How Do You Treat The Person Who’s Always There?

I do not exist.

At least, that’s how I feel most days.

My older kids have entered this fun, new stage where their ears have become deaf to the sound of my voice. It’s as though my words are nothing but the wind. I could scream that the house was on fire and they’d still sit there, unflinching at the kitchen table, trying to decide if they should use ‘hot magenta’ or ‘primrose’ for the queen bunny’s scepter in their coloring book.

It’s only when they disagree, the argument coming to punches and tears, before they come running to me, fingers pointing at the other in accusation, expecting me to condemn and punish the one who’s in the wrong.

Then there’s my youngest who’s nearing his second birthday, and has firmly decided to remind me of the dangerous combination of having too many emotions and too few words.

In the course of a single day, it’s not uncommon for someone to run away from me and someone else to angrily chase me down.

I’ve been both shouted at and given the silent treatment.

I’ve been hit, slapped in the face, and bitten.

Because to my children, I’m merely whatever they want me to be. A judge. An executioner. A security blanket. A punching bag. A genie who will make whatever they want materialize in front of them.

But rarely, if ever, am I treated like the full person that I am. A person with hopes and a heart for them. A person who wants the best for them. A person who dreams the lofty dream for her children to become saints.

And so they lose sight of the biggest part of my identity. They lose me. 

“You know why you treat me like this?” I asked them on a particularly tough day. “Because I’m ALWAYS HERE.”

It was an inappropriate release of anger, really. An expression of my feeling trapped, confined to the chaos, even on the days when all I want to do is run away or sit alone crying in the closet.

But it’s true.

I’m always there, elbow-deep in the foulness, even when I can’t stand the stench.

I’m always here.

To me, those words can be suffocating. A lifelong prison sentence. An unbearable, impossible task.

But in the same moment I shouted those words at my children, God whispered them to me.

You see, I’ve been in this stage lately where I haven’t heard from my Father very much. It’s not for His lack of trying, I’m sure. My ears have simply been deaf to His voice, as though His words were nothing but the wind. He could scream that my life was inflamed with sin, and I’d sit there, unflinching in my living room, trying to decide if I should watch Captain Marvel or Captain America after the kids are in bed.

It’s only when I’m angry or hurt, my arguments usually ending in tears, before I come sprinting to Him.

And during this pregnancy, I’ve taken it upon myself to remind Him of the extremely dangerous combination of having too many emotions and too few words in prayer.

In the course of a single day, it’s not uncommon for me to run away from Him and also angrily chase Him down.

He’s been both shouted at and given the silent treatment.

Because to me, He becomes whatever I want Him to be. A judge. An executioner. A security blanket. A punching bag. A genie who can make whatever I want materialize in front of me.

But rarely is He treated like the full Person that He is. A Person with hopes and a heart for me. A Person who wants the best for me. A Person who dreams the lofty dream for His child to become a saint.

And so I lose sight of the biggest part of His identity. I lose Him.

“You know why you treat Me like this?” He asks me again on that particularly tough day. “Because I’m always here.”

And it’s true.

He’s always there, elbow-deep in my foulness, even when I’m sure He can’t stand the stench.

I’m always here.

But to God, those words are a promise. An eternal covenant. A profession of real, unconditional, unbreakable love.

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