The other day I read James 1:17a while giving Esther her morning bottle, “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.”
It stuck with me after as she and I went for a morning stroll. The sun was shining. The roads were quiet.
I watched a bug scurry across the sidewalk in front of my stroller. I saw his little shadow bouncing behind. I noticed my humongus shadow moving ahead. And the verse came back to mind.
God is the “Father of lights.” He’s the Creator of the morning sun. And He is faithful. There is not even a shadow of change in Him. Not in His love for me. Or His faithfulness. Or His promises.
Later I read the following from Matthew Henry, “As the sun is the same in nature and influences, though the earth and clouds, often coming between, make it seem to us to vary, so God is unchangeable, and our changes and shadows are not from any changes or alterations in him. What the sun is in nature, God is in grace, providence, and glory; and infinitely more. As every good gift is from God, so particularly our being born again, and all its holy, happy consequences come from him.”
God can be trusted. In busy days. In long nights. “What the sun is in nature, God is in grace.” And I’m humbled He calls me His child.
The lightning bugs are gone. He starts school this week. She’s 4 months old already. And time really does move. Faster each year maybe.
And I don’t want to miss it; not a piece of this grace God has given.
Slow down. Step over toys. Read that book. Cuddle before bed.
“Taste and see that the Lord is good.” (Psalm 34:8)
Stop. Embrace. Taste His goodness.
Today is a gift from His hand.
He hands me a letter for Maw-Maw and asks me to put it in the mail. It’s precious really. In a black crayon the words read, “I’m sorry Brenda passed away, but you will see her again.” No prompting of ours. All him. All that tender-heart he’s got.
The words are misspelled. Several letters are backwards. He struggles. I struggle. And thank God for a diagnosis. Knowing the problem is half the battle or so I’ve heard.
And I say to Jeremy, “At least he’s not writing mean things in perfect English.” Maybe it’s an attempt to justify myself and our choice to homeschool. Maybe I feel frustrated again. But it’s true. One day he may conquer this reading thing. I may be able to give him that. But a tender-heart? And a sensitivity to the needs of others? No. That’s a gift from God. One I beg Him to use in the future.
Yes, he needs a good education. Yes, we will keep working our rears off. But what is the true purpose of parenting? Is there more than what shows up on paper?
Thank You, Father, for this little boy. He is teaching me so much.
“Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD, the fruit of the womb a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one’s youth.” (Psalm 127:3-4)
The pastor talks about SAT’s and filling in those little bubbles. It’s been nearly 16 years, but I still remember. See the classroom. Hear the teacher call time. And I check my work to make sure all the bubbles are filled in. Neatly. Perfectly.
The pastor has lost me in his sermon. My mind drifts off…
I’ve been filling in bubbles ever since. Life is my bubble. I try to do it neatly. Perfectly. There’s just no room or time for error. Pencil. Bubble. Repeat.
And it gets condemning. Overwhelming. Trying to live up to what you expect others expect. Trying to justify when the cross has declared justification. How easily I forget.
My obsessive bubble filling is pointless. I am not perfect. My life is not neat. But Christ came to fix all that. He lived perfectly. He died innocently. And I can put the #2 pencil down. Time. “It is finished.”
God, you know this is a struggle. May the cross and Your declaration over me be enough.
“He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed.” (1 Peter 2:24)
I feel it coming. Breathe deeper to hold it in. Feel my chest tightening and the lump in my throat grow bigger. No. I won’t ugly cry. To do so is to acknowledge she’s really gone. And I can’t. Won’t. Not just yet. Because sometimes it’s just too hard to accept reality. And death. And sorrow.
He draws me back to the Garden in my fighting. Back to where it all began. And I’m Eve. Not wanting to leave Paradise. Not wanting to face pain. Not wanting to accept death. But I’ve sinned. We have. And this is my curse, right? Yes. But is it also grace? Is God giving me grace when He whisks me from this world into His arms? Is that what He offered my Aunt Brenda? No more suffering. But peace with Him. Forever.
It doesn’t feel like grace. The warm tears feel like thorns. The emptiness like a weight I can’t bear. But I weep for myself. For my Mom. For my cousins. And God whispers, “But she wouldn’t come back. She’s seeing true grace.”
Yes! I will choose to believe it because He’s always been faithful. And I will pray for strength. To accept all as grace. Even this…
“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you.” (Isaiah 43:2)
(So many memories-vacations as a kid, going out to eat, watching VHS tapes, sacrificing in 2007, Esther’s baby shower…Wow! Trusting God will be faithful.)