by Gloria Furman
“I can’t believe we’re wasting a good family hair day,” I joked as I marched my three little ducklings out the door on the way to the Emergency Room. I was kidding about the hair, but it’s a rare occasion when I can manage my children’s multiple hair-types and have a good hair day myself. Nevertheless, we strutted up the catwalk… I mean sidewalk… into the reception area at the ER.
I explained our non-emergency situation to the receptionist. One of my daughters had a swollen bug bite that spread into a mysterious rash on her leg. The weekend had just started; the outpatient clinic was closed. So here we were in the ER, with awesome hair do’s and an itchy leg.
That morning felt like every other morning in my life (minus the collective great hair and the hospital visit). It wasn’t until later that I caught on that it was a big day for my itchy-legged child. It usually took a great deal of coercion for my little girl to allow a doctor-type within a ten-meter radius. There were always crocodile tears, tantrums, and lollipop bribes involved.
“Come here, my dear, let me see your leg,” the nurse gave my daughter instructions. As silent as a kid with a stolen Oreo behind the couch, my normally doctor-phobic preschooler extended her leg.
“Now I’m going to take your temperature.” With her eyes squinting and jaw set, my little girl leaned her ear in the nurse’s direction.
“Alright, my dear, now hop down and stand on the scale to see how much you weigh.” I held my breath for this one. I normally shared in the fun of weighing myself on the scale, too, while holding an upset preschooler. But that time, like a professional wrestler who dutifully weighs in before a match, my child took off the gloves and willed herself onto the scale all by herself. I grinned like a clown. My daughter smiled shyly. “I did it, Mommy,” she whispered. My heart soared– this marked some significant growth for her.
Pitching Heart Fits
Incidentally, in the weeks leading up to that morning I had been angrily and bitterly preoccupied over her temper tantrums. “I don’t know how much more of this I can take,” I would repeatedly tell myself.
Remembering my complaints, the state of my own heart came to my mind. Outside of the restraining, redeeming, and compelling grace of the Lord Jesus in my life, I’m as rebellious and angry as can be. A child might pitch fits on the floor when they don’t get what they want, and I do the exact same thing in my heart.
I was glad for the time I sat on that blue polyurethane chair in the waiting room. God was doing his surgery in my heart. What grace do I have that was not freely given to me by my heavenly Father? Remembering the Lord’s kindness toward me led me to repentance of the bitterness and anger I had been holding onto those weeks. Only Jesus can sufficiently deal with our bitterness, anxiety, anger, and frustration. Through his work on the cross, we’re invited to repent of our sin and cast our burdens on him (and stop laying them on the backs of our children).
Our hearts can echo the plea of the psalmist who prayed, “Help us, O God of our salvation, for the glory of your name; deliver us, and atone for our sins, for your name’s sake!” (Ps. 79:9). And the Lord will hear our cries, because only Jesus could bear the weight of our sin on the cross, and be declared to be the Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his resurrection from the dead (Rom. 1:4). Our loving Shepherd invites us to come to him for rest: “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matt. 11:28). Weary sheep keep their eyes fixed on their Shepherd who always gives them everything they need.
As we left the hospital my child sauntered into the parking garage proudly carrying a prescription for anti-bug-bite-swelling-itchiness. I left with a renewed appreciation that Jesus has already done for me what I could never do for myself.
Jesus said in John 12:32, “And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.” When the weariness of life as a sinner living in a fallen world with other sinners overwhelms us, then the gospel refreshes our soul. We dare not build our hope on anything less than Jesus’s blood and righteousness.
ABOUT THE WRITER
Gloria Furman (@gloriafurman) is mostly from Texas. In 2008 she moved to the Middle East with her husband Dave to plant Redeemer Church of Dubai. They have three kiddos plus another on the way. Gloria is the author of Glimpses of Grace: Treasuring the Gospel in Your Home (Crossway 2013) and Treasuring Christ When Your Hands Are Full: Gospel Meditations for Busy Moms (Crossway 2014).