Yesterday was one of those ugly, in-the-trenches mom days. Hours spent in the car shuffling around town to all the places we needed to be. A long wait at the doctor’s office with two kids and a baby in tow. Feeling well-covered in all the fluids that babies make (I’ll leave that one there…). Two kids with questions that seemed never to end and a baby who just wouldn’t sleep…at all. And it seemed that everything that possibly could go wrong did.
Some of the thoughts that passed through my head included:
I don’t know if I can make it…
If I hear “Mom!” one more time, I swear….
It would feel so great to throw the remote straight at the TV right now…or punch a wall…
You know? One of “those” days. Just. Barely. Hanging. On.
Then, this morning, my alarm went off early, as it does on Wednesdays so I can go write. But I was confused. In all the mess of yesterday, I’d completely forgotten that today would be a new day, with new hopes and new happenings. I could get up, grab a cup of coffee and spend some time doing something I love, soaking in grace and the fresh mercies that come with every morning.
Here’s the problem with those problem days…When we allow ourselves to be defined by our fears, our feelings, our failures, rather than be defined by the Father. The problem isn’t that the difficult days come. We were told that they would.
It’s not strange to have a difficult day where everything feels upended. But what will we do with those days? What truths will emerge from those fiery trials? Here are a few truths I walked away with after yesterday:
My God is incredibly gracious and forgiving. Without Him, I am utterly lost.
My husband is my hero. (Thanks, babe, for listening to me vent, dropping everything to pick up the kids from class, picking up dinner, checking on the baby when he started to cry, handling the moments of discipline the evening brought, tossing in some laundry, and still managing to put up some drywall in our current room under renovation…all after coming home from your own long day at work.)
My kiddos have amazing brains and hearts that want to help. All their questions just reveal the depths of their inquisitiveness and the honor I have of guiding them into wisdom and knowledge.
Showers wash away the ickiness on my skin and mercy washes away the ickiness in my soul. Pretty simple. I just need to choose to grab that shower when I have a free moment and receive the mercy handed to me at every moment.
So, what will your day hold? What has it already been like? And what truths will you carry away from it?
Will you choose to be defined by the fears that attack? Or the feelings that shift? Or the failing moments? Or will you, rather, be defined today by the Father who’s standing right by your side, hands full of forgiveness and grace just for you?
photo via Pixabay
The act of sinning is different than sin itself. Much like telling the truth is different than truth, living is different from life and dying is different from death.
For the sin of this one man, Adam, caused death to rule over many. But even greater is God’s wonderful grace and his gift of righteousness, for all who receive it will live in triumph over sin and death through this one man, Jesus Christ. Romans 5:17 NLT
The essence of sin, not just the result, is death. When Adam performed the act of sinning he opened himself and the world to the essence and root behind the act: death. The act of sinning is simply doing something outside or defiantly against the will of God. The root behind it, death, is simply the absence of God, the source of life itself.
If God is the source of all life, when we choose to reject God from even the smallest part of our life, we are replacing His life within us with death. Whether it is our will, our eyes, our finances, our time, or anything else, that aspect of our life becomes dead. Death, like cancer, can spread aggressively, influencing other choices and beliefs. And, before we know it, we have believed lie after lie after lie, kicking our God and Creator out of our life.
If the removal of life causes death to enter, the entry of life causes death to be no more. That’s what Christ came to take care of. He chose to come to this earth not only to bear the burden of our sins (the actions), but to replace the root, the essence of death we have welcomed into our lives. He breaks through, revealing lies through His truth, and restores the death within us with the life of the Creator.
Have you had your Jesus today? Have you had His Truth and Love poured over your life today?
God I yield myself to you; please replace the death in me. Please continue to point out what areas of my life do not reflect or honor You. Please infiltrate those areas with Your grace, love, mercy, and LIFE. Thank you for being The Source of Life and caring about me enough to share it with me.
Living is the process of letting life flow through you. Ask Him how you can share Him with someone today!
Let me be transparent: I am not perfect (I know…shock and awe!)…and I get angry sometimes (crazy, I know!)…and sometimes I let that anger affect the way I treat the people around me (yep, it’s true!). On the chance that you can relate, how about we process this a bit together?
It feels like my fuse has gotten shorter over the past couple of years, but I think what’s actually happened is I’ve made a transition from just simply bottling my anger inside (hoping I wouldn’t explode, but eventually, inevitably, I would)…to now, where I am doing less bottling and more immediate exploding as I let anger lead my thinking, my words and my attitude. Neither option is really a great way to go, but at least I’m in a place now where I’m seeing when I get angry and, usually, why, rather than being surprised when I suddenly release the inner bottle of acquired ickiness all over everyone.
So, here are a few adjustments I’m making as I bounce and bump down this road:
1. Adjusting my expectations. My anger almost always comes because my expectations don’t line up with reality. For example: I may expect my kids to walk sedately through the house and speak with inside-voices when inside at all times. Well…this is just simply not reality with 4 and 6 year-olds in the house. I may expect them to maturely work out their disagreements with calm words…But that’s not really realistic either at their ages all the time. I may expect that I can tackle my entire to-do list in a day, but then I find myself angry with myself at the end of the day when the dishes have piled up, I still haven’t made it to the grocery store and we didn’t even touch schoolwork today. Now, I’m not saying we need to lower expectations to a point that we never strive for greatness…absolutely not! What I am saying is that I don’t need to expect perfection. I’m not perfect…neither are my children, my family members, my friends, the world I live in…even my husband, though he is very close (wink, wink).
2. Pause…Breathe…Repeat. When I feel anger creeping its way through me, I’ve found I need to take a pause and a very deep breath…or two…or twelve…before I start talking. Notice, I said “talking“…not “shouting“. It’s not too effective when I shout out to my kiddos across the house, “Stop shouting, right now!” Probably doesn’t send the right message…hmmm.
3. Receive grace…Give grace. So much of my frustration is often directed at myself because I haven’t fulfilled my expectations of perfection that day. I have to start giving myself more grace by receiving the grace that God gives me so freely. He doesn’t expect perfection out of me…so why am I harder on myself than He is on me? And when I have received His grace, and given it to myself too, it’s that much easier to give it out to everyone else. Grace to my growing and constantly learning children…grace to the driver in front of me who’s going a tad slower than I’d prefer…grace to my husband when he is stuck at work a little late.
I am an imperfect perfectionist whom God is transforming into a grace-giving realist. It is a messy and uncomfortable process. But He’s giving me precious glimpses of what can be if I’ll take this bottle of anger and this sharp tongue and set them into His hands to totally reshape.
If you relate at all, I encourage you today to set down your expectations of perfection…pause and take a breath…and receive grace so that you can freely give it. My prayer for today, for you and for me is that we can become people who aren’t led by anger, but who can let our anger show us areas of our lives that need God’s touch…and that we would open that door wide for Him to enter in with His grace and His transformation.