Worn, exhausted, overwhelmed, burnt out… if you could use these words to describe how you feel right now, I suggest taking time to listen/watch the lyrics to Worn by Tenth Avenue North. My heart resonates with the first few lines of this song:
I’m Tired I’m worn
My heart is heavy
From the work it takes
To keep on breathing
I’ve made mistakes
I’ve let my hope fail
My soul feels crushed
By the weight of this world
It has been a rough few weeks of parenting for my husband and I. We have been battling various behavior problems with our son and we find ourselves daily desperate for Godly wisdom and discernment. My husband and I both struggle with perfectionism in different areas of our lives and we have both been in career fields that center around fixing problems. Therefore, we have a tendency to expect perfection from our kids and we strive to find an ultimate solution to a particular behavior problem. We are slowly learning that parenting is a journey that is far from perfect and often involves lots of trial and error.
We often start our days in a dazed stupor because we didn’t sleep through the night due to one or both of our kids being up half the night. After two cups of coffee our stupor becomes more like a haze and through our haze we continue to be faced with difficult parenting decisions until nighttime comes around. We long to just put the kids to bed and start our evening…our time alone but that rarely happens these days. So by the time we actually do get them to bed we usually stay up way too late just so we can have time alone. And then we go to sleep just so we can repeat this unhealthy cycle all over again in the morning.
Perhaps the hardest part of these last few weeks has been watching the sin lying in my heart rear it’s ugly head. I’m alarmed at the level of selfishness, anger, pride, bitterness, and resentment that is oozing from me, especially as my level of fatigue increases. I usually think of myself as a patient person but lately my patience is gone before anyone even does or says anything. I thought I had learned through my illness to trust and depend on God to be my provider and protector in all things yet lately I find myself trying to solve problems on my own and trying to protect my heart from being manipulated or hurt.
By God’s amazing grace I have been reminded of the Refiner’s Pot card from Gracestoration. This card shows the basic process of refining ore: you place a caldron over an intense heat and the impurities or dross raise to the surface so that they can be removed from the ore.
Like the ore needs to be refined to obtain purity, so our hearts need to undergo a refining process so that we can reflect the image of Christ.
2 Corinthians 3:18
“And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the LORD’s glory,
are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the LORD, who is the Spirit.”
The trials in our life are the fire needed to bring our sin out. Just like a blacksmith knows exactly how long to let the fire heat the caldron, so our God knows exactly how long we need to remain in a fiery trial so that our sin comes up to the surface.
When we see our sin we are often so surprised by the ugliness of it, but God is never surprised. He knows the sin that lies dormant in us and He so desperately wants to apply his salve of forgiveness to our wounded and broken hearts.
Our most common response to sin is to either deny it, ignore it, or blame it on someone or something else (I’m notoriously good at this one). By doing this we are in essence refusing to let God purify us and refine us. But if we choose to agree with God and confess our sin, God’s grace can then scoop out the sin that is in our heart.
1 John 1:9
“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”
Dottie Connor Bingham (the creator of Gracestoration ) talks a lot about the importance of confessing our sin and calling sin by it’s worst name. For instance, being frustrated, irritated, annoyed, is really called anger. When we call sin by it’s worst name, it helps us realize that the sin is there in the first place. When we call sin by a lesser name, we often don’t realize that it’s even sin so we have no need for Christ’s forgiveness.
This concept hit me hard these past few weeks. I realized that the dross that was coming to the top was actually anger and bitterness. By realizing my sin, I have been able to confess and ask Christ for forgiveness.
Through study of this card, I have been reminded that once God forgives us, he chooses to no longer remember our sin. He doesn’t forget it – but he actively chooses to no longer remember it.
“I will remember their sins and their lawless deeds no more.”
The No Fishing Allowed sign on the front of the card is to be a reminder that once we confess our sin and ask for forgiveness we can no longer continue to rehash our sin and the guilt that so often accompanies it. Once Christ forgives it is done! That’s the beauty of the Cross. He died so that we can experience forgiveness and freedom from the sin that so easily entangles us.
These past few weeks, I feel as if I’m living at the throne of the cross daily confessing my sin and begging for forgiveness. But instead of receiving the freedom that comes from true forgiveness, I spend idle time fishing for my past sin as well as fishing for the sins of others. I wonder if I truly lived as if I am forgiven, if I’d be more quick to overlook the sins of others or at least be willing to ask God to give me the ability to forgive those around me.
One of the last phrases in the song, Worn, (mentioned above) says,
“So Heaven come and flood my eyes.” That is my prayer today – that Heaven in all its glory will come and flood my eyes, my heart, and my mind.
As hard as this refining process is, I welcome it because it means I’m one step closer to reflecting all of God’s glory and goodness. That’s really what our life here on Earth is supposed to be about anyway, right? I think we just lose sight of our purpose.
I pray that our heart can be like that of David:
“Search me, O God, and know my heart;
try me and know my thoughts;
and see if there be any grievous way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting .”
“Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.”