by Theresa Duursma
Summertime…we have such a love-hate relationship. About the time spring break rolls around, I CANNOT wait for summer…no alarm clocks, no schedules, no bus stops, no lunches, and don’t forget all the fun I’m going to create so I don’t hear the dreaded “I’m bored!”. My kids will sleep in until at least 9am (preferably 10) which will give me my own personal time to do a workout, have a cup of coffee and enjoy some Jesus. And then summer comes and I’m setting the alarm more often than I’d like, the kids have a bazillion places to be, I’m the “bus” driver, I’m making lunches everyday not to mention the non-stop “I’M HUNGRY” two minutes after each meal that I’ve lovingly (most of the time anyway) prepared just for them to dislike. Let’s also not forget that I’ve created nothing for them to do, summer is almost over because band camp starts the beginning of August which is officially the end of summer for us & I have heard the dreaded “I’m bored” more times than I can count. Can you see all the failures?! The legalism?! I sure can!
Why do I strive so hard for this “perfection”?! Why do I set myself up to fail? Who wrote this rulebook?! Oh wait…ME! I want my kids to act, speak and dress appropriately, especially when we are out in public. If my husband and I just had a huge argument as we are entering the church parking lot and I’m in tears (likely because he did or didn’t say something that I thought he should or shouldn’t have), I’m certainly not entering the church looking like I’m a mess. I don’t want anyone to know that I fail as a mom, wife, daughter, friend and child of God every day. I’m my own worst critic. My children act out, my marriage is a mess and sometimes I feel like I don’t have any “real” friends that I can confide all my mess in. Isolation and shame…I’m full of both. And I certainly can’t leave out pride…that whole thinking too lowly of yourself…yup, that’s me.
This summer God has been calling me to Him once again. Praise God! Because I’m definitely lost without Him. He’s been calling me to Him as long as I can remember. The first time was when I was seven, stepping into a church for the very first time, at my four year old sister’s funeral. I was in a complete fog. I don’t remember many details but I could feel myself being called in somehow, though at that point I had no idea what was calling me or why. He continued to use different events of my life to call me back to him; sexual abuse, physical abuse, divorce, single motherhood, struggling relationships, wayward children. He asks me to let go of the fear and anxiety left behind from the abuse. Let go of the perfection and pride because I am a mess and that’s okay. Let go of the shame because I am worthy! And for the love (my love) of a big bag of Cadbury mini eggs let go of the legalism! Because Romans 3:23-24 says “for ALL have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and ALL are justified freely through His grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus”. Praise God!
He keeps reminding me I need to focus on what He has given me rather than what I think He should. So instead of being dissatisfied because my kids are up too early, I’ll rejoice when the four year old comes out to the garage in the middle of a workout because she “misses me in the nighttime”. I will cry tears of joy as I’m bussing my kids from one place to another and I can hear them singing the lyrics to Hard Love by Need to Breathe. And I will be gentle with myself when I don’t create something crafty and inspiring for my kids to do when they are bored. Instead I will take time out to grab a favorite book to read together, play a favorite game or go for a walk by the lake. I have been brought here several times this summer…Hebrews 12:1-2 “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God”.