Hope Among The Mess

I took this picture not knowing the meaning it would hold for me less than 24 hours later.  It’s a picture of my 12-year-old’s daughter’s room. As is.

Can you just see her life in there?

One glance at the picture and you can see who she is.  She’s a free spirit. A lover of pink. A dreamer of Paris.

She’s also a mess.  That’s why I took the picture.  I took it to remind myself that one day she’ll grow up and move out and she’ll take the whole messy pink bundle of girlish charms with her. Her laughter. Her smile. Her joy. It will all grow up and move out on me one day. And I want to remember it all.

As is.

I chose not to fuss at her this time for the way her room looks, but she fussed at me for taking the picture. She fusses at me for a lot of things these days. She is twelve after all.

The next day I learned that someone else’s child was shot and killed at her church in Texas. Dozens more were killed simply by doing what my family does more than once a week–going to church.

I am so thankful to still have that ‘one day’ to look forward to.

Anytime tragedy strikes it causes us to reevaluate our lives a bit. Do your loved ones know that you love them? I mean, really? Have you done enough to teach and mold your children? Has your life made a difference to those around you? Are your priorities in line?

Perhaps tragedy makes you feel angry or frustrated.  Maybe it causes you to spring into action to help those who are directly affected by what happened. Or maybe it happens so often that you have become desensitized to it. I know that has been my reaction many times, I am almost ashamed to admit it.

Somehow, this one hit home for me. I’ve lost track of the number of disasters and unspeakable acts of violence this year alone.  But the news of innocent children murdered sitting next to their mothers? It’s too much. It’s too raw.

So, I look back at the picture I snapped the night before. I can practically breathe in the fragrance of my daughter. I can almost see her sitting there at her vanity doing her hair. And I can’t help but wonder if tragedy is around the corner for me too.

However, my peace lies within the knowledge that my child knows Jesus. She teaches me about Him a lot when she doesn’t even mean to. Does she stumble sometimes? Yes. Does she have a lot more to learn? Yes. I pray protection over my children every single day.

I know that God can allow some horrible trials to strengthen His people. None of us are immune to tragedy, but my child is immune to death.

This is what gets me through horrible news stories. The promise of eternal life for those that know Jesus like my child.

I’m not saying that people shouldn’t mourn over this tragedy or losing someone they love. It’s not even my child and I have wept. I’m saying that there is hope. Hope for grieving parents and a grieving congregation. Hope for a town that suddenly finds itself thrust into the national spotlight and making a mark in history for all the wrong reasons. There’s hope for a nation that just can’t seem to heal before another tragedy strikes.

You’ll find that hope nestled in the random picture I took of my daughter’s messy room. It’s sitting on her dresser. Do you see it? It’s a Bible. Between the two pink covers lies every answer to every problem you’ll ever face. It’s comfort. It’s hope. And it’s sitting in the midst of the mess we’ve made, just waiting for us to return to its promises.

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How To Build Endurance {A Six Month Journey}

My husband nearly lost the functionality of his arm six months ago, but the journey seems like it’s been much longer.

Back in March of 2017 my husband fell off a ladder at work, landed on an electrical box nearly severing his left arm. Essentially, he cut his elbow off. He transected his ulnar nerve and lost feeling in parts of his hand.

I know. That’s a little graphic for some of you.

Sometimes graphic is what God uses to get our attention.

Those first several weeks were filled with so much pain both physical and emotional. And so many questions. Would he be able to work again? Would he regain strength? Would the allografted bone grow into his living bone? Would he regain feeling in his hand?

We cried together a lot. We got frustrated. And we got angry. Exhaustion got the better of us on many days.

There is no way we could have gotten through the last 6 months without God catching each one of our tears and bundling up all or our fears to hold them close to His heart. I know this full well.

Our trial is just an example of God displaying His perfect love. After six months it’s a bit easier to look back and see His fingerprints all over the place! I am humbled that He chose us to walk this path and share this story. I pray it brings my Savior glory, if only just a little.

Yesterday we traveled back up to Vanderbilt University Medical Center for another follow-up appointment. I honestly have lost track of the number of times we’ve headed up there since March. It certainly has become familiar to us. And the trips, almost a way of life.

