The Wing Seat (#jammed daily devo, day 323)

November #jammed: Gracious.

Day 323: Thankful for the 3 Musketeers

The Lord your God is with you. Zephaniah 3:17a

“I get the window seat first, and then you can have it on the way home,” my youngest 323daughter informed her older sister.

Ready to give up our annual Florida trip on account of my husbands injury, I trudged through another Northern Ohio week in April. It was cold and gray. Spring refused, as it often does, to Spring at all. My breath became shorter and harder to catch. The business of life was starting to crush me.

Today’s verse reminds us that God is always with us. In the times when we’re overwhelmed with life and trying to do the right thing, He sees and appreciates our obedience willingness. Sometimes, He blesses us beyond our expectations, and gives us a break to catch our breath.

“I think we’re gonna go.” I told my husband, and in a swift affirmation from God as flights were book and bags were packed, I had peace in knowing I needed some Peace.

We rob ourselves of the joy God seeks to bless us with when we don’t slow to a stop so that the realities of our blessings can sink in. Our bodies. minds and souls need a break to catch their breath!

In true form, my daughters and I were off on an adventure. My husband works a lot, so from the very start of their little lives I have been determined to keep them busy with adventure so they don’t miss him and miss out on the family bond that is so important in growing secure human beings. We’ve been through a lot, my daughters and I. That day I watched one daughter console the other while her ears hurt on the decent out of the sky.

It’s hard to image what I’ll do without them one day. Maybe I’ll get lucky and they’ll never leave. My breath returned while we laughed with my parents and warmed up under the Florida sunshine. Sometimes, we have to stop …and just go.

jammed-click-to-tweetFather, Praise You for vacations, breaks, and relaxation. Thank You for family, laughter, and love. Bless our lives to include all of the joys You seek to bless us with. 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! 

#greatgrace17

Happy Breath-catching,

Megs

Get the #jammed Daily Devo sent straight to your inbox each morning, by subscribing to Sunny&80. 

 

 

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The Wing Seat (#jammed daily devo, day 323)

November #jammed: Gracious.

Day 323: Thankful for the 3 Musketeers

The Lord your God is with you. Zephaniah 3:17a

“I get the window seat first, and then you can have it on the way home,” my youngest 323daughter informed her older sister.

Ready to give up our annual Florida trip on account of my husbands injury, I trudged through another Northern Ohio week in April. It was cold and gray. Spring refused, as it often does, to Spring at all. My breath became shorter and harder to catch. The business of life was starting to crush me.

Today’s verse reminds us that God is always with us. In the times when we’re overwhelmed with life and trying to do the right thing, He sees and appreciates our obedience willingness. Sometimes, He blesses us beyond our expectations, and gives us a break to catch our breath.

“I think we’re gonna go.” I told my husband, and in a swift affirmation from God as flights were book and bags were packed, I had peace in knowing I needed some Peace.

We rob ourselves of the joy God seeks to bless us with when we don’t slow to a stop so that the realities of our blessings can sink in. Our bodies. minds and souls need a break to catch their breath!

In true form, my daughters and I were off on an adventure. My husband works a lot, so from the very start of their little lives I have been determined to keep them busy with adventure so they don’t miss him and miss out on the family bond that is so important in growing secure human beings. We’ve been through a lot, my daughters and I. That day I watched one daughter console the other while her ears hurt on the decent out of the sky.

It’s hard to image what I’ll do without them one day. Maybe I’ll get lucky and they’ll never leave. My breath returned while we laughed with my parents and warmed up under the Florida sunshine. Sometimes, we have to stop …and just go.

jammed-click-to-tweetFather, Praise You for vacations, breaks, and relaxation. Thank You for family, laughter, and love. Bless our lives to include all of the joys You seek to bless us with. 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! 

#greatgrace17

Happy Breath-catching,

Megs

Get the #jammed Daily Devo sent straight to your inbox each morning, by subscribing to Sunny&80. 

 

 

The Audience

“Sorry!” My oldest called out as she sent her Daddy’s peg flying off the game-board.

“What?!?” he retorted, “You just broke your own rule!”

imageMy little one lined up a teeny tiny animal audience as they argued. The table melted down into assigning blame, hurt feelings, and an unfinished game. It’s impossible to declare the winner of a game with no rules, and I was not going to take sides…

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Life’s a lot more complicated than the game of “Sorry.” It’s easy to forgive someone for knocking your game peg off the board, but not so easy to swim through the hurt of being bumped. There are times I feel unqualified to wipe away my daughters’ tears as I choke back my own. Praying for the right way to raise them, I discovered two words to help me piece together a plan.

Though they appear synonymous, “favor” and “favoritism” communicate opposite messages in fostering a healthy community. These three steps will help you land on the right side of the coin.

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1. Say something.

