Hide Your face from my sins, and blot out all my iniquities. – Psalm 51:9
Like many moms, I sin when I’m stressed. I get stressed when I stop trusting God and try to do His job. It all begins with a wrong priority, when I make it my business to rule the universe and neglect the attitude of dependence on Jesus.
It’s a little cliché, but really, be careful what you pray for. You might get it! On the first day of a visit to Washington D.C., I hauled the kids from pillar to post, stressing about our schedule and all we “had” to see. Although we did enjoy some of our day, and things went very smoothly, by evening we were all crabby. I’d become irritable, snapping at the kids, and they’d responded in kind.
The next morning, I prayed through Psalm 51 privately. Then, I shared it with the kids, and we confessed our sins and repented together. We asked God to help us learn to depend on Him in times of temptation to stress.
That day, God answered our prayer. Everything went wrong! First, my son locked us out of the bed and breakfast, and our hosts were gone for the day. Unbelievably, his shoelace got stuck under the securely locked front door! There we were, locked out, stuck child, with the hosts’ phone numbers inside the house.
After struggling through that, we left our coats in the car and walked the streets in a downpour. We waited outside the White House for the tour I’d booked several months in advance. When we got to the front of the line, we found out we should have come to the gate at once, as the line was for a special event and not our tour. We were turned away, soaking wet! Our day continued along the same lines.
Interestingly, we enjoyed our day. Our trials seemed funny, not stressful. We were much happier than we’d been the day before, when everything went smoothly. The difference, of course, was the presence of Jesus. We were responding to stress by turning to Him instead of pushing Him away. Irritability was a distant memory. These trials were such an obvious answer to prayer that we could only laugh!
“You do not desire sacrifice….The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, a broken and contrite heart. These, O God, You will not despise.” – Psalm 51:16-17.
God’s priority for us is not religious duty. It’s all about a broken, contrite heart. From a dependent heart, God can produce the fruit of the Spirit. Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control. (Lest we forget.) We needn’t fear the exposure of our sin; it keeps us humble and broken, which is God’s priority for us because it allows for relationship with Him. When we’ve been faithful, we have no sin to hide; but this is only possible when we retain our attitude of dependence on Christ. Otherwise, we flee from our own shadow, hiding instinctively because of our fallen condition, not because of any particular act of sin.
So there it is, moms – a remedy for screaming. I’m going to keep this lesson handy!