This visit though, was a little different.

Everything is looking good. His doctor is optimistic that the surgery was a success even though we are ‘not out of the woods yet.’  We still have three to four YEARS to see if the grafted bone will ‘come alive.’ If not, the bone will disintegrate and we are back to square one. But I am oh, so hopeful and have an amazing peace that God will show. off!! It gets me a little giddy to think about!

My husband has no restrictions and has been released from occupational therapy.  We said goodbye to our caseworker who, quite honestly, I had become fond of over the last 6 months. I’ll miss her. And we walked out of the clinic with a strange sense of joy.

It was almost as if we didn’t know what to do with ourselves. Do we laugh? Do we cry? Do we shout out just how awesome our God is right here in the elevator? I wanted to. I should have.

I’ve been praying for 6 months every single day for healing. For pain relief. For joy.

He’s been listening. He hasn’t been stuck on what to do for us. He knows how to fix broken. He knows it’s all in the timing.

Consider it great joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you experience various trials, because you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its full effect, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking nothing. James 1: 2-4 CSB

I have to pause for a moment and soak in these words….

Joy has been so hard for me to find. How do you find joy when fear and uncertainty seem so much stronger?

Through perseverance.

Even if it’s a little prayer, it’s still prayer. God answers those too. And if we pray enough little prayers pretty soon God gives us the strength to pray the bigger ones. He gives us that endurance.

But endurance can’t have it’s full effect if you never face the trial to build it in the first place.

This trial has brought me on my knees in prayer more than anything else in my entire life. Which has deepened every part of me.  Six months ago I wasn’t ready to consider any of it joy. But today I am just so thankful for every piece of this ‘special case.’

Thankful that I could almost physically feel God’s love in a dark and lonely hospital room.

Thankful to realize how crazy much I love my husband, in sickness and in health.

Thankful to be a vessel for God to show off His mighty healing power and careful orchestration of every minute detail.

I’m just thankful. I have this hurt. But I also have this awesome God!

Miraculous bone fusion through the hands of Dr. Donald Lee.

 

 

 

 

 

A Week In Review {The Highlight Reel}

Here we are sitting on the cusp of a brand new weekend.

Friday. Already.

Don’t get me wrong, I am as ready for the weekend as the rest of you. But, as weeks go, this wasn’t my best one. And I’m pretty sure Monday didn’t even bother to show up this week. At least I don’t remember it.

Sick day. Long staff meetings. Regular weekly battle against the doubts inside my head.  It was just an ordinary week.

Until something happened.

About a month ago I was asked to share during the Chapel time at my church’s Weekday Early Education (WEE) ministry. There are very few things that I could think of that I would rather be doing besides spend my morning with a room full of preschoolers. I know. I’m among the minority. So, of course I accepted the invitation and immediately began to think of things to share with these children.

I had a book ready and a little song picked out. I was good to go. I wanted to give as much time as I could to this little project and make it great!

Except that the day before Chapel, I had a migraine and was out of the office. I completely forgot about my commitment until I was headed to bed the night before. I began to feel guilty for not spending more time to prepare.

The next morning I went in to my office, found the book I had planned to share and ran over the words of the song one more time. I prayed for the Lord to bless my efforts and headed down to Chapel.

I greeted the children and began to read my book selection on God’s grace. It was a sweet reminder that God loves us regardless if the things we do or don’t do.

It was in those moments when the Spirit pressed on my heart that it wasn’t how much time I spent “making something great.” It was my willingness to share the love of Christ that mattered the most. Big or small, everyone needs to know how much love the Father lavishes on us.

It doesn’t have to be a room full of preschoolers, you have the chance to share the love of Christ with someone today too.

We often fail to realize that a mission isn’t always foreign. It starts in your living room with your own children, or at the coffee shop with a friend.  It’s at your favorite grocery story or gas station. Maybe the neighbor you’ve known for years could use a helping hand. It’s in the classroom at your church.

Whatever it is, I want to challenge you to be intentional about sharing God’s love with someone today. God will use it. And I promise it will be the highlight of your blase week.

