It's hard to fall asleep when, just before bedtime, you read of the sudden and tragic death of a five year old boy just a few miles from the home where your own boy of similar age and stature rests. I didn't know him, but it doesn't take a whole lot of imagination for me to wonder if his mom woke up this morning (if she slept last night), suddenly remembered, and then wondered how she was going to keep breathing today. (Oh Lord, I don't even know what this looks like, but please show your mercy to them today.)
This world is full of flukes and outliers that can make even tame-ol' Billings, MT feel like a dangerous place to live. Just yesterday on Facebook, I saw news that a baby had died sleeping in a swing much like the one that currently sits 8 feet from me. Danger lurks in both the obvious and the innocent, and this realization brings with it crushing fear.
Layer upon this fear my guilt. You guys, I am a yeller. I say this despite my own disbelief and the shock that accompanies each time I yell at my kids. I don't believe it until, once again, I've snapped. The kids are bouyant, yadda yadda yadda; but this is not how I want to be, and it grieves me that this has become part of my parenting repertoire.
I bait my husband when I tell him I feel like this because I want him to assure me that I am a good mother, and he complies; but the guilt remains.
What can wash away my sins? Certainly not the love of my husband. What can make me whole again, free from my fear? Not all the jealous love and safeguards I can muster.
It's hard to sleep well with these burdens on my back. Last night, Scotty Smith tweeted, "The Gospel is true; sleep well."
"Nothing but the love of Jesus." If this is really true, how does it work? How does the Gospel lay me down to sleep? It works through a lifetime of choosing to believe, of mindfully rejecting lies that say anything will keep me or my kids safe or happy apart from the love of Christ, of repenting of my unbelief and saying, "Oh Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!"
The Gospel tells me -- and the cross proves to me -- that God's wisdom is higher than mine and his love combined with his wisdom always do what is best. The Gospel tells me that my children are not my highest good, and I am not theirs. I am very much tempted regularly to believe the former,
and I am very much convinced much of the time of the latter; but neither of
those are actually good for me or my children. I find my sense of significance in how well I am parenting, Pinteresting, and providing; and I find my security in my children's safety, comfort, and health. Contra all of this, all that we need is Jesus. Freedom from guilt and fear will come in increasing measure the more we believe this.
In this world of so many options, we have occasion to try out many fountains for a taste of true life. But there is only one fount whose flow is so precious as to save. "No other fount I know / Nothing but the blood of Jesus."
(PS - The title of this post is from Indelible Grace's song of the same title; what I find remarkable in re-listening to the song is the emphasis on Scripture. "Laden with guilt and full of fears
/ I fly to Thee, my Lord /
And not a glimpse of hope appears /
But in Thy written Word
/ The volumes of my Father's grace
/ Does all my griefs assuage
/ Here I behold my Saviors face
/ In every page." Tolle lege.)