The Fire

Miles walked up to me this morning and said, "you're the best mommy in the whole wide world."

Right now, that simply isn't true. But I'm so unbelievably thankful that he still thinks so.

Even though I've been too tired and sad to play cars almost every time he asks. Even though he gets in trouble because of my impatience more than he should. Even though I put him to bed in the shirt he wore all day last night, and forgot to have him brush his teeth. Even though I cried through the boys' bath the other night and couldn't stop, scaring them and bringing Miles to ask, "When is Daddy coming home?" Even though...

Isn't it amazing, how children have this vast propensity to forgive, quickly and without shaming you or judging your mistakes?

I'm not being negative or hard on myself when I say I truly don't deserve it. Not this week. That's not even really my fault. I'm struggling with something I don't have a whole lot of control over. And it's not easy to stay on your game when you single parent a large part of the time with a baby and preschooler. It's just not. If you are a single parent, I must stop here and say loudly, YOU ROCK THE PARTY.

Yes, I pray. Yes, I beg God to fix it. But sometimes He doesn't fix things quickly. I'm quite okay with that. Because I know that He's got this. He's got me. He's got my kids and my Ryan.

In Daniel, when Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego stood before the fire, they had full belief that they would be saved. They trusted God's promises. I heard Beth Moore say recently that it's most likely they didn't know what that would look like. They probably assumed they would be spontaneously delivered from the fire. Maybe God would blow the fire out. Or he would swoop them up and over it. But He did not.

What happened instead refined and strengthened their faith more than a quick fix could. They had to actually walk through it, saved but not without putting one foot in front of the other and stepping right into the flames. No harm came to them, but I imagine it was a bit daunting.

The current fire in my life is an overwhelming sadness that is coupled with anxiety and fear. I don't know exactly where to place my feet as I step into the flames, fully believing that I will walk through it and come out unharmed and even refined. I admit I have not found my footing.

What I do know is that at some point I will leave the fire with more peace. I will be changed, renewed, restored, and healed of any of the scars I bear from standing too close to the fire without moving for so long.

I pray I will have the courage to move forward, walking straight into dealing with myself and all the hurt and shame that is bubbling over. I want to move through it and live to tell my boys that we serve a God who brings us through. Lately I've been too exhausted to take steps and have realized I need help. I'm cool with that, and I'm working on it.

Thank you all for your kind words, your comments and emails. Your ability to cheer me with your own blog posts and most of all, your prayers. You moved me to the good kind of tears over and over yesterday. Thank you.

God gave good advice when He said to become like little children. Just believe and forgive, quickly and with great love. He'll take care of the rest. And when you can't, that's okay because He's got it.
"If we are faithless, He will remain faithful,
for He cannot disown Himself." 2 Timothy 2:13.

(photo courtesy of flickr:Zenith Phuong)

34 clicked right here to comment:

happygeek said...

Thank heavens for unconditional love. From our kids, our spouse and our Saviour.

charrette said...

Beautiful perspective here, Heather. At times like this I have a mantra:Help me walk through this fire and come out on the other side kinder, wiser, deeper, stronger. It works. He works. (And believe it or not, the fire works too.)

I did a painting about it called Refiner's Fire, and another called My Personal Burning Bush. Oh, how your Fire analogy resonates for me!

Erin said...

Our kids love us, and we are the best parent they can have.

I really liked the analogy too. I had never thought of it like that: God probably didn't do what they expected, but they were delivered just the same. Thanks for a little bit of scripture this morning!

jodilee0123 said...

Heather~ thank-you for your brilliant posts! You may not feel brilliant. . . but you are speaking from your heart--which many of us don't have the bravery (or the talent) to write it like you do. I also have cherished your bible versus--perfect for our pocket cards to have when we need them them most! My prayers are with you and remember: you are not alone--ever.

Jillene said...

Things will get better--they always do!!

Isn't it AMAZING that even though we may be mean, or sad, or onrey, or negative or whatever the case....our children love us NO MATTER WHAT?! They have an unconditional love that is undescribable. I am glad that you have the kids to keep reminding you that you are loved--because you are!!

Abra said...

There are three things that keep me going every day. Without them, I'm lost.
Sometimes I lose my cool, and I don't feel like a very good mom, but then I go upstairs to bed and there's a note from Piper stuck in the door of the dryer:
"I didn't get to say goodnight. I love you.
Sincerely Piper."
Or the fact that three awesome facts about her includes me and how she "loves her mom." posted right there on the wall for everyone in the school to see.

That unconditional love seems undeserving at times, but pushes me to become a better person.
hugs to you.

Lara said...

I think our children and their absolute unconditional love for us is part of God's plan. I think that we need to feel that love. I know I often don't deserve to be the best mommy in the world, but to them, I still am.

more hugs to you.

Melanie J said...

I haven't looked at that Bible story in a long time. I remember teaching it to a room full of nine-year-olds and I wish I would have had this added insight because it's such a valuable way to look at it. Sometimes when just being a teenager seemed overwhelming, I would grit my teeth and mutter, "This too shall pass." Stuff always does, and sometimes that's the most comforting thing of all.

Gwendolyn said...

Oh, if only we could all be as forgiving as children! Great post, it really made me think this morning. :o)

Kazzy said...

We do have to learn through experience that the refining process is not an easy one. I always hate it when my kids see me cry because I see them get very upset. But then when I think back on it later I realize that it might be good for them to see me as human, with real feelings of sadness here and there.

The Three 22nds said...

That is a great verse.

Hang in there. And let me know if you want to get together for a playdate. I would love for our kids (and us!) to get to meet sometime!

