By: Christi Grimm
The sweet touch of her hand woke me gently. I rolled over, opening my eyes to a precious three-year-old. “Mommy, I had an accident in my bed.” It was 7:30am Monday morning. The weekend had been a busy one, full of activities and fun and I was looking forward to slowly starting my day by catching my breath, picking up the house, and easing into the week.
“Ok, sweetie. I’ll be right there. Go get your towel and you can jump in the shower to clean up.” The baby was still sleeping beside me after a fitful night of sleep. I was tired, and the week had just begun. After taking a moment to gather my energy for “mom-mode” I sprang into action.
5, 7, 12, and 15-year-olds awake.
And then the fun began. The baby wasn’t content, the 3-year-old needed help getting dressed, the creative 5-year-old found my nail polish, and the other three were attempting to get started with their days amid the chaos and a sibling squabble about who should pick up the dirty clothes on the floor. I moved in and out of tasks, finishing some and being called away by others. The day quickly felt overwhelming and my anxiety level was rising. This is not how I had wanted to start my week. I had envisioned a peaceful day: children behaving and cooperating, chores finished, books being read happily: you know, a “perfect” mom day! However, life with 6 children is rarely, if ever, what my mind likes to envision! I had a choice to make. Was I going to give into the anxiety level rising within my body, or was I going to take a different route?
I’d like to say I chose joy and thankfulness that day (and many others like it!). I’d like to say we all sat down and read scripture and hugged each other and everything was picture perfect. But that is not how it went. Instead, the anxiety rose so much inside of me that it ended up boiling over in an explosive way. The words were ugly, the tone was hateful, the anger in my eyes was real.
This day was not uncommon. If circumstances were well and the day was smooth, I was a calm mom. If too much life ever happened, I boiled over onto my children.
One day, when real life was occurring once again, I chose a different route. In my angst and absolute desperation, screamed “JESUS, HELP ME!!!”
Although it sounded a bit sarcastic, I meant it. I desperately needed His help if I was going to be able to mother these children in a peace-filled environment.
The next thing I did would prove to be a pivotal moment in the course of my motherhood. Still in anger, and filled with overwhelming emotion, I turned on worship music and raised the volume as loud as I possibly could. The children froze, looked at me a little bit quizzically and a little bit afraid, I said, -or perhaps yelled- “We are not doing this ANYMORE! We are starting over. Our days are NOT going to be filled with arguments and grumpiness!” And with that I began singing as loudly as I could to the song playing. I raised my arms in wholehearted surrender and, in spite of my conflicting emotion, worshiped my Creator. That is one of the first times I remember worshiping Him “in Spirit and in Truth.” That day was the day I invited my children to truly worship with me.
My Father is not interested in my vain efforts of worship. He desires those who are brave enough to come to Him in the depths of their difficulty, approaching Him with an honest heart, so that He can then transform it into a thankful heart full of His Truth. My vain efforts to feel thankful and joyous before I worship Him are self-serving at best. My Abba is not afraid or intimidated by my overwhelming feelings of anger or angst, so I am safe to come to Him and worship Him even while experiencing those emotions. When I choose to come to Him at the height of my mess, it provides an environment where I literally experience transformation in the physical realm by surrendering my emotions, and in the spiritual realm by declaring my faith in the fact that God DOES transform!
In John chapter 4 Jesus is speaking to the Samaritan woman at the well and she asks Him “Where should we worship?” She is concerned with outward appearances and making sure her worship appears “right”. Jesus responds to her by saying “The importance is not placed on the time and place of worship but on the TRUTHFUL HEARTS of worshipers…. The Father is spirit, and He is seeking followers whose worship is sourced in Truth and deeply spiritual as well.” (John 4:21-24 The Voice)
I can confidently come to Him with an honest heart so that He can then pour His Truth into me.
As Jesus began showing me that I am safe to come to Him with my big emotions- empty of any good thing in the moment– He repeatedly talked me off the ledge! The more I turned on music, the more I wanted to remain in a state of worship. I found myself washing dishes, folding laundry, and picking up the house all as I worshiped.
The more I worshiped, the more my children saw this. I was modeling a lifestyle of worship and I didn’t even realize it. It was my desperation and mess that became the catalyst of continual worship for my children. Because of my desperation, I was freed of the potential effects of pride. Had I not been so desperate for God to step in, I would have continued in my old ways of closing myself in my room to praise Him. I was embarrassed for my children to see me. My mind would say “What will they think? Will they think I’m weird? I bet I look ridiculous.”
The desperation became God’s Grace. Had it not been for that desperation, would my children understand worship right now?
Before I knew it, my creative 5-year-old was dancing in worship before her Creator. The younger ones were simultaneously singing and playing- their own form of worship! My older children grasped onto this and it is now the norm for them to turn on music first thing in the morning, where it remains playing until bedtime.
As we hear the words of the songs, it provokes thoughts grounded in Truth. It produces a ripe environment for a continual state of prayer. We move through our days in and out of talking with Jesus. We are beginning to understand what it means to “pray at ALL times!” (Ephesians 6:18) Living in a spirit of worship creates a ripe ground for constant prayer.
Is our home perfect? Far from it! But we are becoming a family “whose worship is sourced in truth and deeply spiritual as well.” We experience victorious days. We experience difficult days. We have days where we temporarily forget! But God, in His Goodness is so Faithful to remind me (us) of the importance of worshiping Him. He is Faithful to offer me His Mercy and Grace to begin again. And again. And again. And it all began with desperation.
Are you desperate, sweet woman? I encourage you to throw your hands up! Scream out to Him! Take one desperate step toward Him and watch as He beautifully begins to transform.
Christi is a fifth generation Florida girl who loves the sand, the sea, and the sunshine! When she is not busy mothering her 6 children, she enjoys her garden, traveling, experiencing new cultures, and indulging in warm chocolate chip cookies while reading a good book or journaling. She loves spending time with her husband of 20 years and still dates him on a weekly basis. Christi is passionate about bringing women alongside her into a life of freedom in Christ, and does so by leading Beauty for Ashes Women’s Retreats. Her own healing journey with Jesus has given her the desire to see others set free as well.