Well, I know, it’s been a while. I’ve been dealing with life with six kids. Really, does it need further explanation? I didn’t think so. And God has been dealing with me too. A lot. When you step away from writing – especially in something as public as blogging – for a while, it’s so hard to jump back in. Like getting back into the pool for the first swim of the season. But I’ve got my cup of coffee in my favorite old mug and the kids are downstairs watching Narnia with their Padre. And I trimmed my nails, so I can stand typing more than 2.5 sentences. So let’s get into the thick of a new blog post, shall we? The water is freezing, but let’s go for it….
So, this past weekend, the Hubby and I had a real treat. We left all our chillin’s with trusted friends (note: the first time I was apart from Olivia overnight since she was conceived – that’s huge, folks)… and we went to Houston for the “Love Worth Fighting For” event with Kirk Cameron and Warren Barfield. Although Jeff was really looking forward to this mini marriage conference, I endured a tiny bit of teasing about my mega-crush. Girls from the 80’s, you get it, right? I mean my grandmother literally gave me a huge Kirk Cameron poster for my bedroom when I was thirteen and told me that was the kind of ‘good Christian guy’ I needed to marry. That is all kinds of funny, people. Leave aside the fact that he wasn’t even a Christian until a few years later. Ha!!
So, we started out our getaway date in classic Hazleton fashion – late. I woke up with a crushing headache and a sinus infection Friday morning. Plus there was a bee buzzing around in our bathroom that has the only working tub/shower. If you know me in real life, then you already know that means I didn’t shower until almost 3pm, when I confirmed that the bee had died of natural causes in the window sill.
After dropping the kids off, we had to drive through two different places for food before actually getting on our way.
The conference started at 7:00… At 6:50, we were camped out in our Sequoia under an overpass, consulting Google Maps on both our phones, trying to find a route around the toll, because – of course – the only cash we had on hand was two dollars we found hiding in the console. We later breathed a prayer of thanks that the toll was only $1.75.
So whatever the first hour of the event held, we missed it. The whole weekend was worth what came next, though. Cameron brought a strong, good word. And I hadn’t heard of Warren Barfield before this event, but I have to say he is definitely on our radar now. The Holy Spirit was all over what that North Carolina boy had to say. And sing. And he’s funny, too. That counts as extra among Hazletons.
One of the things that Kirk Cameron shared that really stuck with me was about secret sin. In the context of marriage, of course, when we think of ‘secret sin’, most likely infidelity of some sort comes to mind. Betrayal. Pornography, maybe.
But let’s be honest. We all have some kind of ‘secret sin’ – the thing (things) we struggle with that no one sees. We like to keep up a good front on this world wide web… we’re all drawn to the things that look good (ahem, Pinterest) and the bloggers who have the answers… We like our Facebook statuses to read like a scene from a good movie. But we each have something we’re dealing with. Because there is just a brokenness in us that won’t be quite right this side of Heaven.
Here’s what I loved that Kirk said: you gotta look at that sin for the ugly, lying, deceitful snake that it is… and then you cut it’s head off.
I love that imagery.
It’s so true, too. We tend to coddle our sin. Make excuses. We call it everything but sin. We start deceiving ourselves until we no longer realize we’re in bed with the devil. We gotta wake up and put on our glasses.
It’s not venting – it’s gossip.
It’s not ranting – it’s slander.
It’s not frustration – its anger.
It’s not observation – it’s jealousy.
It’s not stretching the truth – it’s lying.
It’s not admiring – it’s coveting.
It’s not ‘fudging’ – it’s stealing.
It’s not ‘complicated’ – it’s fornication.
I don’t know what yours is. I’ll tell you what my biggest one is, though. Anger.
Seething, boiling, under the surface, fermenting, stinking, vile anger. Sin. I’ve dealt with it as far back as my memory goes.
Maybe you deal with it too? The kids won’t listen and the baby won’t be put down. The dog wrecks the flower bed again and the electric company shuts off the power and the bill collectors are calling, and the husband works late again. The three year old tantrums and the toddler breaks the glass vase. The casserole burns and the friend’s cancer returns.
Every day it’s a battle I wage. I fight to keep Monster Mom and her harsh words at bay. And at the end of every day, I am battle weary. I am beaten.
So what do we do? We call sin a sin. We confess it. We see it for the snake that it is. Then what?
“Wage war on that sin,” Kirk said. “It’s waging war on you!” Isn’t that the truth? Why are we letting that sin beat us to death?
But here’s the cusp… we are powerless to defeat it. I can say all day long, “I will not get angry, I will not get angry, I will not get angry…” … “I will not yell at the kids… I will not yell at the kids…”
I bet you’ve tried that with your secret sin too – how’s that working for you? Yeah, me neither.
Because just like I can’t change my husband (believe me, after 10 years, I know), I also cannot change myself. I am powerless to change myself.
It all comes to my utter childlike dependence on God. Daily. Every moment, actually. I wage war on that sin and I take all the effort and passion and attention that I pour into that sin and turn my attention to my God and pour it all into Him. And He fills me up my emptiness.
I have to go to Him daily to give me what I need to wage the war against the sin. It’s not easy. But it’s worth fighting for.
I see my children wilt under the acid rain of my harsh words and I know that waging war against this snake is a battle worth fighting.
I turn on the computer and I read about a prominent Christian leader stepping down, and his ministry shuttering it’s doors because of his secret sin. I’m sure that he too would say it’s a battle worth fighting.
I don’t have all the answers, and I have to be honest – I’m not sure I’ll ever have full victory in this battle before Jesus returns. But every day I will get up and choose to cut the head off that boa constrictor.
Now you know my secret. There is victory in confessing our sin to one another – that’s Biblical. You don’t need to tell me your secret, but you can confess it to your spouse, your best friend, your pastor, someone. I bet that someone has a secret battle they’re waging as well. We’re in this blessed, broken life together.
I have another secret too, but this one’s not a sin. A project I’ve been working on… I’ll let you in on it in a few days.
Go wage your battles, warrior friends.