Like the tiny, cold droplets of Chinese water torture,
so is yet another negative word from a child’s lips.
I crawl to bed, feeling not so much the physical weariness of a mother with toddlers, but the emotional paucity of one who has battled with discouragement, and lost…yet again. I am not sure whether our daily struggles are more related to emerging adolescent grumpiness, or a more serious condition related to A’s Asperger’s, but I am often utterly exhausted. One can smile through an occasional grouchy day, or lightly sigh through temporary bouts of bad attitude. Yet the ever present negativity? It affects me…deeply. It is wearing me down. Like tiny, cold droplets.
Nehemiah said,….”This day is holy to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the LORD is your strength.“
Do not grieve? There is joy even after every sigh? In the midst of the constant complaining? During the meltdowns induced by rigid thinking? I ache at the evidence that my child seems so unhappy. So ungrateful. My anxiety swells as I contemplate his future, and blame myself for his lack of thankfulness and confidence. How will he rely on God for his strength? Does he see the beauty around him? Within him?
When I said, “My foot is slipping,” your unfailing love, Lord, supported me.
When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought me joy.
Hold me, LORD. I cannot sleep reflecting on how many times my foot has slipped. I have spoken the wrong word. I have yelled the wrong phrase. I have used the wrong tone. A rough hand. An impatient gesture. A harsh look.
Anxiousness. Negativity. They are creating something ugly in our home. And my foot is slipping.
The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me…He has sent me to…bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the LORD for the display of his splendor.
I have read these verses over and over, praying that I will receive an epiphany…or a glimmer of understanding to their significance. Because, honestly, there are many days like today when I truly have no strength, much less joy. These are the days when the force of gravity no longer feels like it is pulling me down, but is the only thing holding me up. There may be a thin line that I cling to in desperation, maintaining my focus. And I know it is not joy. It is not even strength, but perhaps the hope of joy, the hope of strength. I trust it will eventually be mine. I trust that the joy may one day belong to A. May I, then, grow and stretch through my sorrow, anxiety, and weariness. May A one day be an oak. And may the LORD love his every leaf.