Perfect vs. Finished

At 7 AM, I peed. I hate having to pee at 7 AM. 7AM is fraught with risk of having to actually work for egocentric, insistent…adorable…minions that don’t understand psiatic nerves and their tendency to spasm in parents that are trying to balance parenting in the middle of a pandemic and a world whose social rules have suddenly been rattled through a roulette wheel.

And naturally, at 7 AM, there was a baby awake. There was also a 9-year-old awake. And the baby wanted to eat. And they both had wet diapers.

I have a movement disorder that *requires* sleep to restore dopamine in the right way, to move, to do the dishes, to change the diapers….

….to haul the whining one out of bed at 7 AM. And then I felt the gentlest nudge to go let those girls free of the diapers. Not from duty. Not from motherly love. But as the hands of a loving Father who choses to work through humans. And it was… amazing. His love guided me through the steps of not only freeing little butts, but thinking about how my very intellectually advanced 18 month old and my very intellectually delayed 9 year old could be encouraged by each other’s presence and by my setting them up with an enjoyable environment where they felt secure. It was not my love that desired it. It was not characteristic for me to desire these things, period, when I’m half asleep. However, I felt transformed by a Love that warmed me as I lived it out in His holy presence.

When I returned to bed, I thought ruefully about how often I mother from a place of duty. Dishes are a task. Diapers are a task. Paperwork is a task. Its all a matter of doing and I just gird up and keep going because I don’t know a way off the rat race. I am so tired… and tenderness doesn’t reach the levels I crave.

I’ve been following the lives of “prophetic people” — a common charismatic term for those who believe they hear from God — for about 4 years now. I’m not at all comfortable with the concept of hearing from God. It’s virtually taboo in the bible college where my husband and I met, and grounds for suspicion among those at the bible college where I spent my freshman year. It’s an awesome thought to think that there might be people today who are living out the present words of the holy God who inspired Paul’s exhortation in I Corinthians 14:1, “Earnestly pursue love and eagerly desire spiritual gifts, especially the gift of prophecy.” I remember being taken aback by the commanding tone of that verse my freshman year. I remember prayers asking God to give me a vision for my life in that oh-so-confusing time. I remember being warned “Don’t ask for a sign, it’s not good to fleece God” (and thinking that just because Gideon was afraid of being smitten, doesn’t mean that was on God’s heart…any more than the audience of angels is supposed to live in fear of angels…)

I rarely feel like God shares something with me. I do trust His providence, because there’s no shame in that, and ask him to please bring me to my greatest available level of hearing that I can share with the community of faith I’m from. I’ve watched Beth Moore face similar conundrums….and get betrayed. I want to know I’m acting biblically, not just experientially. Few in the “prophetic” movements appreciate the heart of this, because there are many who say this out of a desire for control and authority. I would say there’s some desire for authority, but mostly… I know how much I want my conscience clean. This weird, pure, sweet love experience is the essence of what I find most prophetic.

It’s a reminder that my love can never source the kind of doing that His love can. I cannot BE that which my forever I AM always has been. But then there are sweet moments where the doing is precious, and the work flows easily, and I see what it is like to be perfect in Christ, moving only under the easy yoke of a loving savior.

I wish I could do this better in my marriage. I watch my husband battle doubts and fears (I think all men do) and it hurts. I want it over. I want to see the finished work, so I try to prop up all the little bits. But those are lists of things that are usually the natural fruit of transformation. They’re exhausting to manufacture by human means, and only joyful when they flow from holy and restful work.

Speaking of rest, ten tiny toes are snuggled up next to my husband. It’s after 1 AM, and I am more than a little jealous. I can’t be perfect here in this moment… but I can be finished. Just as the Author of the faith finishes me.

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