When Ellia was just a newborn, I had one of those dreams where you wake up and reality is permanently altered.  In my dream, I was super mad at Brett.  Who knows what he was doing.  All I know is that I was about to snap and finally, I reached out to hit Brett, fists flying at him as hard as I could.  However, every time I tried to hit Brett, I somehow hit Ellia, who was resting in his arms.  This made me more upset and I tried harder to nail him, but every time, I missed and my angry fists caught my helpless baby girl instead. I knew God was speaking to me.  I've known sin separates.  I've known it injures-- tearing, dividing, harming, and always doing violence to light and truth.  But I had to learn that my issues, my choice to love or not to love now came with a bigger price tag.  My choice to encourage or tear down, to love or hate, to act out of instant gratification or self-denial would now affect another generation.

Having kids is too small a reason to pull yourself together.  But, what the dream revealed is the far-reaching effects of my willingness to agree with God or give him the finger.  When I say no to loving Brett, Ellia and Olive feel it.  When I reject the grace God extends, I know Ellia notices.  My accountability partner is now three feet tall and says things like, "Mommy?  Why did you shut the door really hard?  Are you sad?"

Sometimes I love irritability.  I know it so well that I treat it like an old pal, welcoming it with open arms and offering it a choice place to sit.  I value my right to be crabby over my call to love.  I cling to moody behavior as if it is life-giving, completely blind to the fact that it sucks the ever-loving breath out of my body.

For me, obedience can be painful.  There are days when I cry because I have to love.  The battle is still real.  I choose obedience because I know in it, I am living out of my real self-- the part of me that wants what God wants and hates  what God hates, the part of me that knows I was created for more than narcissistic apathy.  I have to peel back the surface desire of the moment, the part of me that wants to consume, use, and manipulate.  When I do this, I can hear God reminding me that I don't like to hurt people-- that bearing an image has an impact on what I say and what I do.  In listening to this reality, I can recognize the profound worth in others and take God's affection for others instead of having to conjure up my own.

It's in this place, I can teach Ellia and Olive that the more you know God, the more you rely on grace.  And there's far less carnage to speak of.

So, I think, in light of this, I need to go apologize to my husband.