Enough is enough

I think we can all acknowledge that we live in a culture that values stuff, new stuff, more stuff, any stuff.  It can be hard to acknowledge when we have enough when there is a new version of an iPhone every couple months – when your tv, radio, ads on Facebook, everywhere you go is blaring something at you.  That’s why the story of Esau and Jacob’s reunion stuck out to me.

Jacob had ran away and was returning to Esau, but because of their history he wasn’t sure how Esau would respond.  (Check out Genesis for the whole story.)  So, Jacob brings lots of presents to try to smooth his way back into his brother’s good graces.  It wasn’t necessary.

Upon being presented with all the gifts, Esau responded, “I have enough, my brother, keep what you have for yourself.” (Genesis 33:9)

Esau could look at what he had and recognize that it was enough – despite the amazing riches that Jacob presented. ..

Jacob argued, “Please accept my blessing that is brought to you because God has dealt graciously with me and because I h7928a37c8fd7b12651abff1473e5dbfeave enough.” (Genesis 33:11)

Both brothers realized they had enough.  They both realized why they had enough.  They acknowledged that it wasn’t because of themselves, but because their Father had dealt graciously with them – and thus they should be gracious with each other..

The bottom line for them in this whole interaction is that they valued each other more than the stuff. It was about investing in each other, not accumulating or hoarding more.

So, when do we say, “I have enough” and really focus on blessing others through God’s graciousness to us?

  • S
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Not His Fault

I almost ruined a perfectly good day yesterday. I did ruin an hour.

And our zoo outing with friends turned into an aquarium visit without.

 

I almost blamed my husband for it all. And brought three years of legitimate frustrations into a self made morning of anger. Don’t get me wrong, plenty of bad days (or moments) are his fault. This time it wasn’t.

 

I didn’t eat breakfast (I’m not myself when hungry…)

 

And I have a shrinking, yet still very present, problem with letting go of self imposed timelines for a days events. When 90% of the time, if we leave 30 minutes late it does not matter.

 

its not his faultThe world will not collapse if I stop running around like a tazmanian devil. If I wait, and play, with the kids while Chris brushes his short hair and teeth and finds his shoes and phone and then asks questions. And then we can load the car together.

 

Heck, I can take an extra 10 minutes and do my own hair, if I slow down and let myself. (by this, I mean perhaps brush it today)

 

Luckily, this angry morning I did pack a granola bar, and Chris doesn’t hold grudges.

 

I know I am making a little progress because I allowed my irrational anger to dissipate before we even entered the aquarium. Typically, my irrational feelings linger a little too long.

 

But someone make me slow down, this is not the momma I want my kids to remember. Outtings shouldn’t be marked my irritation and fights on the drive there.

And breakfast is a must. Coffee does not suffice.
– J

Seasons

From each season emerges a new side of God… Sarah Hagerty

I do believe this to be true. However, like I do too often, I make it about me; how am I changing, how does this impact MY life. I forget this is about God, and that He is allowing me to know Him better.

What an honor, what a blessing, that I almost missed because it’s wrapped in struggle, in lack of control, in impatience.

 

I can’t yet figure out what God is revealing about himself, or our relationship. Perhaps it is intricately woven with how much of myself I am willing to let go, how uncomfortable I will get.

 

He allows suffering and discontent and confusion, but he promises great joy and an understanding of the tapestry (one day).

 

You do not realize what I am doing, but one day you will understand. –  John 13:7

 

God is in control. The creator of the universe that changes the wind, changes my season to force me closer to Him. Bends the tide so I must hold his hand, and it is gentle and sweet amidst my internal chaos.

seasons

Perhaps that’s the take away today: you can be in control and gentle…

 

After all the greek definition of gentleness is power under control, and if that doesn’t sum up my God I don’t know what does.

  • J

Christmas in July

They say discontentment is the opposite of a thankful heart. It’s the opposite of joy.

Its fists closed to the gift of the moment. I should be wiser than that.

We get to say yes; we get to choose joy. We have the power of a thankful heart.

 

And when I slow down, my life is brimming and my heart IS thankful. But as I sit here alone and quiet (for the first time in weeks), my soul yearns for me.

More love? How selfish am I?!

More peace? Is this not enough?!

 

So I stop writing and open the only source able to provide both, that has a prayer of loving me big enough, peace that will last long enough.

 

christmas in july1Perfect love born in December; yet it’s July. Christmas reflections in July…why not.

 

December isn’t the only secular season of “more.” It seems to last the whole year through and we wonder where the dissatisfaction comes from.

Unless we set down the stuff, purge for simplicity, go to the source of grace and love and peace, the stuff will just clutter and dust.

Lack luster love hidden among things.

christmas in july2There’s only one love and it was born in a manger. What would that look like if I focused my home on becoming a stable?

 

Only the necessities, so that there is room, there is time for more, for better, love.

  • J

I Can’t Do All Things

I am really blessed to have been raised by two amazing people who love God and me so deeply.  I really did grow up believing that I could do and be absolutely anything I wanted if I was willing to put the work in.  I didn’t fully realize what a rare blessing it was to have that type of support and external belief in you until I became a teacher and was heart broken by the number of kids who are already so broken in spirit by 13 or 14 years old.

