First it was the German foreign exchange student we had for a month. No tears, no fears and no mom-ish freaking out on the inside the whole time he was with us. In fact, I enjoyed the entire month and felt like I lost a part of my heart when he left.
Then there was no milk in the fridge … or eggs, or bread. Just a few packs of meat and a bunch of odds and ends I have to make work for us until payday. Didn’t phase me a bit. I didn’t sweat it for a minute. We made it and all is well.
But this latest … I mowed the yard. Three times in a week and a half with my dull rotary mower, pushing through last years dead hay and sweating my butt off in 100% humidity on top of 80 degree weather. I didn’t cry or complain once. I did get a little snappish when the foolishness followed me out into the yard asking for help when I was clearly dying right in front of their faces, but I mostly kept my cool. Nothing lasting touched my heart.
I stare in wonder at the last month and a half. Who is this woman? I’m not sure I know her, because these reactions … this calm … it’s not my usual response to life.
Normally, I would have silently freaked out at having a houseguest. F-R-E-A-K-E-D out. Like, every little thing would have gotten on my nerves. Especially after having to get up early to get ready in the mornings, fix my hair in the living room so someone else can use the shower. All the extra money we spent making sure he had a good time while he was here. Scrutinizing all the things my kids do because inside I know they are also acting very weird and not themselves, showing off for our guest. And as the month wore on, I’d lose more and more sleep and treat everyone like criminals because they are breathing around me while I’m trying to live with all this angst going on inside of me.
Mostly empty fridge? I would have immediately went into starvation mode, only like a poor person anticipating their last meal. Like, “We’re going to die … let’s just enjoy this last little bit.” I’ve been there and done it before. But this time, it didn’t even touch me. I looked at what we had, counted the days until payday and thanked God that it was just enough. Not enough to wiggle, but enough. My heart remained placid.
The yard, though. That was the moment it hit me: something has changed in me. I mowed twice last week without crying. Shoving this motor-less simple tool through thick, dead hay-like grass that hardly looked touched after I passed through it. Sweating. Ew. By the third time I needed to mow (yesterday), my muscles hurt so bad. My arms were shaky and achy as I pushed through the dense chaos. I was spent way before I was done. Still, I maintained not only my dignity, but my sanity. And my smile. And the song in my heart.
I began to reflect on all of this – on the past month and a half – and I realized that God does indeed make all things new. He does create in us a pure heart and a willing spirit to sustain us. Old things do pass away. We are literally made into new creations. New births that reflect our new parentage. Our likeness to the Father and his Son. This conversion is not a skin-deep thing we can fake until we make. We don’t have to. There’s nothing of the old man left in us when God is able to have His way in us. The new man is astoundingly different than the old man. The new man will make a person look at us (and even make us look within) and say, “Surely, she has been with Christ.”
I’m honored to be a reflection of the Lord. I don’t even know if others see it, but I have noticed these things in myself and I am so thankful to God that He created me anew. And trust me, if he can change me – from the little girl who fought tooth and nail all the way through elementary school, lived in ISS in middle school and struggled with depression and suicidal ideations through high school while dealing with the aftermath of teenage motherhood – into a woman who is able to honor God as a single mother, teacher, youth minister and the only person in her house who ever does yard work (without complaining), he can change anyone. Even you.
Pray in faith, believing, and you will receive.