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Simple Creations

It is impossible for me to believe that God created everything in less than a week. You cannot convince me.

Because God is the same today as he was yesterday. He remains unchanged for tomorrow. Although He is many different things, He is the one thing that remains constant in our lives. Father, Physician, Provider, Omnipresent, Graceful, Merciful,

Creator.

If He’s the same today as He was thousands of years ago, I have to believe that He is still in the business of creating. It’s this belief that fills me with awe simply by peering at a rose. It’s this mind-set that draws me closer to Him when I hear the whisper of the wind. Each new day seems to brim with possibilities when you know that it is freshly prepared by an ever-present creator. As an artist carefully crafts his masterpiece, so too does the Master Craftsman sculpt each new day.

I get so excited when I think about this stuff! It seems so scientific to many, I’m sure. Birth. Growth.

But, I love to look deeper. I love to try to actually see God push up the tree branches. It’s fascinating to try and catch a glimpse of His hand shifting and building the clouds. My favorite is to imagine his arms enveloping me when He sends a warm wind.  What if I could ever catch him painting the sky?

Maybe all of this sounds childish to you. I could understand that. But I am not here to defend the ways I see God or understand Him.

I just want to share with you how simple God really is. He asks us to have faith like a child. To me, that means to also live in child-like wonder of the simplest of things.

 

 

 

 

 

A Few Thoughts On Harvey

I just don’t think I could survive a flood. I don’t think I could stand the feelings of helplessness, hopelessness and loss. Surely grief would creep in there somewhere. Confusion. Frustration. Uncontrolled heartbreak.

Flood. Overwhelming amounts or quantities.

It’s more than just the unrelenting rain and rising water. It’s also the emotional flood I am sure I couldn’t withstand.

The news is something I actually try to avoid at all costs. But, oh sweet Houston! You’ve got a problem! The biggest natural disaster this country has seen in over a decade and my heart hurts so much for you!  But, I am also so incredibly proud of you!

Among all the chaos, raw human beauty is emerging. Like a worm being transformed in order to take wings, you are inspiring a nation to lay down all the ugliness and fly. You are living out love the way we were created to do. You’re crossing over invisible lines drawn for the salvation of another man and it’s awe-inspiring.

I recently spoke with a group of women on how to find joy in your journey. Even in some of our most devastating times, it is so hard to find joy or even a reason.  When the floodwaters rise, we still need to trust that God’s got it all figured out for His glory and for our good.

But if you’re stranded out on the roof of your house soaked to the bone with no end in sight, it’s often easy to forget. It’s easy to lose hope and to lose joy.

My list of ways to find joy in the journey:

1. Trust God and lean not on your own understanding.

2. Remember it’s temporary. Even Noah got off the Ark. 

3. Take time to abide in Christ every day.

4. Count your blessings.

5. Remember your salvation in Jesus.

But looking at the footage from Houston, I know I forgot to add something to that list and that is:

6. Find ways to love thy neighbor. Every neighbor. Even the ones you think aren’t like you.

In the midst of your flood, your trial and heartbreak seek ways to share the burden. Find the common ground that we all share. We were all made by the same Creator who loves each one of us in the most beautiful mesmerizing ways. Act like it!

Houston, you’re acting like it! You’ve been dealt a bad hand. But I can see, even way over here in Alabama, how God is using you to heal a broken world and offer a slice of hope.

My prayers and thoughts are with you all!

To donate to relief efforts for our friends in Houston and others impacted by the storm, please head over to KLove.com or follow this link. https://www.convoyofhope.org/donate/harvey-klove/

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How I Met Jesus In My Bedroom {Life from Death}

It takes a lot of work to find good in the world these days. Gone are the carefree times of unlocked doors and actually knowing your neighbors. We tear up and bite at one another simply for holding a different opinion than our own and take it personally if a celebrity makes poor choices.

Disease. Divorce. Financial strain. Rejection. Rebellion. Discord. Disillusionment.

The list could go on and on of things we could stress over and lose our hope.

Ever since I was called into ministry, I have heard of and seen a fair share of heartbreak and hurt. And I can’t lie, it really gets to me sometimes. Doubts begin to creep into my mind of the goodness of God and how He can allow such horrible things to happen to his most beloved.

