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...when anyone becomes aware that they are guilty in any of these matters, they must confess in what way they have sinned. Leviticus 5:5
Say to the Israelites: ‘Any man or woman who wrongs another in any way[a]and so is unfaithful to the Lord is guilty and must confess the sin they have committed. They must make full restitution for the wrong they have done, add a fifth of the value to it and give it all to the person they have wronged. Numbers 5:6-7
Whoever conceals their sins does not prosper, but the one who confesses and renounces them finds mercy. Proverbs 28:13
Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective. James 5:16

Living in quarantine with the people who you love the most and who see every good and bad and annoying and hilarious thing about each other is quite the opportunity for growth. I have felt all the moods so far, three weeks into this new global norm of not only socially distancing, but "sheltering in place" and wearing masks and gloves as protection from others when I have to get in my car to venture out for essentials at the grocery store.

I feel the joy of the gift of a slower pace of life with room and space for sleep, more walks and time to linger in the natural beauty of the creek and trail in our neighborhood, time together as a family that is often fragmented by everyone's good schedules and social engagements that pull us in different directions, and intentional conversations with friends on the phone or over various apps. Not feeling rushed or overscheduled brings mental health and peace, which then allows margin for quality conversations, learning new skills, and engaging in new activities around the house. This is the kind of time we all long for when a two day weekend never feels like enough. This is the permission to disengage from good things that vacations and snow days alone usually provide. This is precious time with our kids that will be over before we know it, one heading off to college in a year.

But with all the good, I have also felt the despair over my own inability to be nice when things aren't going the way I want them to or when one of my kids seems rude or ungrateful or annoying or utterly lacking in an awareness that four other people inhabit the space he or she is cluttering. (Why are the guitar and laptop always left on the sink in the bathroom? Who had so much water rushing off their body getting out of the shower that the bathroom floor is its own wading pool? Do not look at me with that disrespectful and antagonistic expression! For the love of all things good, child 1 put your phone down and child 2 would you please stay seated while everyone finishes their dinner and child 3 it is not that hard to chew with your mouth closed!!!)

This is also a season of spiritual revival in my soul where God has returned to me the desire to pray, a desire to be in His word more, His Spirit quickening in me the faith and hope of my younger days that had been anesthetized by disappointments, cynicism, "the cares (and disillusionment) of this world," and just general emotional distance. I am grateful and recognize it as a gift for each day that it continues. It also means I am invited to confess my wrongs against my family more freely and frequently.

Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, forbearance, and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance? Romans 2:4

It is God's kindness in this season that gives me the safety in His affection for me to acknowledge my failures to love well in response. It is His forbearance and patience that give me the courage to name my wrongs against my children and ask for forgiveness when I have been hypercritical, when I have lacked patience with behaviors that aren't sinful but agitate, annoy or simply exhaust me, and when my desire for a very good thing has become more important than the people for whom I want that very good thing. I can explain my behavior in such a way that many would understand why I reacted with aggressive passion or spoke with excessive volume or chose the words that I flung like rocks. But the explanation does not excuse the impact of the behavior, the disdain communicated, the irritation communicated, the exasperation communicated, the conditional nature of my kindness, gentleness, and love. So I confess to them that I am sorry for "x", acknowledge that it was wrong, and ask them to please forgive me.

And they do!

If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.  If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.  If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 1 Corinthians 13:1-7

May God give me a love for each member of my family that I would be quick to protect rather than assault with a critique, that I would be quick to trust rather than assume the worst, that I would be quick to hope rather than fear, that I would be quick to persevere rather than grow weary in doing good. May God give me patience with the quirks, failures, and deliberate sins of each of my family. May God give me kindness toward them in the ages and stages and moods that are legitimately theirs. Would God work against the envy in my heart when they prefer their friends and phones over time with me or doing the things I would prefer. Would God give me humility rather than boasting or pride, relieving me of the notion that my way is the only good way for something to be done. Would God bind my mouth, heart, and thoughts from dishonoring others with judgment or disrespect! Could I come out of this pandemic far less self-seeking, not easily angered by every small thing that violates my will and desires, and with amnesia in regard to the flaws, wrongs, failures, and harms of others?

O Heavenly Father, heal my Gospel amnesia that I may rejoice with the Truth, celebrate and desire your Way, and be a conduit for more of your Life in my home. That is a Grace that surely compels!


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