When, when, when am I going to learn? I am certain that God is wondering just how many times it's going to take for me to get it through my head that there is a limit to what I can stick on my calendar and actually get done with a sweet spirit.
The school year finally ended, and next was Laeka's high school graduation. I wish that I had been fully appreciating the milestone, living in the moment, and deeply feeling the passage of time, but I was actually just trying to keep one-year-old Charlotte from choking on little things she'd try to put into her mouth.
Immediately after graduation, we hosted four different guests, and my house was full of kids who were constantly at home and instantly bored. Also on the calendar was a wedding and doctors' appointments.
Even though the parents of the senior class had already given a wonderfully fun group graduation party for the seniors, I really wanted to give Laeka his own party. (I had seen the cutest invitation on Pinterest!) This extra little fiesta was scheduled for the day before we were leaving at 6 a.m. for a family vacation.
Adding to the joy and general low-stress atmosphere in the house was the need to provide food for the guests and to clean up the house. My parents were spending the night and then leaving with us on our trip. Having anyone spend the night means that one of my boys has to move out of his bedroom, and the room has to be scrubbed down. In my defense, I had done this a full day ahead of schedule, and then reminded him to sleep on the blow-up mattress in his brother's room.
And this brought me to the crisis point. The morning of the blessed party dawned, and I walked into my son's bedroom only to find… my son… in his bed! Clothes were strewn everywhere, empty potato chip bags were on the floor, and a dog with muddy paws was curled up on the duvet. What's more, he had clearly been eating Cheetos in bed because there were orange powdered fingerprints all over the sheets. And I lost it. All the frustration of the too-busy week found an outlet in this one moment.
What did I want from my son? A simple apology. But the apology didn't come. Instead, he avoided eye contact with me throughout the morning, and tried to make up for his actions by doing all sorts of unpleasant tasks like changing Charlotte's diaper, cleaning out the refrigerator, and mowing the lawn. I appreciated his efforts, but what I really wanted was for him to simply say he was sorry.
When, when, when was he going to learn? Suddenly, that question sounded a little familiar. How often have I responded to God in my own failures in the same way that Jonathan had responded to me? I owe God an apology, but avoid Him instead. I try to make up for my sin by doing other good things, hoping that God will notice those things and ignore the fact we must confess our sin. How much better it would be if I would just own my mess from the get-go, and simply tell Him “I'm sorry.”
In the words of Frederick Buechner, “To confess your sins to God is not to tell [God] anything [God] doesn't already know. Until you confess them, however, they are the abyss between you. When you confess them, they become the bridge.”
When we don't confess our sin, it saps our spiritual strength. As David said in Psalm 32, “Because I kept silent, my bones wasted away; I groaned all day long. For day and night your hand was heavy upon me; my strength withered as in dry summer heat. Then I declared my sin to you; my guilt I did not hide. I said, ‘I confess my transgression to the Lord,' and you took away the guilt of my sin.'” True refreshment comes from closeness to God.
When we confess our sin, He forgives. When He forgives, He wipes the slate clean. When our slate is clean, we have a spring in our step and a lightness in our spirit that feels as good as a breeze on a hot summer day.
Praying that your June is filled with days of refreshment and closeness to God!