For the Medusa Mother Days {or, When You Need to Pray for Spiritual Growth}

I dumped the entire contents of the paper recycling box onto the kitchen floor. On purpose. And then, with my slipper, I scattered the Best Buy flyers and the sports sections and the torn envelopes and the practice spelling tests and the flattened Cheerio and elbow macaroni boxes. By the time I was done my kitchen floor looked like the floor of a dog kennel. And then I left it all there, just like that. I walked upstairs to my bedroom and slammed the door behind me.
Suffice to say, I did not demonstrate kindness and compassion when my kids most needed it that weekend. I did not exhibit patience and strength when the situation most called for it. And I did not love God, or my neighbor, or my own family, with all my heart. Instead, I ranted, raved, complained, bemoaned, wept, slammed cabinets, scattered the recycling and all but foamed at the mouth. And then, on top of everything else, I felt guilty.

I didn’t feel any better Monday morning. In fact, I felt worse. Not only was I a Medusa mother and a deranged housewife, I was also clearly a Christian fake, preaching one thing here on Monday morning for the Hear It, Use It community, and living another way the rest of the week.

I sat on the couch with my Bible closed on my lap. What was the point, I wondered? Here I was, smack in the middle of Ephesians, close to completing my first cover-to-cover reading of the Bible, and what had I accomplished? What progress had I made? Clearly I was not transformed. Clearly I had not grown spiritually or grown in my relationship with God. Was I not, quite possibly, worse off than when I’d begun? After all, I knew more now; I knew better. Yet I was still making the same, wearisome, stupid, awful mistakes. I was still the same self-centered lunatic of a mother and wife that I’d always been.
I opened my Bible anyway that Monday morning, more out of habit than for any other reason. I draped the black ribbon over the leather cover, settled my glasses on my nose and began again where I’d left off a few days before, halfway through Chapter Three.

As I read the section entitled, “Paul’s prayer for spiritual growth,” I knew instantly that although he’d written it for the Ephesians long ago, the prayer was meant explicitly for me that Monday morning. In fact, when I copied the prayer into my journal, I altered the words slightly, to make it a prayer for myself.

I’ve read this prayer in my journal every morning since then, and I’m including it here today, just in case you, too, are having a Medusa mother, deranged housewife kind of day. Because, after all, there’s hope in God, through God, with God. There’s always hope.

A Prayer for Spiritual Growth (Adapted from Ephesians 3:14-21)
I pray that from Your glorious, unlimited resources, You will empower me with inner strength through Your Spirit.

I pray that You will make a home in my heart as I trust in You.

I pray that my roots will grow down into Your love and keep me strong.

I pray that I will have the power to understand how wide, how long, how high and how deep Your love is.

I pray that I will experience this love, though it is too great to understand fully, and that I will be made complete with Your fullness of life and power.

And I pray that You accomplish infinitely more in me than I even think or ask.

Glory to You, forever and forever. Amen.

With Jennifer, Emily and Duane:


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Anna White –   – (November 14, 2012 at 3:07 AM)  

I hope this us an autopost and that you're not awake at 3am like me. Anyway, love the honesty of this post. No matter how much we grow, those crazy days still come. The difference, I think, is in the practices we put in place like reading our Bible, even though we know we are just losing it! The practices hold us to the ground.

Gaby  – (November 14, 2012 at 6:05 AM)  

Ha! Michelle, I'm on the other side of that prayer today. God said: "so you want to grow? Buckle up because here we go!" Writing a post about it soon. Love that prayer and love your transparency.

Jillie –   – (November 14, 2012 at 9:39 AM)  

Oh Michelle...does it help to know there are 'others out here' who are constantly going through the same thing? I used to do the same thing to my kids...and the terrible guilt ensued. Deep apologies helped. Kids need to see that we are only human too. I know my kids always appreciated my human-ness, and they (remarkably) learned how to apologize when they messed up.
Now, I direct my human-ness toward my husband, seeing as my kids are grown and gone. :[ Poor guy. It's not always outward though--often it's the angry, bitter thoughts I carry inside of me. Then I have to do business with God. I think as long as we're striving to do better, God appreciates that effort. He knows we are but dust, and that our spirits are willing, but our flesh is weak.
You sound so much like me...that's why I love your honesty and openness. I'm going to write this prayer in my journal too, and pray it much more often. Many "Thanks" Michelle!

