"... Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word." Ephesians 5:25-26 (NIV)
"I just feel mean so much of the time," my friend whispers through the leak of tears. Downward, the salty droplets slip and so does her heart, her resolve, and her assurance of being a good mom.
"I understand," I whisper back.
And sometimes that's all that needs to be said.
I don't remind her of gentleness verses. I don't try to fix anything. I don't offer solutions or articles or statistical data.
I simply under-stand.
Under ... to dip low and find that same place that lies beneath my outside veneer.
We all have an under.
And I admit to her, "I've felt mean so many times too. I've set out to have a super day with my kids only to be red-faced and aggravated minutes later. Buckling under the weight of my imperfections, I've wondered if I'll ever get it right. It sometimes feels like all the other moms are doing it better. But that's not true. All moms struggle."
Stand ... to come alongside in a position of strength, closeness, and unwavering support.
We all need those friends we know will stand with us.
And I reassure, "Somehow, God shows us what to do and fills in the gaps if we ask Him. The fact that you're crying shows a heart tender enough for God's molding and shaping to occur. Don't listen to the world's answers. And don't fall into the trap of trying to be like other moms. Just saturate yourself in God's Truth and trust the gut instincts He gives you."
Thankfully we don't have to be perfect. God has made a way to free us from the mistakes we make so we can keep going forward without the chains of regret. Ephesians 5:25-26 tells us, "... Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word."
I love that picture of Christ washing us through the Word. Some versions of Ephesians 5:25-26 actually call this washing sanctifying.
The Greek meaning of this sanctifying is hagiazo. When we unwrap the package of this word, we find three simple treasures. Hagiazo means: 1. To cleanse externally. 2. To free from the guilt of sin. 3. To purify internally by the renewing of the soul.
Externally, I wash my tears away with the truth of Lamentations 3:22-23 that God's mercies make all things new. Past minutes are gone. But this minute brings with it a fresh start.
Relationally, Colossians 1:14 frees me from the guilt. God's Word reminds that I can live in the freedom of repentance and forgiveness.
Internally, I see my depravity but refuse to wallow in it. I recall the words of Micah 6:8 as a call to action. Another place to receive the Truth as a cleansing agent from fear, doubt, hopelessness.
Yes, I understand. My need to be sanctified is great. Just like your need is. We're all in that place. We all sometimes feel mean.
Unable. Incapable. Insecure. Broken down.
So, let the Word of Christ wash afresh over you, in you, and all about you. And let the whispers of a friend assure you, I under-stand.
Dear Lord, I praise You today for being such an understanding, loving God. Thank You for carrying me through every storm that I face, and for placing special people in my life to encourage me along the way. Help me to be that voice of encouragement for someone else today. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
Related Resources: Lysa TerKeurst's New York Times bestselling book, Unglued, gives a fresh perspective on how to be obedient to the Lord with your emotions, reactions, and decisions.
The accompanying Unglued Devotional: 60 Days of Imperfect Progress will provide you with daily encouragement as you learn what the Bible says about better ways to react. To order your copy, click here.
Reflect and Respond: Reflect on the three meanings of hagiazo as they apply to your personal struggles and emotions right now.
Power Verses: Lamentations 3:22-23, "Because of the LORD's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness." (NIV)
Colossians 1:13-14, "For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins." (NAS)
Micah 6:8, "Rejoice not over me, O my enemy; when I fall, I shall rise; when I sit in darkness, the LORD will be a light to me." (ESV)
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