So you know those seasons in life where you are like, “I am killin’ it.”

But then you realize it was because there was just no opposition? There was no catalyst to cause the ugliness sitting dormant inside of you to rise to the surface or spew out of your mouth?

Like when you are not dating and espousing purity and how you don’t want to kiss a guy until you are sure you are going to marry him. And it seems so easy!

But then you start dating your future husband and 3 dates in, 45 minutes after he asks you to hold his hand, you are making out in the middle of a park at dusk.


Or when you are talking about the importance of budgets and spending wisely and saving with purpose. And it seems so easy!

Until you land a job at Nordstrom and you are starting an event planning business and suddenly there is just SO much you need in order to be successful and sharp and get ahead.


Or when you observe other people laughing with a tinge of sarcasm about their spouses driving them crazy and you think you will never be so ungracious to your own someday-spouse and how you will serve and be so lovely and beautiful every day to them that they could never think to make you crazy. And it seems so easy!

Until you get married.  And two sinners live in the closest proximity possible. And all your crap gets exposed.


Or when you say to yourself you will never have snotty nosed, crusty faced kids, nor will they every behave like that. Nor will I ever be like that sort of a mom.  And it seems so easy!

And then you birth three boys with free will.


I’m pretty sure the most succinct definition of sin I have been given is this: “Selfish Independent Nature.” It describes the disease that has wracked my body for my entire life.

And there are seasons when I think I am free, sin-less, because the catalysts are removed.  But in truth, it is just that there is no irritation that brings my symptoms to the surface, no catalyst that causes boiling.

So you’d think then, that we should just remove the opposition right? But unfortunately, a lot of the things that expose sin are wonderful things. Friends and family and spouses and kids and service and life. And it is hard to live the fullness of life with no people around.

I had a glorious weekend; my wonderful in-laws took my three little rascals {7,4,2} off to Lake Chelan.  Marshall and I had a peaceful house, no alarm clock, a date night; I met with numerous dear friends and encouraged and brainstormed and worshiped and listened to sermons and celebrated birthdays; I worked my buns off Sunday for a most glorious barn-raising event that was our YL banquet to support local ministry. I was lovely and wise and encouraging and brimming with love and felt in my sweet spot and despite being exhausted was so excited to be the most wonderful mom to my boys when I went to pick them up this morning.

I am a really good mom when my boys are across the state.

But then they got in my minivan.


The proverbial poop hit the fan.

Re-entry was brutal.

Within an hour of getting in the car we were all losing it. Tears and screaming and frustration from the drivers seat to the rear carseat.

I. Could. Not. Pull. It. Together.

For eight hours.

I repented almost every half hour. I would pull back to a simmer, and boil over at the slightest thing. Repent again. Repeat cycle.

And I sit here asking, “What is the point!?!” I am frustrated at me. Not just frustrated, angry at me.  I am supposed to be the well-put-together adult, not jumping into the cesspool of emotion that my kids swim in regularly.  And I was an Olympic diver today.

And I sit here now in the midst of my emotion thanking God that His mercies are new every morning because I desperately need them.

And I am really honest when I say I want all this frustration and anger and desire for control to be removed from deep down inside of me. I whole heartedly want to change.

I consulted Merriam Webster.

Catalyst :  an agent that provokes or speeds significant change or action 

Hmm, so the answer is not to remove the catalyst. No, bring it on. The catalyst is what reveals what’s in me. And also moves me to change.

As the impurities boil to the top, I have the opportunity to stuff them back down and  form a pattern of behavior, or throw them off like in Hebrews 12 and trust Jesus when he says that I can come to him, and he will heal me, and remove my sins as far from east to west, and make all things new.

Among my favorite scriptures in the bible is this, in Jeremiah 3:22. I have wept over it many a time, as the one thing in which I seem to be consistent in this life is inconsistency.

“Return, you backsliding children, and I will heal your backslidings.”

Is that not beautiful? My favorite is the response of the people, as it is my response tonight:

“Yes, we will come to you, for you are the LORD our God”

He is so good. He has never yelled at me. He has never berated me. He has never shamed me. He is my God and He is my father. My counselor and my helper. My friend and my savior. Oh, how I need Him!

4 thoughts on “Catalyst.

  1. Oh Emily thank you so much for your honesty and reminder I’m not the only mom that has those days! I am so thankful you are writing and letting God speak through you to me! Oh how I wish we were hanging out next week like our husbands are, but I know we will also be blessed by their time together 🙂 have a good week!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This is FANTASTIC. Reminds me of flying at 5000 feet and everything looks clean and model-like and then you land and realize it’s filthy but still beautiful. I love your writing!


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