By Liss Smith
“Set a guard over my mouth, LORD; keep watch over the door of my lips.” Psalm 141: 3
Most days at our house are filled with chaos, lots of noise, and a whole lot of crazy. There are eight of us living in a small four bedroom house.
Eight loud, passionate, creative souls.
I find myself talking a lot, every day. Lots of reminders to walk, not run in case you trample your smallest brother in the process; many “please speak kindly to your siblings”; countless “close the door, don’t let the air con out”…. and many, many things that, at the end of the day, I honestly regret saying.
Tensions are high and things come out of my mouth that do far more harm than good.
At this time of year, with everyone at home from school, and the pressures of the busy season mounting, it seems there are even more of those regrettable things than usual.
So I’ve turned to asking the Holy Spirit to help me. You know, the cry that really should be our first one, but instead so often comes at our moments of utter desperation when we’ve tried absolutely everything else we can possibly think of in our own strength. That’s not just me is it?
I’ve made it my daily prayer to ask the one who has power over all things, the one whose heart is tender towards me and each of my children, to set a guard upon my lips, to lovingly silence me before things fall out of my mouth that would be better left unsaid. Of course, I still fail, regularly. I barge through my day feeling stretched too thin. I manage to calmly work through one drama to turn around and find another six waiting right there for me.
But as I walk through this crazy season of so many small people in such a small space, with all the pressures of holidays and work and relationships, I am reminded that Jesus doesn’t just want us to invite Him into the places we think we’ve tidied up to make acceptable, He wants to be invited into the messy, embarrassing, not-anything-like-we-want-them-to-be places.
That’s one of the reasons the Psalms (particularly those written by David) are my favourite parts of Scripture.
They’re honest. Messy, intense, warts-and-all honest.
This Psalm wasn’t written from a place of comfort, it was written in the midst of turmoil, where pressure to do evil was pressing in.
But, and this is my other favourite part, then there is a but…
Things are awful, but. Pressure is mounting, but. Here it reads “But my eyes are fixed on you” Psalm 141:8 (NIV), or “But God, dear Lord, I only have eyes for you” (The Message). David keeps his eyes fixed on the one who see it all, who can provide refuge and strength, safety and hope.
God sees our struggle, and the pressures we face. He sees the times we fall, and the things that we say when no-one else is around. But His heart is for us, He desires to walk with us through all those moments, and He loves to be invited into our messy, most hidden places.
Liss is a passionate creative who loves Jesus, coffee and quiet. Mumma to six aged 3-13 (which really means there is not much quiet anywhere to be found) living in Brisbane, Australia. You can find here all over the internet as @lissletters.