The Christmas Dolphins

Welcome to the #recall12 series, where we are memorizing a little bit of God’s great Word each month! This month’s verse is: 

“God will take care of the hidden things …” Deuteronomy 29:29 MSG

“Mom!!!!” My seven-year-old screeched as she took off into the depths of the house,  “I have the BEST idea for Christmas cookies this year!” dec recall 12

The discomforting changes that we instinctively fight can yield a refreshing freedom to embrace new traditions.

My then-Kindergartener emerged from the basement with a play doh-cutter in her hand.

“CHRISTMAS DOLPHINS!!!!” she spat out with glee. “For Grammy and Papa.”  Though we were all sad to see them relocate to warmer climate permanantly, my daughter reminded me to allow the possibility of what could be compared to what had always been.

Today’s verse expounds upon an Israelite people that would rely on descendants to carry on their commitment to the Lord. Even Moses would turn the reigns of leadership over to Joshua before they would set eyes on their promised land.

” The Lord our God keeps certain things hidden. But he makes other things known to us and to our children forever. He does it so we can obey all the words of this law.” Deuteronomy 29:29 NIRV

The wisdom gained over an ancestral lifetime wasn’t automatically transferred to the recall12 dec tweet 2.png
next generation back then, nor is it now. Try as we may to listen to those that have gone before us, history tends to repeat itself. Additionally, God doesn’t make all things available to learn in this lifetime.

hidden- being out of sight or not readily apparent. (Merriam-Webster)

In the second half of this month’s verse, I believe a shred of light is cast on the most popular question human-kind raises …why? “He does it so we can obey …” He’s omnipotently given us a unique purpose in this life that we are not always privy to.

 “We don’t yet see things clearly. We’re squinting in a fog, peering through a mist. But it won’t be long before the weather clears and the sun shines bright! We’ll see it all then, see it all as clearly as God sees us, knowing him directly just as he knows us!” 1Corinthians 13:12 MSG

dec recall 2
Jesus is our glimpse.

When we are mangled from the latest mess of this falling landscape, He is there. As pieces of our hearts shatter irreparably, He holds onto the shards. It’s hard to imagine our Savior suffering, but Christ felt every hurt that we feel from the manger to the cross. He was mocked and shut out of social circles …beaten though innocent …judged yet perfect …tempted by the devil. And He is our bridge over the gaps we cannot fulfill within our minds upon this earth.

The hidden things belong to the Lord our God, but the revealed things belong to us and our children forever, so that we may follow all the words of this law.” Deuteronomy 29:29 HCSB

“The revealed things belong to us.”   We can trust that through every hurtful change …misunderstood abandonment …heart wrenching suffering and unplanned diversion,  He has given us what we need to survive. Faith in Christ allows us to loosen our grip on the injustice of “why,” in trade for the patience to wait on “Who.” The Israelites would fall and flounder over and over again, suffering at the hand of their own disobedience. But we have a hope that they did not. Jesus.

“As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love.” John 15:9

Christmas is a celebration of our allowance into the presence of God, because of the life Jesus lived and the death He conquered to free us from the curse of sin.
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” For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror…” 1Corinthians 13:12a NIV

Faith is being able to look into the face of unexplainable difficulty and see the goodness of God. When we look for Him, we will find Him. He is evident in creation, and waiting in His Word.

hēnnâ is an adverb meaning “here,” usually in the sense of “in this place, – Mounce Complete Expository Dictionary

He is in His Word. For Christians, He is in us. His creation reflects the beauty of His glory. He is here.

 Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy,” 1Peter 1:8 NIV

recall 12 dec tweet 1Though we fight unwelcome change, we want God’s will over our plan. When we allow our grasp on the concrete “why”to fade, faith in what He has hidden is overcome by what He’s revealed. We become content to abide in His secrets when we understand more about who He is. Faith is trusting our Father to hold onto the unknown answers. Christmas is honoring what we know with what we have …right now. Make the Christmas trees, wreaths, and angels …but leave room for the Christmas dolphins, too.

