One o’clock in the afternoon finds me face first in the couch cushions.
My arms are pinned at my sides and my feet stretch out behind me, as if I just tipped face first onto the couch- which is actually what I did.
It’s a position I like to call “The Penguin” because it’s the posture penguins use to slide down icy slopes. I tend to fall into it when I am sliping into despair.
I just finished pouring out my stress and lack of coffee onto my children in an impassioned torrent of accusasions and dramatcially flung snack boxes. My children were guilty of four counts of ignoring directions, and two counts of eating an entire box of gummy snacks in their rooms. Now, though, I am the one laid out by guilt.
Lest you think my reaction overdramatic, you must know that to me anger is an ugly, lifelong addiction. It’s taken me really dark places and had almost all the other effects a drug addiction would. So everytime I lose my temper it feels like a relapse.
As I am “penguining” on the couch I can hear my own voice in my head. “Defeated. I am defeated. I just want to give up.” Thoughts of letting my parents raise my kids and freeing everyone of being tied to me drift through my mind. I close my eyes and I can see myself curled up on a bed in a corner of a dark cell, not caring to dress, or groom, or eat, or be- giving up on existing. Yes, where many people’s “happy place” is a tropical beach, my thoughts put me in an insane asylum!
In a new glimmer of though, though, I know I don’t want to be controlled by these feelings any more. I know I can, and should chose truth intead, so I reach for my Bible, (which not coincedentally is kept about 18 inches from the couch.) I open to 1 John:
5:4 “for everyone born of God overcomes,”
4:4 “You, dear children, are from God and have overcome for greater is He who is you than he who is in the world.”
5:5 “Who is it that overcomes the world? Only the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.”
Ok, “overcomer” not “defeated.” So I get up, gather the kids to the table and even though I am still not feeling like an overcomer, I apologise to them and we move forward with our science lesson on something called “phototropism.”
I read from the book:
“Kids, you’ve all seen how plants grow toward the sun. Sunflowers turn their faces to follow the sun all throughout the day. Plants lean toward the sun. We call this ‘phototropism.’ Now let me tell you how this works. Inside plants stems they have cells called auxons. These cells are what make them lean toward the light. Now I bet you think I am going to tell you that these cells are attracted to the light and so they pull the plant along because they just love the light so much, but actually, it is the exact oposite! Auxins shrink and die in direct sunlight. They grow, and actually stretch themselves way out, in darkness. So you might say the auxins are actually more about darkness than light. But when all the auxins on the sunny side of the plant die and the auxins on the shady side grow longer this makes the stem longer on the shady side and shorter on the sunny side, so the whole plant is bent over, turned, toward the shorter, sunnier side. It’s the cells that love darkness that cause plants to seek the light!”
By now I know I’m not the teacher in this lesson.
“Guys, God made us to seek the Him like the plants seek light, in fact, I think that might be part of why He made this aspect of nature to work the way it does. Today I felt like my sin was overwhelming me, like my sin was holding me back from seeking God. I’m completely knocked over right now by this idea that it’s the parts still stretched by sin, not the parts where sin has been burned off, that cause me to lean towards God’s light. It’s my still sinfullness that makes me seek Him.”
This might seem like a nice story of how God answered my struggle, but it is really even bigger than that. This day came when I was struggling with my faith- just not feeling with my usual absolute, that God was real and really worth everything. I was struggling with doubt every time I opened my Bible. So, God showed me the answer from outside the Bible. An answer He had worked into the fabric of nature thousands of years ago, and brought before me exactly when I needed it to be lifted up towards His love. He helped my unbelief and proved Himself master of creation and time, and also intimately concerned with my heart. God is real, and He really did create everything for the purpose of revealing Himself to us, and He really does care enough to speak even in the every day struggles of an overdramatic housewife.