Whether we're allowed in or not, we make it a priority be present at our children's court hearings and appointments. In this season, they are our children, so everything that involves them, impacts us.
To me, the most sobering moments are when we are in the room before the judge. To the side, sits Momma or Daddy with his or her lawyer. Sometimes they are challenged to look up; sometimes their return stares are ice cold. Sometimes overwhelming shame is written across their faces, and sometimes resolve.
It's kind of like a gruesome injury. Everything in me screams to look away, to stare at my shoes until our role is complete, but I force myself to look. I will my soul to utter prayers that seep from my eyes to them, and I wait for that moment when they finally look up, and by the grace of my Savior, I smile, and the room suddenly shifts.
Until that moment, that parent feels overwhelmingly alone amidst a room of accusers, who truly have their best interest and the best interest of their children at heart. But they don't see that. They see a prison cell of shame, locked, caged and buried - a hopeless circumstance they can never emerge from. Perhaps they identify their responsibility in the matter, and perhaps they don't, but there is almost always a steady, silent helpless hopelessness that borders their entire being.
So, I force myself to look for the encouragement of their souls. But I do it for another reason as well.
From the moment my spirit stirs in the morning, there's a voice that is often deafening. It's the one of my own accuser, and he does not have my best interest at heart. In fact, his sole purpose is my destruction. Yet, I listen...You have failed your sons. You can never love these children enough. God has brought you here to abandon you. The needs are much greater than the provisions will ever be. You are a disappointment.
And on, and on, and on.
You know the voices, too.
Yet we look at one another from the outside, even as believers, with masks. We claim our forgiveness in a risen Savior and sing of the beauty, but somehow, many of us are still in the corner of the jail cell, blocked by the Whisperer of Lies.
I force myself to look to be reminded of this, to be challenged to preach the Gospel to myself again, and again. Because you see, my Savior did forgive me and save me and adopt me, and those are beautiful things, but if I allow myself to be controlled by the mask of lies, to somehow continue thinking that He saved me for me, I have chosen to take back those keys, and lock myself away. I was made for so much more.
And I really believe, that's the lie our Accuser has succeeded in veiling our American Christian culture in. Not that we were saved to be conduits of His beauty, but we were saved, period. Yea, God and yea, me.
Yes, it is grace, and yes, it is beauty, but it is grace so that I may be a vessel of grace, and it is beauty so that I may be a pillar of His beautiful glory, and His unveiled face to a seeking world. It is salvation to discover that I was created for more that anything this world attempts to mold me into.
It is hope, so that I might stand beside him, stand beside her, and promise there is One who has come to set them free because they were made for more; they were made to bring their Creator glory.
How do you know? they ask. I don't feel it. I don't see it.
Take my hand. I am proof. I have stepped from the dungeon into light of hope, the freedom of truth.
And the surest way to silence my accuser, your true accuser, is to take you to the One who was accused for me - for you.