“…then I saw all that God has done. No one can comprehend what goes on under the sun. Despite all his efforts to search tout, man cannot discover it’s meaning. Even if a wise man claims he knows, he cannot really comprehend it.” Ecclesiastes 8:17

know- to perceive directly (Merriam-Webster)

comprehend- to grasp the nature, significance, or meaning of (Merriam-Webster)

We don’t need to know when we comprehend “why’s” Author.

Happy Christmas,

Megs

Click here or on the image for this month’s FREE verse memory cards

Screenshot 2017-10-11 15.29.01#recall 12 verse cards, DEcember PDF

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Tuesdays…#RaRaLinkUpTestimony Tuesday , Tuesday Talk God Sized DreamsTell Me a True Story, Together on Tuesdays, Create Link Inspire Party, Let’s be Friends Blog Hop, Totally Terrific Tuesday,  Turn in Up Tuesday,   Twinkly Tuesday,

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Thursdays…Thought Provoking ThursdayLive Free ThursdaySincerely, PaulaHeart Encouragement Think Tank Thursday, 

Fridays…Faith Filled FridayDance with Jesus, Friendship Friday, High Five for Friday, 

Saturdays… Saturday Sparks, Dare to Share, Our Mini Linky PartySaturday Sharefest

 

Stay encouraged!

The Auto-Correct 

“I DIDN’T SAY THAT!!!!” One sister yelled.

“YESSSSSSS YOUUUUUUU DIIIIIIIID-AAAAAAAA,” the other retorted.

“WELL THEN YOU HEARD ME WRRRRROOOONNNGGGG-AAAAAA,” she snapped back.

“Ugh,” I sighed, listening to them pile frustrated syllables on top of simple words, “they’ve BOTH gotten that from me.”

Faces twisted into eccentric versions of craziness, both seethingly glared into the review mirror. Apparently, that was my cue to magically apply logic to what had “actually” been said. Ironic, how they burst into laughter at Siri’s mistakes …or Mom’s …that’s always hysterical. But they take sisterly “corrections” very seriously.

imageGrown-up or not, we all fall victim to our own stubbornness. Right or wrong, few people have the ability to apologize on the spot for the effect irrelevant to the cause. Except Siri, she’s pretty quick to tell you, “I’m sorry, I did not understand.”

If you join me in the struggle to handle hot-tempered moments of kids quarreling in the backseat, I can offer a couple of tips that have kept me on the road. But don’t judge me if you hear me screaming “SHUT UP!” as I drive around town with the windows down. #trying #inthefield

1. Load up and line up your corrections. 

When we rely on the seat of our pants to apply sage wisdom, we conjure a stink full of bad advice. image

“Consecrate yourselves and be holy, because I am the Lord your God. Keep my decrees and follow them. I am the Lord, who makes you holy.” Leviticus 20:7-8 (NIV)

Tense moments flare tempers, and words seem to fail us. No matter how many, or at what volume, they spill into the car … mistranslated like a text message surrendered to auto-correct.

God seeks to steer us, and applauds efforts to guide our children through tedious moments. Seek His wisdom. Set aside some space to clear the clutter and read the Bible. Everyday has five free minutes. The time I spend in His Word allows me to relay the motherly messages He always intended for my daughters to hear. image

2. Embrace The Correction

Imagine God watching from Heaven while we blow right by misinterpretations and hit “send” anyway …EVEN WHEN He’s waving both hands in front of our face?!?! Instead of ridiculing us for missteps and side-trails, He sent His only Son to die for us. The love demonstrated in sacrifice forever forgives our failed efforts. Through Jesus, God replaces every “fallen short,” with “grace and love.” image

What missteps have lent us the opportunity to spread Christ’s love? The story of Jesus naming Peter yields immense hope.

“And he brought him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him and said, “You are Simon son of John. You will be called Cephas (which, when translated, is Peter.)” John 1:42 (NIV)

Peter was a fisherman that doubted Jesus at the rooster’s crow. But he was also known for having solid faith in Jesus, and for his leadership in the early church. The NIV Study Bible further notes that, although his name is literally translated, “Rock,”

“Peter was anything but a rock; he was impulsive and unstable…Jesus named him not for what he was but for what, by God’s grace, he would become.”

