Suffice to say, I did not demonstrate kindness and compassion when my kids most needed it that weekend. I did not exhibit patience and strength when the situation most called for it. And I did not love God, or my neighbor, or my own family, with all my heart. Instead, I ranted, raved, complained, bemoaned, wept, slammed cabinets, scattered the recycling and all but foamed at the mouth. And then, on top of everything else, I felt guilty.
I didn’t feel any better Monday morning. In fact, I felt worse. Not only was I a Medusa mother and a deranged housewife, I was also clearly a Christian fake, preaching one thing here on Monday morning for the Hear It, Use It community, and living another way the rest of the week.
I sat on the couch with my Bible closed on my lap. What was the point, I wondered? Here I was, smack in the middle of Ephesians, close to completing my first cover-to-cover reading of the Bible, and what had I accomplished? What progress had I made? Clearly I was not transformed. Clearly I had not grown spiritually or grown in my relationship with God. Was I not, quite possibly, worse off than when I’d begun? After all, I knew more now; I knew better. Yet I was still making the same, wearisome, stupid, awful mistakes. I was still the same self-centered lunatic of a mother and wife that I’d always been.
I opened my Bible anyway that Monday morning, more out of habit than for any other reason. I draped the black ribbon over the leather cover, settled my glasses on my nose and began again where I’d left off a few days before, halfway through Chapter Three.
As I read the section entitled, “Paul’s prayer for spiritual growth,” I knew instantly that although he’d written it for the Ephesians long ago, the prayer was meant explicitly for me that Monday morning. In fact, when I copied the prayer into my journal, I altered the words slightly, to make it a prayer for myself.
I’ve read this prayer in my journal every morning since then, and I’m including it here today, just in case you, too, are having a Medusa mother, deranged housewife kind of day. Because, after all, there’s hope in God, through God, with God. There’s always hope.
I pray that from Your glorious, unlimited resources, You will empower me with inner strength through Your Spirit.
I pray that You will make a home in my heart as I trust in You.
I pray that my roots will grow down into Your love and keep me strong.
I pray that I will have the power to understand how wide, how long, how high and how deep Your love is.
I pray that I will experience this love, though it is too great to understand fully, and that I will be made complete with Your fullness of life and power.
And I pray that You accomplish infinitely more in me than I even think or ask.
Glory to You, forever and forever. Amen.
With Jennifer, Emily and Duane: