I sit cross-legged on the floor of my bedroom closet, a freshly made cup of peppermint tea in one hand, the white pages of my art journal splayed across my lap and a bag of crayola markers plopped by my side.  Word on the street is that I am either deaf or dead, according to my girl.  Truth be told, I am in Mommy Time-out.  I have  endured an epic day of parenting and there seems to be no relief in sight as my girl stands outside, pounding on the bedroom door.

And then, I just start drawing.  Drawing the fire burning in my belly.  The hand inside squeezing my heart tight.  The cup of tea meant to quench the fire.  Praise me in the storm.  The words keep repeating inside my head.  Praise me in the storm.  I form a body around that belly on fire and she manages to stretch her arms out, offering-up a tired heart in need of restoration.  This gesture is my act of praise.  Thank you for sitting right here with me in the storm, Lord.

Some seasons are like this, aren’t they?  A rough patch of parenting.  Marital discord.  Job stress.  Chronic health issues. When the only thing left to do is to tentatively offer-up our weary hearts and pray for the strength to endure the ache in the hopes that we will witness the beauty and character that is promised to us at the end.

Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. -James 2: 4

Oh, what a God we have who can and does use these hard seasons to birth even more beauty!  A God who provides us with peppermint tea for our anxious hearts.  A God who knows our own ache through his son Jesus.

I imagine Jesus felt this same longing during his time here on Earth.  Frustration over his people not listening to the message he wanted to give them.  A pained heart as he witnessed physical and emotional suffering all around him.  He didn’t just give-up and walk away, though.  Jesus persevered.  He responded with love and patience even as he cried out to his Father during those final agonizing hours on the cross.

As I travel in and out of these winter seasons of my life, I want to practice the art of praising God for the opportunity to grow in love and patience so that I might be more mature and complete.  Even if it means sipping tea in my bedroom closet.