Beauty

I’m constantly amazed at the work of God’s hands to take the ugly, jagged pieces of our broken lives and make a beautiful mosaic. Where we once saw pain and death, we see a new masterpiece where God has used all those experiences to shape us into something stronger, better.

Over the last few months I’ve witnessed some of these pieces. I saw God’s hands hold the sharp piece holding death, and He painted soft colors through the middle where friends brought comfort. I saw pieces containing disappointment over lost jobs and an end to one phase of life only for God to draw a new picture for the future in its place.

And I saw the small, insignificant pieces become part of the masterpiece, the pieces of messes on the kitchen floor when a little girl wants to feel like a woman. The pieces where banana pudding recipes contain thyme and honey and pepper and are joined to a new piece, one with the opportunity for a mother to help clean up the mess and make something beautiful. I saw the beauty of the new piece, a memory of creating something new and good out of the misguided intentions of an almost four-year-old.

Just the way God does with our messes when He comes alongside to gently clean away the spills and create a work of art in its place.

Joining up with the Gypsy Mama for her ‘5 Minute Friday’ on ‘Beauty.’ In an attempt at full disclosure, today was more like a 10 minute Friday for me due to a brain freeze in the middle of writing, but I did not edit my work per the rules. Where do you find beauty?

 

I Can’t Make This Stuff Up

I tend to put pressure on myself to create memory-worthy opportunities in my family. However, I’m realizing that the planned events might not be those that stick out in my children’s memories but the random that leave an impression. I know the following conversation found an immediate home in the recesses of my mind….

For whatever reason, Hannah Grace and I have our heart-to-heart moments amidst moving shoes and clothes off her floor to their correct homes. Such was the case yesterday when Hannah Grace startled me with her question:

“When you married Daddy, were you a maid?”

“What?”

“When you got married, were you a maid?” she asked, as if this question were any clearer to me the second time.

What are you talking about?” Her question was not making any sense to me, especially since my life after marriage not before more closely mirrors that occupation.

“When you got married…what were you called? The maid?

“Oh. No, Hannah Grace,” I replied, somewhat relieved that she wasn’t conveying how she viewed me. “I was the bride.”

“Oh. And did the bride ride the broom?”

“What?!”

Now I was completely horrified. My four-year-old had managed to imply that I was akin to the Wicked Witch of the West and use a sexual euphemism in the same sentence.

image courtesy of photobucket.com

“What was Daddy called?”

“The groom. Yes, I married the groom.”

She giggled a little and continued.

“Oh. Why do they call the princes that funny name?”

“I don’t know, Hannah Grace, I don’t know.”

But I did know, as I ushered her out of the room, that one day she would have her fairy tale wedding, complete with princes and wicked witches and maids. Either that, or her gaffes would pave the way for an interesting career in politics.


Payback

They thwarted my plans. I wanted us to get ready quickly and head out the door, but they wanted to play beauty shop. I’m always amazed at how quickly their little attention spans can get diverted, like a dog on a walk seeing a squirrel. I thought the instructions were clear enough–Go upstairs, and put on your shoes–but I realize now that I should have taped red arrows on the carpet leading up the stairs, into their bedrooms, and stopping at their closets.

But I didn’t. Instead, I buckled their sister in her car seat, and when I came back in the house to find that they were still upstairs, I knew the quest to find shoes had turned into another adventure.

I walked into my bathroom, and there Caleb was applying eyeshadow to his sister’s face, reminiscent of Tammy Faye. I ushered them downstairs, keeping my cool, and sent Caleb to the van where his sister was waiting.

And that’s how I found myself alone with Hannah Grace in the kitchen.

I had wet a paper towel and was doing my best to gently remove the pastel colors from her eyelids and cheeks, explaining to her again that little girls shouldn’t wear make-up. Hannah Grace countered with the natural follow-up question:

“When I grow up, will you be dead?”

I sighed as I swept the paper towel across her forehead. This was not the first time she had asked this question.

“I hope not, Hannah Grace. Only God knows when we’re going to die.”

And then she looked up at me and smiled her smile that makes her eyes twinkle.

“When I grow up, then I’ll take care of you!” she laughed.

I paused for a moment.

I thought of my thwarted plans and realized one day, in fact, it might be my turn to thwart plans. Yes, one day Hannah Grace would have to wipe off a too heavily applied rouge from my cheeks.

She would care for  me, and it would be my turn to drive her crazy.

A slight smile formed on my lips as I finished cleaning up Hannah Grace. One day it would be my turn to pee on her kitchen floor. And that thought brought me great comfort.

The Crazy Old Bat and Birthday Presents

The family gathered round the old woman in the now familiar den. She sat shoulders haunched over in her wheelchair in between the two green couches framing that side of the room. As her family had become accustomed, they looked on the unpleasant face of the old woman, a face which rarely smiled, her once hazel eyes now gray and lifeless.

