Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love; according to your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me. (Psalm 51:1-3)
After my second child was born I couldn’t believe the rage that spewed out of me at times, usually in situations where I had little control over something, despite really putting effort in to make everything run smoothly. Just the usual boring motherhood killers of slogging your guts to pack all the snacks and drinks and socks and shoes and hats and nappies and suncream and pram and trike and carrier and finding the gap between everyone’s various nap and feed times and then you get to the playground and the toddler wants to go home straight away because the swing is too squeaky.
Cue a barely coping mum with postnatal anxiety blowing up in white hot rage. Seething greedy anger that came close to nothing I had ever felt before. Not pretty at the best of times, but the worst part was how these incidents would then go on to ruin the entire to week for me as afterwards I would internally collapse under the weight of a guilt pile-on about getting angry at my kids in the first place. The guilt would make me DETERMINED to try everything to stay calm next time because the stakes felt SO HIGH but then of course despite the effort and probably due to the extra pressure I felt to keep cool, I would inevitably LOSE IT AGAIN.
It’s a vicious cycle, and not one you can just magically jump out of at once and for ever.
So instead of thinking of this as a rage cycle that I am either ‘in/trapped’ or ‘out/free’, I’ve come to see it more as a cone that I am aiming to always be further spiralling up and out of: circling around to rage less often and more lightly. So occasional outbursts are going to happen and carrying too much guilt about them is not helpful. BUT if I start spiralling DOWN into more frequent and more intense outbursts then something has to give and I need to take stock.
This has been my path to healing: firstly, in simply accepting God’s love and grace (which is not least shown in the fact He has instilled kids with both in abundance).
And then in coming to see healing itself not as a finale, all cured, chapter closed … but as the painfully slow and slowly painful progress up and around that ever widening spiral to His freedom. Ω
Reflect: Pray your way through the Psalm, several times, slowly. What are your sinful tendencies? Name them before God. Ask God to clean up your heart, renew your faithfulness, and fill you with all joy.
#Lent2020 © Sanctuary, 2020.
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