grace

More Alike Than Different

Jeremy and I joined the pool. For exercise. For our “core.” For our scarred up knees that hate (HATE) treadmills.

It’s fine. Kinda. Bathing suits aren’t my friend. I refuse to get my face wet. It’s fine. There’s a hot tub.

I’m a scanner. Especially at the pool.
-You look awkward…we should be friends.
-You’re tugging at your suit…we should be friends.
-You just finished your 1000th lap…move along.

I do that with the kids also.
-You wanna read a book…Mom’s available.
-You’re begging to bake cookies…Mom’s available.
-You pooped your pants…I’m in the middle of fixing dinner.

And with Jeremy.
-You wanna go out…I’ll be ready in 5.
-You wanna keep the kids while I go out…I’ll be ready in 5.
-You wanna preach your upcoming sermon to me…I can’t put this book down.

What if our differences are separating us from connection?

Esther asks why her skin is brown and mine is white. I sit there dumb.

Then respond.
-Our skin may be different colors…But we both like smelly lotion.
-Our eyes may be different colors…But we both like pink.
-Our hair may be different colors…But we both prefer ponytails.

Because there is more that connects than could possibly meet the eye.

Y’all…a Jew named Jesus suffered for me.
He could have (should have) looked at me and said move along.

Y’all…a part of the Trinity died for me.
He could have (should have) looked at me and said I’m too busy.

Y’all…a perfect, holy God offered His Son in my place.
He could have (should have) condemned me to Hell and started fresh.

But grace.

Today…let’s live in that grace. Let’s love in that grace. Let’s see others in that grace.

Because grace makes us more alike than different.

“There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” (Galatians 3:28)

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(And yes…I’m finding things in common even at this stage.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Where Moms Fail (Confession Time)

I hate (HATE) to use the word fail. But can’t think of a better one. This has been burning a hole right through me lately.

Every time I utter the 2 words–“I’m fine”–when I’m really not…I fail.

I fail you because I’m lying. I fail my family because they’re getting fragments. I fail God because I’m relying on my own strength.

You know what the kids get most days…me. Like…FULL–ON–ME.

I’m mentally counting the minutes I spend with each kid, making sure they get equal “Mom time.” I’m stressing out if it’s near dinnertime, and we haven’t read a single book. I’m beating myself up over sunny days we’ve spent inside.

And this blog is titled bumps, bruises, and GRACE.

Sigh…still so far to go.

God’s grace seems big enough for my kids. It seems big enough for my marriage. But often it seems too small for me.

Y’all…lots of days…I’m just not fine. I’m really not. I’m meeting needs on the second all  while trying to live simply and be still.

I’m offering grace to others but not letting it spill over onto me.

Father, forgive me. I admit that I easily swing back toward works-righteousness instead of grace. I confess that lots of days I consider you my Savior but not my friend. I’m tempted to make You a thing I do instead of a relationship I bask in. Be my strength. In your beautiful grace, redeem these bumps and bruises.

Friends…let’s be fine with not being fine. Christ came for “not fine” people. He uses “not fine” people.

“For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace.” (John 1:16)

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My Something Looks Like Nothing Compared To That…

She’s collecting for the homeless. She’s starting her Masters. And I’m sitting here, overeating Wheat Thins, and considering it a great success that Kenan finally fell asleep.

At Carowinds the other day, I was top scorer in the Plants vs. Zombies game. Y’all…the spotlight shone on me! In front of the 50 middle schoolers in there. And I couldn’t have been prouder.

It’s small wins over here. Spelling “your” not “yor.” Knowing 9×9=81. Changing your underwear. Putting on underwear.

As a kid, I wanted to be the first woman ever to play baseball professionally. Not kidding.

As an adult, I want to be the first woman ever to…well, I’ve forgotten.

“Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them.” (Romans 12:6a)

For a season…our gifts may lie dormant.

“Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.” (Romans 12:15)

For a season…our rejoicing and weeping may be with little people with dirty faces.

“Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” (Romans 12:21)

For a season…our greatest good may be shown in the place we call home.

And it’s OKAY.

To help the homeless. To get your Masters. To not.

“I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.” (Romans 12:1)

My sacrifice may not look the same as yours.

And it’s OKAY.

As long as His sacrifice is spotlight. As long as His love is my affirmation. As long as every choice I make-every yes or no I say- is an attempt to glorify Him.

Today…whether you’re collecting for the broken, writing a research paper, or pulling out a fresh pair of Paw Patrol underwear…remember the Who more than the What.

We have worth because Jesus laid down His.

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A Letter on Her 4th Birthday…

To Esther’s Matka,

In another place, Matka would mean Mom. You are her Mom. Some define Mom as “the one who puts her kids before herself.” 4 years ago today…you did that.

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In another place, I would be cradling love in my arms with total fear in my heart. Praying you’d stay firm in your decision. 4 years ago today…you did that.

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In another place, she would run to you when she felt pain. But love sometimes means taking the pain on yourself. 4 years ago today…you did that.

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In another place, we’d still be anxiously begging our phone to ring with a referral. Hoping a brave birthmom would choose us. 4 years ago today…you did that.

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In another place, you’d give up sleep and time to be with her. You’d long so deeply for her happiness that you’d make big sacrifices. 4 years ago today…you did that.

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In another place, our boys would grow up without a sister. They’d miss the strength a woman can show in the middle of raw emotion. 4 years ago today…you did that.

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In another place, you’d be taking her to her 4th birthday party. You’d be wrapping her present. Making her cake. Singing her happy birthday. You’d be snuggling her all day and kissing those brown cheeks…because she is grace to you.

4 years ago today…you were grace to us. You handed us your treasure. You gave us a piece of yourself.

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And I can’t forget the strength I saw in your face. I can’t forget the way those tears of brokenness fell. And I won’t ever forget the words you said to us over and over again.

“I’m doing this because I love her. Tell her that.”

And I do tell her. Over and over and over again.

And I tell her God loves her that way too. He loves her enough to sacrifice. He loves her enough to lay everything down for her. To give it all up.

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Thank you, M… We love you more than you could possibly know.

Love,
Tiffany

“But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons.” (Galatians 4:4,5)

 

For the Restless and Unsettled…

It’s midnight right now. I’m tucked away in the closet, trying to ignore the pile of dirty clothes in the floor, stacked up shoes, and trash bag full of “Goodwill stuff.”

The week ahead is busy. Crazy. I’ve said yes a lot lately. To good things. Things I’m honestly so, so excited about.

But I’m easily overwhelmed. Then restless. Then unsettled. And then…well…up at midnight, hidden in the closet, with fingernails chewed to the quick.

I know busyness doesn’t equate holiness. And I know everything that comes from Heaven doesn’t have my name on it.

And I am sure so many of you live lives much, much busier than I could every dream. Bless. Your. Heart.

But somehow there’s peace in knowing none of us are alone. My friend on the other side of the world just texted me. It’s noon there. She said she’s restless.

Wait. Me too. That’s why I’m up…responding to your text.

And I sent this verse to her. And here it is for you this Monday morning.

“But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” (II Corinthians 12:9,10)

There aren’t “insults, hardships, persecutions, or calamities” written on my calendar for the week. (Please, Lord, keep them away.) But in a bright red marker, there’s the word GRACE.

And it will be sufficient…For my midnights, Mondays, and eternity.

Because “It is finished.”

Grace…then and now…for all of us…the unsettled…today.

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