As I am said...

This to shall pass!!!

I know because I've been through it. I spent many nights crying through baths and not playing with my kids. Please know that we are all thinking of you and your family.

Elizabeth said...

Your last few posts have really touched me. Thank you for your honesty as you walk through this fire. I should probably e-mail you instead of posting a comment, but I'm too lazy right now. I just wanted you to know that I am going through the same thing, don't have the words to blog about it, but hope to soon.

Bonnie Lewis said...

I needed to read this. sometimes the fire seems worse when you feel like you are going through it alone. I will pray for you today miss Heather, and if you think of it, shoot one up for me too ok? It's always better to pray for each other, I think God truly uses it in a unique way. Love to your precious heart.

That Girl in Brazil said...

What an absolutely inspired way of seeing things - walking through the flames without harm.

My most sincere prayers are for my children - that they will remain oblivious, happy and unscarred.

And they will, Heather. I know that.

Eowyn said...

I'm in tears here. Thank you for sharing your faith. I'm finally getting time to get caught up and I will definitely still pray for you, because things like this don't necessarily go away quickly.

Thank you for encouraging me today, even in your pain.

Word verification. Rottiom. Sounds like it fits something here. "I'm having a rottiom day!"

Adventures In Babywearing said...

Oh yes. We all needed this today (I know I did!) I go to bed feeling guilty that I'm not that super mama that my kids think I am. But I love that they still think it!

We're all under construction!


Sarah said...

You say everything so well! Right after finishing your post, I went and played wiht my son, just because I couldn't help myself. Children are incredibly forgiving. I get the feeling they feel our love for them on a deeper level than we do -- it's more real or something. It's a beautiful thing. I think part of becoming like a child is to have that same forgiving nature.

Becky said...

I love this analogy. Sometimes you gotta walk right in, not knowing what the outcome will be, but knowing that it will be for your own good.

And I think that kids must know, on some level, that we're trying. Man, are we trying. Maybe that's why they find it easy to forgive.

Ron said...

Many are praying for God to change their circumstances, while God is trying to change them through their circumstances.


Kristina P. said...

Heather, I'm so happy we found each other too!

And I adore you.

Heidi Ashworth said...

Ah, you break my heart with all this talk of shame. You are sleep deprived, nurture-deprived and adult conversation-deprived (and maybe lots of other depriveds too) which accounts for your fatigue and sadness, etc. "This too shall pass away". Here's something to make you laugh. My husband had a bad night last night which meant that I was wakened a lot when he was up and down and in bed and out of bed, etc. So, this morning, I was a tad cranky. I had the Little Guy so twisted up in knots that he peed right into his underwear and shorts RIGHT BEFORE SCHOOL, I'm talking two minutes after we had to be out the door. Then I had to spend five minutes soothing him and calming him down (cause I yelled) before we could leave. Lack of sleep is the devil! (just kidding. sort of)

a Tonggu Momma said...

I've been an impatient mess with the Tongginator this week. Also given to bouts of crying. I miss my friend.

God meant for me to read this today. Thank you for your vulnerability, Heather. Yet another reason I know we will someday meet.

RosyRose said...

Heather- I am so sorry to hear you have had a sad week! Have you ever read Hinds Feet On High Places? I have the childrens version I got from CBD a number of years ago. We read it to the kids from time to time for our family devotions. One time I read it to them during a time that I was extremely depressed. I would cry 80% of the time as I read. I could see myself in "much afraid"s character. It was so healing to read. I will pray for you right now that God strengthens you and gives you a peace in spite of the circumstance you are facing!
Remember you are not alone! Rose

Mrs. Incredible said...

Heather, I know you left me a comment a while ago, and I don't know as I ever responded. But I am proud of you for being open about your depression. I have battled depression for 10 years. I am a big believer in meds. And exercise. And light-boxes. And talking about it. And loads of prayer. I'm praying for you.

With love and compassion,

Brooke said...

I've been through that fire this year, and I can't believe how much stronger of a person I am now. It was NOT an easy road, but I know that my Heavenly Father helped me through. He listened to my prayers. I realized that the atonement of Jesus Christ was not only for our sins, but for our pain and our sorrows too. He felt all of that when he was suffering. He KNOWS my feelings, and anguish and heartache. It is so nice to have that unconditional love. You are brave and strong.

Peanut said...

I can't believe your incredible ability to write, even in the middle of such sadness.
Your post has inspired me to consider what I'm going through as "the fire"... I'm still digesting it all...
One thing that might encourage you is to know that my mom struggled with depression when I was a kid, but I don't remember it. I just remember the good stuff!

LisAway said...

I knew you'd have a flood of comments and emails yesterday and I wasn't sure what to say, so I put it off.

I really appreciate your perspective and faith here, Heather. I told my family about your analogy over dinner last night.

Please know that I am thinking of you and praying for you.

Anonymous said...

I love this post! I'm so glad I found your blog. Hang in there!

All Rileyed Up said...

Wow, this was a wonderful post. And I second your call that single parents rock the party.

Marivic_Little GrumpyAngel said...

Your faith is inspiring. Your strength and determination to rise above this darkness has touched me.

Kimberly said...

I think I'm going to have to email you or post in response to this, because my heart is too full for this little comment box to hold. ~hugs~

Kelly @ Love Well said...

I hate that I'm just reading this now.

God's mercies are new every morning, Heather. I'm praying for you. PLEASE let me know if there's something I can do to help you bear your burden.

Jessica said...

Thank-you for this. Authentic, insightful, full of wisdom that I need. You are precious.

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