That’s when I must remember that He never wanted any of the hurt we see around us. It was all our doing. Our own freewill that brought all the destruction upon this earth. Remember the earth was once paradise and in perfect harmony. We chose the lie. We chose sin. We can’t blame Him for any of it.

But we can thank Him for providing a way to save us from it.

When I think about all of my friends, co-workers and acquaintances that are hurting I can’t help but think of how gracious and merciful our God is too. Though it’s so hard to see the good that will come of your heartbreak, believe me I know it’s hard to see, we have to trust Him that it’s there. It will come. And in His perfect timing. Maybe we won’t even be alive when His grace is revealed through our heartache.  Or maybe the good won’t manifest anywhere you can see it this side of Heaven.  But it’s always there.

When I was in the 7th grade (the age of my youngest daughter), I had a good friend I went to church with.  Her mother had struggled for years with breast cancer and God quietly called her home one day. It was the saddest thing I could ever think of at such a young age. Losing my mom. What if that had been my mom?

What if it had been me?

I began to question so many things in the following weeks.  Why would God do that to my friend? Leave her motherless. And where did her mother go when she died?

Where would I go if I died?

I had been attending church regularly for years.  I was raised in the Episcopal church, so I was baptized one Easter Sunday when my mom decided I needed to be. I had the pretty dress. The shiny shoes. And I said all the right words. But I really had no clue what I was doing.

So there I was alone in my bedroom one night, 12 years old and not able to sleep from sharing my friends heartache. I pulled out my Bible and began to flip through the delicate, thin pages. I was searching for anything that could soothe me and give me an answer of why…?

That’s when a small little yellow tract that I had pulled from the back of a pew one day fell out of my Bible and into my lap. I had never read it before. Maybe I was saving it for such a time as this.

The simplicity of it held my attention as I read, well, the simplicity of the Gospel. Don’t we tend to complicate it so?

We are sinners. God loves us anyway. Accept both truths. Ask forgiveness. Repent.

Simple.

But I never understood it until I was hurting. God didn’t have my attention until He allowed the suffering in my life. More truthfully, I wasn’t seeking Him until He allowed the suffering in my life. And we don’t, do we? We don’t think we need help with anything if life is good. And let’s face it, up until about the seventh grade, life is pretty sweet!

My friend doesn’t know that her mom’s death saved me. She has no clue that my eternal destination was changed because of what God allowed. And it seems strange to give thanks for that circumstance, but I have to believe that if He used it for the good of saving a 12-year-old little girl, He also used it for so much more that we can’t even fathom.

That’s just who He is.

So, when I get discouraged in the hurt that surrounds me, I have to remember how Jesus met me in my bedroom one night. I have to remember that death gave me eternal life. When looking at the hurt from that perspective, it gives hope. And even a reason to be thankful in the suffering.

 

 

 

 

The Truth About Insomnia

Insomnia.

Can I say that I hate it? Or is that too strong of a word? Ok, then.  I hate it.

Insomnia is like a really bad friend, hanging out uninvited and for way too long. It reminds you constantly of your faults. It tells you lies about yourself and others. And it makes you feel like you are all alone. No one else is up right now. No one else cares. And even if they did they are too busy sleeping to be bothered with all your problems.

Not that I have any problems. And even if I did I’d cast all my anxieties on Christ like a good Christian should. Right?

The problem is that I cast them, but not far enough. I tell myself that I am praying when really all I am doing is complaining and trying to fix everything in my own strength. I am being still in body, but not in my mind, which ultimately is where all our battles are fought. And either won or lost depending on who is doing the fighting.

Me or Jesus.

See, the thing is, on nights like tonight when I am in a battle of my own will there’s no possible way for me to find rest because the battle isn’t mine to fight.  2 Chronicles: 15

I wish I could remember that verse sooner than 2am. I’d much rather have the whispers of that promise in my ear instead of what I’ve chosen to listen to tonight.

“You’re not good enough.”

I get to the edge of tears when I choose to listen to that lie. I want to give up on just about everything.

I should be a better friend.

A better wife.

