Grace for the Impossible

He’s searching for her keys. We all are. In the middle of a house that is packed and unpacked depending on the day. Depending on what her 85 year old mind tells her. Some days she’s home. Other days she’s not.

He’s only 8. And so distracted. I can’t blame him. It’s a lot to take in.

I tell him to focus. Knowing he can’t. Knowing there are too many treasures to look at. Brush the dust off. Slip into his pocket.

The wind recently blew the roof off the barn. I can see it from her kitchen window. Then uprooted the tree by the pond.

Seems like everything in my original safe place is collapsing. Aging. Getting distracted. Forgetting original purpose and intention.

I’m like that too. Not much different than an 8 year old in a old house.  Looking this way and that. Forgetting the mission. Collapsing like a barn roof.

Today will feel like an unending search for house keys if I miss the purpose. Misplace the mission.

It’s because of Him. Every breath I take. Every beat of my heart. Every stroke of my hand on her sweet cheeks. Or hand on his uncertain shoulder.

The treasures I choose to slip into my pocket are grace. They too are part of the mission. Pieces of life that remind me the journey is worth it. The laughs. The meals. The memories.

Today…here in our house of fresh minds and young thoughts…I choose to hold on to grace like it’s a wind away from disappearing. To open my hands and heart big and full and let grace wash over all of us.

To believe that God is only good and I am only loved. And the Gospel really is good news. In wandering minds. In questions unanswered.

“In him we live and move and have our being.” (Acts 17:28a)

God is enough. He loves you deep and wide. Distracted and focused. At home or work. With questions or answers.

We move forward because He moved toward us. And we rest in the grace of His mission when ours seems impossible.

IMG_6947

(Oh outside…and mountain tube slides…you are grace to me!)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

The Wrestling Match of Parenting

I toggle between two words when it comes to parenting.

Pride and Fear

On good days, I feel pride.
Yes, we’re doing something right.
Yes, our kids will make wise choices.

On bad days, I feel fear.
No, we’re not doing anything right.
No, our kids won’t make wise choices.

It’s a sticky spot. There’s a balance between pride and fear we can rest in. And honestly, our feelings aren’t up for the task of telling us where to land.

When I’m in the wrestling match between pride and fear, our kids get the punches. They get the mood swings. They get the “here’s a little freedom” versus “do what I say” versions of Mom at various, unpredictable moments.

I have the power to create a home in limbo or at peace. And it’s settled by my choice to rest in the stableness of God or the movement of my emotions.

The days will change. The kids will change. But He won’t. It is finished. For my kids and yours.

We fight our pride with prayer and our fear with faith. Because He is listening. He is steadfast. And His mercies are new every morning.

“The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” (Lamentations 3:22,23)

img_5776

 

I don’t want this moment to be holy…it wasn’t planned!

Most mornings you’ll find me sitting on the closet floor. Door shut. Pen in hand. Journal open.

I write to think. To wake up. To assure our kids after I’m gone and they nose through my journals that yes…Mom really was a big mess.

But recently the kids have found my spot. They know where I hide. And they come in.

THEY.COME.IN.DURING.MY.ALONE.TIME.

The other morning Kenan was the culprit. Dinosaur pajama pants. Shirtless. Carrying a blue blanket.

And I wanted to frown at him. To shoo him away to an Ipad.

But for some reason I stopped. Put him in my lap. And just held him. Smelled his hair. Breathed deeply of our littlest who’s now 3.

“This is holy.”

That’s what came to mind as we sat there. In the silence.

My Bible was waiting. My journal entry was half done. But somehow the moment felt holy. And I held grace in my arms.

Friends…let’s read our Bibles. Let’s pray. Let’s journal. But let’s not miss the moments where He slips in and says, “This…Even THIS is holy.”

Jesus revealed Himself to people on boats, land, and sky. He spoke to fisherman, tax collectors, and children.

Let’s not miss His grace today in the unexpected places. Let’s BE His grace today in the unexpected places.

 “And whoever gives one of these little ones even a cup of cold water because he is a disciple, truly, I say to you, he will by no means lose his reward.” (Matthew 10:42)

IMG_0621

A couple things…He was asleep on me. I wasn’t faking this smile. And we were out of town sleeping on the floor.

 

 

10 whole years ago today…The Yes over the No

10 years ago today we were in revival services at church.

I remember it like it was yesterday…

Jeremy came down and poked his head in the nursery where I was serving. He had a sly grin on his face.

“David from the Summit Church just called and asked me to pray about being their Kids’ Pastor.”

I laughed…out loud!

“You’re a Student Pastor. Not a Kids’ Pastor.”

And we forgot about it. Didn’t pray. Moved on.

Because we were somewhere special. Somewhere sweet. Surrounded by people who had cared for us the past year like we were blood relatives. (Union Grove…we LOVE you!)

And who in the world would move from a place like that?

A week passed and he called back. And Jeremy and I began to figure…huh…maybe we should actually ask God about this.

So we did. Over and over again.

“God, we don’t want to leave. Really. We love these students. Their parents. This staff. We’ve seen You move. We’ve got events planned. Surely this is some kind of test.”

But it wasn’t. And time made it clear. God was calling our family to the Summit Church.

Stephen was 2. I was due with Caleb in 8 weeks. The timing was bad.

We went to Lifeway and purchased a book about Kids’ Ministry. We poured over it like a college textbook.

A few months later we said some hard (really hard) goodbyes. And joined the Summit family.

And holy moly…only God could have known what He was doing!

10 whole years!

It’s been fun and hard and I’ve cried some and we’ve been stretched lots and I love the people here and still love the people at Union Grove.

Too many emotions and grace to even put down.

God has been faithful. He’s changed us. He’s taught us. We’ve gone deep in the Gospel and tried to impact wide.

To all those who journeyed with us before 10 years ago. We love you. And to those who believed in us while we struggled through new town and new ministry. We love you. And to those who still hold our hands and believe in God’s good plans for us. We love you.

What a 10 year ride it has been!

“Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.” (Ephesians 3:20,21)

1520_37980324189_6176_n
The week we moved.

IMG_2340 2
Where has the time gone? (And where did all those kids come from?)

Raising whole-hearts in a half-hearted world…

Caleb means “whole-hearted” in Hebrew.

Who doesn’t want their kids to be “whole-hearted?”
We live in a society of half-hearts. Flippant devotion. Insecurity.

God, give us an army of “whole-hearts.”

“But my brothers who went up with me made the heart of the people melt; yet I wholly followed the Lord my God.” (Joshua 14:8)

This is why we named our second son Caleb. And I pray it for him nearly every day.
“God, make Caleb a “yet person.”

Because yet people are whole-hearted.

But then the words change…
“Because he wholly followed the Lord, the God of Israel.” (Joshua 14:14b)

Here’s what I’m learning between these 2 verses…Caleb wholly followed the Lord HIS God, not the God of Israel.

For our kids to be “yet” people who follow the Lord whole-heartedly, He has to be their God….(wait for it)….not our family’s.

And that has led me to this question…
“What’s the ‘one thing’ I can do this month to foster real relationships with Jesus?”

And here’s the answer…
I have no real idea.

But I do have clarity. The blinds have been pulled back a little more. And I can see the goal. The thesis. The big question.

God, help us not to raise little rule-followers. Help us not to raise “and kids” or “but kids.” Help to raise “yet kids” who whole-heartedly follow someone they know…not something they’ve been taught.

God, help us all to follow You…the One who said “nevertheless (yet)” in the Garden of Gethsemane for us.

“And going a little farther he fell on his face and prayed, saying, ‘My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will’.” (Matthew 26:39)

img_4224