Misty Garrison » Gathered Fragments

mirrors, dazzling grace & the butterfly song

Harsh words from the front room of the house. You know the one with all the glorious light shining through the window. The sound of a scuffle. Little one cries out her protest.

Peace is shattered. But that is not all. I feel a shift in my soul. The anguish causes my knees to buckle as if I am suffering actual physical pain. I desperately cling to the kitchen counter to prevent a fall. And I count in my head. Because I know what is coming next.

1… 2… 3… Deep breaths still holding on. And then stomping up the hallway, “Mo-om, Eliza is being mean & grumpy to me!”

The counting stops. The deep breaths are put on hold. The switch is flipped. Going from injured soul to mama in charge of quarreling littles. Will it be me? Or Him?

The words come softly this time. Full of compassion, understanding & wisdom. I gently remind her that people are always more important than things. That there is nothing worth breaking fellowship with her little sister. She has heard this before. We continue our familiar, awkward dance. Me barely holding it together. Her resisting. The pride in her heart wanting so desperately to blame someone else. Wanting to believe that little is responsible for the ugliness she herself displayed. How to make her see? Understand, even.

And then, an epiphany. Releasing my grip on the counter, I hold tightly to her instead. And the words pour forth like I am a broken vessel. And I am.

I begin to explain that her little sister is a mirror. Her emotions, actions, and words are merely a reflection of what she sees. What she sees in Lou. If Lou is kind & sharing, then little reflects that and is kind & sharing herself. If Lou is grumpy & selfish, then little reflects that instead and is grumpy & selfish. All the while, as little is reflecting she is also learning how to be.

I am barely able to finish my explanation as I choke on my own words the conviction is so overwhelming. My mind rushes back to earlier that day when I reached out & pinched Lou’s heart with my harsh words. Doubt pommels. Striking at the weak spots. Including the fresh wound from moments ago. I find my balance with the help of the kitchen table. But Fear still murmurs…

What if I can’t do this?
What if I fail them?
What if I get in the way of them believing in & loving Him?
What if they can’t see Him reflected in me?
What if they turn out like me?

My little mirrors. In them all my flaws are magnified.

Then these words from Give Them Grace: Dazzling Your Kids with the Love of Jesus by Elyse M. Fitzpatrick & Jessica Thompson

“Although we long to be faithful parents, we also rest in the truth that our faithfulness is not what will save our children… Our children will be saved only through the faithfulness of the Holy Spirit, who works at the direction of our faithful heavenly Father. He’s the faithful, powerful, soul-transforming One. Yes, he may use us as a means to accomplish his purpose, but salvation is entirely of the Lord (Jonah 2:9)” (p. 22).

“Freedom to love and enjoy our children flows out of the knowledge that God saves them in spite of our best efforts, not because of them. Salvation is of the Lord” (p. 53).

“Do you want to do the work of God? Okay, then believe. Believe that God is strong enough to save your children, no matter how you fail. Believe that he is loving enough to bring them all the way into relationship with himself… Everything is already done. Can you believe that? Will you?” (p. 63).

Fear is silenced. Questions become visions of Lou comforting little on her own without any prompting from me. Little running across the the room to Lou saying, “I want hug. I want hug.” And then hugging her with all her little might. Lou always picking out things that she thinks other people would like when we go treasure hunting. Lou loving people deeply with everything she is. Lou asking me if she can write a thank you note to Miss Marcy for teaching her the butterfly song. Will I let her cover the note with butterfly stickers?

It is Him. It was always Him…

Suddenly I am aware of waves tickling my toes. With each new remembrance the waves become more powerful until I am struggling yet again to remain upright. But this time it is not my brokenness threatening to consume me, but His grace. I am drowning. I panic. Fight against it. Struggling to save myself. But then I realize that I have let myself get out too far. The undertow of His love & mercy is too strong. I stop fighting and find peace & rest in the depths of His presence & grace.

The next thing I know I am flying with the sea gulls. Daring to go as high as the eagles. Floating on the wings of a butterfly. And again, I am reminded of the song a preschool teacher taught a little girl. And a thank you note. I am undone.

{to the tune of twinkle, twinkle, little star}

Flitter, flutter, butterfly,
Flying in the big blue sky.
Flutter high and flutter low.
Flutter fast and flutter slow.
Flitter, flutter, butterfly,
Flying in the big blue sky.

It is Him. It was always Him…

“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do” (Ephesians 2:8-10).

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