“Favoritism: the practice of giving unfair preferential treatment to one person or group at the expense of another.” Google.com

Life can be a lot about choosing sides and shifting circles, causing hurt feelings to be hidden in fear of being cut out. But it’s important to put a voice to hurt in a non-accusatory or defensively dramatic fashion. I try to guide my daughters (and repeat to myself) to talk directly to the one who hurt them, not around them in circles. For example:

“When you said that, it hurt my feelings.”

When we align with the audience of favoritism, we fail to notice God’s favor; when true hurts of the heart are spoken out loud, we allow God’s favor to defend us.

“He whose walk is blameless and who does what is righteous, who speaks the truth from his heart…he who does these things will never be shaken.” Psalms 15:2,5

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How is one to know they’ve hurt me if they have no idea they’ve wounded me? God doesn’t care about the clamor to click and the clack to belong. Speaking up when my feelings are hurt without putting my foot in my mouth is an impossibly difficult task, but it’s more conducive to community than seething to attain sympathy out of thin air.

“We hide pain in the weirdest places…broken souls with smiling faces…Just look around and you see that people …are scared to say how they really feel …we all need …a little honesty.” ‘You are Loved,’ by Stars Go Dim.

#saysomething

2. Voluntarily forgive.

“Favor: an attitude of approval or liking…an act of kindness beyond what is due or usual.” Google.com

Forgiveness is an important extension of the grace Jesus died to give us. It is something a human to human relationship is not 100% capable of without His presence. We consult our circle, but Christ didn’t have a clique. (Luke 4:19)

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Cliques offer protection, status, guaranteed friendship, trust, and acceptance. Though we look to each other for these things, only Christ is capable of fulfilling a lifetime of love and belonging. God wired our desire to seek His Son.

“I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism but accepts men from every nation who fear him and do what is right.” Acts 10:34-35image

Christ loves beyond faults, and gifts grace without regard to requirement. Extend grace.

#forgiveaboutit

3. Let it go.

The puzzling and powerless feeling of injustice is agonizing, but I survive by crying out to God. The ugly cry. The uncontrollable, shoulders shaking in sobs and nose running down my face …desperate to understand “why?” cry.

Sometimes, life hurts more than we can comprehend because we’re not built to lean on other people …we’re meant to lean on God. He will fight our battles for us if we will faithfully hand them over.

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Before I drop them off at school, in sibling mediation, at bedtime …I’m constantly trumping my daughters’ excuses with my favorite soapbox.

“and we are…” I’ll bait.
“Kind,” they comply. Life’s most important rule.

“My brothers, as believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ, don’t show favoritism.” James 2:1

It’s hard to be kind in the face of calamity when I have a ferociously strong feeling about what is fair. But I believe God. Speaking the truth of our hearts, and forgiving without requiring apology …that’s our part. The rest is His area of expertise.

“There were three options for citizens under Roman rule: sell out, get out, or fight back… Jesus introduced a fourth option: serve…” Lucado Life Lessons Study Bible (James 2:1-26 commentary)

I pray to mimic Jesus’ justice and fake it till I make it all the way into His arms; letting Him fill the gap of what I cannot accomplish alone, and fight what I was never equipped to battle.

#letitgo

imageLife is too risky to run without rules, yelling “sorry!” over shoulders when feelings flip and hearts are hurt. Reactions CAN land on the right side of the coin by determining which audience is driving our decisions. The audience of favoritism caters to cliques; the audience of God’s favor fosters community.

Speak. Forgive. Let go.

We say, “Sorry!!” Jesus says, “Grace!!”
#Whoseyouraudience

Happy Card Drawing!
Megs

The Space

“Mom-can-I-be-a-milk-buyer-today?” My Kindergartener rapid-fire demanded.

“No,” I hurried, “I still haven’t put more lunch money in your account, sweetie…”

“WE DON’T HAVE TO PAY, MOM!!!” She once again informed me, with her face all scrunched up and frustrated as she reenacted her walk up to the lunch line to tell the cashier she’s a milk buyer.
imageIf only I realized, morning after hectic morning, that she was really just informing me of her intention rather than asking permission. After a semester of self-proclaimed “milk buyer” days, the bill came home in her “parent communication” folder.

I needed a serious break.

One gray Northern Ohio day after the next, my face froze as my dog’s ears flipped over in the frigid North wind off the lake. Trudging through my determination to exercise, I kept thinking about the packed suitcase waiting to be zipped up and loaded into the mini-van. My normal knack to focus on “I love the four seasons” positive thinking had faded away with the forecast for snow well into April. Robbed of a season… again. Huff.

I needed some serious sunshine …the warm kind.

In the middle of an argument about why we actually do pay for milk, it’s hard to relax. When my thoughts are literally frozen by the North wind, it’s difficult to rest in the beauty of God’s creation.

I simply get tired of trying.

 The Space gives me time to realign and rejuvenate.

1. Realignment.

If I don’t stop to be silent, I forget. The smiles behind the struggles begin to fade, and the wind rips my well-intended goal’s fortitude right out the sail.

