The other day I took a nap at Target.
I didn’t fall asleep in the store. Though lately, some of their furniture looks comfortable enough to sleep on (especially that cute faux leather couch I saw).
My husband was at home with our two boys, and I decided to make a Target run, er, crawl. I arrived at the store and pulled down my overhead mirror for a quick look. I think I had washed my hair twice that week . . . sigh. I sat for a minute and swiped through my social media on my phone.
The next thing I remembered was waking up and looking at the clock. I was in the parking lot. I had slept for 45 minutes right there in the front seat of my minivan.
A sudden wave of slight panic and embarrassment hit me. I have to get home! Are the kids OK? I cannot tell my husband what just happened. I shouldn’t tell anyone about this! Where is my phone? And then I started to cry. This was an ugly cry, the kind where mascara pours down your cheeks and your eyes look bloodshot for hours.
We were currently in the thick of it with our new family dynamics; learning how to manage Type 1 Diabetes for your child is not easy. Between caring for two children with various special and medical needs, my husband’s demanding military job, managing our household, doctor’s appointments, and so on, I had let myself become completely worn down. I really needed that nap!
As I type this, I still feel like I am running a marathon and getting nowhere. Waking up several times a night to check blood sugar was not on my radar a few weeks ago. Sure, I have had plenty of sleepless nights with babies and toddlers and illnesses, but there is a certain anxiety that comes as soon as you prick that little finger. You pray hard that the numbers on the meter are within target range.
My husband and I were taught in our diabetes education classes that, as the parents, we’re not allowed to say good or bad in front of our son—just above or below target range. The struggle of staying in target range led to a constant background hum of worry. Get it together, girl reverberated through my mind all day long. Oh, how I was convinced I was missing the mark. I was sure that if I let those numbers go outside of the safe zone, I was failing as a mother.
This was just another spinning plate in my hands that I couldn’t allow to fall. Yet, I had once again fallen for the bait and believed the lie that I am in control.
As a woman, I am told repetitively to go wash my face and do all the things. You’re in control of how your life goes, they say. And don’t show weakness! We’re taught that to control things is a virtue. The more you can handle without looking awkward and foolish, the more power you have over yourself and others.
But the sin of control is a sly one; it’s deceptively charming, causing a person to have a false sense of security and identity.
The Greek word for “sin” is hamartia, an old archery term for “missing the mark”. We could say that sin is not just breaking God’s law, but it is also missing the whole point of life in Christ. It’s a barrier against our yearning to lean on and press into the heart of the Maker and Lover of our souls.
John Piper says: “One of the reasons biblical Christianity has to be so drastically distorted in order to sell it to mass markets, is that the market wants power to escape weakness in leisure, but Christianity offers power to endure weakness in love.”
Weakness is not something Jesus calls us to escape, but rather embrace. I can try to pretend I am strong enough on my own every single moment of every day, but I’m not. Being in control is both a façade and a transgression.
The truth is, His power is made perfect in my weakness. His glory shines brightest in my submission to His will. My hamartia is the catalyst for His grace.
Even if my son’s blood sugar goes extremely high or low, God will be there. He is there in the midst of chaos. He is with me no matter my shortcomings or how far I go out of target range.
Sitting in the parking lot with that glowing red Target sign in front of me, I wiped the sleep and tears from my eyes. I looked up, and it dawned on me that while I may miss the mark, He keeps me steady in His hands.
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