I could list all the things that went wrong today, but the long and short of it is this: today I was not in control of me.
I was unloving, ungracious, impatient and ungrateful with my husband and children. I acted selfishly, my thoughts were on many things other than grace. Many things other than kindness. Many things other than love.
Have you had a day like this before? A day where your heart feels like it is in turmoil. Where if you had to rate yourself on a scale of 1-10 in how "keyed up" you feel, it would be a 12. Where the literal noise of life has pushed you to the breaking point. A day when your inner voice is a liar, scripted by satan himself, all self-filled, all angry, all curses.
I literally thought to myself at one point today about my husband, "he has locked the van doors exactly one time ever and it's now, when I need into it". I would half smile at the ridiculousness of that thought now if I wasn't so embarrassed by it. Both because it is a lie that he never locks the doors and the absurdity of the insinuation that he locked them to spite me, to make my task harder. It just speaks to the condition of my heart.
We each took a kid to bed tonight and when I got mine laid down, I stole a few minutes outside. I needed some quiet, away from the noise of appliances, of voices and toys and the cricket in the basement. I sat down with my Bible and opened to the book of Joel.
I'll admit, I read the short book quickly without a lot of deep thought, but felt better after turning my focus toward God. I came inside and as I fixed a cup of tea, I thought, "God, what are you saying to me?" Suddenly, some words from Joel popped into my head:
"The Lord's voice will roar from Zion
and thunder from Jerusalem,
and the heavens and the earth will shake.
But the Lord will be a refuge for his people,
and strong fortress for the people of Israel." Joel 3:16-17
It made me think of chaos. That's the best way I can describe my day. Everything felt like chaos. But during that, through it, the Lord will be a refuge for his people.
Now, I know this is out of context, and don't think that I'm telling you what the book of Joel is about. But this is what the Lord was speaking to me tonight.
When life is chaos, when things are out of your control, I am your refuge. I am your strong fortress.
Even though, when it comes down to brass tacks, there's really not much other than yourself that you're in control of on ANY day, I am your refuge. I am your strong fortress.
When you're not even in control of yourself (especially when you're not in control of yourself), I am your refuge. I am your strong fortress.
There is still plenty of time and opportunity this evening for things to go wrong. But instead of letting my stress level climb, instead of listening to the liar, I'm going to make another cup of tea and settle into my refuge, my strong fortress.