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My daughters’ bickering in the backseat brings to light the natural struggle to be right …to be the best …the favorite … independent… No winner emerges from unjust conflict.  There’s no reason to put our individual mission on earth to death by comparison. Our kids need us to be who Jesus says we are.

“Peter was best know for his impetuous nature and fierce devotion to Christ.” -NIV Study Bible Text Note 

Impetuous means, “acting or done quickly and without thought or care.” (Google.com) It also can mean, “moving forcefully or rapidly.” (Google.com) 

Fierce means, “having or displaying an intense or ferocious aggressiveness.”(Google.com) It can also mean, “(of a feeling, emotion, or action) showing a heartfelt and powerful intensity.”(Google.com)

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So by one definition we can choose to see Peter as a flip-flopping doubter with a temper. Or, we can choose to look a little bit deeper into the heart Jesus identified long before Peter knew his name. The “Rock,” who spread the gospel with force and speed throughout the early church, and loved Jesus with heartfelt and powerfully intense faith.

Embrace the correction.

Parents are glaringly aware of faults and annoying attributes, but our love blows any negative ducks out of the water. We’ve embraced the imagecorrection before it’s corrected.

“Girls…” I warmed up, as I prayed that a nugget of Spirit-led wisdom would fall out of my mouth, “…it doesn’t matter who started it or who’s fault it is …you both need to apologize and hug it out.”

Insert insane amount of eye-rolling and last ditch efforts to pinch each other…

“Love you,” I added with a smile.

The correction is love.

imageWe don’t have to fight to be fierce. Most of us haven’t even grown into our true “names” yet. When we’re scrunched up and mangled into frustrated faces, Jesus sees our hearts and knows our names. His gift of death in exchange for grace grants us new life …for life …for forever.

Fight with the fierce and ferocious power of the love that conquered it all. And if you let a hot-tempered phrase slip, apologize. It works for Siri …my kids think she’s hilarious when she admits she’s at a complete loss…

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When I want to quit, prayer is there to pull me through. I hope you know He’s there for you, too.

Happy Corrections!

Megs

Stay encouraged!

The Over-Answerer

Solutions are revealed through noise, and hidden in the slow silence of subtlety.

“Lo, you can’t cheer in flats.” I harped.

“UUUGGGHHHH!!!!” She exasperated as she stomped off to change her shoes.

“Mom…” My oldest began…and then I really can’t tell you what she said after that. It was too long and drawn out, and I didn’t have the capacity to digest it as I popped my coffee out of the microwave and corralled her little sister to the door.

“Brianne, honey,” I quipped,”get in the car.”

Poor thing, she’s just me.

I’m an excessive talker, over-answerer, and I’m missing that “stop talking no one is listening anymore” radar. God has encouraged me so much, it in turn just oozes out of me. Let the encouraged, encourage. However, I get so excited that I’m not always the best at slowing my thought train down to tune in to other voices.

Face freezing and my girls yelling, “C’MON MOM! YOU’RE TOO SLOW,” I checked them in at mini-cheer and then parked by the lake to walk the pier. Ear buds in to drown out the peace, I forced myself to walk at an uncomfortable pace against a brutal north wind.

Somehow the stillness of the sun sparkling off the ice, devoid of other living things out to brave the chill, breaks through the tingling of my itchy hat to uncover a secret space where I can hear God. I’m obedient in my rush to meet with Him everyday because I’m very aware of my need to stop talking. And even if your struggle to be silent isn’t as intense as mine, He waits in the stillness of the dawn to over-answer the day’s quandaries. Who doesn’t want a head start before the gun goes off?

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3 Revelations I’ve gained by letting God’s Word drown out mine in the secret space.

1. It’s not by chance. Do you ever feel like you’re being followed around by a reality TV crew? All of the sudden, you seem to be tuned into different people that are saying and writing and speaking and singing about the same things, at the same time in your life when you are looking for answers to that very notion. That collaborative coincidence is evidence of our very personal God. I don’t put YAX on my boots and trek out onto the ice because it’s boring out there…

Give Him the first part of your day, and you’ll see what I mean. Even if it’s only 5 minutes..and there’s an app for that, too.

