I was reading my daily scriptures and was hit by this one in particular at that moment when my kids were acting crazy in the background. Matthew 18:21-22 “Then Peter came to him and asked, ‘Lord, how often should I forgive someone who sins against me? Seven times?’ ‘No!’ Jesus replied, ‘seventy times seven!'”
The thought crossed my mind, have my kids met that quota yet? How many times have I had to forgive them for doing the same thing over and over. I quickly was reminded that I surely had met the quota myself with God. He is such a forgiving God and I feel that if he can forgive me, then surely I can continue to forgive others.
I have been reading some old testament scripture and was drawn into the story and history of Joseph and before him his father Jacob. Such an interesting set of events that lead to the favor that Joseph had over him. The way it ties into what I mentioned before is that Joseph forgave his brothers and more than that he made sure they were taken care of and ended up being better off than when they started.
I feel like as much as it is frustrating to continue to forgive my kids, it allows me the opportunity to teach them and to correct them, but more importantly it shows them how God forgives us. It reminds me to humble myself and remember how amazing God’s grace is to me (and everyone else). Like Joseph’s brothers it also seems that over time we are better for it than when we first started. So keep forgiving!
The other day in small group we were discussing the scripture that says that we should hold off on making judgement. Easier said than done for sure, I usually can justify in my head that as long is I don’t act on the thought then no harm, right? Wrong, I am continuously trying to make better choices this year, and it all starts with my mind. My heart is in the right place usually and I have good intentions, however execution is not always perfect.
I made a purposeful choice to do two new things this year. Read the Bible in a year and to join a Bible study. I am reading the Bible through an application on my phone that makes it easy for me by giving me guidance on what scripture to read and it daily takes me on quite the journey. I got behind and was scared that I was just going to be too far behind to stay committed. However, I buckled down and was able to catch up and am happy to report each morning has been truly blessed. Last night, I started a Beth Moore study with a group of women from all different walks of life. I am excited to open myself up to new relationships and learn more about 1&2 Thessalonians. The bonus, a night of independence from the responsibility of motherhood.
I could have started this year skeptical that I could finish what I started. However, I am really trying to stay focused, positive and diligent in all I set out to do. On the real side this diet that my husband has me experiencing is most likely not going to take the cravings of french fries away that I so desperately desire this very moment.
A word of encouragement, whatever you are striving to do, remember that you are most likely your own worst skeptic. As hard and vulnerable it may be, try and get a person to hold you accountable and stick to it. My prayer is that you are enriched and that you can then enrich someone else’s life this year and the years to come.
Over this past holiday time as we spent time with various families, I was pleasantly surprised by the prayers offered up by the children. Several instances when we were gathering together to eat we took time to pray and often it was a child who wanted to pray. The profound and straightforward things that these little kids said always made me smile. It also would make me think, I wonder if they always pray this way. Do I pray like this or do I make it too complicated? Sure I have a slightly bigger vocabulary and plenty more things that I pray about. But it was a good reminder the various times that these amazing kids prayed how it wasn’t scripted and it was really what they wanted to pray, it was in that moment what was on their minds and hearts to tell God. I desire to pray to God in a more real way in front of my kids and others as well as when I am on my own with Him. I want my kids to learn how to talk to God in a way that really shares what they need and desire answered and expressed to God. May we break away from too simple of prayers in an effort to start a tradition and a habit and teach that it is able really talking to God and its okay to “break script” and really pray what we are feeling in that moment.
So we have traveled a lot in the past month, and hopefully will be traveling in the near future too. Jacob really loved the game “I spy” his version was quite funny. He would give a description of the item he saw out the window and within the same breath he would tell us what it was. On the way back from Michigan to Nebraska we pulled out a new game called “I’m going on a trip,” and ours went like this. I’m going on a trip and I am bringing an Apple, Barbie, Caterpillar, Door, Elephant, Flower, Game, Heater, Ice cube, Jigsaw puzzle, Klennex, Letter, Myself, Nickel, Opal, Piece of Pie, Quail, Robot, Statue, Turtle, Umbrella, Venus Williams, Wonka Bar, Xbox, Yodeler, Zipper.
Our car felt like it was actually carrying that much stuff, it was in quantity but not content. What are some of your games you play in the car to pass time? All I know is that traveling with kids has sure changed the name of the game.
This year was different in that we had two kids who could start to understand concepts of Christmas. We spent our Christmas in Michigan and it was great. I reflected back to traditions from my childhood and heard stories of others. Santa was a big topic this year. I recalled Santa from my childhood as something that didn’t last very long. I was a young Christian at the age of 4 so I caught on to the concept of Jesus and the make believe story of Santa. I am not the type to push make believe on my kids, but this year Jacob especially really got into all the various characters of the season. However, trying to use “Santa” as a means to create order and discipline in the house was not something that works.
I am excited to see how as the years pass, the fun of make believe is enjoyed but the truth of Jesus is realized and celebrated. Tis the season to be jolly, but for the reason that Jesus was born. Merry Christmas.