I’m failing as a mother.

And heaven knows I am highly unqualified for this job God asked me to do. What was He thinking?!

He was thinking that I’d trust my Father and listen to Him when He speaks. He was hoping that on a sleepless night He’d save me some heartache and just let me sleep while He banished anything that tried to harm me. I’m pretty sure He is shaking His head right now and wishing I would just stop writing and go to bed while He takes over the night shift.

Yawn.

Ok. I get it. I’ll go back to bed now and stop trying to solve the world’s problems by myself.

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Then Sings My Soul {A Glimpse of Joy}

Probably my favorite part about Summer is the Golden Hour. The time when the sun hangs heavy in the sky and makes everything seem to glow, casting long shadows and calling out the lightning bugs. The cicadas begin to emerge for the evening to sing us lullabies and remind us that we’ve put in a good days work. Time to rest, reflect and thank God for bringing us through it all.

It reminds me of my childhood when I could stay out and play in the dirt, ride my bike for hours and always seem to be travelling to far off lands in my mind while spinning only circles. I could be only a few houses down from my own and still feel like I was on the cusp of the biggest adventure. Only when I heard the sound of my mother’s voice calling me in for a bath would I ever go home.

I’ve had the worst writer’s block lately. Mostly it’s because I’ve been so busy with life changes and well, life in general. Whoever said Summer was lazy surely wasn’t a 40 year old mama. Life is just full. Abundantly so. But I tend to get stuck in a routine. Lately I think it’s been more of a rut.

If you’ve read my blog at all this year you know I’ve been struggling with maintaining Joy in my life. Not happiness. Fruit of the Spirit, Joy. I’m not sure where exactly I lost it. Somewhere between hospital stays, overcoming heartbreak and just plain Life’s bad news. Cancer. Divorce. More cancer. And change. I really don’t like change.

So tonight I couldn’t take staring at this blank screen a moment longer. The Golden Hour beckoned for me to come out and simply enjoy a moment to reflect. I grabbed my phone to be able to listen to music as I headed out the door and down the path to the Greenway behind my house.

Music and nature. The perfect combination.

The moon was already high in the sky, though the Sun was only teasing the horizon. Accepting of all the heavy rain these last several days, the creek bubbled and the current swiftly wove it’s way through the grass. Dragonflies darted and danced flirting with me as I walked along the path. And the heavy drape of Jasmine covered the air with it’s sweet and peculiar scent.

Ah. Summer! There you are with your pink and orange Sunsets and barefoot days!

I couldn’t help myself. I quickly set my music to the hymm that I seem to find myself only whispering these days during my quiet time. When I have nothing else to pray, I find myself drifting to the old familiar lyrics.

Oh, Lord my God, when I in awesome wonder consider all the worlds thy hands have made…

Have you ever found yourself lost in a moment of pure…Joy? Considering all the works thy hands have made. The Sun lighting everything ablaze. The bluest sky decorated with the purest white clouds. The moon dangling there oh, so faithful and silent. Every detail to the fish in the stream to the pair of mallard ducks flying above my head. Every bit of it is perfectly orchestrated and on display for me to see.

In that one small moment all of that was just for me. No one else was in that space. No one else had the privilege of that same display. It was all just for me.

For me to find some joy.

Joy in the moment right there. How small I felt when taking it all in. A glimpse of Heaven and His hand controlling the Universe.

But it was fuel for another day. It was a source of Joy, abiding in Him in that way. And just like my mother used to when I was a child, it made me unafraid of when He will one day call me home. Because, what joy will fill my heart!

When Christ shall come
With shout of acclamation
And take me home
What joy shall fill my heart…

 

How I Found Joy In A Fortune Cookie

 

Have you ever found yourself struggling with something that used to come easy to you?

I seem to have fallen into a season where it is more difficult for me to find joy every day.  Those who know me well may find this puzzling for me to say right now. So, I must clarify. Happiness and joy are not the same thing. I choose happiness every day. Or I try to. I choose not to be negative and contentment has always come easy.  But happiness is circumstantial. Happiness is temporary.