 But by shifting our focus from what we do to what God does, don’t we cancel out all our careful keeping of the rules and ways God commanded? Not at all. What happens, in fact, is that by putting that entire way of life in its proper place, we confirm it.“-Romans 3:26(MSG)

image2. Perfection is overrated and already reserved.  Since it can never be attained by anyone else, let it be the first thing you cross off your daily to-do list and start seeking attainable joy.

A struggle lies behind every smiling selfie and perfectly posed portrait. I don’t want my funky faces rolling through the facebook newsfeed any more than my kids want me circulating theirs to their Dad and the rest of the family and all of their friends’ parents.  I’m too aggravated to fumble with my phone in the heat of those moments, and the kids run away in a blur.

Every joyful moment is the product of a struggle. The answer to prayer…blessing from God. I cry out in angst beyond the lens, and He never fails to over-answer.

 “But in our time something new has been added. What Moses and the prophets witnessed to all those years has happened. The God-setting-things-right that we read about has become Jesus-setting-things-right for us. And not only for us, but for everyone who believes in him. For there is no difference between us and them in this. Since we’ve compiled this long and sorry record as sinners (both us and them) and proved that we are utterly incapable of living the glorious lives God wills for us, God did it for us. Out of sheer generosity he put us in right standing with himself. A pure gift. He got us out of the mess we’re in and restored us to where he always wanted us to be. And he did it by means of Jesus Christ.” Romans 3:21-24(MSG)

My life is not the only testimony to those verses. Flip through the album, but ask me for the story. My college degree looks awesome in my bookcase now, but it was absent the day of graduation. My family is amazing, but this isn’t my first marriage and my kids are not perfect. I gossip and envy and lose my cool with the people that love me, and way too often add Cabernet and dark chocolate to aid the indigestion.

The struggle with self-doubt is real…but my heart is His.

Maybe I should try posting pictures of blurred children running away from me so that we can all bond together. #blessedmess  

3. Look up and Look out.

I am living proof that God aggressively pursues those whom He has called.

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“Who is like you?” Moses stated in Exodus 15:11. Can’t you just picture the awe and hear the whisper of hope and faith in his voice? “Who is like you?” That’s how I feel about Jesus.
Every day a faithful friend, He pulls me out of my coffee coma and through my mess to the feet of His Father. God left a reminder to the Israelites of the Manna He faithfully fed to them every day for 40 years. (Exodus 16:32)

Jesus is ours.

“God sacrificed Jesus on the altar of the world to clear that world of sin. Having faith in him sets us in the clear. God decided on this course of action in full view of the public—to set the world in the clear with himself through the sacrifice of Jesus, finally taking care of the sins he had so patiently endured. This is not only clear, but it’s now—this is current history! God sets things right. He also makes it possible for us to live in his rightness.“-Romans 3:25-26(MSG)

 He supply’s my whole portion in the first few minutes of the day, speaking through my child’s ramblings and the still of frozen water. Through an Elevation sermon in my ear buds or an eagle on the ice. But I won’t hear or see anything if I don’t tune in and look up. I am joyful because I seek to be.

Walking with the wind pushing me back, the snow wisping across the iced over River, I felt my pace quickening. I felt like I was walking pretty fast until the snow blasted by alongside me with a gusty blow. I heard God say to me clearly, “YOU’RE TOO SLOW.”

“OK, OK” I laughed.

imageWhen my daughters go through spurts of arguing about every thing all of the time, I’m quick to remind them that family comes first and sisters are forever friends.  They typically glare at each other, disgusted mid-argument that they are stuck together for life without choice. But, the seed inevitably always sprouts a root, and the moments bursting with sisterly love triumph over the squabbles.

Many mornings, I attempt rush by my Father at full speed with my own agenda in tow. Perhaps that’s why He reveals the wind. Or, leaves a rock balanced a-top the ice in one season and sunk to the bottom in the next. He certainly knows how yank me out of my whirring thoughts. Walking with the wind reminded me Who was at my side …right now  …and one day at a time. Family first.

  “Give us this day our daily bread.” Matthew 6:11

He will aggressively pursue you…more than you ask.image

Happy First Five Morning Minutes…

Megs

“Show me your ways, Lord, teach me your paths. Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long.” Psalm 25:4-5

Stay encouraged!