Honestly, I still believe this about myself…(well, okay, maybe I couldn’t do anything I wanted…my parents call me grace for a reason…and it’s a sarcastic one – so any ballerina or figure skating dreams I had as a child, I have safely set aside (you are all welcome)).

19593058fc92277214e5b8e71809d44eNow, though, this is largely because of my relationship with Jesus Christ.  I know I would only act in His will through prayerful reflection, so of course I could accomplish what I set out – because of Him though, not me.  So, I can go forth in crazy surety.

It is with this lens that I was reading the story of the Tower of Babel the other day (which is super short and found in Genesis chapter 11).  Basically, all the people work together to build a tower to reach the heavens.

God’s response?  “Now they will be able to do anything…” (verse 6).  And to prevent this, God strikes them all with different languages.  So, now they can no longer communicate and won’t be able to do anything.

My response? Well, why wouldn’t God want them to be able to do anything?  At first reflection, this didn’t mash with my understanding of God’s support of our ability.  After all, Phillippians 4:13 says that I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

I spent some time reflecting on these two seemingly conflicting ideas about God’s desires for success for me before I realized my answer.

21ed84a58a427966a882da13f6da0532God does want us to do be able to accomplish great things…with Christ who strengthens us.  He does not want us to think we can accomplish all these things without Him…because any success found without Him is empty of meaning.  In many ways, this is a gift that makes faith easier.  If we could do anything on our own, it would be much harder to have faith in Him.  After all, if we are capable in our own right, there is no need for God.

He wants us to come to Him and rely on Him in faith.  So, no, He doesn’t want us to be able to do it by ourselves, because He wants us to do it with Him.

I love my God, my life partner (and afterlife), the One who wants to do it all with me.

-S

 

Control, Again

Control. Again. It all comes back to it somedays.

Makes sense though. Essentially I’m a single parent when my Chris is at work. (3-4weeks out of state at a time). It’s exhausting. And hard.

And I am momma aka the one in charge. I make every executive decision. What’s for breakfast, when it’s nap time. Can we play outside. Can we have dessert. Is it time for the zoo or train station. Do we have to clean. Can we skip baths. Are the bills paid. Did the birthday cards get sent. When do we need groceries…

Every single decision, big and small, is mine for the making.

It’s no wonder I have control issues. It’s the nature of my 24/7 job to be in control. And not just “in charge” for authority’s sake, but relied upon to raise kind, respectful, healthy, happy, God fearing, God loving, humans.

The stakes are very high.

It’s easy to forget my little daily decisions are not about control.

And that in the scheme of life they are just that, little daily decisions.

I’m well aware of my failures daily. I choose poorly a lot. I react even worse.

However, I’ve been taught it’s ok; grace isn’t given because of my works but because of His love.

And despite it all I try to make that my foundation of motherhood. Grace isn’t given because of their deeds, but because of my love.

I screw up a lot, make the wrong decisions. I pray I always err on the side of love. Make the best decision I can, with the information I have at the time, and then let the rest go.

Could have, would have, should haves don’t matter. Ultimately I’m not in control anyways, I’m just guiding tiny lives the best I can. And God will use my efforts for good.

It is in His control. He made these littles, I was just the vessel. He is shaping their destinies and hearts, I was just honored to guide them.

So guide them I do, with all of my heart. And I pray I loosen my novel grip on control enough to enjoy these days and keep an eternal perspective, my little daily decision add up, but do not give me any real authority. The power and the blessings belong to my King

So like a servant I bow low, unworthy of the tasks granted to me. The love given directly to me, and the love grown in me that I’m allowed to foster and witness.

And at the end of the day I’m aware it’s not me being glorified by my faulty works, but my King.

  • J

In the Midst of It

5bf873a2796a7e5a30aa92e085a2d1a4I am so grateful.  I want to be so grateful.  I love when I come to the end of something and can see how God worked things to come together for good- when I literally can see His promises of goodness fulfilled.  

However, we aren’t really supposed to wait until that point to be grateful.  We should worship in thanksgiving in the midst of it because we know He will grant what He has promised … even if we don’t see it yet.

In Genesis 24, Abraham sent a servant to get a wife for Isaac ~ confident that God would go before the servant and provide.  The servant made a sign with God to know which woman to choose.  When the woman said the words of the signal, the servant praised God.  Then and there – before talking to her father (which would have been essential to closing any marriage agreement).  

Anything could have still gone wrong.  Yet, the servant didn’t wait until he had talked and confirmed with her dad or for all the details to be finalized.  He worshipped and thanked God for the blessing in the midst of it.  He stopped the process midway because he knew God would see it through.  

How often do I do this?  Or do I wait until it’s “safe” to be thankful?

God is so good.  It doesn’t always make sense.  It doesn’t always seem fair, let along pleasant.  But He is good and honest and just…and we can stop midway in the process, uncertain of the details and worship Him in gratefullness because He is in control and will provide according to His promises and His will.

luke145regularSo, let’s stop waiting until the end of a process and start worshipping and thanking Him right in the midst of the process.  Maybe it will be in the midst of a process where the positivie end is in sight like this servant, or maybe it will be in the midst of it when it is painful and dark with no light in sight.  

Any time and all times, I want my soul to sing His praise!  I just have to remember to stop and keep my eyes focused on Him in thanksgiving.

-S