“Happy Birthday, Mom,” her youngest daughter offered once everyone was situated on a couch or pulled-up chair, the young children on the floor.

A chorus of “Happy Birthdays” spattered off after Chloe took the lead, and she leaned over from her place on the couch to grab a brightly colored bag just ahead of her. She gently placed the bag in her mother’s lap, and the old woman looked down at her own reflection in the metallic sections that popped out at her. She slowly slid her hand up the top of the bag and fingered the shiny tissue paper that streamed out like the huge water fountains at the mall. And she gave one of her trademark “Hmphfs.”

“Tissue paper. It took days to clean up all that paper. I’d never seen such a mess,” the old woman grumped.

“What is she complaining about now?” her grandson whispered to his cousin from one of the chairs at the back of the party. “Grandma is the only person I know who could find a reason to be unhappy at her own birthday party.”

“Oh, who knows?” answered the teenaged girl, obsessed with twirling her long blonde locks. “Grandma’s just crazy.”

But Grandma was too busy remembering another birthday party to notice her grandchildren at the back of the room.

Yes, the crazy old bat was remembering a time when she wasn’t quite as crazy, wasn’t nearly as old, and was actually somewhat attractive. After five years of raising children she had thought she was going crazy but she was naive as to what was yet to come.

On this particular day in her memory, the young woman at the time was tired; she didn’t feel well and decided she wasn’t going to put the intentional effort into her parenting that she did on most days. Instead, she was going to lie on the couch with her feet up and trust, albeit foolishly, that her children could play nicely for a half an hour.

She heard little feet travel up the stairs, and she heard them travel back down again. She heard the sound that was akin to paper grocery bags, and she heard the rustling of paper. Yet she remained on the couch. There were no sounds of furniture crashing or screams for help, so the relatively speaking young and attractive mother decided to continue lying on the couch while her children played. But the time for her to get up arrived, and she gingerly stepped in the direction of the playroom.

She knew she had taken a risk. She knew she was probably stupid. But 30 minutes prior she hadn’t cared. She hadn’t cared, that is, until she saw every single gift bag she had owned covering the floor of the playroom. Tissue paper, the tissue paper she had carefully folded in order to reuse (that’s right–the crazy young bat hadn’t bought a bag or tissue paper in about seven years) came out of the tops of the bags in a crumpled mess. Wrinkled paper was strewn all over the floor.

“WHAT in the world?….” she trailed off, looking over the mess that overwhelmed even her sensibilities.

The three children turned around sharply looking at their mother.

“We’re having a birthday party!!” her daughter exclaimed with a smile that lit up her whole face.

“Yeah,” her son agreed while he reached down to grab one of the presents.

The mother looked and noticed that the bag was filled, filled with toys from the playroom. Her mind quickly calculated how long it would take her children to put away all of the toys that lined the bottom of each bag.

“Hurry up and have your party so we can clean up,” she said with the wave of her hand, her eyes slightly squinted from the headache that had now formed.

“Here, Hannah Grace,” offered her son. This present’s for you.”

The young girl grabbed the present excitedly, her eyes shining. She reached down and pulled out layer upon layer of tissue paper, throwing each piece on the floor, until she reached in and pulled out a princess Barbie doll, a worn, tattered princess Barbie doll whose hair she had cut. A worn, tattered princess Barbie doll that she had owned for almost a year.

“OOhhh…a princess doll! I love it!” she exclaimed as if she had never seen the doll before in her life.

“Here, Caleb. I got this present for you.” She handed her brother a bulky bag, the toy inside not quite fitting.

“Oh, wow! A football! Mom, look! Hannah Grace got me a football!”

The mother looked on in disbelief. The playroom was full of bags full of old toys that her kids were going wild over. If only the Academy were there to notice their performance.

“Well,” the moderately young mother stated matter-of-factly. “I’m so glad to know that all I have to do for Christmas is wrap up one of the toys that you already have.”

Now it was her kids’ turn to stare in disbelief.

*******************************************

The crazy old bat continued to finger the tissue paper that spew out the top of her bag, and if her children were paying attention, they might have seen the right side of her lips curl in a slight smile.

New to The Crazy Old Bat? Click here to read more of her stories. What’s a fond (or fond in retrospect) memory of your child(ren)’s play?

Graceful Arms

 

photo courtesy of photobucket.com

I was drawn to the look on her face, the wide-eyed sense of awe she displayed as she looked down at the newborn in her lap. Her little body took on the stillness of a statue, yet she emanated a softness from her limbs, two limbs which carefully framed this new life lying across her legs. I couldn’t stop looking at her face, the creamy porcelain skin and gentle smile framed by a bob of strawberry-blonde hair.