Joy is Spirit filled and rooted deep in the vine of Jesus Christ. Joy remains regardless of circumstances. Traumatic accidents are not a happy occasion, but we can still find joy among the ashes.

Back in January, I chose a word for 2017. Actually, I truly believe the word was given to me by a God who knew what was coming for me and my family this year. Trauma and uncertainty.

The word is ‘trust.’

And let me just tell you I have been doing a real good job reading about trust.  I’ve memorized a few Bible verses and read them every morning like a good Christian should. I’ve even got a book sitting next to me even now, “Trusting God” by Jeff Bridges. I am the poster child for going at this with passion.

Perfect, check the box passion.

If you’ve been following my blog at all you know that God tends to bonk me on my hard head when I least expect it. If you ask me, that’s how I know it’s God. I find Him most often in the un-ordinary. He’s not a God of routine, that guy. And I was out of mine this morning.

I try to start each of my days with prayer and Bible reading. I use the same devotionals and right now I am clinging to the same Bible verses on trust. I go about my day with happiness and try to count it all joy.

Well, this morning was a little different. I was meeting a friend for breakfast and I didn’t have time to do my usual routine. I arrived a few moments early, so I decided to dig out my Bible app on my phone and check my quiet time box.

Y’all.

Why do they call it quiet time when God seems to be so loud and clear?

I found a reading plan that I had started back in March and abandoned. I don’t know why I abandoned it. I only read the first day. But March was the month my husband suffered a traumatic injury and I’ll be honest, my spiritual needs changed dramatically at that point. You know, it was a great time to flash the word ‘trust’ around.

So, today I read day two.  I’ll leave the verses right here for you:

Matthew 13:44 “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field.

45 “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. 46 When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it.

“Lord, God why do I not have that joy anymore?” I asked aloud in my empty car. “Why am I not like this man who knows about you and sells everything he has just to be with you?”

“Because you still don’t trust Me.”

My head fell back against the head rest as the truth pierced through to my heart.

He’s right. I don’t. I haven’t.

There’s no guarantee my husband’s arm will heal. There’s no guarantee he will be able to return to his manual labor job. And then what?

I say the words that I ‘trust’ God to heal him. I read the verses and grasp for that joy, but I haven’t really trusted him.

I just got a job I’ve been praying about for years. There’s no doubt in my rational mind that God has prepared me and marked my way for this.

But what if He picked the wrong girl?  What if I screw up? What if I can’t do it like I thought I could?

All of those thoughts are a lack of trust.

I was so convicted. I’ve been faking it all this time. No wonder it’s so hard for me to find joy. I put my faith in myself and not the Love of My Life, Jesus. I’ll never be able to find joy when I rely on anything other than Him.

So later, at lunch, my husband and I had gone out for some Chinese food. And I am telling him about my revelation. I can’t help but shed some tears as I am telling him the story and how I’ve been placing my trust in the wrong hands. And because my husband and I are walking together on a rocky road right now, he could empathize very easily with me. We wiped our tears with sweet and sour sauce stained napkins and then reached for our fortune cookies.

God is everywhere. Even inside fortune cookies.

We couldn’t help but laugh out loud about that ‘God-wink’ right there in the restaurant.

A little taste of the joy surely to come.

 

 

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Dancing With Regret {A Guest Post}

If I had to describe how I feel about Tracie Collier in one word, it would be “thankful.” She’s a safe place, a best friend and a Godly voice of reason on many days. And today she has come over to visit from her own blog, Shades of Mercy and Grace. I’m so thankful that God gave her to me, a ministry partner and a partner in crime.

Check out what she’s got in store for you today, and then head on over to her blog and check out just how amazing she is!

 

“Don’t blink,” they say.

I remember hearing that when he was a brand new baby and I found it super annoying.

Blink?!  Seriously?!  How about SLEEP? I would have enjoyed one LONG 5-hour blink.

There is no tired in the whole world like “New Baby in the House” tired, right?  It seemed to me that the exhausting newborn stage was going to last FOR-E-VER.  I wasn’t sure I was going to survive it.

