The Second-Chance Mom

June #jammed: Under the Blanket of Grace.

Day 152: Grace gives second chances.

“The sword of the Spirit is the Word of God.” Ephesians 6:17 (VOICE)

Oh, crap, she’s out there without a helmet on, again.June 1

“Lo! Put your helmet on!” I yelled out the window.

Tucked back on a cul-de-sac, I never wore a bike helmet as a kid, but we live on the corner of a busy road. Every car that zooms around the corner as they ride along precariously on two wheels and wobbly roller skates triggers me to double-check the front window for their whereabouts.

“Lo! Seriously …go get your unicorn helmet!” But even the fun and flashy helmet wasn’t swaying her independence on this particular day, so I began to countdown. Girl hates to be timed.

“THREE …TWO …ONE.” Still unaffected.

“OK, in the house!” I boomed, as I pulled her off her bike and walked her back into the house.

“MOM!!!!” she stomped all the whole way, and then started jump-pounding on the floor as I stood and watched.

“Does this ever get you what you want …ever one time …has this worked for you?”

Even the dog was watching her in wonder at this point. She took a deep breath, and as she looked at my eyes, hers filled up with fresh tears. My girl had returned to planet earth.

“Can I just have one more chance?” she asked, her fury of rage having been replaced by an expression of tender-hearted apology.

And that’s where my daughters get me, every time. I’m a second chance mom. And they know it.

“OK, if you put your helmet on, yes.” I granted, and out the door she flew to the tune of “I love you mommy you’re the best mommy ever.”

I want to be a second chance mom, because I live under the grace of God’s willingness to give second chances. Within disciplinary reason, my daughters always get a second chance, especially if they ask for it. If I can teach them anything about forgiving themselves, God has done something good with my life.

In the heat of disciplinary moments, pull out today’s verse: “The sword of the Spirit is the Word of God.” When little people and life frustrate us, it’s important to get out of our heads and into His Word. To understand why it’s so important to clutch today’s verse over our own plausibilities, let’s look at the second half of the it:

“Take also the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” Ephesians 6:17 (VOICE)

Like putting on a bike helmet to protect our heads, putting on God’s Word and relying on it to cut through (the sword) the madness and highlight the Truth allows us to protect our souls …helmet-like.

“The helmet protected the soldier and, under certain circumstances, helmets provided a striking symbol of military victory.” NIV Notes 

Our victory relies on the Helmet. Maybe it’s uncomfortable. Maybe it’s not a habit we grew up with. Maybe it makes us feel uncomfortable and sometimes seems to cramp our style …but it’s worth wearing lest we fracture our skulls and leave the very stuff of our souls exposed to the darkness attempting to crack it open.

The Greek Word for ‘helmet’ is, perikephalaia, the protection of the soul which consists in (the hope of) salvation. The hope of salvation is Jesus. Through Him, we can absorb the Word. Through the gift of the Spirit that Jesus died to give us, we can remember and apply what we’ve read to our real lives.

Jesus is our Second Chance. He granted Grace to us on the cross. To be a second chance person, like Him, we need to put on the Helmet, and cut through to the Truth with the Sword.

#jammed click to tweet jun:jul:aug

Father, Praise You for the power of Your Word. Thank You for the way parenthood allows us a unique way to absorb and apply it to our lives. We confess getting caught up in our own masquerade of ‘authority,’ and pray forgiveness from You, who truly and justly holds it all. Bless our lives to be full of Your Truth, and fortify us with the strength to stand on It firmly in defense. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Get the conversation started by commenting below, and let’s encourage one another as we face life in 2017 armed with grace! 


Happy Chance-ing,


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The Launch (#jammed daily devo, day 148)

May #jammed: Growing Grace.

Day 148: Always in the water.

“For a good man may fall seven times and get back up again…” Proverbs 24:16

Living by the lake is refreshing, and getting out on the water in a boat is rejuvenating. image-148There’s something about traveling on top of the water, a feat that we cannot pull off alone, that is exhilarating and freeing. It’s been many years now since we’ve owned a boat of our own, but the feeling of watching it launch lingers.