The Heart Cloud

The habit of holding on prevents our stumble down the stairs,  but falling is not failing.
“Mmmmmmmmoooooommmmmmmm,” Brianne wailed, through broken breaths of crying…”Oooooowwwwwwweeeeee.”

Happens at least once a week. One of them falls down the stairs, and I’m greeted by Brianne’s cry of shock, or Lo running to me out of breath and holding her butt. I’m used to the routine of hurried footsteps followed by awkward clunking…

Despite my best efforts to educate and warn, my little Lo will come flying around the corner high-kneed and stomach punched often enough to warrant her own hashtag. Her crash down the staircase is often prefaced by a symphony of Ty eye-ball plinks as they reach the first floor first.

I caught an interesting directive falling out of my mouth as I held a sobbing Brianne after her latest tumble down the stairs.

“Hold on to the railing,” I begged her, “You’re too precious to fall.”

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How many times do we want to bolt up a railing for kids to hold on to …thinking they’ll surely recognize, appreciate, and grip it tight, preventing a nasty fall. But they don’t. Three reasons why:

1. They don’t recognize it when they need it because they weren’t paying attention to something they didn’t need at the time.

2. They don’t appreciate the love and care bolted into the wall of protective measures we surround them with, because they don’t understand why it’s necessary.

3. They don’t grip it in swallowed pride when they are about to fall down the stairs, because they don’t think our protections are as necessary for them as they are for us.

Down the stairs they tumble …and we’re helpless as our precious babes fall.

“I told you so.”

“Why didn’t you hold onto the railing?”

“We talked about this.”

I used to frustrate my face into a fury over their lack of listening skills, until I tumbled down the stairs with the vacuum cleaner one day.

“Well, that was stupid,” I said to myself out loud in an empty house.

God revealed a few things through the railing:

1. Falling isn’t failing.

“Therefore, in order to keep me from being conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh…”    2Corinthians 12:7

The apostle Paul was clever to point out that our imperfections and insults to injury are what keep us in check with reality. And reality is, God knows we all need something to hold on to. Just because we let go doesn’t mean we give up.

2. The railing is Jesus.

“For through Him we now have access to the Father by one Spirit.”-Ephesians 2:18

God has bolted His Son to our hearts, that we may access Him through prayer, The Word, and the Holy Spirit. The access is there for the acceptance. I’m no better than my daughters at holding on to the railing, but

God doesn’t punish me every time I fall down the stairs. Don’t you punish yourself, either.

 He is not waiting at the bottom with an “I told you so,” or a “well, that was stupid.” No, He’s waiting at the bottom, already knowing how much it hurt. Because of Jesus, God says,

“It’s not too late, grab the railing and pull yourself up.”

3. Jesus knows that life is difficult…that’s why He put the railing there in the first place. He died for us… He’s not going to give up, even when we let go.

“For we do not have a High Priest who is unable to understand and sympathize and have a shared feeling with our weaknesses…” Hebrews 4:15

Jesus felt what we feel, “yet without sin.” (Hebrews 4:15) He was tempted, but never failed. The railing is there, but He knows we’re not God. We’re to have faith, not be perfect.

4. He watches out for us.

“For the eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to Him.” -2Chronicles 16:9

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Often when I’m out walking in the morning, I can’t help but feel God’s warmth in the beginning of a new day. The sky is so much prettier in the morning, after it pierces through the darkness of night. I look for God in that sky, and He meets me there. Day after day, railing still securely bolted to the wall of the staircase.

“My heart is confident in you, O God; no wonder I can sing your praises with all my heart.”   Psalm 108:1

Through Jesus we can come to the Father and receive grace.  A God who cares for us, watches out for us, and forgives us. “Hold on to the railing…you’re too precious to fall.”  But when you do, I hope you know, He’s with you.

Hold on tight, but don’t forget to look up.

Happy Stair-climbing…

Megs

Stay encouraged!

