And now I commend you to God and to the word of His grace, which is able to build you up and to give you the inheritance among all those who are sanctified. Acts 20:32
When my kids were little, I’d plan our summer away with fun adventures from June to September. Sure, it was a lot of work, but I was completely in charge. I could plan whatever I wanted for whenever I wanted it. Not so much anymore.
With my boys being 17 and 15, with lots of friends, girlfriends, and jobs, they want to go their own way and plan their own fun. As much as I support that, their younger sister and I still want some family time together. Yet aligning our schedules is getting very complex. I can’t seem to keep track of it all.
I know every mother goes through it and eventually comes out on the other side. But the journey is rocky and riddled with pitfalls.
For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace. Romans 6:14
Email derails me every time I log on. It’s an incredibly helpful tool to reach out to friends, organize events, communicate with teachers and school administrators, etc. But I end up getting side-tracked by all the requests and demands made of me through it.
Worse yet, throughout the course of my day I spend 15 to 20 minutes deleting and managing all the spam emails I get. I’ve tried to unsubscribe to each site (which consumes a lot of time), but my requests are ignored. All that time adds up and detracts from my day.
And then I made a mistake that changed everything.
When Jesus came into Peter’s house, He saw Peter’s mother-in-law lying in bed with a fever. He touched her hand and the fever left her. Mathew 8:14-15
My kids have gotten into the habit of gifting candy to each other for birthdays and Christmas. So, while celebrating Jocelyn’s birthday last week, it was no surprise to see Zack cross the room with a bag, pull out an enormous pack of gummy warms and hand it to her. What was surprising was he then went around the room pulling out more treats to gift to the rest of us.
None of us had expected it, nor had we asked for it. But it touched something deep within me that needed to be healed.
By their fruit you will recognize them. Matthew 7:16a
Helmut Kleinicke was a German officer in World War II. He was in charge of construction in Chrzanow, Upper Silesia, just twelve miles from Auschwitz. It wasn’t until forty years after his death in 1979 that it came to light he was, in fact, a hero.
“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.