Love and Grape Jelly (and a SheSpeaks Scholarship)

“God loves each of us as if there were only one of us.  ~St. Augustine”

We were in a hurry.  We were late for school.  I was rushing and pushing and striving and, well maybe-just a little, yelling.  I had woken up as “Drill Sergeant Mom” and was fully committed to the role at hand.

Xander was making his breakfast toast.  Gluten-free brown rice bread with soy-free, vegan butter spread and Welch’s grape jelly.  A big, giant, brand new, (did I mention full?) glass jar of grape jelly.

“Come on, guys. We are going to be late for school! Let’s move!”

“I’m coming, Mom!” Xander exclaimed as he put the lid back on the jelly and shifted the giant jar to his left hand to open the fridge. I turned to give him the “don’t-sass-me” look, and time froze. In the painfully slow motion instant where you just know what is about to happen and are powerless to stop it I watched the giant, glass jar of jelly teeter in his hand and-

fall

to

the

floor.

The dull spl-thwack of the jelly glass snapped the space-time continuum back into full speed.  I leaped into action as I watched tiny shards of glass spray across the floor- lifting and swinging Xander and his bare feet out of the blast zone.  As I sat him down, I looked into his eyes. Tears were streaming down his face. With huge, remorseful brown eyes he looked up at me.

“Mama, I am so sorry. I have made such a big mess, and it’s all sticky and it was a brand new jar and now we’re late and it’s all my fault…”

You know what my first reaction to his repentant heart was? Was it  I can’t believe you made such a mess? Or clean this up right now? Or even an exasperated sigh and when will you ever learn?

It was none of those things.

Upon seeing his heartbreak and repentance, I melted. I immediately gathered him in my arms and held him. Loved him. Soothed him.

“Aw, Baby…it’s ok. We’ll clean this up together. Everything will work out just fine. Ok?”

Sniffing back the last of his tears as he started to calm down, “Ok…”

And then, “Mom…I love you.”

“I love you, too, Baby.”

I just want you to hear this one thing-

GOD LOVES YOU LIKE THAT.

With Mama-soothing-her-broken-hearted-baby-love.

I have lived a good deal of my life with a voice of accusation that I sadly labeled as God. Always believing that He sent his son for US to cover our sins, but, in some way never fully understanding that Christ came FOR ME…FOR MY SINS…and that nothing that I do could ever change the fact that He loves me so much that He would lay down His crown, put on our icky man- clothes, walk among us on this fouled planet, innocently die a horrific, tortured criminal’s death bearing up under the weight of all the sin that ever was and will be, conquered the grave and ROSE AGAIN (He’s alive, my friends- isn’t that the most amazing thing?)…HE LOVES ME that much- andHE LOVES YOU that much too.

The moment that jar of jelly hit the ground, and I looked into my son’s eyes and saw his despair at what he done, I felt the immediate, instinctive reaction to soothe that despair, to forgive that mess he had created, to forget it. In that moment, God changed my entire understanding of grace and forgiveness.

He spoke His word to me, “And now there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus..” Romans 8:1

I knew that God loved me like that- no, beyond that. That as long as I have a truly repentant heart about the mistakes of my life, God is stirred to soothe. To forgive. TO FORGET. It is the promise he makes us. I knew that the accuser of my soul was not my Lord, my Savior, but an enemy.  THE enemy.  There is no condemnation in Christ Jesus. He speaks to us with words of love, and joy and encouragement.

Thank you, Jesus for ransoming my heart on the cross. Thank you, Lord for rescuing my heart with a broken jar of grape jelly! I love how you use the tiniest of moments to teach us truth….Keep teaching, Lord. I am listening.

What small moment has God used to teach you about His love?

This post is an entry for a full scholarship to the 2011 Proverbs 31 SheSpeaks conference. The She Speaks Conference is about women connecting the hearts of women to the heart of our Father God and my heart is to serve Him and His daughters, as He leads.

I have so wanted to attend for many years, and love that my word sister, Ann Voskamp is offering an opportunity for scholarship to this awesome resource. If you would like to be considered for scholarship, check out her blog post here.

Everyday A Little Sabbath

Save me, O God! For the waters have come up to my neck. I sink in deep mire, where there is no foothold. I have come into deep waters and the flood sweeps over me.” – Psalms 69:1-2

Feeling completely submerged?

I know David was crying about because of his enemies, but this week my enemy is time (or lack of it).  A friend once said to me that I needed to organize my day in such a way that my goals were ‘achievable in the time allotted.’  Wow…have I strayed from that bit of wisdom in these last weeks.

Seems the more I study the Sabbath, the need for soul space and the sacred word ‘no,’ the less likely have I been to attain it.

I also understand now there are seasons God calls us to work, and I believe this is one of them in my life, but I currently feel completely submerged beneath my “to do” list. I feel as if I have “come into the deep waters and the flood sweeps over me.”

Even still, in these super busy hectic days, God has blessed me with sweet moments of respite, beautiful clarity of mind, and boundless joy in the tiny Shabbats he gives me each day.

It leaves me wondering if this discovery of Sabbath in the midst of the crazy chaos of everyday mundane is exactly what he is trying to teach us on this path. To teach us that creating soul-space is less a thing we schedule and more a mindset of seeking the divine in every moment. It’s less about the discipline of  “doing something different” and more the discipline of experiencing life as a constant blessing from my Father.

It still takes practice. Some days it is easier than others to see the divine in a hug that lingers, or the quiet of  a house that missed it’s alarm. Some days it is so easy to get “stuck in the deep mire” of everyday life. Some days it  is natural to see every detail as a blessing, on others it takes specific, disciplined, intention to view life through that lens. Either way, I am learning–slowly–to choose that intention.  Will you join me?

How does God give you Sabbath everyday?

Living Water

The grass under my feet crunches like a freshly opened bag of potato chips.  It’s a great sound for chips to make, but really kind of sad sound for your front lawn.  Not at all the sound I had dreamed of when I envisioned running through the yard barefoot. Right now it’s like running barefoot through a straw bale- all itchy and crunchy and stiff….ICK!!!

We’ve even been watering. Using that precious resource from the spicket and raining down life from a little tractor sprinkler that uses the hose to move slow and  rhythmically across the lawn. But man-made life just doesn’t get deep enough- doesn’t quite quench the thirst or bring full health.

And then ….

Gray clouds roll in and cool winds cut the heat.  The evening sky lights up and flashes like a disco club. Heaven opens up and rains REAL life down on my dry and crunchy grass.

I am greeted with green this morning.  In one evening, God poured out his life on the land and then life, awakening and growth moves in.

Are you dry grass today?

In this crazy, hectic, quiet-starved world we live in are we spending too much time seeking man-made sources of life?  Of happiness? Of success?

The problem with the hose water is that it’s not real water.  It’s not the way God intended it to be for the grass.  It’s been stripped and filtered and added to by man.  It doesn’t fulfill a plant’s requirements for life.

Just like a plant needs God’s water to survive and thrive, so do we.  We need vitality straight from the Great Provider in order to truly grow, especially in times of drought. We need pure, unfiltered, un-“enriched” water straight from God – through his Holy Word and through the words we hear when we get quiet and still and listen for his voice.

If you seek His nourishment, you will find awakening, growth and life to the full.

I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”- John 10:10

How do you seek the living water God provides?