The Hat

A joyful mascot can refresh the screen of chaos, and offer comfort in a state of limbo.

image“Tico Taco, ya ya ya-Tico Taco, ya ya ya!” The brief jaunt to school each dawn is consumed in chaos.  Especially the day Tico Taco (our trusty plastic parrot car mascot) had just been ceremonially crowned with appropriate attire for the Christmas season. The countdown to Christmas Vacation had begun, and I couldn’t help but turn the volume up.

Christmas is my favorite.

“BWEE!!!!!!!” My youngest screened, her feet pressed into the back of my seat only to endanger the steaming coffee I balanced in one hand as I juggled a spelling word list and the steering wheel in the other.  “I WANT TO HUG MOM FIRST!!!!” Her older sister retorted, as she stiff-armed her little sister whilst her face mangled into a crazed bout of competition.

I took a deep breath of concentration as I rounded the drop off curve, and then let my guard down just enough to let an “uh-oh” escape my mouth at maximum volume.  Looking shocked as if someone had stolen their mommy and put another weirdo in the driver’s seat, my little Lo said…

“Mommy, it is NOT NICE to say shut-up.”  Opportunistic little munchkin, isn’t she?

I apologized to my girls and let the guilt of dropping them off to school on such a sour note, after having them home for two weeks, eat at me until the tears were about to roll out of my eyelids. I return home to straighten their beds, tidy their rooms, and put Christmas away.

I miss my kids when they go.  I love every chaotic minute of destruction and laziness that we craft together when they are home.  Paper scraps cover the floor, markers lose thier caps, mountains of stuffed animals hog the couch, laundry bins are filled with Jammie’s…

Christmas is my favorite. And when it’s all over, I’m left feeling wind blown and little sad.

Lingering in the stark silence of limbo, another season in life tucked into the past, my eyes scanned a strategically straightened desk to fall upon the neatly written list of New Year’s resolutions I had carefully crafted. I felt a stark sting of irony over the recent work-space relocation from the top of the stairs to the bottom.

imageI determined  not to be defeated by fear of the undone, and recalled that morning’s walk while swiping through the images I snapped.  I strolled through my morning journal full of fluorescent yellow text meant to encourage my heart.   I can do this, because I don’t have to do all of this,” I told myself.  And I don’t.  God has never led me into a season in life that He hasn’t prepared me for, and I know He’ll be there to sustain my resolve to further His agenda.

“For the eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to Him.” -2Chronicles 16:9

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I was not the first one to park in the pick up line that day, but I aimed to be.  My sweet little angels barreled into the backseat much in the way they fought their way out of it eight hours earlier.

“How was your day-I missed you!!!!!” I screeched in delight!

“BWEE!!!!!” the little one hollered…“LLLLLLLLOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!” the other whinnied.

Oh, how sweet the sound.

imageDid you know that God feels the same way about you?

Even though we get in and out of the car kicking and screaming, He can’t wait until we come back …and He’s loving us …and thinking about us… The entire time we’re gone. Though the strong presence of the Christmas season has passed, His gaze for you has not faded at all.

“But You, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness.” Psalm 86:15

As we move on from the sparkle of the Christmas season and into the stark dead of winter here in the Midwest, I hope you know that God wants ALL of your days to be merry ….and bright.

Happy Holiday Packing Away…

Megs

Stay encouraged!

The Trees.

IMG_8163Life’s climb can seem hopelessly steep if we don’t stop to look down at how far we’ve come.

“Look!” my little Kindergartner exclaimed.  “There’s a letter ‘d’ there, and a letter ‘D’ there…” she trailed on, pointing out all of the letter D’s on her homework paper.

My children’s homework often feels like my homework, and in the two years between my daughters, I had forgotten about how particularly tedious Kindergarten homework is for this mom.

Instead of following along the rows of letters, my number two child was skipping all over the page like we had all day to get the page done and move onto the next.

“OK, now I’m going to time you to see how many you can name in a minute,” I explained to her.

“NO!!!!!!!!!” She immediately retorted, her face all scrunched up (scrunchy face…yep, it has a name) and every limb flailing in protest.

Now, I knew the timing element was going to cause a problem, because this little one is a sore loser.  Throws an absolute fit every time she loses a race, a game, etc.  In fact, to evade the meltdown, I had only been timing her in secret up to this point.  But in the middle of a busy dance studio waiting room, at the end of an already exhausting day, I simply was not in the mood for her cutesy dilly-dallying.

