When the Day Ends With Half-Truths

Fish story Maybe it's just a mom-thing? But I often replay the day and it goes something like this:

I hear this voice speaking truth but the voice is too smooth and the tone is condemning. It's like the vacuum salesman that makes you feel like a terrible housekeeper and tries to sell you a remedy you know you can't afford.

You don't have enough time to...

You didn't do a good job on...

You shouldn't have done...

He's reminding me of my failures and all the places I fall short, and the bummer is that he's right.

But I thought the devil was always wrong?

My head swirls with the lynch-list of my failings and even if it's just my own thoughts recounting all the misdeeds, he's right there to confirm them.

swirling waters

Except he's leaving out the most important thing, of course: grace.

He attempts to drag me down with powerful truth, but he neglects to mention the power that raised me up from certain death. Or better yet, he forgets that I'm already dead but I live in Christ. This makes a difference, because most of the truth he speaks to me is about fear.

And once you've reconciled your death, you can put fear in proper perspective.

He skirts the truth that I am loved in spite of my shortcomings and long-strivings, and he wants me to believe that all my mistakes are ruining my children.

(And curious, isn't it? How the replay always comes at bedtime, when the day is done and the kids are tucked in and all the words and actions of the day seem cemented?)

That's the tenderest spot in my heart, and repeatedly a bony finger pokes there. He replays the tears over math and the words over chores and the voices raised high over things we forgot we were arguing about. He keeps a good record.

Or maybe it's my record, but it's accurate except for what it leaves out. But for the grace of God, we're all doomed.

But for the grace of God.

The grace that gets left out is exactly what's missing. Every picture I paint at this time of day, in this frame of mind,  is an accurate portrayal of life without Jesus. It has the same monotonous colors and brush strokes and the paint hardens if we wait too long.

It becomes our story if we allow it.

Tonight I'm going to beat him to the punch.

I didn't have enough time today to read that book to my child, but we planted the garden together instead and we put down a stake in a memory that will last.

(And I have all the time I need, thank you very much.)

I didn't do a good job on planning our dinner tonight, but sometimes spaghetti and salad an hour late is just the side dish to some good conversation, and we had that.

I shouldn't have spent that time on facebook, but I'll take those tidbits of peoples lives and pray over them tonight, and tomorrow I'll read that book to my child instead of checking facebook.

And this is the verse I cling to on nights like this:

For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. ~ Romans 5:10

I think I'm not the only one who replays the day with a condemning tone. How do you combat the half-truths of the day?

 

Linking up with Grace Laced Mondays, The Mom Initiative, Soli Deo Gloria,Titus 2sdays,MercyInkThe Wellspring,Imperfect Prose, and  #TellHisStory

 

 

On Monday Struggles and Gift-Giving

Struggle is part of the gift I was unprepared for Monday, but you know how it comes anyways.

It comes all flouncy and plops down on your planner and just rolls in all the blank space, rubbing it in and purring like that cat. That annoying cat.

I felt like a type-A mom living in a type-B house and the anxiety was flooding us all, up to our necks. It was drowning out every ounce of kindness. 

And the thing is, I'm not really a type-A person. It's just that Mondays can make me feel that way.

So I struggled to be patient and the kids struggled to be cheerful and we didn't get breakfast until 10:30 for crying out loud. Not until 10:30, because there were so many first-things to be done. 

And the only thing hunger fuels is anger.

One fifth of the people at breakfast weren't grumpy, so that one was elected to pray for the grumpy rest-of-us.

I prayed, too, but it was jumbled up repentance and bewilderment and just mostly whining. I wanted to suddenly be prepared and peaceful, to have all my procrastination covered over, and I was just going to be grumpy until that happened.

(I'm this stellar example to my kids, you see.) 

But prayer is not this magic wand we wave. The day continued to be a Monday and all my unpreparedness bore it's ugly fruit, but God did remind me of something my husband had said over the weekend, in regards to struggle.

