Inspiration came this morning in the form of a poorly placed “Justice” clothing sticker . I noticed its curled edge sticking out from Rylie’s drawers as I sat on her bed wishing that the peacefulness on her still sleeping face could rise up and come settle on me.
The sticker simply said “Layer me”.
It had come off of one of several lacy bright-colored tank tops I’d bought for her to wear. They’re long and provide needed length underneath some of the too short tshirts she wears. That’s why I bought them anyway. She didn’t want to wear them. I’ve given up trying. The tanks are a slender fit which is another way of saying that they’re extremely confining. The lace on them itches Rylie like the dickens. She squirms, uncomfortable in her own skin. The Justice store thought these tanks were must haves. Rylie and I have decided to ditch them.
I feel a little too layered sometimes too.
Life becomes confined trying to fit into all the roles the world and I have created for myself. I’ve shared the list before. I won’t bore you with it in its exhaustive form, but here are a few layers, specifically speaking, of recently constructed roles.
I’ve got to make sure that my son is college prepared. “This whole year is a dress rehearsal,” I tell him. And then I help him in areas where he’s really too old to need my help “getting dressed”. I walk him around life bumps making suggestions, when really, stumbling on some of those bumps will be the very thing he’s going to learn from. I’m also trying to figure out how to keep my daughter from being ridiculed anymore for her weight. I wear her pain. Why can’t I fix that for her? And my other daughter? What can I do when her independent streak keeps her from wanting to spend extra time with me when I know it’s important at her age? (Just a sliver of the mom role).
How do I provide a restful atmosphere at home for my exhausted husband when I have so much to say?
How do I become a better friend when there’s so little time and energy to invest in friendship? How do I encourage someone in need of hope when I’m discouraged with them at the moment? How do I praise God genuinely when my soul is tired and my mouth is full of complaint?
Sometimes we have to shed the layers.
Last night in overly dramatic fashion I uttered…
“When I find myself stinking at my mom job, barking at the kids
and I’m behaving like much less than a stellar wife adding to the list of things that fatigue my husband
and I’m hardly what you’d call a good friend right now, distant and overwhelmed
much less a Christian that you’d want to come into contact with when you just need a kind face and word
then who am I?”
It was a whiny rhetorical question. And I was in such a mood, I neither expected nor wanted an answer. But I got one. I felt a gentle answer meant to settle my heart. “You’re a child of God. Your value doesn’t come from filling roles. Your value isn’t found in who you are, but whose you are.”
God is aware of my children’s needs and Jason’s needs too. He’s all knowing. HIS grace is sufficient for all those I love and for the stranger, who with a little more energy I’d help in the name of Jesus. God has designed each of us to be used for his glory, but sometimes His glory is revealed when we shed the layers, the responsibilities (if just for a moment), and find comfort in simply being His child.
Being his child is our highest calling. Any added layer should only come after our awareness that we’re his. Simply being his child gives rest to our souls. A soul at rest can better remember that God is the one who is control of our marriages and families, our friendships and encounters. At life at rest in being his child is a life unbound from the weight we place on ourselves to do it all and be it all.
“Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes.
The Justice clothing store urges that the ultimate girl wears layers. But a late night answer, a poorly placed sticker and some ill-fitting tank tops reminded me that sometimes we have to shed the layers that hold us back from the free and full living found in the gracious covering of Christ.
God, I stink at ordering my life. Layer me.