With 4 kids under 12 years old, who have companion terms like foster/adopt, bipolar, RAD, ODD, SPD, ADHD and GAD, we learned pretty early on that I’d need help around the house.
Every two weeks, we get ready for Clara’s team to deep clean our place. On top of the usual daily cleaning of dishes, washing soiled clothes/bedding, wiping up spills (and picking up my hubby’s socks), I add things like searching for items that would shock a normal person if they found it around the house. Things like the soiled underwear my 10 year old hides under her desk.
Clara inevitably finds items like the above—and even more!—and she’s been a saint about it all. Truly.
But even saints have their limits.
The other day when she called, it went something like this:
“Laurie? Hi, it’s Clara. Now that your daughter’s home from residential treatment, we’ve been noticing the cleaning need is greater there. We totally understand how that could happen.”
“Thanks, Clara. I really appreciate your understanding.”
“Of course, of course. It’s my pleasure. Hey, do you think you could help us clean up before we arrive? If you could just do a little bit around the house, it would be a big help.”
My brain blew a fuse.
“If I could just do a little bit around the house….?!”
I wanted to yell. I wanted to swear. I wanted to let her have it for every person in my life who ever underestimated the work it takes to keep our family going.
And then, I wanted to throw the phone across the room.
Solomon, one of the wisest men to ever live, had been there before. He summed it up like this:
“Each heart knows its own bitterness, and no one else can fully share its joy.” – Proverbs 14:10 (NLT)
Which, for us in the trenches of mess and stress, might seem to confirm one of the biggest, stress-laden fears we can have as parents in our situations: “Nobody understands. I am completely alone in the struggle.”
And it’s true, no human fully understands the hurt a comment scrapes into our hearts. No human truly feels the pain of judgments carelessly levied against us. No one totally gets why that teeny improvement our child made is making us cry tears of joy.
Or maybe someone does.
Maybe the One who made you knows those hidden hurts and joys. After all, He DID let go of infinite power and glory to become—comparatively—the virus on the bacteria on the feces on the carpet where your too-old child just had an accident.
He DID face daily snide comments, entrapping questions, accusations, and even death threats.
He DID allow us, His own creation, to beat Him past all recognition and humiliate Him on a cross because we didn’t “get” Him.
He DID bust through it all and return to glory as His whole, infinite, mighty self.
And He thinks of you and me, more often than we can ever fathom.
So much so, in fact, that King David describes it this way:
“How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God!
How great is the sum of them!
If I should count them, they would be more in number than the sand;
When I awake, I am still with You.” – Psalm 139:17-18
This one never sleeps. Never gets distracted. Never leaves your side. Always, in ALL ways, sees you. Understands you.
He gets me when I’m feeling suffocated by my house cleaner’s words. He gets the bone-tired weariness and resentment we feel in the middle of the night, managing our child’s care. He gets the anxiety in the IEP meeting as we advocate for our children.
He. Gets. You.
In all the limitations, heartache, loneliness, desperation, and feeling so small against the world.
“For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.” – Hebrews 4:15
He gets us. And because of that, we can get through those broken moments, hurtful words, stressful scenarios.
We can even do it—by His strength—without yelling, swearing, or throwing the phone across the room. Or without stuffing it, burying it deep in resentment, and quietly taking it out on life.
I don’t know about you, but that gives some serious hope for these lives we live.
Hope, as we begin to see we’re truly not alone.
– Laurie Wallin