The glass bowl and macaroni fly from mischievous hands. The shattering sound startles the others, and me, as they look on in shock and I in contempt. This baby, my fourth, has broken more glass than any of the other three before her. She’s got an arm, that is for certain Macaroni and cheese lay scattered amongst two halves of a once whole bowl. The dog, the comic relief, scuttles in and feasts.
But I’m not laughing.
Inside I churn red. Outside, I yell angry. Baby’s actions were prompted by her observances of the older ones who just before the bowl throwing, were they themselves, scooting and sliding their bowls around the table. Shoulders tighten and I rant wild about setting examples. The harsh words fly from my mouth and I see it, in front of me, my reflection, my example, here in this moment, a moment better served by teaching instead of raving. I gather glass and hide my shamed face as I gather the broom.
I am as filthy as this dustpan in my hands.
My heart is in need of a cleaning and a teaching. Hushed by my own obscenity, I breath ashamed.
I hear those words,
Refrain from anger and turn from wrath; do not fret, it only turns to evil. Psalm 37:8
This floor was clean for five short minutes yesterday. I had mopped, and immediately afterwards, the leaky sippy cup glazed it with milk and then I dumped spaghetti on it. And beneath these ribs, my sinner’s heart has risen up and settled in my throat. How my heart is like this gritty floor. I constantly track in trash, and how I constantly require a good scrubbing, a disinfecting from my corrosive flesh that mucks it all up.
Have I ever been clean?
In those seconds that I utter forgiveness prayers, I believe I have a glimmer of what it means to have a clean heart. In this moment, with their four sheepish faces staring, and my cheeks flushed, I utter that prayer.
Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. Psalm 51:10
I hate this flesh of mine, how I stumble in this way. I fight this battle daily. I am my own constant reminder of how much like a child I am. I make a mess of life. I spill and dump and break things. I rage wrongly and set terrible examples. I break spirits and deceive myself. I dig in and grit teeth when I should breath and throw hands in the air and spin joyful.
I choke and I flail and I fail. Again. And again.
But God is never far off, and when I utter the forgiveness prayers, he comes and wipes the floor of my filthy heart clean with grace undeserved. With forgiveness and freedom. He gathers the bits of glass and with mercy and love abundant, he offers me another bowl.
He restores that which I have broken, he cleanses that which I have spoiled.
All with grace and compassion. Though I don’t deserve it. He wraps his arms around me and sets the example of love, of mercy, that I may learn to be more like him and less like me; that I may teach my children to be so.
He is gracious and generous, constantly sweeping me up and fixing my failures.
Jesus comforts and revives, and I know there is hope for this messed up mamma yet.
Because of the LORDS great Love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. Lamentations 3:22-23
~ Always Alleluia