As her older brother came near, she whispered protectively, “You can’t touch her face,” and her arms gracefully outlined the baby as a ballerina who curves her arms in the gentlest of form, cushioning the baby’s head with tender, extended fingertips that didn’t quite touch this infant’s skin. It was as if the space between her arms and the baby’s body was filled with fluffy clouds and pillows, this special barrier enough to protect from the two-year-old now climbing on the couch to take a peek.

I wanted to capture this beautiful image forever but fought the impulse to use my phone as a camera, lest the moment be ruined by calling attention to it. So instead, I marveled at the instinct of my not-quite four-year-old and how a new life pulled a tenderness, a stillness, an impulse for reverence from her spirit. And I breathed in the fragility of life, this precious new life and the one not much older who recognized it.

Five days later, I watched a friend weary from grief hold her son while she sang praises to the God who took her husband home. And again, I was reminded of this fragility each of our bodies carries. Our bodies, these weak, imperfect vessels, not promised a tomorrow. Our hearts, not immune to the deep ache of suffering, left feeling raw and bruised so many times along the journey.

I sat in the car on our drive home, and I felt this ache in my own heart, a pain that I knew wouldn’t dull quickly, thoughts of my friends filling my mind. But I looked out the window over the rail on the interstate at the mountains of Tennessee, these rolling hills, and I was reminded that the strong arms that reached down and made these were also gentle enough to hold them.

Throughout the last few days I had seen how Wendy was held. Friends who had accompanied her every step of this difficult journey, friends who made meals or sat around her kitchen table, friends who offered bedrooms to her family or coordinated the cleaning of her house, friends who extended their graceful arms and cradled her head.

I felt graceful arms days later in a gentle breeze against a hot, dry Georgia afternoon, lifting up our heads, tousling our hair as we listened to the preacher pray in front of the casket.  These gentle arms that understood the fragility of all our lives, offering a small blessing in the midst of our grief.

That night as I looked out on the green hills from the window of our van, I felt a profound tiredness. When we pulled into our driveway after midnight, we made our way into the house from the dark and thanked Matt’s parents for watching the kids. We spoke little as we made our way up the stairs and quickly dressed for bed. And that night as we lay under the covers, we held each other a little tighter than normal, resting in each others’ arms, knowing that we could never take these fragile lives for granted.

For those who had been following or are interested in Wendy’s journey, click here to read her final post. Her raw honesty is so beautiful and touching. Thank you for your prayers these last few days. I will update my sidebar (finally) in the next couple of days, and Wendy’s post will appear there, as well.

 

I’ll Never Trade

As my children take another step toward independence, I breathe a sigh of relief. I look back at pictures from just a year ago, and they each were noticeably chubbier, indelibly cute in their baby-like appearances, yet I can’t help but admit that I’d easily trade the cuteness for less craziness every day. I’d trade washing diapers for princess panties in a heartbeat, and I’d trade drawer and cabinet child-proof locks (which only seem to attract children) for the peace of mind that my new make-up will remain in its case or on my face.

But there are some things that I just can’t let go that easily….

His laugh. His most perfect laugh that starts in his belly and tickles him all the way up until he makes a sound of pure delight. I’ve never heard such a joyous noise, a sound that produces a smile on my own lips every time I hear it.

And their carefree spirits. Spirits that have them abandon their clothes before I have time to realize they’ve been summoned by the sprinkler watering the garden. Spirits that allow them to run through freezing water, screaming and laughing, compelling even me to run through a time or two fully-clothed.

And as I watch their play, I’m beginning to learn. I see my little girl, my child who wants to be in control, my child who causes me to pull out my hair every time she cuts her own, and I see that this spirit who compels her to cut hair and draw on walls and paint on carpet is the same spirit that allows her to run through fountains for hours without care for the coldness of water. A spirit that allows her to leap with abandon as screams and a never-ending smile come to her lips and water soaks her small body. A spirit that allows her to embrace life fully.

And, oh, how I hope she never trades that quality for anything.

I won’t miss tantrums and disobedience and time-outs and the knot in my stomach as the four of us venture out alone in public. But I know as they grow life will change; these times of craziness will become few and far between. But his laugh. Her spirit. Oh, how I pray I’ll never have to miss them.

What characteristics of your loved ones are the most charming? Have you ever had a moment of clarity when you realized the quality of your child or spouse that drives you crazy is the same one that makes him wonderful?

The Haunting Spirit

There once was a dog who was a bit weird. He would sit in corners and shake for no apparent reason. He refused to go outside to pee, spreading his legs as wide as he could muster in an attempt to not fit through the back door when being thrown out, and he would jump at said door until the pads of his feet bled. However, despite his apparent disdain for the outside world, if the front door were opened, he would make a mad-dash to escape.

His frustrated owner would often tell him If you hate it here so much, why don’t you keep running?

But, alas, the dog would always return, or, at least, he was always returned.