I know when folks say “Don’t blink,” it’s meant with good intentions.  “Don’t blink” means “you’ll be amazed how fast the time is going to go, so you better keep your eyes open so you won’t miss anything!”  They were right.  It did go fast.  So stinking fast.  I don’t know who coined the phrase, “The days are long, but the years are short,” but they’re right.

Back when I flipped the calendar over to May, I found myself face-to-face with a date that seemed so far away not so long ago…graduation.  He’ll graduate from High School this month.  For the life of me, I don’t know how that happened.

While I find myself feeling a mixture of sad and sentimental that this chapter of our lives is almost over, I’m very excited, too.  I’m excited for everything he’ll experience and for the “new beginning” college will be for him.  I’m excited about the friends he’ll make and the lessons he’ll learn.  I’m excited about how God is going to use this next chapter to mold him into the man He intends for him to be.

But in the midst of all of the nostalgia and excitement, I find myself dancing around with an old, familiar partner:  Regret.

Regret and I have danced a few times before.  I know this partner well.

Regret is a stupid jerk-face that likes to show up, usually in the quiet of the nighttime, and yell in my ear that “everything is ruined” and “nothing good has happened.”  In my experience, regret is loud and bossy and rude.  Regret wants me to spend my time constantly looking behind me, reliving poor decisions and actions.  When it comes to this particular season of motherhood, regret really wants me to wallow in the times I have failed as a mom.  Believe me, there are plenty of instances for regret to bring to mind.

In this dance, I find myself feeling regret over the things I didn’t do, didn’t say, or said too loudly.  I feel regret for decisions made, consequences that were unrealistic, and opportunities missed.  Hindsight, they say, is 20/20.  I can always see what I “should have done” so clearly once the opportunity to do so has passed.  Tell me that happens to you, too?

See, if I dance with regret long enough, I get dizzy and disoriented and forget which way is up.  And that’s just what regret is hoping for! Regret wants to teach me a history lesson, but not a whole one. A history lesson that only includes the bad parts (the mistakes), but doesn’t include the good (the forgiveness), is really not a complete lesson.  Teachers who don’t tell the whole truth should be fired, shouldn’t they?

What is regret’s motivation?

I think it’s simple.

Regret lives to steal joy.

And what is the remedy for regret?

That’s simple, too.

Truth.  Specifically, God’s Truth.

See, nothing shuts down regret faster than Truth.

Regret says, “You could have been a better mother to him.”

Truth says, “I was chosen by God to be his mother.  I’m a human.  God’s been aware of that all along.  He knew I’d need forgiveness and has granted it through His Son.”

Regret says, “Your son is only going to remember the times you failed/yelled/were distracted.”

Truth says, “He’s also going to remember the times I asked for forgiveness, showed up when it was hard, and helped him succeed in crazy, wonderful ways.”

Regret says, “This chapter is over.  Look at how you failed.”

Truth says, “Yes, this chapter is over, but a new one is beginning.  God will be just as much in the new chapter as He was in the old one.  In God’s economy, even our failures can be used for His glory.”

Regret wants me to forget the truth and to only see my life through a lens of loss.

God’s Truth just isn’t having any of that!

No, God’s Truth redeems and makes things whole again.  His Truth calms storms and heals the sick.  His Truth even takes the ordinary, everyday mistakes of a mom in Alabama and uses them to teach and mold a boy into the image of His Son.  Go figure. God does amazing things. Held up against that kind of power, regret doesn’t stand a chance!

When regret invites you out onto the dance floor, you have a choice whether or not you’ll go.  You can tell regret to take a hike.  Truth is what shows it back to its seat.

And if you find yourself out on the dance floor wishing you hadn’t agreed to dance in the first place, remember that you don’t have to let regret take the lead.  Regret is pushy, but ridiculously weak.  At their core, bullies usually are, you know.  You can totally overtake it with truth.  In no time at all, you’ll see regret sulk away.  Bless its heart…it tries so hard.

So, whatever season of life you find yourself in, remember that God’s Truth covers every situation you face!

And regret?

Well, you really don’t have much time for that, do you?

You’ve got too much of a life to live!  You’ve got people to love!  It’s way more fun to dance with them, anyway.

To read more from Tracie visit her blog at www.shadesofmercyandgrace.com

 

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