Uncomfortable grace

Last week I went into Walmart to grab milk and eggs. We only needed milk and eggs. But listen, I have the hardest time not running through the clearance at Walmart. I’m a mess, I know.

And as I made my way to the clearance I went to the bedding section, and thought oh yeah we could totally use new sheets. (For real, we had one pair and we need a backup.)

Next thing I know I see a dear friend from church and her daughter. We smile and chat for a few minutes. My youngest is looking at all the pillows and stuffed animals by the sheets. My friend and I finish up chatting and my littlest and I head down the next aisle. I got sidetracked again and grabbed a really squishy pillow, then we went down the clearance aisle and ran into our friends again. She commented on how great the pillow was and she hoped I got to take a nap on it that day.

I was so grateful to see her and catch up. With COVID-19 it’s hard to see people and try to figure out what’s appropriate or not. We both felt joy seeing each other.

I finally grabbed what we needed and headed to check out. My friend and her daughter checked out in front of us and we said good bye one more time.

As I’m checking out I realized I left my wallet at home (darn purse change) and so I returned those few things to the worker and head out the door thinking I’ll go this afternoon and get milk and eggs. It was a sign, I didn’t need the sheets and pillow anyways.

We walked out front and our friends were waiting, and I thought oh wonder if they needed to tell me something. No, they just had a little blessing for our youngest.

I said, “Man, I forgot my wallet (because my cart was empty).”

She replied, “Oh, we are going back in and I’m gonna get that stuff for you.”

I said, “Oh, I can send you money through my phone!”

She replied, “Absolutely not.” She said she was blessed she got to see me that day and knew she was supposed to help.

I was embarrassed. Uncomfortable. She wanted to buy not just my milk and eggs, but my sheets and pillow! I sheepishly accepted.

They poured blessing on blessing to us that day.

And as I’m thinking on that story today my heart wells with gratitude. I want to owe her back. I want to do something in return. But maybe my only roll was to accept the blessing, the free gift, and be grateful.

I couldn’t help being reminded of the gospel.

Jesus sent us the most perfect gift, and sometimes it is flat out uncomfortable for me to accept I need it. But once we do, “God pours out His Spirit in our hearts with His love” (Romans 5:5) so we can live a life for Him. A life that is grateful. At the end of Luke 7 there’s a story about a sinful woman who comes in to see Jesus and she begins to weep at Jesus’ feet with gratitude and she wipes His feet clean with her hair! Then, Jesus replies, “Therefore, I tell you, her sins, which are many are forgiven–for she loved much. But He who is forgiven little, loves little. Luke 7:47”

His forgiveness of all her sins drew her in love, He wasn’t going to punish her, but forgive her completely. And she overflowed back to Him in gratitude.

I love that my friend showed me Jesus. Reminding me of my need, even if it’s uncomfortable.

How can we show God today we are grateful for His free gift of grace? Can we give it out?

Fear

I’ve lived a lot of my life in fear.  The more I feared things, the more those things came true, which kept me in this cycle believing all those fears because some of them had come true.

Last night my son had a bad thought, which made him fearful he’d have nightmares.  Oh bless him, I couldn’t hug him tight enough.  I encouraged him to say his fear out loud, breaking it’s power, praying with him, and checking on him as he fell back to sleep.

It felt right.  I could tell he was calm.  My heart swelled with love for him.  I didn’t think less of him because he had a bad thought.  I didn’t tell him to quit it and get it together.  It didn’t make sense to say those things.

But how often do we say those things to ourselves?  Just stop worrying, get it together, no one else thinks this way.  And in our silence we’ve given power to those thoughts.

Negative thoughts are normal, it is what we do with them that gives them power or dissolves them.  

It also hit me after Caleb went to lay down, just because you think something doesn’t make it true.  Our brains need this reminder.  We are hardwired for protection.  Our brains know how to do this well.  And if we’ve had any sort of trauma we are hardwired for more protection.

A thought is a thought and we get to choose what to do with it.

  1. Speak it out loud.  So our brains have a chance to look at it differently.
  2. Share it with someone else. Maybe a friend or a counselor.
  3. Pray.
  4. Let others check on you.  People who love you and encourage you.  Reminding you that you are not alone, no shame.  Just joy shared in this journey.

 

Hopefully this encourages you, by reminding you, you are not alone.  How we speak to our kids is how we should speak to ourselves.  Or speak to ourselves the way we want to speak to our kids.  Parenting continues to teach me more and more about myself.  Grateful. img_0228