“I have told you these things so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33
None of us was naive enough to think that just because the calendar turned to 2021, all of our 2020 troubles would be over. But I do think most of us thought some things would be better by now. Nonetheless, as the world continues to spin out of whack, we have John 16:33.
A wise son heeds his father’s instruction. Proverbs 13:1a
My oldest son, Zack, is getting his driver’s license soon. He’s been saving to buy himself a car but doesn’t have nearly enough. My husband, John, suggested they go in on a car together and share it. They decided it was a good plan. My husband is now car shopping.
John’s searching for a practical vehicle, one all five of us can fit in for the long drive to see his parents in New Jersey. He wants one that handles well in the snow, gets good gas mileage, etc. Zack has gone in the complete opposite direction.
“The second is this, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.'” Mark 12:31
With Jocelyn in fifth grade now, I’ve prepared myself all year for the drama that girls in that age group can generate. To my surprise, it didn’t begin until yesterday, and it wasn’t girl drama. It was boy drama.
But, girls being girls, they talked about it and obsessed over it ad infinitum. They talked amongst themselves all day at school, and even brought it to the teacher’s attention. Jocelyn talked to me the minute she got in the door. She even wanted to tell my husband and her brothers because she felt so badly for the boy who was impacted by the situation.
That’s when I had to step in and help her clarify her intentions.
“I only know that in every city the Holy Spirit warns me that prison and hardships are facing me.” Acts 20:23
My little family barely ever gets sick, thank God! We’ve only had one broken bone in sixteen years and it was just a pinky finger. There’s never been a need for stitches, long-term medication, or surgery of any kind. That’s the good news.
The bad news is: My kids don’t tolerate pain or discomfort very well. They’re so used to being healthy and well, they think the world is ending when they get hurt. A bruise can send Jocelyn into a dramatic spin for days.
That’s when I have to pull out war stories from the way-back machine.
For great is His love toward us, and the faithfulness of the Lord endures forever. Praise the Lord! Psalm 117:2
As soon as I had kids, I began saying goodnight to them the same way my mother’s been saying goodnight to my siblings and me ever since we were little: “Good night. God bless you. See you in the morning. I love you.” At the age of ten, my daughter, Jocelyn, has taken it upon herself to carry the torch. She searches out her two older brothers before bed and hugs and kisses them, saying the same exact thing.
Most times, they’re not receptive. They’re teen boys, after all. Regardless, Jocelyn keeps hugging, kissing and repeating the bedtime saying. In fact, recently, she’s morphed the wording a bit so she can do it again every morning before she goes off to school. Even when her brothers barely tolerate it, it’s still such a sweet thing to witness.
On the way up to the bus stop the other day, I told her how proud I was of her for doing it. Any other little girl would have thrown in the towel long ago. I explained that she was living out how true love never gives up. Her response was incredible.
It was full of large fish, 153, but even with so many the net was not torn. John 21:11
A few weekends ago, Jocelyn’s Robotics team manned a table at a local craft fair. It was an opportunity to show off their project and practice presenting it. Apparently, Jocelyn was on fire as she drew total strangers to the table and explained how the sensors on the sports equipment send feedback and warnings to coaches when an athlete gets hit.
For three solid hours, Jocelyn talked and talked. When she got home, she talked some more as she told me about how much fun it was to explain their idea to anyone who walked by.
The complete success had her floating on Cloud Nine. The cloud floated even higher when her coach awarded her with the title of MVP for the day and sent a lengthy email praising her efforts and promotional skills.
In the blink of an eye, however, Jocelyn went from flying high to crashing and burning. Her tank ran out of gas. Like a light switch being flipped, she was flat out exhausted and needed of a nap. There is something to be said about too much of a good thing.
But they soon forgot what He had done and did not wait for His counsel. Psalm 106:13
My friend, Rob, gave up an hour of his time the other night so Mason could interview him for a school project. At dinner the next night, I told my kids that I’d meant to email Rob earlier that day to thank him, but I forgot. Zack’s immediate response was, “Email him? Really? That’s like sending a message by carrier pigeon! You should text him. He’ll see it immediately.”
I get that each mode of communication has a different speed to it. But does everything have to be conveyed at the speed of light? I think it’s that thought process that derails quality prayer.
The law is only a shadow of the good things that are coming—not the realities themselves. For this reason it can never, by the same sacrifices repeated endlessly year after year, make perfect those who draw near to worship. Hebrews 10:1
Ever since Lent, I have been watching The Chosen with my kids. It’s a high-quality TV series about Jesus as The Chosen One and how people are transformed when they are chosen by Him. Not wanting to compromise the message, or be restricted by Hollywood, it’s creator, Dallas Jenkins, films it independently, relying on funding by anyone and everyone who wants to donate. It’s the largest crowd-funded production ever.
Watching it together has been a wonderful way for me to teach my kids more about our faith. I’m also finding I have to refer to my Study Bible to teach or reteach myself certain things before I can share them with my kids.
I spent some time on Saturday learning more about the Pharisees. Nicodemus is a major player in the episodes we’re on right now. I wanted to be able to talk to my kids more about him and the transformation we’re seeing play out.
And this is the will of the One who sent me, that I should not lose anything of what He gave me… John 6:39a
In the true-to-life movie, Breakthrough, fourteen-year-old John Smith falls through the ice on a frozen lake. He’s trapped underwater for over fifteen minutes. Although all seems lost, his adopted mother, Joyce, will not accept that her son is gone.
She prays over his non-breathing body with a deep passion and a fierce faith that won’t quit, no matter who tries to tell her there’s no point. Her love won’t allow her to stop. Her love won’t allow her to lose what God gave her.
As things slowly open back up from the pandemic, I’ve been thinking a lot about how I want this next chapter of my life to look. I don’t want to jump back into the crazy-busy life I led before. Quarantine, and its slower pace, have taught me a lot. I want to implement those lessons, and be intentional with my time going forward.
One thing that will remain on my list will be quality time spent with my family. We did so many fun activities and games that drew us closer together. I don’t want to lose that. Yet, when I think about all the energy it’s going to take, I wonder: Where did all that energy come from during Quarantine? Dwelling in that question has revealed a lot.