Last Tuesday was my birthday.
It was the best birthday I’ve had in a long time. My parents came over and my dad watched the kids while I went shopping with my mom, followed by dinner at Olive Garden.
But an unexpected thing happened to me that day.
I don’t know how else to say it except that the Holy Spirit dropped a bomb on me.
Now if you’ve never heard the Holy Spirit speak to you, it typically isn’t an audible voice. I’d describe it as something in your gut that tells you “pay attention, this is important”.
So there we were meandering through the mall and I was telling my mom how I wished that I was getting the kids out of the house more for swimming. My mouth was saying that I wished I had more time, but with a 3 year old, 1 year old, and a 2 month old at home what I was really saying, was that I wished I was more octopus and less human.
I was venting to my mom about how frustrated I was with myself that the kids were watching so much t.v. and I hoped it was just an adjustment period with having a new baby. I heard myself follow that thought by turning my frustration towards Dom, my 3 year old son, by saying, with a tired sigh, that “it’s just that he needs to be constantly entertained”.
Now, for those of you who don’t know Dom – well. . . he’s amazing. He’ll tell you in his charming, matter of fact voice that God made him awesome and that being a Ninja Turtle is really hard work. He loves ketchup, but hates tomatoes (go figure). Dom is relentlessly stubborn, like his mother, and so I think God knew I’d met my match when he gave me Dom. Dom is also incredibly imaginative and incessantly talkative. He’s a lady-killer but sweet enough that you don’t realize you’ve been worked over for that extra piece of candy until it’s too late. Women 50 and over, BEWARE!
Back to my conversation with my mom in the mall, I heard myself say that Dom needed to be constantly entertained and that’s when I “heard” the Holy Spirit say “pay attention”. More specifically, “Pay attention to the words coming out of your mouth. There’s something in your heart that isn’t right”. Immediately, my mind went to the verse:
The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks. -Luke 6:45-
(i.e., if you ever want to take a peek inside your heart, just take a few moments to listen to the words you speak when you let your guard down)
I didn’t want to leave this unresolved. I didn’t want the moment to pass me by. I needed to settle this within myself before life swept it away in a deluge of busyness. After my mom and I finished shopping, I made an excuse about taking a shower before meeting at Olive Garden for dinner. It was there in the shower that I had a few moments to pray and ask God, “What is my heart harboring? I’ve heard myself say countless times that ‘Dom is so busy’ or ‘he just needs to be entertained’. What is underneath my words?”
Whoa. How did that get there?
I didn’t need to ask.
My heart already knew the answer.
For the first several months of Dom’s life, he struggled with pyloric stenosis. I’ll spare you the details except to tell you that when we burped him, we used full size bath towels as burp cloths and if we ever left the house we brought 2 or 3 full diaper bags with, chock full of extra sets of clothes and towels. My husband, Jason, was traveling a lot of the time with work so for the most part it was just me and Dom.
It was horrible, but other than a few times of emotional frustration, I didn’t really feel anything. I was numb, just trying to soldier through for Dom and myself. I had prayed for Dom’s healing, which eventually came, but in the process of waiting I had shut down to survive. By trying to be strong, rather than turning to God in my weakness, I inadvertently closed off a part of my heart to Dom.
And that’s where the resentment snuck in.
Fast forward to my 31st birthday.
I’m crying and blubbering like a girl.
No mother, no human being wants to hear that they have resentment towards a 3 year old, let alone their own son. Resentment had clouded the lens of my heart and unknowingly, I had continued to see him as requiring more than I could give.
So, there in my shower I repented. I told God I was sorry that I had allowed resentment to creep in. I can’t explain what happened next other than to say I felt like the Grinch whose “small heart grew three sizes that day”. The resentment was wiped from the lens of my heart and I see Dom more clearly now.
So why am I airing out my dirty laundry for you to read?
I’m asking myself the same thing.
Maybe in the hopes that this entry will help all of us to see the Holy Spirit as he really is. He is that quiet friend who never demands that we follow his insight, but gently offers it in the hopes that we take his counsel to live our lives to the fullest.
I can’t think of a better birthday present.