In a climate where the lake is frozen in the winter, watching it thaw into it’s bluest color before the shallow water is kicked up and dredged is like magic. The anticipation of that first chilly boat ride sits in the sore muscles from waxing and painting and getting it ready …for a summer full of freedom …until something breaks.

But, oh! That first day it’s launched back into the water, and our living space is suddenly doubled as an escape from routine life returns.

Today’s verse speaks of resilience. No matter how many times we are yanked from the water with dinged props, leaks, hull holes and electrical problems …He launches us back into the water with a splash of new hope. The beginning part of this wisdom saying even speaks of God protecting the place where we dwell:

Do not lie in wait like the wicked against the place where the righteous live;
do not assault his home.
Although a righteous person may fall seven times, he gets up again,
but the wicked will be brought down by calamity.” Proverbs 24:15-16

How great is our God to protect us. Though evil presses in on our world, He will always reign champion. And so will we. His way is love. That’s why Jesus is so important. Jesus is the Way God provided for us to re-launch over and over again. He is the Reason we are forgiven for our repetitive sin. The Love that welcomes us back to the water, again and again. No shame …just love. He is here.

jammed-click-to-tweetFather, Praise You for Jesus! Thank You for launching us into the water to give us new life. Forgive for not accepting the Way to You. Help us to believe in Jesus more and more every day, chasing after a heart like His. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 Get the conversation started by commenting below, and let’s encourage one another as we face life in 2017 armed with grace! 


Happy Launch Day,


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The Tilt (#jammed daily devo, day 136.)

May #jammed: Growing Grace.

Day 136: Fleeting time. 

Listen, my son, and be wise,
    and set your heart on the right path” Proverbs 23:19 (NIV)

There are some amusement park rides I used to be able to handle better than others. The image-136tilt-o-whirl is one of those rides. Cannot handle it at all. I will ride it, but it’s embarrassing.

It makes me scream like an idiot …my kids think it’s hysterical.

I’m fine with the mild spinning …but when it jerks me completely out of my time zone I feel like I’m going to throw up and pee all at once. Thankfully, the tilt-o-whirl only spins for a little over a minute.

Some situations in life are not so forgiving, and some situations spin out of control. Today’s verse reminds us to guard our hearts in order to avoid spinning out.

Listen, my son, be wise,
    and steer your life on the right course.
 Do not spend time with heavy wine drinkers
    or those who gorge themselves on meat.
 For both the drunk and the glutton will end up broke,
    sleeping life away, and clothed in rags.” Proverbs 23:19-21 (VOICE)

Following Jesus doesn’t mean we can never drink wine or eat meat, but God doesn’t just throw out examples for lack of importance. We all carry the weight of temptation, and all let it surface and spin on occasion. There are a multitude of things that intend to trip us in this life, and  no-one realizes how hard the ride spins until a struggle suddenly jerks us out of our lives.

Jesus died to pull us out of those moments and into His grace. No guilt. No shame. Just up and out. Sometimes again and again …leaving a mess in our wake and a life to repair.

But we must let Him pull us up. It’s the only way out. He is Life.

These verses today can be hard to digest, and please realize that there is a big difference between judgement and disassociation. The way to discern unhealthy situations is through prayer and time in the Word.  Today’s overly-tolerant society makes it difficult to say “no,” when surrounding company asks us to hop on a ride that we know will make us sick.

jammed-click-to-tweetFather, Praise Your teaching us how to water good friendships. Thank You for placing people in our lives to both encourage and test us. Forgive us for failing to conduct ourselves with grace in times under pressure, and bless us with the strength to live a life under Your guidance, always. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 Get the conversation started by commenting below, and let’s encourage one another as we face life in 2017 armed with grace! 


Happy Spinning,


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The Measuring Stick (#jammed daily devo, day 135)

May #jammed: Growing Grace.

Day 135: Measurements.

Your future with Him will be certain,
    and you will not have hoped in vain.” Proverbs 23:18

It’s not a proud parental moment for my husband and I, but it really was a funny one. Theimage-135 negotiations on the kitchen floor over which shoe arrangement would allow my daughter to reach the top of the measuring stick. The switching into said shoes out of the line of sight of the one holding the measuring stick. The sight of our daughter walking up to that stick and congratulating herself on a job well-grown.

