I broke a drawer yesterday…
I could have told Steve that I just slammed it too hard… But that wouldn’t have been the truth.
I slammed it because I was mad.
I had a split second choice to make. And I consciously chose anger and that split second later I wished I had chosen differently when the front of my silverware drawer came crashing to my feet.
I knew from the start of the day that it wasn’t going to be a winner. But sometimes it’s so hard to choose to change even when you know it will make things better.
I woke up late, feeling exhausted from two wakings with children, and as the day went on, Good Friday, this, I so wanted things to be different – to be meaningful. I wanted a clean house and time for reflection. Instead, I skipped my time reading the Bible and praying because I was late starting the day.
And I scurried from task to task – cleaning toilets, mopping up puddles of spilled water, and the last straw – cleaning up chocolate syrup drizzled all over the kitchen floor. All the while my kids were clamoring for my attention, but couldn’t they see I had a house to clean??
So I slammed that drawer so hard it broke.
I messaged Steve: “Just so you know… I broke a drawer… Because I was angry.”
But he didn’t get upset at me or lecture me; he just asked if glue could fix it and could I send him a picture and we might need some clamps. And when he gets home he gets his tools out and jokes about giving me plenty of room. He shows me how to give grace.
A gaping drawer hole just like a gaping hole in my heart.
This morning… I’m reminded of Martha and her sister Mary in Luke 10:38-42:
38 As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. 39 She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. 40 But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”
41 “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, 42 but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”
A clean house or perfectly obedient children or chocolate-syrupless floors will never satisfy me.
Only Jesus will satisfy me.
Only the gaping tomb and Him come to rescue me.
No tools, no glue, no clamps will fix my heart. Only Jesus can do the fixing I need. And I need it every day.
A few weeks ago Morgan said to me:
“Mama, I’m not going to do anything naughty anymore.”
Me: “Oh Morgan… That is so good to try to not sin, but we are just never going to be able to do things perfectly. Not Mama, not you, not anyone.”
She started to cry. “But I don’t want to do bad things!”
And I remember the night I sat on the couch in the quiet of the house, reading Paul out loud and crying my eyes out, because couldn’t each of us have written this?? (Romans 17:14-25, emphasis mine)
14 We know that the law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin. 15 I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. 16 And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. 17 As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. 18 For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. 19 For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. 20 Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.
21 So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. 22 For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; 23 but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. 24 What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death?
I’m reminded again of how much I need His death on the cross because there’s no way I can ever fix myself. There’s no way I can never sin again. I can’t clean myself up.
It’s no use starting a day and pretending like I can cut it all by myself. It’s no use flying around between everything that needs to happen and acting like I can make right choices without His help. Martha couldn’t, Morgan and I can’t.
“But Morgan, that is why Jesus died on the cross for our sins. We can ask Him to forgive us and He will! And the Holy Spirit can help us to do what is right if we listen to Him.”
If we listen to Him. In that split second before I slam the drawer.
And we don’t have a far off god who doesn’t get it. I haven’t often made the link between what the Bible says Jesus will be called, Immanuel – literally God With Us – in traditional Christmas scripture passages and God With Us at Easter. I am struck this year by Him being with us “from the cradle to the cross,” as Matt Maher’s rework of the hymn Holy, Holy, Holy says.
He is WITH US! The Bible literally calls the Holy Spirit “The Helper”! He will help us remember what we have learned, He will help us choose what is good and right and loving and pure and helpful.
If Paul had stopped writing at “Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death?” what a tragedy that would have been… But he clears that up in the very next sentence:
25 Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!
This morning I clear a space in my broken up kitchen and prepare breakfast for my family.
All yesterday afternoon this was in my head, and I woke up singing it to myself:
You see, there is a bit of a catch. Jesus is willing to forgive our sins, the Holy Spirit is willing to be our Helper, but we still have to choose to ask forgiveness, to repent and choose to go 180 degrees from our sin. We still have to choose to yield and give it up.
So that’s what I’m choosing today. And I’ll have to choose it again tomorrow.
I’m reminded of 2 Corinthians 2:14-15
14 But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and manifests through us the sweet aroma of the knowledge of Him in every place. 15 For we are a fragrance of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing;
God leads me in triumph over my sin… and I am a sweet fragrance of Christ to God.
Thanks be to God With Us.