Finally, I was back at yoga today after a week of Thanksgiving preparations and then my week-long standard post-holiday virus. My gifted yoga instructor, Keleah, cranked up the heat, dimmed the room, started the music and sent everyone to child’s pose.
A deep breath, and ahhhh….
“Ugh. This yoga mat smells like feet.”
And since I am the only one who uses it, I am the only one to blame.
Keleah interrupted my self disgust to proclaim, “Unto us a Child is born…” and just as quickly as I had dissolved into wondering why I can never hold it all together, I slipped into the arms of grace instead.
Unto us a Child is born, and that makes all the difference for hardworking, perpetually falling apart, less than graceful humans like me.
I learned from the cradle that God wrapped himself in humble flesh to lie in a manger. I knew in pre-school that the baby grew into a sinless man who gave himself to pay the price for all of my naughtiness. Oh yes, I possessed a bent towards mischief even then and I learned without anyone teaching me that the best way to cover up my bent was with dishonesty. Terribly inconvenient trait in the first-born child of a country preacher.
But I didn’t learn until far into adulthood that Jesus of Nazareth was not only redemption for my mischief and deceit but a safe place for me to rest when I had given my all and fallen face down once again into let’s say…a yoga mat that smelled like feet.
And oh, how I’ve needed that safe place of grace, because as all of us who give it our best and then fall time and again know- if we are not condemning ourselves, there is an absolute wealth of people lined up to take over the job…spouses, mothers, mother-in-laws, teenage children, pre-school children for that matter. Sometimes, our accuser is even a complete stranger.
I’ll never forget the time I drug myself wearily into a new mom’s prayer group for the first time not long after my girls came home from Haiti. I had just gone from three to five children, and no one was adjusting well. There were a lot of car seats to buckle and unbuckle (four to be exact) A lot of crying. A lot of grieving. A lot of chronic eye-twitching and heart palpitations on my part.
So, I collapsed into this prayer group for the first time and to get to know each other, we all went around and told our names and how many kids we had and their ages. When my turn came, I rattled off the stats to the predictable gasping around the room.
Five??? You have five???
Then, one lady addressed me directly with a terribly concerned frown on her face. She was a very involved mother of two. She asked, “So, with five children do you feel like you are able to give each of your children enough individual attention?”
Ouch. What do you say to that?
There’s not much to say, but only one thing to do- fall into the safety of the Arms of Grace. For unto us a Child is born, and He’s already seen our worst and loved us anyway.
Even when our yoga mat smells like feet.