She laughed and cheered and rode that ride many times in a row…until the next person took their seat with the stick, and she failed to reach the top.

“But I just rode this like ten times!” she wailed, and we shushed her over and out of earshot to explain what had been smashed down by gravity and a few laps through line. She’s too little to go upside down and have limbs flailing out into the open sky, but sometimes we feel like we need to cut her a break. It will most likely backfire on us someday …but this was a family bonding experience we will never forget.

Today’s verse instructs us not to be envious. We sure might have planted a seed of height envy in our daughter, and many times in raising our daughters we look back and wish we would have let them grow in their own time. Plus, she now feels entitled to do what she isn’t allowed to yet. Double oops.

The cost of envy on a grander scale is much bigger than wobbly shoes and growing up too fast. Envy is a seed of entitlement.

“Do not let your heart envy sinners,
    but always be zealous for the fear of the Lord.
 There is surely a future hope for you,
    and your hope will not be cut off.” Proverbs 23:17-18

It’s as if we’re wired to want what we cannot have. The urge to strive isn’t bad if directed in how can we serve God’s purpose here on earth.  We must always be in conversation with Him, through faith in Jesus, on where to place our efforts.

When striving to attain what someone else has, we run the risk of missing what God has planned for us. His plan is good. He is good. He is love. His plan is better than ours. And another’s life won’t look the same on us.

jammed-click-to-tweetFather, Praise You for measuring sticks.  Thank You for giving us the Bible to measure our goals up with Your will. We confess that we try to force our way all too often, and ask for Your wisdom in knowing what to aim for in this life. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 Get the conversation started by commenting below, and let’s encourage one another as we face life in 2017 armed with grace! 


Happy Measuring,


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The “Open” Day! (#jammed daily devo, day

May #jammed: Growing Grace.

Day 134: When there’s more to do.

My son, if you live wisely,
    then my life will be fulfilled.
My very soul will jump for joy
    when you speak what is true and right.” Proverbs 23:15-16

Cold or warm, sunny or cloudy, rainy or snowy, windy or sweaty …the first “open” day of image-134the season at the local amusement park is the most awesome and exciting day of the Spring. Living in close proximity to a place that is non-stop fun is …non-stop. From the day it opens until the day it closes, my feet feel like they have to be trodding the “fun” pavement in good weather and bad. The unseasonably warm days when there’s nothing to do but hang out on the front porch and play in the back yard disappear into thin-air when the gates fly open and the rides start spinning.

Except on the days when discipline trumps the decision to have fun.

Today’s Scripture encourages parents to hold the course of discipline. Though we mess it up, sometimes, the existing effort to instill it warrants applause when our children shock us on occasion with their good behavior.

The tricky part about discipling kids is trying to figure out an effective enough plot to hang over their head that doesn’t inflict pain upon, or steal parental fun, when it has to be enforced.

The first bad choice is often mine …

“If you two don’t stop fighting there is no way we are going to that park, today.” I threaten.

And what do you think happens …everytime? All out sisterly war. Insults, slapping, pinching, whining, tattling ….bleh. Make my ears bleed and I want out of my house! But …I trapped myself there with the crazies when I said …

Through my parental debacles and sunny summer days spent in solitary confinement with the crazy sisters, they have learned that respecting each other gets them farther than causing the meltdown of the century over who did what first.

Parents, trudge through the things that slip out of our months and discipline them. Our mistakes will not trump our efforts to raise good, godly children who are respectful to themselves and each other. When children conquer their fear of humility and hop on, it’s a ride they never want to get off of.

jammed-click-to-tweetFather, Praise You for amusement parks that thrill us and scare us at the same time. Thank You for life’s ups and downs, and the consistent way You discipline us. We confess that we do not have the will to be constant with our kids, and make mistakes all of the time in raising them on account of our own sinful nature. Regardless of the mistakes we make, bless our efforts to raise them to Your feet, and may they always hear Your voice over ours. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 Get the conversation started by commenting below, and let’s encourage one another as we face life in 2017 armed with grace! 


Happy Amusement-ing,


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