I woke up to take Aubrey to school, grabbed a sweatshirt, went to put it over my head and realized Day Two after a gymnastics party for a seven-year-old is painful for people who arrogantly believe they can swing from a horizontal bar without any conditioning. At all. Ever.
Yesterday I was so proud of myself as I marveled at how I must be in great shape not to be hurting from pretending I was Mary Lou Retton. Day One after gymnastics is extremely misleading. I imagine my muscles making fun of me as the lactic acid built up and waited to ambush like ninjas in parts of my body I didn’t even realize could hurt. I went from patting myself on the back yesterday to wincing with every swipe of deodorant this morning.
While being in pain is not pleasant, I am reminded every time I inhale, or exhale, or reach for a pencil, that not all of me is strong. In fact, most of me is not. I have run through life sometimes like I don’t need any help. I’ve bought the lie that asking for help is a weakness, and I am guilty of the worst kind of pride – the kind that shuts people out and creates distance. It has all been counterproductive, to say the least.
And then came the destroyer of every wall I had and the soldier on guard, protecting my heart and guiding me through my foolishness with a voice I can hear – a voice wrapped in love and genuine concern for my future, ever respectful of my need to prove things to myself, never asking for me to be anyone other than who I am. Here I stand, disarmed and as emotionally naked as I have ever been. There was a time when this state of being was my worst nightmare. All I could ever envision vulnerability being was dangerous, when in the correct context it is the embodiment of security.
As parents we want our children to be with people who value them, challenge them to be the very best versions of themselves and love them unconditionally. Initially we, as parents, are those people, but eventually we may have to transfer the responsibility to their significant other. I can only speak for myself, but as a mother my heart will be at ease when I know the precious hearts of my adult children are cared for properly. God is the only One who can fill every hole in our heart, but He uses us to fill some of those holes in one another.
Our greatest superpower is our ability to love and BE loved selflessly. Pride prohibits this kind of love. Foolishness gives this kind of love to the wrong person. It is only at the excruciatingly painful crossroads of complete surrender and repentance that we are able to rise from the ashes and become who we need to be to not only give the kind of love our Father wants us to give, but also receive the kind of love He desired for us all along.
“See! The winter is past; the rains are over and gone.” Song of Solomon 2:11