The other day, I had one of those days where I just had to cry. The whole day I was in one of those weird moods where I just felt a little off. I didn't even realize that it was obvious I was having an off day until the Mr. kept asking me if something was wrong. I sunk into a seat on the couch and stared at the wall in somewhat of a daze. I wasn't in a daze, though. I was focusing. I was trying my hardest to figure out what was making me feel so unraveled.
I drifted in and out of my staring contest with the wall as my cheerful little 2-year old boy bounced around on the couch and smiled at me like nothing was wrong in the world. As much as his little smile brings me joy, I could barely even force a smile onto my face.
Finally, I felt that burning sensation coming up to my eyeballs. I tried closing my eyes really hard and holding back whatever it was my tear ducts had planned. It was no use, so I just cupped my hands over my face. "Am I doing enough?" I asked out loud. "I don't feel like I'm doing enough."
Am I going out in the community enough? Am I helping out enough for our team? Am I putting forth enough effort to form friendships? Am I doing everything I can to help Little Man with his speech? Should I be doing more? Am I doing too much?
The questions running through my head and occasionally spilling from my mouth were many, but it all centered around the initial question, "Am I doing enough?"
My husband is patient and kind, supportive and gentle. He's also an honest person and I know he wouldn't let me spin out of control in a downward spiral of laziness and complacency. "Come here," he said as he put his arm around me and told me that I couldn't compare myself to the lives of others. My husband was such a comfort to me in that moment of doubt and frustration. I thought after getting up from the couch that day, I was set for awhile before my next tear-fest.
A couple days later, we were watching a TV show that I believe falls under the "humor" category. That means, laughter, am I right?? So can someone explain to me why I ended up boo-hooing 20 minutes later?!
The show was a Halloween episode and one of the mom's sons was planning on going to a party hosted by one of the pretty, popular girls at his high school. He's hoping to find the opportunity to ask her to a dance. I know...I see you rolling your eyes at this cliche plot so far. Stay with me...
His sister, also in high school, plans on attending the party as well. Before leaving the house, the mom is informed by her daughter that he is totally going to have his heart smashed by this popular girl. You can see the mom already feeling her son's pain before he even knows he's going to get hurt.
The mom can't stand the thought of her boy getting hurt. She can't understand why this girl wouldn't want to go to the dance with him and, being the biased mother that we mothers all are, she thinks her son is the greatest and any girl would be lucky to have him. She decides to go to the party dressed as a ghost so that she can try to keep her son from getting his heart broken. She even goes as far as to approach and talk to the popular girl while still "undercover" in her costume (pun very much intended) and convince her of what a great guy he is.
One thing leads to another and the son recognizes his mother's voice and pulls the sheet off her head. He's humiliated and she says more things to try and justify her actions that only further embarrasses her son as his storms out of the party.
As much as I wanted to say, "that mom is a nut-job", I couldn't bring myself to say it. I completely understood her motives. Was she justified in doing what she did? Absolutely not. She looked like a creeper hanging out at her son's high school party. However, that pain she felt in her heart at the thought of her precious son being rejected and not liked, nay, loved by all...it's a pain that can be hard to bear sometimes.
Just as I typed that last paragraph, I realized more clearly the love God has for his own children. A love so great that he would send His only son to live in this world and be mocked and laughed at, betrayed and criticized, accused of a crime of which he wasn't guilty and hung on a cross to pay for sins which he never committed. It was a perfect sacrifice made for an imperfect, sinful mankind.
Do I love my son enough to trust him in the Father's hands? Do I love him enough to surrender him to the plans that the Lord has for him, no matter what rejection, ridicule, and persecution he'll face ahead?
I, just like the mom on the TV show, cringe at the thought of the pain I know my son will experience because I've already had my fair share of pain and made my fair share of mistakes. But I can't go chasing after him his whole life and karate-kicking everyone that wants to hurt him. I have to trust in the Lord and know that His ways are higher than my ways, His thoughts are higher than my thoughts.
When I break down in tears like the two unexpected times I cried this past week, I always remember Psalm 56:8
You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book.God knows us so intimately. He knows why we're crying before we even understand what we're crying for in the first place because he already knows what's ahead. He already knows how the pain feels, no matter what kind of pain it is. He's been there, done that, and he's right there with us to walk through it. Not only does he understand our pain and suffering, he remembers the struggles and the tears and he writes them down. He collects the tears in a bottle.
We often ask ourselves, "Why so much suffering?", and that question is always a tough one and not really easy to answer. Life hurts but God cares and our tears do not go unnoticed.
I cannot change, remove, or avoid the pain, suffering, persecution, trials and tribulations that come with life. In fact, as a believer, I'm told to expect those things: "Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing." (James 1:2-4)
God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.
This video didn't help put an end to my unusual amount of crying this past week, but it did help shed some light on my former question: "Am I doing enough?"