Because Woe is Me is Okay (until it’s me).
It’s 2pm, and I’m standing here alone in the kitchen, swallowing down the last crumbs of dry cereal from a plastic cup. It is not quiet or peaceful. I hear my 9 month old grunt a cry for me, while his toddler brothers argue over a book neither of them can read. The Backyardagins on the TV are singing so merrily in the background, it makes me a little sick.
My two-year-old practically lives off cookies and fruit chews, and the fact that he just came in begging for more of each adds a little more nausea. I’m desperately avoiding eye contact as he tugs hard on my arms and yells – “mommy, hear me.”
He pulls a chair over to step up closer and repeats – “hear me, mommy.”
I’m working through a motherhood devotional, and I laugh a facetious giggle as I remind myself – yes, there is purpose in this.
A plastic cup launched with surprisingly accurate aim, bounces off my forehead as he squints up at me.
What is wrong with you???
I don’t say, as I bite my tongue and smile and shake my head. “We don’t throw things inside, remember?” I’m hearing the voice of Caillou’s poor mother as I talk.
And this is my day.
A glance in the mirror, wearing the same stained tank and yoga pants, not sure if I had a shower this morning or not. The sad part — I did.
The same pick up, clean up, vacuum as a couple hours before. The same tears after sliding off a seat he’s been repeatedly told not to stand on. The same sigh when he gets right back up on it to stand again.
And in these little segmented moments, a snake slithers in.
And a dangerous emotion lurks among us, and I begin to sulk it in and say —
Woe is me.
As a Christian, I know I’m sinking into some serious self-pity.
It’s my turn to dim the light on all the incredibly amazing walking around me and stare straight at myself for awhile. And I feel like hiding or hollering or both.
And I’m becoming that child kicking and screaming out – hear me. Father, I want a better day, an easier one, a chocolate chip cookie kind of day – hear me.
And why is that? Woe is me?
“Then said I, Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for mine eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts.” Isaiah 6:5
I’ve read this passage before, and I’ve accepted it without much thought. But, now, as I consider it closely — the vast contrast between God’s holiness and our dirtiness, I am overwhelemed by the punishment and pardon of my sin (my selfishness) by my Jesus.
I am horribly undone. I am not the Lord. He knows what’s best, and whether He gives to me or withholds, I trust He is always listening and doing a good work.
So it’s time to get face-to-face, eye level for a talk.
Chapter six of Isaiah is heavy. A great rebellion and rescue are described. Grace is given to unclean lips who know God alone can clean them. And we know that is us – the unclean living among the unclean. The ones looking upon the glory of God and still holding out for a taste of glory ourselves. That’s where His grace is so amazing. All because of Jesus.
The Sunday School student in me nods, yes, humility is the lesson here. I’m trudging through the toys and the tantrums to become lesser. Isn’t that the takeaway for us to learn and teach?
And I go back to Isaiah 6.
And I wonder if that’s where we’re led or if there’s anything further. I think there is.
You see, there is a still a small and subtle distraction that threatens us.
It is not about me. As I reheat my coffee or repeat instructions, sure I am trying to be mindful and diligent in wisely stewarding our home, but at the end of the day, it is always about God and His rescue and His glory.
So I can have a hard day, a hard week, a hard month, and it’s okay. Because my God can handle it. He can handle my fuss and my failures and my future. All to decide is whether I want Him to do it or if I can do it myself.
Seeing as I did not create myself, I’m choosing to trust my God who did. And I know that as much as I love my babies through the good and messy, He loves us even more.
And that is why today matters. The little parts of the day actually become big parts when they humbly put me in my place, and I encounter the only God worthy of worship, dependence and faith.
“Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.” 1 Timothy 1:17
And I may be becoming lesser; I hope I am. But my God can’t get any bigger than He already is. And I still matter to Him. That is great news, my friends. So great.
So it’s time for a reset today. Will you join me?
“Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God- this is your true and proper worship. Do not confirm to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is- His good, pleasing and perfect will.” Romans 12:1-2
Friends, life gets tough sometimes. Even the best seasons can easily exhaust us. Even the best intentions are up for attack when we let comparison or competition belittle our worth. Be encouraged that what matters, what truly matters, will be what lasts long after everything else is stripped away — it is the desire of our hearts, to trust and surrender and glorify our great God. He promises us we are never alone, and we are His prize. No amount of likes or shares or friends or followers will ever compare to His love. No amount of control is worth denying His worth and who He is. Join me today in saying “Woe is me,” because our God knows our scars and has covered them by the blood of the Lamb. Let us rejoice in His goodness always!