Good Friday

As I sit at my computer, my hand is swollen and typing is uncomfortable. After lecturing my kids about the far-reaching consequences of sin and stupid choices, I am bearing the brunt of my own.

For someone like me, who spent years struggling to make decisions simply out of fear of making the wrong one, this is a chance to put all I’ve learned about letting God take control of my thought life.

People who struggle with anxiety (particularly that which leads to feelings of guilt and condemnation) will understand this best. I hope it encourages you.

Yesterday was a nightmare. We are 6 days into Spring Break. The kids haven’t had much to do and are no longer used to entertaining themselves as they did when they were homeschooled. At this point, they’re starting to get on each others nerves, and mine. My youngest had been being particularly clingy. Lately, he fits the stereotype of the spoiled third child quite well, in spite of my best efforts to prevent him from developing that expectation of entitlement over the last five and a half years.

My middle child has also been playing her role with added passion, and I’ve dubbed my eldest the “sniper” because he is really good at keeping himself hidden, shooting at his siblings at weak moments while remaining undetected.

Add to that the fact that we now have a daddy home who is already under a lot of stress from work, kids acting up, and feels like Murphy’s law has taken over (what can go wrong, will go wrong). I’ve been having some health issues lately but thank God, today, I feel pretty healthy. Still, the family circus is in full swing and it is now just after lunch. I want to clean up the kitchen, while my husband’s task is to extract our new cat out from under the bed, coax her into the crate and take her to the vet for a rabies shot. (Apparently, we’ve been very spoiled with our Cody all these years. He is the most genial, compliant and affectionate 12 pounds of fur in the world. Mia, however is the opposite… in all but weight.)

Hubby shuts himself away in the bedroom in an effort to keep her contained while he hunts her down. The kids, conspiratorially or otherwise, take the opportunity to make their best efforts at finally driving me over the edge. Barely snatching a victory, I manage to disperse them to their rooms (although if I recall correctly, the youngest had to be physically ousted from the kitchen).

I come back down, look at the pile of dishes and leftovers on the counter and decide it’s time to turn on my book and learn a little more about the founding of the German Empire while I clean up. The only problem with that is that my phone, with the Audible app, is in my room.

Even though I feel a little warning that I shouldn’t go in the room right now, I proceed and find that my husband has his head under the dresser. Apparently, in twenty minutes he has had no success in imprisoning the cat in her crate.

As I stand there trying to decide if I should try to help or grab the phone and run, Mia bolts, and so ensues another ten minutes of trying to extract her from whatever piece of furniture she has found refuge under.

At one point, I do manage to catch her at the top of the stairs, as she sits staring down the dead-end hallway (with three closed doors because my children are finally behind them). Stupidly, I grab her. She not only scratches me but sinks her teeth into the fleshy part of my hand before wriggling free and disappearing behind the refrigerator.

We never do catch her. Currently, she is under the floorboards in the kitchen, having passed through a tiny crevice in the adjacent room, something of which we were entirely unaware.

Which brings me back to my swollen hand and the discomfort that accompanies it. Do I have nerve damage? I don’t know.

I do know that between writing and playing my guitar (which I’ve committed to do at a large event in two weeks), I can’t afford to be unable to use my hand. Oh, and don’t forget all that housewifey stuff. Wondering if I have nerve damage is a small thing. What is far more tempting is to allow myself to focus on how guilty and stupid I was for going ahead and getting my phone when I could’ve easily done dishes without a history lesson.

This morning, I wake up at 230 as I often do. I know my thoughts could easily take the wrong turn, as they did for many years. That old familiar downward spiral threatens to start spinning again, set off by the tiniest thing imaginable.

You have to understand the way my brain worked itself into a veritable train wreck over the course of years. It is why people write books called Get Out of Your Head and The Battlefield of the Mind. If this one stupid decision has resulted in nerve damage and a cat that may never come out from beneath the kitchen floor (she’s spent over two weeks under our bed already), what would be the consequences of a far greater stupid decision? Or a mistake?

Thank God, I’ve learned to get my spiraling thoughts to stop before they really get started. Further, it reminds me that yes, we are all sinful. We all make wrong choices—small or great. Some of us have made some real doozies.

God reminded me that, although it was 2:30 in the morning, it was also Good Friday. Since most of what happened to Jesus in the final hours of his life seems to have happened overnight, it was probably right around this time that the wheels were really in motion. Jesus was put through an illegal trial by the Pharisees, found guilty, and sent off to Pilate.

Isn’t it all our sin and stupidity that He died for? He sees my heart, He sees that I am truly sorry for my infractions—not just these little ones but for the yet imperfect heart from which all of our infractions spring. The heart that says, “Yeah, I know what the right thing to do is, but it’ll be OK if I just do the wrong thing this once.”

There is a verse in the Bible that says, “The fool says in his heart: there is no God.” My former pastor always told us that the Hebrew actually reads this way: “The fool says in his heart, ‘No, God!’”

I think if we were honest, we’d be surprised how many of us really struggle with our thought life. We’re not the only ones for whom things like that can feel awful condemning if handled the wrong way. God, does this make me a fool?

Satan would love the thought process to end there, but if he sees an opportunity to take that little thought and run with it, wrapping it around and around like a rope, he’ll gladly help tie you to a tree.

But God! I know a lot of people might not be able to relate this post, and think I’m still overthinking everything. But I also know that there are people out there who are not only going to relate, but they are going to say, “Hallelujah, this is just what I needed.”

This is what makes Good Friday good. All our sins, all our failures, all the little stupid things we do for which the consequences end up being far greater than we expect, those were nailed to the cross with Jesus.

“When Satan says ‘look at your sin,’ God says, ‘look at my Son.’”

May that bring you an extra sense of awe as you celebrate Good Friday—or any day, because His mercies are new every morning!

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