"...For our God is a devouring fire..." Hebrews 12:29
When things get heated at our house, tempers flare, fits are thrown, hot tears fall, feet stamped into the ground, unwilling to budge. I'm so done-in, I'll just wave my flag and join right in the fight. My glares, slash across the room, intended to cut the same hearts I've vowed to, bled for and prayed would keep beating past that first trimester. Words are uttered and sting the ears around them. Its all a mess.
Its incredible to me that the Lord chose fire to refine us. Heat that hurts sometimes and feels about to take away the very breath He gave. Its so hot, it gets to be suffocating. But in the fire, you can be the charred, black bits or the glowing center of it all. But to glow, you have to get to the hottest part, the very center of the flame.
Why do I push away the struggle? Roll my eyes and become exasperated when it starts to get hot here. I say I would love for the raw edges to be sanded smooth, but when the rubbing and friction begin, I flinch. I want to be pure as gold, but the heat is too much and I fight and yell and resist. I push, push it so hard away, that very struggle that would enable me to really come alive, to glow.
The Lord has blessed me with these three treasures, all who have a role in my refinement. One rubs the impatience edge while the other smooths the controlling part. They're here to help sancitify me and yet some-days this fire feels like its going to burn all day, and my children have enough fuel to feed the flame tirelessly.
But when I find myself in these could-be sanctifying moments of chaos and struggle, I instantly respond to it through my flesh. I fight wild, just as hard as that thrashing two-year old and we all end up burned and charred and I cry hot tears at night, asking for mercy, yet again. Failing to see the beauty of allowing my hard heart to be sanded soft, warmed from the heat and molded like hot clay. Failing to see the product of the fire.
Those treasures rise earlier than planned, cutting in on my "me time" and when the flint hits the tinder, and the flames arise, I have a choice, I'll fight hard and be charred or I'll let go, let the consuming fire come, burn up all the black inside me and enable me to glow, hot but bright.
Tonight, my girl, about to be three, tired from the week and weak from a virus, she kept her fight hard and pushed limits, broke rules, bucked against our love. And tonight, I did something I don't normally do, I let it go. I finally let that fire burn hot and all I can say is its Jesus in those moments. When your habits disappear and you respond like you've hoped you would for days, years. I didn't join in her destructive flame, but chose to go heart first into the refiner's fire. Sure this moment is hard, and I'm so tired of all her crazy right now, but thanks be to the Lord, I can feel the edges softening and the rough parts smoothing. Maybe, in these tense moments, my children will look at me and see Jesus. After all, if they can't see the real Jesus in their mommy, how can they trust He's real in others? There's power in seeing a hard heart softened, a rough edge smoothed and a typically annoyed and frustrated response turned authentically kind, patient and sweet.
Grace, my daughter was a hard struggle today, constant battle to obey. I felt ready for bed time and she resisted us until the end, but tonight, as I rubbed her back to sleep, I've finally come to understand its not her that's needed so much of His fire in the hard moments, its me.