“Yep,” I stated.  “Ready, set, go.”

She read the letters as the time ticked down, and I noticed her nervousness slowing her down.  When the timer ran out and the beep alert sounded, she still had two rows left.

“Great job, Lo!” I congratulated.

“I HATE WHEN YOU TIME ME!” she cried, and began to throw a fit in that same crowded waiting room.

I pulled her onto my lap and gave her the hug she needed, and then tried to reason with a five year old after 5 o’clock…

“It’s OK if you don’t get them all in a minute right away,” I said, “the first time we did sight words you knew one, and now you know over twenty I bet.”

Over and over I tried to explain to this overtired child that she was simply going through the process of learning.  As I escorted her out of the waiting room, threatening to take her home instead of to the all so coveted gymnastics class she so dearly loves, the panic ensued.  In fact, it got worse.  No matter how I tried to comfort her, never yelling (Holy Spirit- props) or giving her mean looks or threatening to make her run laps…she continued to wail.

Why is it so hard for us to look back and see how far we’ve come?7EFA3701-5CE4-4511-B97D-AC72AFC3C451One of my favorite track coaches in high school used to make me do ten push-ups for every one time I looked back during my race.  I was a miler, and something about hearing my competition’s spikes smack the track behind me always motivated me to throw in a burst of speed.  It always frustrated my coaches that I wouldn’t just give my best without knowing who’s nipping at my heals, and my little chicken arms paid for it after every race.  I looked back a lot.

Flipping through my Dad’s old cassette tapes, I stumbled onto the song “Don’t Look Back,” by Boston.  Against all of my natural impulses; that became my theme song.

Throughout my life, that’s what I’ve tried to do.

“Don’t look back,” at all of the mistakes…

Turn the page on all the “yucky” parts of life that I wish I could take back.

Justify any hurt I’ve caused…

But never…no never…look back.

“Humble yourselves before the Lord, and He will exalt you.” James 4:10

The first ten verses of that chapter serve as a gut-check to me.

Be humble.

So obsessed, am I, with all the failure in my life….all of the things that I can’t figure out…the personality flaws that haunt me daily…and people…

As one of the pastors at my church preached one Sunday, “People are annoying.”

Amen.

I annoy myself, thank you.  A lot.

We spend so much time comparing our lives to Facebook news feeds…so much time beating ourselves up over our imperfection…that we forget…or maybe you don’t know…

“For God, Who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ.” 2Chronicles 4:6

Look back.IMG_8083

Mistakes are woven into the flesh of life.

Look back.

Marvel at how far you’ve come.

Don’t let yourself forget that God loves you immensely. He gave up His only son.  Would you do that for anybody?  I wouldn’t.  People are annoying, right?  God uses the imperfect in all of us, but especially in some of us.  Remember the story of Jacob, and if you don’t, visit the book of Genesis and soak it all in again.

Life is tough.  Marriage is no cake walk.  Parenting is a nightmare.  I don’t get it.  I mess it up.  Daily.  But…look back.

“…Rejoice that your names are written in heaven.” Luke 10:19-20

Through all the pain…all of the struggles…so much strife…God has given us Jesus so we may draw near to Him throughout the experience of life on this earth.  The more days I live, the more I depend on that companionship for survival.

Look back.  Use what you have learned to grow.

Praise God, I have a few people in this life that I can fall a part in the midst of and they don’t run for the other side of the city.  You know who you are.  And I’ll never be able to express what angels on earth you are in my life.0797C20B-9025-4765-BA1C-50F6009E3A13

And then there’s my husband, who has loved me through one trauma after another.  Sometimes I don’t know why…maybe he owes it to me for stealing a decade of sleep with his snoring…most days I know he’s a blessing to my life.  Some days we go through life joyful one minute, and frantic the next….then sad the next…then happy the next.  But we go through it.  We get through it.  Moment by moment.  Day by Day.  Year by year…until almost a decade married has flown by.

Happy Birthday, Jimmy.

I love you.

Look back…at how far…we’ve come.

Happy Lasagna-Land,

Megs

Stay encouraged!