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When it’s 29 degrees and hail is falling in April, it’s hard for me to accept that I’m “right where I need to be.” When, one by one, family and friends move South, it’s hard to understand why I’m being left behind. When colleagues collect where the sun shines, it’s hard to understand why I shouldn’t move.

“Land that drinks in the rain often falling on it and that produces a crop useful to those for whom it is farmed receives the blessing of God.” Hebrews 6:7

 Somehow, sitting silent on a sunny beach allowed that verse to smack the truth right back into my soul. Separated from the strife of my schedule, I could see where my heart was misaligned with God’s Word.

“Drinks the rain often falling on it…” I’m being nourished right where I am.

“…a crop useful to those for whom it is farmed..” I’m already surrounded by people to reach.

“…receives the blessing of God.” Pick me! I want that! 

With each lap of ocean surf, His creation echoed His Word. Spiritual and deep …but so is He. imageThe rambunctious rant of my daughters laughing at their Papa was sweet peace compared to the incessant whining of the “get ready for school” grind. Created in His image, we must take space to get quiet …to learn who God is… and go deep.

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2. Regeneration

“God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them.” Hebrews 6:10

The NIV Study Bible notes that “Changed lives and works of love suggest that many of these persons were indeed regenerated.” (The author was speaking to a crowd undecided about who among them was truly “saved…” much like we unjustly take stock of each other now, isn’t it? #sidenote)

Regeneration reminds me of crab claws on the beach. A claw gets lopped off, and they grow a new one. What is God trying to reveal through a creature with this feature?

Google‘s definition of regeneration is “(of a living organism) Regrow. Bring into renewed existence; generate again.” 

imageEvery dead thought process doesn’t completely kill us. And all of our efforts to love are not erased by mistakes. I am living in Christ, so He will continue to lop off the dead and allow new growth.

Sometimes, I have to stop so God can move.

 When I’m scrambling for a solution and going after my goals, the last thing I think I need to do is relax. So, I don’t. I push, and strive, and work, and completely exhaust myself. I keep buying milk even though the lunch account is empty. If I neglect “the space” for too long, I find myself praying to inform God of what I’ve discerned rather that asking for His permission.

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My good and faithful God sent a note home in my communication folder this Spring, packed my suitcase, sat me down on a Gulf Coast beach, and thawed out my doubt. His Son, Jesus, lopped off a few disconcerting thoughts and misaligned intentions. His Spirit spoke encouragement into my heart through the surf.

I’m ready to move now… right from here.

Happy Spaces…

Megs

The Ear Muffs

Ah, summer mornings.  When I can open up the back door and let the kids out…for as long as they’ll stay out.  But, every summer, they have to re-adjust to the unexpected mass of bugs that jump out of the grass to greet them as they run around.

“Ahhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!   MOM!!!!  BEES!  EVERYWHERE!  GROSS!  EW! MOM!!!!”

Living by the lake has mostly advantages, but there are a few pesky things I could do without.

Bugs.

We have bug seasons here.  Mayflies, Muffleheads, Canadian Soldiers, Noseums…They have many names…but no matter what you call them one thing is clear.  They are annoying, and they are everywhere.  Just like the ‘summer people’ who show up in droves and forget how to drive.  (Funny, they can all find their horns, though…)

First are the Muffleheads…and I’m just going to call them what I’ve always called them even though it may not be their real name.  They gather in massive clouds around the lights at night, and swarm the grass and bushes in the morning.  They leave green spots on cars, boats, houses…anything you leave out at night.  I sympathize with my kids on this one.  I run through swarms of them in the morning, occasionally getting blasted in the back of the throat with one.  It’s tough to know whether to try to cough it up, or just swallow it and be done with it.  Gotta stick to dark pants while they’re in season, because there’s no way to avoid sitting on one.

In between bug rounds the spiders are slowly beginning to take over.  If we don’t have a professional come out and spray a few times a summer, the front door with be covered with webs by mid-June. Even with applied chemicals, anything left out in the back yard  has to be hosed off each day before the kids will go near it.  Again…can’t blame them.

After the Muffleheads come the Mayflies…or Canadian Soldiers?  I get them confused.   But, they get so bad around here they have to be shoveled off the streets in places.  Especially on the islands.  You can’t miss them, because they freeze in place when the sun comes up, wings sticking out flapping in the breeze.  Although they make for easy fishing bait, it’s nasty to hear bugs ‘POP’ under your shoes when stepped on.

Like anything, the kids become numb to the bugs after a while, and start giggling when the Muffleheads land on their arms, and quite enjoy ‘popping’ the Canadian Soldiers under their shoes.

“Mom!” Brianne laughs…” there’s an Ear Muff on my swing! ha ha ha ha!”

Classic.

It’s really a mass of bugs at the lakeshore.  Biting flies, mosquitoes…all kids of stuff.

However, small price to pay to live by the beach.  And, have a constant laugh watching my girls react to constant battering of insects.  If you come up to the lake to vacation?  Buy sunscreen with bug repellent.  I can sell you some real cheap if you can’t find it.  lol.

Happy Bug Seasons!

Megs