Friday, December 16, 2011

Furious Love

Contrary to popular belief Erik Daniel Manning was not named after Peyton or Eli Manning.  Living in the south, this simple fact is often greatly mistaken.  Erik Daniel Manning is named after a less famous Manning, a more humble, quiet Manning.  Brennan Manning.  In his book The Furious Longing of God, Brennan introduces himself this way...

"I'm Brennan.  I'm an alcoholic. How I got there, why left there, why I went back, is the story of my life.  But, it is not the whole story.  I'm Brennan.  I'm Catholic. How I got there, why I left there, why I went back, is also the story of my life.  But it is not the whole story.  I'm Brennan.  I was a priest, but am no longer a priest.  I was a married man but am no longer a married man.  How I got those places, why I left those places, is the story of my life too.  But it is not the whole story.  I'm Brennan.  I'm a sinner, saved by grace. That is the larger and more important story.  Only God, in His fury, knows the whole of it."

I had a bad day yesterday.  I was not the mother that I should have been.  I was selfish, self-focused, tired, and frustrated.  The day was a mess from start to finish.  It was so bad that I couldn't start it over, fresh, no matter how hard I tried. And, I tried all day.

Oh, and for those of you who think I'm a wonderful mother, who so sweetly tell me that I inspire you, I have to be completely honest with you...

I pulled my son's hair yesterday.

I did.  I'm not proud of it.  I'm not promoting it.  Just being real.  Elijah pulled my hair accidentally while showing me something.  He took a handful of strands of my hair with him.  It hurt.  I screamed.  I may have over-reacted.  But, as I said earlier I was not in the best of moods yesterday, and I think I saw it as an opportunity to let out some of my frustration.  So, I reacted... overly.  Then, Joshua let me know about it.  He went on and on and on and on about how it really didn't hurt me that badly, how he had endured far worse than that and not reacted in such a way as that, and on and on....  I listened for a few minutes to his little speech, and then ever so quietly, ever so discreetly, I reached up and grabbed a handful of his hair and gave it a little tug.


I think I shocked him.  He was stunned.  floored.  And, I was, too!!  In fact, I was so taken aback at my own sin that I didn't know what to say.  After I gathered myself, I asked his forgiveness, told him what I had done was totally wrong.  Being the sweet thing that he is, he smiled, even chuckled, and forgave his sin-filled mama.

But, that was my day in a nutshell.  When Erik and I sat in bed later that night, I confessed my sins aloud to him.  I confessed my insecurities, the fears that I have been struggling with lately, I opened my heart up, and then I changed the subject.... or so I thought....  I began to tell him about the book I've been reading by Brennan Manning, The Furious Longing of God.  I reminded him that when Rich Mullins first heard Brennan Manning speak on the love of God, on a tape in his truck, he had to pull his truck over because he was crying so hard that he could not see to drive.  Then, I began to tell him about how in the book Brennan talks about how we can't preform enough for God to love us, we can't earn His love....

And, I couldn't even get the sentence out, the dam broke, the tears fell, and I couldn't stop them no matter how hard I tried.  Because no matter how old I get, no matter how much life I live, I still struggle with the same thing!!  Laying down as I am before God and accepting the fact that He loves me where I am today.  I still want to be good enough.  I still want to arrive.  And, though my heart knows it is impossible, my will still wants to try.  And, yesterday, in my mind, I had totally failed Him.  I had not been the mom that I should have been.  And, thus, the tears fell as once again I realized that I am loved even when I am so completely, wholeheartedly, undeniably unlovely.  How deep His love and grace  beyond what we can imagine or fathom!

Several years ago God gave me a little personal revelation that still today makes some people cringe when I share it.  And, this is it... He is not so concerned with my perfection.  Not that He wants me to live in sin.  He doesn't, and I think that is why the statement is so easily confused.  I am interested in perfecting myself, in using Christianity to better who I am.  I am interested in being good, in being perfect. But, He is interested in me, just as I am, in relating to me, in being intimately connected to my heart.  He knows I will never be perfect, and He shows me more grace than I'll ever show myself.  That is why He can call an adulterer/murderer a man after His own heart.  Where we as humans may not have shown David nearly as much grace.  And, that is why I can believe that He loves me even when my insecurity, my sinful nature, and my daily failings tell me that I am unworthy, unlovable.

And, so it all comes down to His love for us ~ the backbone of our faith.  Love.  Unconditional.  Undying.  Never ending.  Love.  He loved us, so we can love others.

I sat down at my computer this morning and scanned Youtube for films of Brennan Manning.  Ironically Erik Daniel crawled up into my lap and watched video after video with me.  Here is one that spoke to my heart.

How deep the Father's love for us, how vast beyond all measure!  May you dwell richly in the fact that today, right now, you are loved with an everlasting, undying, furious love, no matter what sins you have committed, no matter how insecure or unlovely you feel.  Today and always His love rests on you, so.... what is stopping you???  Believe it, and live like you do!


Tyna said...

A side thought: How we related to our fathers during childhood is usually how we relate to God. My father was present, but uninterested and uninvolved unless there was some dire emergency. This has shaped how I think God views me. Does God love me personally? Hard to imagine. Yes, He loves mankind - enough to die for us as a whole. And yes, I get to be some small insignificant part of that. But that He cares for me personally seems to come and go. Some days I believe it, some days not. I choose to walk in faith, regardless of how I feel.

holdme-jesus said...

A little reaction from Holland.
first of all: "Wauw...."
This is a blog s├│ (right in)to my heart! Thanks for this post.
I love Jesus, and I love Brennan Manning and Rich Mullins too! And at this spot, at 16 november 2011, I read a Blog, from over the Ocean ;-), that brings it all together...
Thanks and blessings!
GOD loves us as we are... -Hans

Jenny said...

Thank you for this wonderful post, Erin! Thank you for being real. We all have bad days. I am so thankful for grace! And that God loves us just as we are. I still think you are a wonderful and sweet mama. :-)

Kelly said...

Oh Erin, you are still a wonderful and precious mother. I appreciate your courage in sharing your bad day; we all have had them, and regret them, but you will encourage another young mom with this post, I am sure!

I also love Brennan Manning and read a different book he wrote, The Ragamuffin Gospel. It was life changing for me, and one of those books highlighted more than not by the time I finished it! I will look for this one toromorrow when I'm out shopping.

Allison said...

I appreciate your honesty because quite frankly your day has been my week. I love my children till it hurts but it has been a BAD week. Your honesty still makes me admire you. It makes me feel OK. Thank you for being real and thank you for letting me remember forgiveness is just an apology away.

Sunshine said...

OH BOY did I need this today. Today topped off a REALLY, really bad week. *sigh* bless your heart for posting this. You are such an encouragement to so many mommas! Sunshine

Sunshine said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
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Hi! I live in a sweet country home overflowing with love, laughter, and little ones. I have been blessed to journey these days beside a man that I love, respect, and admire. He is my soul-mate and best friend. Together we are seeking to raise our seven children to be lovers of God, to be wise and discerning, and to be all that our sweet God created them to be. I am in the goldfish and cheerio stage of life, but I am keenly aware that these days are slipping right through my hands. This blog is my attempt to keep our memories safe for years to come.


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