Today's guest is so much fun... You're just going to love her! She's a stay-at-home mom who tells it like it is, daring to take the formality out of this Christian life while still managing to get deep-down to the bottom of what it's all about... Jesus doing a total redemptive miracle each emptied out, palms up, I-need-Jesus day. Laura Mitchell inspires me with her youthful exuberance, even though she confesses to being weary and worn by motherhood most days. Today I've invited Laura to sit with me on my orange couch - which she has promised to visit IRL (in real life) one day soon! I told you she's fun!
“Mom, why are you so mad?”
“I’m just tired.” I replied.
TIRED. More than tired. I was frustrated. I had not lived up to my idea of a “GOOD” mom; my child had not lived up to my idea of a “GOOD” child. The events of the day, while a blur now, unraveled like a seam on an over worn shirt. I’m sure I probably lost it over some kind of accident, spilled milk, or my unrealistic expectation about how nap-time would go.
And then The Lord, in all of His goodness, shined His light on my life that dark night. And I saw things clearly. Friend, let me pause here and let you glimpse into the illuminated depths of my heart. It's not pretty, you'll see, and for a while I was ashamed of what I saw. But GRACE, He spoke with such grace as He brought correction to my heart.
Here is what He spoke:
“Yes, you are tired, but I am tired as well. Tired of you fixing your eyes on the things of this world. Tripping over the small things in life. Exploding on the gifts I have given you. I have given you the desires of your heart and you are flailing around spewing unkind words, frustrated. You are acting no different than they are. Like a child. Today I am more concerned with how you are growing up than how they are growing up. You storm, you fuss, you fight, you are not gracious, and I am tired. Tired of watching you fixate on the outward problems instead of fixing your gaze on me. I want you to look me in the eyes, to fix your eyes on me. I am the author and finisher of your faith."
My heart was soft as I heard from the Lord about my mothering. Fixate, Fixing, fix, fix fix... the words echoed in my heart, and then He gently went on:
You say things like, ‘I NEED Dr. Pepper.’ You don’t need a quick fix. You NEED to fix your eyes on me and let me fix the rest. Fix you, fix your children, fix this whole sin-entagled predicament you're in. How about you quit trying to fix your children and let me fix them. I can’t fix them, when you're spiraling out of control, running to temporary things to cover up your shortcomings. When you run to this world to fix your problems, what does this inadvertently teach your children? Come to me, let me fix you, and you'll be leading by example. Breathe deep, call on my name, and ask me to give you grace, strength and wisdom. I am the Great Physician not Dr. Pepper. Dr. Pepper cannot stabilize your emotions, and bring health to your bones. But Jehovah Rapha can - I can and I will. My word is health to your bones, it quickens your mortal body, gives you strength to endure. Dr. Pepper cannot fix your spirit. Your spirit is what needs fixing. You are broken, and that is a good thing, remember a broken spirit and a contrite heart I have yet to deny. Come to me, weary, heavy laden with burdens and I will give you rest. You will lead your children to me when you come to me, crawling, crying, running, singing, dancing in my presence. Your actions reflect me. My character is marred every time you choose to walk by the frustrations of the flesh, rather than walking by the fruit of the spirit. Your children need to see a living example of my goodness and love. I can and will use you to walk this out. I want to use you to display my glory so they can come to know me at an early age. I want to use you to show them how to run to me when they need help and not temporary fixes of this world.
“When I said, “My foot is slipping,” your unfailing love, Lord, supported me. When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought me joy.” (Psalm 94:18)
I called for help during this 40 day fast, and God told me straight up what He wanted me to fast. It wasn't what I had planned to give up, but He spoke it clearly. Fix your eyes on me. So I gave up Dr. Pepper. And I changed my daily routine, all the ways I turned to the world to fix my stress and disappointments. I fasted from facebook for chunks of time each day, that I might fix my eyes on His face. And I made time to call on His Name throughout the day, not just at night as I repented for the times I had failed. I fasted from the quick fix and refused to get swept up in the tumultuous sea of condemnation and guilt. I fasted from the quick fix, and fixed my eyes on Him.
I fix my eyes on Him. (Hebrews 12:1-3)
Over and over again I am practicing this fixing my eyes - and He is faithfully fixing me as I do.
Pausing at lunch, at nap-time, and in the evening, allowing Him to refuel me. Those are the times I used to run to "the Dr.", but now I run to The Great Physician Himself. And we take praise breaks, the kids and I do, to give thanks throughout the day when we are all fussing and frustrated. Fixing our eyes on Him rather than watching Mama run for a fix. Together, we are actively pursuing lifestyles that honor Him and cling to His ways. We are choosing to trust in the Lord with all of our hearts, and remain confident that He will finish and perfect, the work he started. We are finding ways to refocus, change our perspective, and fix our eyes on Him.
Tell me: What are some of the ways you have found during this fast to help you fix your eyes on Jesus? Did you realize there was a deeper work that needed to happen in your heart than just changing your diet? How has becoming more focused on Jesus changed the way you parent?
Laura Mitchell is a wife, mom of two boys, writer, and inspirational speaker. She's a lover of sunsets and coffee, laughing and Jesus. Visit her at her website, Hope Anchors, where she shares about finding hope for every need in her life in Christ alone.