How do I write about the mass shooting that happened in our beloved city, the worst one our country has yet to experience? How do I put words to the anger, confusion, grief, and disconnect I felt? Even those words miss the mark.
Monday was the same as every other Monday, except it wasn’t. I yell at the the kids to hurry up and get in the car so we can make it to school on time, but on our way I carefully tell them what happened. I tell them a man hurt a lot of people, that some of them died, and they respond in pure childlikeness: “That wasn’t nice.”
No, sweet babies, it wasn’t.
I force myself to read the articles, to take in the numbers of deaths, of those injured. Like a mother, I want to put my arms around Las Vegas- the place we called home- and hold it while it cries, to protect it from the good intentions of those who mean well but who don’t know it like we do, who haven’t lived there and love it like we do. For once I don’t have the capacity to keep scrolling, so I close my computer and walk away from my desk…
When Kris and I Skyped about me joining the team at Grace Table, we couldn’t believe how much our hearts had already been aligned. It was as though we were old friends who had been searching for the other and found home in each other’s stories. I’m so grateful and honored that I get to share the space she created and to have my first post be up today.
We go down this path a million times a day, and it takes me all those times for me to see beyond my anger, his disobedience, and what’s fair. For a heaven-sent second, everything slows down. His screaming quiets in my head, and I finally perceive what is good and profound through the loud fog of disciplining him. The generosity of his arms reaching out to me first, the relentless desire to reconnect – it’s the gospel, the hospitality of reconciliation.
I started this post a couple of weeks ago with the title It’s OK to Need and Ask for Help. I planned to write on how we can’t do parenting alone and how it’s good to ask people for help when we need a break. I often get overwhelmed with motherhood, and I wanted to encourage others that it’s ok not to be able to be and do everything all the time.
I thought I had beat shame in that area. I had come to the point where I was able to send out an SOS text without becoming overrun with guilt. But shame is sneaky.
The truth is we do need help from others, but what I didn’t realize at that time was how powerful shame can be when wecan’tget help, when we ask but no one is available.
It happened to me the other day. Out of desperation from a rough morning I sent out a text. My friend wasn’t available but asked if everything was ok. When I had to explain why I needed help, shame flooded over me like a tidal wave and left me feeling exposed and needy. The conversation wasn’t intended to bring shame, but that’s what shame does, that’s what the enemy does. He takes what is innocent and turns it against us.
The accusations rang loud in my head-
Grace, you can’t handle the kids on your own?? What kind of mother outsources her kids? How many times have you asked already? Are you really that desperate? It’s just sad. Suck it up and mother your children like you’re supposed to. Don’t be ridiculous.
Shame made me want to melt away and disappear forever or build up walls and never ask for help again. She tried to convince me that I didn’t need others, that I just needed to be stronger, better, more self-sufficient. She tried to convince me that vulnerability wasn’t worth the risk of rejection, that it would be better to pretend to have it all together than invite others into the mess.
I’m working through it. I’m reminding myself that I’m covered by Him, that I’m safe in Him. I don’t have to be tossed back and forth by shame because my identity isn’t tied to what I do and how well I do it. No, I am who I am in Christ and that is enough. I can rest in His sufficiency, in His strength, and shame has no ultimate power over me or you. We may get struck down, but we will not be destroyed.