Struggle is part of the gift, part of the offering to God.

Struggle can seem like the thing that gets in the way of the offering. It feels like struggle is preliminary and annoying and that once we get through this struggle, then we can offer to God whatever gift we think we bring.

But like David at the threshing floor, I realized for a moment that I don't want to give to God something that cost me nothing.

And looking at it that way changed my attitude a little. Which changes everything a lot.

I looked at the far-end goals out there, the ones we all have for our children and their futures and their relationships, and then I pulled the focus in and looked at right now.

Right now, in the struggle and the kinds of days where you just want to go to bed and start over tomorrow, this is part of the future and part of the offering.

And after David bought the threshing floor and after God had told him that his son would build the temple, not David himself, he spent his time preparing for it. He gathered and planned and instructed for his son's future.

It was a process.

We struggle to get to the "good stuff", but that struggle is part of the process that bears fruit. It's part of the gift of ourselves that we give to the Lord, because in His great Grace He's given us everything already. 

I get bogged down in the daily-ness of the struggle, but looking at the process as part of the offering, and not just an obstacle on the way to an end goal, gives me hope for today. 

And I'm thankful that there is grace for all our Mondays and all our imperfect processes.

 

On a Winter's Day {Why I make them go outside}

I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth. ~ 3 John 1:4

We walk through snow and ice and sometimes we wear rubber boots. Three days a week, I tell them, just three times are you required to get out here and raise your heart rate a little.

There are complaints and pleas, there is sometimes a giving-in, but these minds need air and the cold just makes us walk faster.

forest

 

I am teacher-mom, and that means I have to be the whistle-and-gym-shorts kind, too. Or in our case, the layered-up goof with ear muffs and a camera around her neck.

I even bought umbrellas, because it's Oregon and we are nearly aquatic. There'll be no weather-related excuses.

So we walk and there are kids spread out for a quarter-mile in front and behind me, some of them trying to keep up and some of them trying to break free, I think. I annoy them with my camera and my pep-talks, with my smile and my Pollyanna-isms.

"Look at how the buds are coming on the trees!"

"Oh they put fresh gravel down!"

"If you are cold you could always run!"

I annoy them because I stop to take pictures, because I walk too fast, because I run circles around them sometimes in my goofy tights and neon yellow shirt.

I think they love me anyway.

eyes to see

I am freezing and there are at least 30 other things I could be doing at the moment but we walk. Out and back, the same route, and sometimes we talk or hold hands or race home.

Sometimes there are just 5 separate people, walking alone but in the same direction.

I think we're making memories that will be stored up for one day, for a day when we can't take walks together and make each other laugh with our cheesy jokes. I want them to see all the joy I see and be satisfied with the simple things like frost on branches and budding twigs.

So when we go for a walk and they complain, I press on because I know it's the moments that are important and the years are only made up of so many. I press on because I know that seeing takes practice, and nothing is perfect so we take the imperfect and find God there.

I know that the exercise profits a little. I know that it's cold and torturous and there are other things to do but this moment has to freeze and we have to seize it.

And I know that there is always a truth to see in walking. Not a Pollyanna, look-at-how-the-ice-forms-on-my-eyelashes attempt, but a true Truth that the seasons change, the ground freezes under you, but everywhere in every corner God is at work.

That's the Truth I want my children to walk in.

rose bush in winter

 

The world will tell them otherwise, that the ground freezes and the leaves fall because there is no God at work. They will have people try to tell them to take the easy road, to stay warm and comfortable. To live in ease and find beauty only in the work of their own hands.

Not so, my children.

I have no greater joy than to know that my children walk in the whole truth of this created world and the God who made it and them.

See how the tree buds after a long winter.

See how the road is made firm for our walking.

See how far you can run.

 

 

Linking up with Emily at Imperfect Prose #TellHisStory,  and Crystal at Thriving Thursdays