Of Tears and Tears and Daisies

Sometimes when you’ve been to the top of the mountain, coming down into the valley of every day life feels more like hitting the skids. When you’ve spent time tucked back into the redwoods in the mountains focusing on the swaying of the tippy-tops of the trees and the way the light touches just that leaf there and tracking the path of the dragonfly, when your path collides with that of someone else and you realize your sisterhood runs deeper than you could ever have imagined, when you pray so deep the tears come and then when God answers so loudly you have nothing but silent awe, when all of that holiness and sacred ground walking and tender communion ends because life… well, sometimes life feels worse, even when it isn’t.

That’s where I’m at this morning, kinda like Jonah wrapped in seaweed sinking to roots of the mountains. But I haven’t really left Joppa. I’m still on solid ground. But the airplanes I’m supposed to build while brushing my teeth, and her morning snarl, and his need to build a crane and race track before school, and that comment hubby made before leaving for work, and the “he touched me” and “she looked at me mean,” and the child crying in the corner because mommy can’t fold the airplane right and she’s frustrated by airplanes and toothpaste drooling down her chin and she’s asked that child to get dressed and that feels like separation and punishment but mommy is just pleading “get dressed” because she needs a moment to wipe the toothpaste off her chin and to address the labels coming fast across her radar… loser, wreck, failure.

These are the labels that on the mountain I had thought were thrown away, were banished from my brain. Alas, they were lurking in the shadows of my new labels. Princess, adored, adopted into God’s family, beloved, redeemed and righteous. These are the true labels, God’s names for me. But when the morning started too early, and the washing machine fritzed again, and when I toss the ball to her on the playground and she snarls and I take that to mean that she’s not interested and so I stop and then she says I’m excluding her… yah, when all that hunkers down… and there are dead fish in the tank that have to be removed in secrecy, and another mom is telling me it’s breast cancer awareness day at the middle school and everyone is supposed to wear pink and I’m concerned about boys wearing pink and is that emasculating them, and he asks for the 15th time today “what are we doing tomorrow,” and that girl stuck her tongue out at my boy on the playground, and I had to pull him off another boy because wrestling isn’t allowed in school, and … really I’m on a wild hamster ball ride of self-loathing and criticism. Am I raising children who can’t fend for themselves? Am I enabling them and sheltering them and just being the tiger mom of the century?

And my friend sends me a text this morning. She speaks truth plain and loud. She writes, “Made in the image of God! That’s what it says. But You (God) and I both know that my image feels less than ‘complete.’ Life wears me down and struggles take bits and pieces of me. But maybe You mean… our ‘image’ with the tattered, torn places is just a way to share your tattered, torn body with others. Even the worn and weary can reflect Your beauty and … still smell great. ‘Now He uses us to spread the knowledge of Christ everywhere, like a sweet perfume. Our lives are a Christ-like fragrance rising up to God.’ 2 Corinthians 2:14-15a.”

And she includes a picture she snapped of a little torn-up daisy reaching its yellow sunshine upward, giving it back to the life-giver.IMG954621

Gotta lay some things down here. Gotta drop some tears, gotta assess the tears I’m making, and they can be one in the same, the tears and the tears. Noun and verb create each other.

Back on that mountain, I heard loud and clear “beloved” and “adopted” and adoption was acceptance and not rejection and beloved was deep and not performance based. And here I am made in the image and if I’m made in the image I can’t also be loser, wreck, failure. Because each tear (verb) is another slit for the glory of God to shine through. Each tear (noun) is a prism for diffusing His light, distilling it into fractals of color.

There are plenty of holes in my petals, rips in my jeans, dents in my fenders, dirt in my nails. The wounds of life, the scars of walking through the valley. But the truths of the mountain, those truths carry down here too. Even more so down here.

So, old habit of self-loathing and criticism, I must tear you up, stop my ears to your siren-song. Life is too short to bemoan the holes in the petals. Because those holes are beautiful and fragrant and that friend I met on the mountain needed to hear about my holes because her holes look strangely like mine and we needed to hear that about each other. And how many other daisies have these holes? And how is God going to use those holes for His glory?

I want to stomp on the old labels. I want to beat them to a pulp, those old lies.

I hear this song and I hear these words like I’ve never heard them before:

So I’ll stop living off of how I feel
And start standing on Your truth revealed
Jesus is my strength, my shield
And He will never fail me

No more chains, I’ve been set free
No more fighting battles You’ve won for me
Now in Christ, I stand complete

Yes and yes and yes again. I’ll stop living off of how I feel because how I feel is performance based and conditional and fed by lies. But His truth is and was and forever will be. Like that daisy, I will lift my tatters to the sunshine, giving back to the life-giver.

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