Bitter Sweet

Written by Leah Boden

“Courage is not simply one of the virtues, but the form of every virtue at the testing point.”

C. S. Lewis

This morning I woke up to an 8-year-old using my butt as a pillow, a 5-year-old with freakishly long legs casually strewn across our king size bed like she owned it and a dog nudging my arm with his wet nose to get my attention – and somewhere through this repeated reprise of yesterday was my husband, inching his way out of the bed in an attempt to start his day

But it’s not like I ask for the uncomfortable holding on to the edge of the bed kind of nights but I don’t fight them. And this piece isn’t about my organic parenting style, I think it’s about love and leadership and the sacrificial matrix of mayhem and melody that we, that I live in – in abundance!

The familiar taste of ‘bittersweet’ in our lives somehow continues to take us by surprise as we navigate through holding that longed for child as they cry sleepless for the 4th night in a row; we clutch our caffeine laden cup and offer thanks through tired eyes, or the prayed for growing church gathering of broken lives who require our time and leading and laid down life again and again. The repeated rhythms of our life can leave us elated yet exhausted.

Dickens describes periods like this as being “the best of times and the worst of times”; that polarised place of passion and pain, of beauty and blackouts all happening at the same time. How often do you gaze lovingly at your toddler sleeping after a nightmare day of them terrorising the cat, emptying the cereal cupboard and frazzling your last droplets of patience and grace? But somehow their chest rising and dropping, their deep breathing fills your love tank afresh – ready to do it all again tomorrow!

This parenting and people leading, this leaning-in requires all of me being very present in the process. And I am ‘all in’ despite the achy muscles from hanging off the edge of the bed, the pounding heart after helping a disciple of Jesus make a fresh-start; the sacrifice of time and home is wrapped in arms of fully loving, embracing and chasing what Jesus meant when He said ‘and life in abundance’.

I’m sure Hannah walked the long road to the Temple clutching Samuels hand sweating, heart racing, doubting, but in knowing readiness to release him into the fullness and promises of God; the parting song of her heart was “my heart rejoices in the Lord…”. As Mary received the news of God’s choosing; she considered what she was ‘losing’ and declared “be it unto me as you have said”, and Jesus, in the garden – voiced without pardon “not my will but yours be done”

And this is our life; we don’t ask for the clutching onto the edge hard stuff – but we don’t fight it. We step fully inside, we walk the path, we consider and breathe deeply, we give thanks and allow God’s ‘higher ways’ and our sweat and tears to shape and form who we fully are. His.

I guess life really is like a box of chocolates, or maybe a large piece of dark chocolate. And I’m taking that piece of 85% decadent dark chocolate full of flavour and I’m biting down hard because it’s good and full and rich – and a little bit bitter.

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Gal 6:9

Leah Boden is a wife and home educating mum to 4 children; Leah and Dave are lead pastors at Mosaic Church in Coventry and are passionate about empowering and releasing others into all God has for them. Leah is a speaker, blogger and writes regularly for home educating publications around the world. She’s a nature lover, podcast junkie and bookaholic; you’ll generally find her doing any of these whilst drinking coffee.