Bracing for Impact?

Bracing for Impact

It’s the first week of summer break. Like many mamas, I’m taking it a little slower this week…relishing in the fact that no lunches need to be packed…there’s no morning bell to beat…no spelling words to study.

But at the same time, as summer has been approaching, I have been bracing for impact. Summer will bring a lot more…quality?…time at home with my kiddos.  Each summer gets less and less exhausting as the kids are getting older.  But, I know there will be bickering, there will be yelling, and there will be tears.  I just hope its not mostly from me.

Whatever this summer holds for any of us…whether its lots more time at home with the kids, a more stressful routine of balancing kids and work, difficult relationships, or even bigger transitions looming in the Fall –  there will be joys, pains, and challenges.  More often than not, we feel ourselves bracing for impact.

But I am reminded of God’s greatest desires for us…

“Don’t let the impact of the world shatter your thinking or draw you away from focusing on Me.” Sarah Young, Jesus Calling, May 22.

The great God of the Universe wants us to put our focus on Him, to seek His face, feel his deep love, and be still in His presence as we face each new day.

“God’s presence is real, full of love, and completely transformational. It takes what was broken and brings healing. It takes what was lost and guides us to our rightful place in the Father. It satisfies the weary, brings light to the darkness, and pours out the refreshing rain of God’s love on the dryest, deepest parts of the soul…He longs to make the reality of his presence known to you. He longs to refresh you with his nearness” Craig Denison, First 15, May 18

I love the concept of ‘making space’ for God.  I was recently taught that even when we use God’s gifts to capacity, we are called to still hold space for God.  Without making time to focus on God each day, the impact of the world (and the little people whom I love so much) will no doubt bring out the worst in me. My goal this summer is to make space for God.  Rather than bracing for impact, I want to feel His loving embrace.

“The absolute, most important single act of the children of God is making space to encounter our heavenly Father in the secret place…It establishes roots which enable us to receive all that we need to bear the fruit of the Spirit.” Denison, First15 May 22

Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control.  These are the fruits of the Spirit.  These particular virtues have been on my heart for a few years now.  Perhaps because they are ideal virtues to teach our little ones…Perhaps, because they are ideal virtues for us as adults in a broken world.

I struggle.sooo.much to be patient and gentle with my children.

John 15:7-8 says “If you abide in me, and my words abide in you…By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples.” 

Will you join me in planting seeds as we head into summer? The fruits of the Spirit have already been gifted to us.  But we must nurture them to see growth. For me, it’s only by making space for God and watering the dryest parts of my soul.  Then, we pour out our love to the world around us. Now that’s worthwhile impact.

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Routine Miracles

Telluride in the Fall

Are the leaves changing color where you live? I must admit…I miss getting to experience those first exciting hints of fall like we did in Colorado and New Mexico. Friends are posting pictures of the Aspen Trees on the mountain in Santa Fe. And Colorado is showing off with amazing fall colors in contrast to snow-capped peaks. Newsflash – the palm trees don’t turn brilliant colors and shed their leaves in the winter. While it’s nice to throw on a tank top and flip flops to walk the boys down to school, I do miss the natural transition to jeans and boots. I have a feeling though, that come February, I will not miss fitting four kids into snow boots and winter gloves.

I have long thought that the vibrant colors of fall are a creative gift from God. I bet He came up with that idea so we wouldn’t complain so much when the time comes to rake the leaves out of the yard.

And along those same lines of God’s creativity, I think the clear reason that newborn babies are so scrumptious and have that amazingly unique smell is so new parents have the super human ability to wake up every three hours through the night for weeks on end. Douglas Quenqua wrote about a study published in the journal, Frontiers in Psychology, confirming that ‘new baby smell’ acts as a kind of sensory rush for mothers. According to the study, researchers asked 30 women — 15 who had recently given birth, and 15 who had never given birth — to identify mystery scents while their brain activity was monitored. When given the smell of newborns, the women all showed activity in the same dopamine pathways that light up after ingesting stimulant drugs and enjoying good food. God is a genius! It’s as if He has it all figured out. It’s a miracle in the first place that babies are formed in the womb and bless our families the way they do. But it’s a routine miracle that these little miraculous lives enchant their parents day after day, night after night – even in the midst of serious deep sleep deprivation.

Routine miracles are events that happen regularly – every day…every year…often enough to see a pattern – yet you are still absolutely blown away each time. I won’t see very many changing leaves in SoCal this fall. But every time I see the sun set over the ocean (apparently it happens EVERY DAY here), I am in complete and utter respect for the beauty of life.  And for our magnificent Creator.

“If God creates such exquisiteness, how much more magnificent is the Creator? Even the most spectacular displays in the cosmos only hint at the splendor of God; the deepest insights into nature are shallow observations compared to the depth of the nature of God.” – Margaret Feinberg, Wonderstruck

Routine miracles are truly a gift. I hope that each time I witness one of these routine miracles in my life, I can be reminded of Jeremiah 31:3. The Message translation reads:

 “I’ve never quit loving you and never will. Expect love, love, and more love!”

In the midst of my mundane routine (like sorting up to 84 socks per week!), God gifts me with little reminders of His everlasting love for me. And no matter how much I screw up, how much I loose my patience with my kids, how much I fail to show my best friend how much I love him — the leaves still turn, the sun still sets, my growing babies still enchant me. And I am reminded that “God is the same yesterday, today, and forever” (Hebrews 13:8).  And He loves me yesterday, today, and forever.

My Jesus Calling devotional on October 8th reminded me that every day I must look beyond the mundane, chaotic, and often sad circumstances of life and discover God gazing lovingly back at me. What are the routine miracles in your life this week? It is my prayer that we all recognize and appreciate the routine miracles and feel the deep love that God has to offer through those events. So grab a pumpkin latte (or maybe a pumpkin ale if its warm) and soak up the gifts of fall.

*photo cred to Mariah A-g of Telluride Ski Resort on Facebook