Christie Purifoy  – (November 14, 2012 at 9:54 AM)  

I'll be holding on to these words! Thank you. And thank you, too, for your honesty. My Medusa moments look a lot like yours, and it's hard to get over the guilt. One thing a pastor (and Mom) shared years ago has stuck with me: if we were perfect parents our children wouldn't need God.
I like to think that my own imperfections are the space in which my kids will seek and find a heavenly parent. But, maybe I'm just trying to make myself feel better. :)

dukeslee  – (November 14, 2012 at 11:15 AM)  

I am encouraged by the Good News, which tells me this. I am in a process of BEING transformed, BEING conformed, and BEING renewed day by day. It is the work of God within us, rather than our own performance, that gives me hope for tomorrow. If it were any other way, I'd be in a heap of trouble. :)

I so love your honest heart. And I'm so glad you've linked with us.

Leslie McNeil –   – (November 14, 2012 at 12:18 PM)  

Thanks for the prayer. Great encouragement, as always!

KimberlyCoyle –   – (November 14, 2012 at 12:26 PM)  

I happen to be right in the throes of learning "gentleness" with my kids. This is a hard fruit to bear. I need this prayer in my journal too:)

ro elliott  – (November 14, 2012 at 1:38 PM)  

we are link-up neighbors today:) I just say yes and amen to your prayer...may it be done O Lord according to your will~ blessings and thanks~

Martha Orlando –   – (November 14, 2012 at 2:39 PM)  

Oh, this post spoke straight to my heart, Michelle . . . and your rewritten scripture is beautiful. Think I'll read Ephesians . . .
Blessings to you!

Megan Willome  – (November 14, 2012 at 3:12 PM)  

I love you, Michelle. You're so much like me.

I will pray that your family overlooks this and loves you anyway. That's all we want, isn't it? Because we do our best do overlook their stuff, too.

Michelle DeRusha  – (November 14, 2012 at 3:22 PM)  

Ephesisans is good stuff -- balm for my weary spirit! Thanks for stopping by Martha...

Michelle DeRusha  – (November 14, 2012 at 3:23 PM)  

I *think* they forgave me for my lunacy. But I suspect "the day Mommy threw the recycling all over the kitchen" will be mentioned at some point again in the future.

Michelle DeRusha  – (November 14, 2012 at 3:24 PM)  

Oh wow, wise and much-needed words from your pastor, Christie. Thank YOU for that.

Shannon G  – (November 14, 2012 at 4:33 PM)  

i'm so there most days lately. boy does being a mother show you your ugly! :0) thank you for reminding me that I'm not alone and that I"m smack dab in the middle of His love...even on the "medusa" days.

Melanie Gillgrist  – (November 14, 2012 at 9:49 PM)  

Thank you for your words and your honesty...and I keep re-reading the prayer.

I've linked up a few times with you....but just recently was searching for your writer page on facebook and saw that you are from East Longmeadow- I grew up in Wilbraham! Was so fun to see that

Emily Wierenga –   – (November 14, 2012 at 10:32 PM)  

you sound burned out, like me. i think we both need to take a social media break. i'm planning to take a couple of weeks at christmas to re-evaluate. love you friend. praying with you.

Deidra  – (November 15, 2012 at 1:00 PM)  

I love that prayer. And this has nothing to do with that, but on Sunday, on my way back from TX, I was in the Dallas airport, eating a salad, next to a water bottle that was not my own. I thought of you...

Michelle DeRusha  – (November 15, 2012 at 2:53 PM)  

Yes, indeed! I am going totally off the computer next week -- no writing, no blogging, no social media. I am very much looking forward to it.

Michelle DeRusha  – (November 15, 2012 at 2:54 PM)  

Melanie Western Massachusetts Sister! I will be by to say hello at your fun!

Michelle DeRusha  – (November 15, 2012 at 2:54 PM)  

Yup, mothering...THE most challenging job on the planet, if you ask me!

Michelle DeRusha  – (November 15, 2012 at 2:55 PM)  

Ok that made me laugh all over again. Remember how the two ladies couldn't stop giggling because of my freak-out over the germs?! Oh my goodness gross.

Duane Scott  – (November 17, 2012 at 7:17 PM)  

I want in.

In fact, I've been toying with this idea for a little time, considering stopping social media.

My friend is writing a book called the "unblogger" and I his theories are so, so good! The blogging world is changing and I wonder myself, if maybe it's time to reevaluate a few things. Blessings to you, Michelle. Thank you for linking this post to mine. :)

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