It was a wonderfully full week we had here last week, our first week officially starting “back to school”, and even though we hadn’t gotten everything done that I’d intended and planned for… I was decidedly okay with that, for the most part. Yet, as the week drew to a close, that all-too-familiar-nagging feeling of inadequacy began to close in around me, and before long, as I looked more at what we hadn’t accomplished than what we had, I began feeling mostly defeated, finding it hard to mentally get past all of the other stuff that I didn’t, and couldn’t get to…
In spite of having accomplished lots of meaningful learning with my kids (at least my first priority of the days was done- right?!), piled up circumstances that kept me from checking much of anything else off of my to-do list, along with hurried words and seemingly-hollow intent still left me feeling *mostly defeated*… My heart strings were stretched taut with self-contempt and such an overwhelming desire to manage my time better… simultaneously I wished for more time, while at the same time wondering if it’s even possible to find?
And so when hubby made mention of something left undone, his felt accusation dropped like a heavy judgment into my already angst-riddled mind, landing right on top of my heaped pile of frustrated attempts and noted list of undone-good intentions, sending my racked emotions pouring down and out in a rush of defensive fury, as I swirled around like a wounded animal, inhaling anger’s fight while exhaling loudly exasperated respite from blame, along with a few accusations of my own… and then regret. In that moment I felt so sorry for myself, unappreciated and misunderstood, totally deflated, helpless, and yes… mostly defeated.
Those were the words that kept rising to the surface of my consciousness as I prayerfully cried out to Adonai on my way to sleep last night, after a frustrating attempt at explaining that precarious emotional predicament to my trying-to-understand beloved. You see, in my great efforts to accomplish the most important task of being with my kids (reading lots of good books, crafting, playing, talking, baking together, etc.), and just generally sharing my heart with them each day (along with having recently added in some daily time-sensitive extracurricular activities), it seemed that most everything else on my list was in turn left mostly undone, with any idea of completion seeming futile for some time… More than anything, I felt bad for my family, having had to weather my sudden tirade and many shortcomings.
For want of time, the kitchen, master bathroom and lots of trim are still left unpainted, I have yet to even remotely figure out my new homeschool planning software (that will take hours of tutorial-viewing time that I cannot seem to find presently), I have yet to start up a new batch of sour-dough starter, and for that matter, just planning dinners and having them made in a timely manner was a huge feat this last week (let alone the laundry).
The other matters of sorting through the hundreds of pictures awaiting editing in iPhoto, sending some (already late) thank-you cards to friends and family, or updating my blog(s), or reading the manual to my new camera that the Lord saw fit to grace me with (yeppers, I have yet to tell?!), were all pushed right back to the back burner, again, along with a bunch of other stuff that I won’t bother boring you with. You’ve got your own list to agonize over, I’m sure.
And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
~ 2 Corinthians 12.9-10
Then… I woke up to this beautiful new day, and could not go back to sleep. With my mood still dampened from yesterday evening’s storming of emotions, I decided to just do the next thing. Thus I got up to enjoy the cool, quiet morning stillness and as I turned from my coffee pot to admire my recently hung new calendar for the year (because the Hebrew year is just about to begin anew), I breathed in the new remembrance of sweet beginnings, as my heart burgeoned once again with inspired hope. With my coffee in hand, I grabbed one of my favorite holiday books off of the shelf, and settled on the couch to prepare a reading to share with the family once they awakened, that we may once again mindfully welcome in this, my favorite time of the year, a season of repentance, remembrance and renewal together.
Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
~ Matthew 5.3
How blessed I was to find that even as I searched out encouragement for my own children, my precious Messiah had already prepared a soul-strengthening, heart-edifying message for me to find there amongst the pages I read… and simple as it is, its timely message brought the healing peace, the Shalom that I so desperately need(ed).
There is no Hebrew equivalent for the word sin. The closest is het, which means “missing the mark.” Just as we are not able to hit a bull’s-eye every time, we may have trouble mastering our feelings, especially anger, in every situation. In Judaism, no one is expected to be perfect, just better. The way we change is by seeing our mistake, admitting the mistake, and not doing it again. Everyone does teshuvah, even Moses, because all human beings make mistakes.
Moses climbed to the top of Mount Sinai to receive God’s second most important gift, the Ten Commandments. The first gift was life, but life was no treasure by itself. So God gave Moses a set of rules, the Ten Commandments, to help people know how to live their lives. Made for all time, the rules were hammered into a huge stone slab, five commandments on each side.
Despite the stone’s weight, Moses rand down the mountain, eager to show the Israelites their great gift. He imagined everyone waiting anxiously for his return, but when he reached the bottom of the mountain, no one was waiting for him.
The Israelites hadn’t believed that he would return. They hadn’t even believed that he would see God. So they had decided to make their own god. They had melted their jewelry into a little gold calf, and when Moses found them, they were praying to it.
Everything about Moses was great, including his temper. Trembling with rage, he thrust the heavy stone that God had given him over his head and flung it to the ground. The Ten Commandments broke into more pieces than there are stars in the sky.
God ordered Moses into a cave for forty days to make a new stone tablet. When Moses finished his work, he was tired but calm. “Good,” God said. “Now put the new stone tablet into a special chest.”
After Moses carefully placed the Ten Commandments in the holy ark, he heard God’s voice again. “Be sure to put in the broken pieces, too, Moses. Set them beside the whole stone.”
Moses looked at the beautiful new Ten Commandments and then winced at the rubble of the first tablet. “Every time I see this mess, I remember how I lost my temper.”
“Exactly!” God replied. “And that’s why the broken pieces, your mistake, are holy, too.”
As I forgave myself, we wondered together over our Elohim’s Amazing GRACE. Then I was doubly blessed by an unexpected (and much needed!) day-date *out* with my beloved, who in his own special way reminded me of how special I am to him, broken pieces and all…
Moses’s Mistake::excerpted from The Family Treasury of Jewish Holidays by Malka Drucker
A Rabbinic tradition states that Moses also put the fragments of the broken tablets of the Law into the Ark (Hertz 1936).
To learn more about this Biblical season, with all of its many soul-stirring, beautiful Messianic nuances visit these links:
Embracing the adventure,
Lord, may we never underestimate small, sweet beginnings… nor the power of simple words, fitly spoken.