When you can’t find Jesus in the daily grind

coffee
Word of the day:  BECKONED

If you’re a mom, and you don’t drink coffee, you’re kind of like a superhero to me.  I could give it up if I had to, and I have for periods of time, but I actually believe that on many days, my cup of coffee in the morning is a pure vessel of God’s grace.  And just like when the cute guy was the reason you went to Young Life club when you were 15, or the free breakfast was the thing that got you out of bed to go to the church where you found a family, God beckons me into his presence…sometimes with the smell of coffee.  And I feel fine about that.  He is gracious with me and my weary body.

He greets me with the warmth of those first sips, with the freedom of new mercies, with the safety of his delight.

The truth is that the shape of God’s pursuit of my heart is ever changing, deeply personal, brilliantly transfiguring.  His invitation to “Come” takes all kinds of strange forms in these days with little ones.  As I’m summoned to the restroom by a tiny voice, for some undignified duty, I hear God beckoning me to lay my life down to find it.   As I’m called to the kitchen sink by the towering mound of dishes, or to the dining room table by the endless piles of clean laundry to fold, I hear God beckoning me to do everything unto him, to find purpose in the secret romance between us.  As joyful pregnancies left uninvited marks on my body, I’ve heard God beckoning me into the freedom of my image-bearing identity as a co-creator of life.   As I’m faced with my weakness all day long, I’m invited in, to walk in Christ’s strength alone.  As I’m drawn to the nursery by the midnight cries, I am beckoned to a God who sees me – who renews my strength, even when sleep cannot.  As I’m charmed to the play room by my children’s giggles, I feel God’s joy over me drawing me in for a Fatherly kiss on the forehead.  I’m invited by the maddening slow of toddlers into the unhurried wonder of the Spirit.  In the million questions that could never quench my children’s endless curiosity, I am beckoned to enter into a sweet humility and thirst for understanding before my God.

We are ever and always beckoned to see God’s relentless pursuit of our hearts – in the moments that can’t be rushed, in the places where no one else sees, from the underbelly of our shame, by the captivating faces of our children, by all of creation…

Beckoned.

Tune in today, Sister.  God is coming for you.

 

“You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and hills will burst into song before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands.”

Isaiah 55:12

 

How to experience the deep riches of generous parenting

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Wednesday Word of the Day:  
Generosity

One gives freely, yet grows all the richer; another withholds what he should give, and only suffers want. Whoever brings blessing will be enriched, and one who waters will himself be watered.

Proverbs 11: 24-25 ESV

Sometimes it feels like motherhood is a journey of never enough…an endless poverty of time, energy, sleep, capacity.  The needs don’t stop coming, and social media says everyone else is doing it better, and somehow we missed the memo that every mom is actually supposed to be Superwoman.

When I’m tired and I start to feel like I’ve given enough, I tend to get a little stingy with my children.  “Just one book tonight.”  “Ugh, are you sure you really have to go potty….again?  Right now?  Really?”  “No, we can’t go to the park today.”  “No, you can’t play that sport, go to that birthday party, do that thing, make that mess, have that snack right this second…”

Just “No” because I’m overwhelmed and tired and I need the world to stop spinning for a little while, please?

Of course, there is a healthy and appropriate place for “No.”  Of course, we have a responsibility to teach and shepherd our children, as well as show them that the world does not revolve around their needs and desires.  However, the types of “No’s” I’m describing are not in pursuit of healthy boundaries, they are plain and simple fatigue and exasperation.

My grip tightens, my patience shortens, my capacity shrinks, and I just don’t want to give anything else.  And you know what?  The tighter my grip, the more miserable I am.  Every request is an inconvenience.  Every need is an overstep.  Every touch is an annoyance.  Every bump in the road is catastrophic.  I get to where I’m just over-touched, over-noised, over-stimulated, over-needed, over everything.

Tell me I’m not alone?

From this fraught and empty place, I have eagerly looked for another way…  I have looked for the wealth of riches, the endless wells of grace, the renewed strength, the joy and life I’m meant to find when I give it all away.  I have looked for God’s promises in this sacrificial and often invisible life.  The way I’m finding is impossibly simple and profoundly obvious and completely life-altering.  And I don’t think I could have found it until I ran completely out of myself.

 

The other way is simply this:  Cheerful giving – the kind that requires faith.

Once in a while, when I run out of myself (which happens quite regularly, now) I step in faith and give from the places that I think are empty, and I watch the Lord keep filling me up.

I’m not really talking about giving of our finances, though the Bible has a lot to say about that, specifically.  I’m talking about this powerful thing that happens when we give out of the places where we feel most impoverished.

When I feel impoverished of energy, I can choose to bring my measly offering and give of all the enthusiasm I can muster for our breakfast song of blessing, or our evening dance party, because we all just need to smile… and I reap bountifully of joy.

When I feel penniless in attention because my brain is full and my inbox is full and my calendar is full, I can choose to bring my offering and listen generously to that little one’s nonsense story, with the same fervor I would bring to the most critical subject…and I reap bountifully of connection.

Friends, in whatever ways you are feeling spent today, I invite you to join me in this different way of parenting generously. 

Because we have a generous God who has great riches in mercy and mighty power to restore us, we are free to cheerfully throw our two copper coins in the bucket, and trust that we will reap bountifully in our hearts and homes.  

Mama, may you sow bountifully and reap bountifully in your home today.

 

The point is this:  whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.  Each one much give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.  

2 Corinthians 9: 6-7

 Jesus sat down opposite the place where the offerings were put and watched the crowd putting their money into the temple treasury. Many rich people threw in large amounts. But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a few cents.  Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others.  They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything—all she had to live on.”

Mark 12:41-44 (NIV)