having children makes us realize just how patient God is with us! In those moments, can you see how God is growing and shaping you, how He might be revealing Himself to you? Sometimes this questions helps pull me through those times. :)

Kim S in SC said...

I love your description of "canopy" of grace over you. What a beautiful word picture. (I am definitely the word picture type :) ) When I think of a canopy in the forest, it both protects and refreshes!
I tell you, having wonderful children makes you develop calluses on your knees!
Thanks again for another great pit stop for "refueling!"

deni said...

Thankfully, God is a much better parent than I am, and I am one of His many works in progress.

Seeker said...

Lauren, great post. I've been reading your blog regularly but this is the first time I'm commenting.You are really fortunate to realize the presence of God in your life.

Hope you have fun on Christmas!!

Loveable said...

I agree that something about those choirs make everything alright. Merry Christmas and I hope you and I both catch up with the holiday.

LAUREN at Faith Fuel- said...

Greetings to you all, commenting dear ones!

Seeker, I'm glad you you left a comment for the first time. It's great to "meet" my new friends who stop by Faith Fuel.

(Any body like the jazzy bossa nova beat of this Christmas Carol I'm playing?!)

Angie said...

I love the music!

jazzy bossa nova
jazzy bossa nova
jazzy bossa nova

(I just wanted to say that three times!)

Agreeing with all the commenters (except for Mike--I'm all ready for Christmas). Great post and insight.