I opened my eyes in the bedroom of my quaint little two-bedroom apartment in Las Vegas to face another sunny Sunday morning. The night before I had gone to bed with plans to attend church. Now that morning had arrived, I wasn’t that interested. I hesitantly moved toward the bathroom to prepare myself for the day, because I had begun to make a habit of disproportionately committing to plans I made and ridiculously attempting to fit in a mold I never cared for.
At that time in my life, God was becoming increasingly more important. It was for these reasons I felt obligated to get up and go to church. After all, it was Mother’s Day, and I was the lucky single mom to a precious, beautiful, tanned skinned, brown eyed 10-year-old baby girl.
So what was the problem?
Besides getting out of bed and pushing myself to produce an overrated false production of happiness for the day; I’ll never forget my eyes almost dazedly rested on the bottom corner of the bathroom cabinet. Inside my heart sat one emotion, and I did everything in my power to shove it out of the way and press on.
Irritated. Annoyed. Bothered….the kind that’s set off simply by the hair dryer cord tangling or your mascara clumping.
Church didn’t seem to drive this crazy emotion from existence. When the sermon was over, and everyone was supposed to give their hugs and happiest of Mother’s Day greetings with their big fancy smiles, I bolted for the door faster than a scared cat in a dark alley of hungry dogs.
I moved through the rest of the day. Working really hard to pass the time with minimal interactions as possible.
By early afternoon the day had landed me at my parents to celebrate this national holiday of celebrating mommas.
From there everything got worse. Way worse. I can’t even type out all the details. Fear of transparency and all things judgmental. But let’s just say it was another day on the books that got me up in the morning looking for change or rather begging for it.
Let me back up a bit…
In 2002, on the setting of a beautiful sunset in California’s Central Valley while heading southbound on the 99 Freeway, when I had only been a single mom for a short year and seeking desperately the direction of my life; the Holy Spirit whispered into my brazen soul — Do not sin in your anger.
Nice warning. And I so wish I had been more thankful and understanding to it at the time. A week later, just for confirmation and follow through ’cause God is nice like that, I was brought to the same verse in my dusty, unused Bible. There, while sitting on my bed, I read Ephesians 4:26, “In your anger do not sin.”
Had I conveniently been trying to forget that moment the week before, by the time my eyes rested on those perfectly aligned black lettered words, there was no excusing it now. Even I, who loved to excuse the inconvenient away, couldn’t. Unfortunately for me, I’ve been the fool that’s filled plenty of the lines in Proverbs. Like most foolish people, I don’t learn from anything gentle. Not even a gentle whisper from the Holy Spirit tucked deep into my heart.
So, I picked up with my day and went on plowing through the next nine years with my existence being fueled by moments bursting with slight irritations, anger, and resentment.
My little spirit has always been feisty, wild and extreme.
But in this season of life, I was broken, desperate and starved; you can read more about that here, here, and a smidgin’ here, which kinda and very well may have made all that feisty, wild and extreme land on a level of CRAZY!
I, and maybe like you, had been keeping the lid sealed tight. Instead, I let anger spill over the brim of my home. Because it was easier than admitting I was emersed in resentment, disappointment, shame, guilt, and fear. All these emotions sat quietly inside me while anger ruled.
I was resentful that I held the sole responsibility for raising this precious and fragile little being. I was disappointed that I hadn’t been wiser and taken better steps to care for myself so I could have offered a better life for this baby girl. Like a family with two high functioning parents. I was filled with guilt because — I could go on and on, but perhaps you understand and could fill in your own blanks.
And then all of a sudden, the weeks that followed that Mother’s Day in 2011, a couple of years shy of single momin’ it for ten years, it was my turn. A moment of redemption.
The weeks that followed that Mother’s Day of 2011, for the first time while being a single mom for nearly a decade, I sat in all those feelings. I uncomfortably faced a part of me I knew had been there but somehow, looking at it from a transformative lens, gave me the strength to reach deep inside and dig it out.
Or maybe that was grace….
Because delivered straight from heaven, a kiss of mercy landed right smack dab in the middle of my heart. A gift from God. Who, when He decides your time of suffering is up, and you have finally met or exceeded your growing pains in that class, begins the process of peeling back the layers of hurt, disappointment, rejection and heartache.
And so began another chapter of healing.
It’s been six years since that Mother’s Day. And although I still get angry, and I still struggle with many of those same emotions, I’m on a different level. God in his graciousness has taken me through those moments and allowed me to see that pain has a purpose, our faults and mistakes are opportunities, and my crazy is part of my story.
Join my crazy conversation: What part of your crazy has got in the way of Mother’s day? How did you sit in the middle of your mess and find the grace to love yourself through it?