A certain husband was in love with this dog. In fact, he was so in love with this dog that he would never feed the dog in the morning or put this dog on a leash to take him outside to do his business (since the leash was the only way to drag him out the door and keep him out).

This certain husband would not entertain the thought of giving this crazy dog away.

And a certain wife loved this dog because he was hers, but she didn’t like this dog. However, her love for this dog compelled her to take him to obedience training while she was nine months pregnant.

The training didn’t stick, and after the baby was born, the dog still refused to go out when the door was opened for him; however, he made his case known that he was not happy with his life-situation by peeing on the carpet every time a certain wife with a 17-month-old and a new baby nursed her new baby upstairs. Every time.

As a last-ditch effort, this wife called a very expensive dog-whisperer, even though she really couldn’t part with that kind of money. It didn’t matter–the dog-whisperer never called her back.

Finally this wife had had enough. Despite her husband’s love for the dog for whom he did not feed or walk, this wife called a rescue agency. After all, she was in desperate need of being rescued. After crying and having her therapy session on the phone with a woman from this agency, the arrangements were made, and this dog is now in a good home.

But his spirit lives on.

Someone else has taken his place. Yes, the child who was in the womb of a certain wife during the obedience training felt the spirit of this dog and has decided that she must vindicate him.

This child was trained in the way of the potty at 21 months old. Nevertheless, the child with the spirit of the crazy dog has taken on his ways.

Every time a certain mother mops the floor, this child with the dog spirit pees on it. Every time. Sometimes twice.

And a certain mother has a certain warning for this certain child:

You don’t remember Baxter, but I do. I gave him away, and I will give you away, too. Your grandmother’s house is waiting….

While She Lay Asleep

I washed my face and splashed the water over my eyes, hoping to rinse away the sleep that still lingered. Matt was gone, and the rest of the week on my own began. I stared in the mirror wondering what would await me this time, and I searched in my eyes for the determination to face it. And in my moment of apprehension and negativity, I heard footsteps in the hall. I sighed to myself as those footsteps traveled to my own room, a small body rustling the sheets on my bed.

But then I opened the bathroom door and looked.

I remembered the words of another mother. I always look at them while they’re sleeping.

And so I did. I stared at the round face and porcelain skin. I took in the long eyelashes and pouty lips. And my eyes ran over each disheveled strand of hair atop her head.

While she lay asleep next to me, I went through my prayers, prayers for strength, prayers for wisdom, prayers of gratitude, and prayers of urgency. I want to enjoy them.

I looked over at the sweet face next to me, and I stared. She’s just a little girl. They’re just little children. And I reminded myself of their innocence with pictures of full hugs and kisses while another part of me thought of what they are capable. They have a sense of right and wrong. They know when they are defiant, and they know how to obey. I thought of the responsibility that I have and must teach. And my mind wrestled to reconcile the conflicting thoughts running through my mind.

But for a moment I just stared.

There was still time before she would awake, time before I needed to know the answers.

I Know What Hell Looks Like

It seemed like a brilliant idea, really–the kind of idea that our children would later file away in their memories as evidence that they had good parents. Caleb was spending the night with Grammy and his cousin for some quality boy time, so Matt and I were left with the girls. And I wanted the weekend to feel special, a full night and day devoted to all things our girls liked.

My brilliant plan included dinner the night before at the restaurant of their choice, and then the next day would include shopping. While her mother would rather do anything but, Hannah Grace has had an affinity toward shopping since she was old enough to recognize dainty dresses floating on hangers and necklaces sparkling on display. And Chloe, not quite two, is our happy, laid-back baby, content to remain in her parents’ company. Since my kids needed shoes for the warm weather that had already arrived and their Easter outfits, shoe-shopping seemed like the perfect activity to make my girls feel special.

It’s funny how the memory works. I’ve heard some say that if women truly remembered the pain of labor, they wouldn’t have any more children. In my case, having a selective memory has ensured that my children get new clothes.

As soon as Matt pushed the stroller to the front of the store, I gripped Hannah Grace’s hand tighter and remembered. Quite frankly, I don’t know how I had ever forgotten. This day would not be all butterflies and roses.

We made our way to the chair and got the girls’ feet measured without any trouble. And then I spoke the words.

“Okay, Hannah Grace. We’re going to look for some sandals today for your Easter dress and…”

It was like a starting gun had gone off. Before I even finished the sentence she was running to all the shoes on display.

“You stay with Chloe. I’ll focus on Hannah Grace,” I hurriedly ordered Matt as I was pulled by the current of Hannah Grace’s sensory overload.

“Ooohhh. I love these! Look at these shoes!” She began grabbing.

“No, Hannah Grace. Wait a minute.”

I tried to explain, but the pretty colors were somehow affecting her hearing. She started trying on tennis shoes. She was stomping her feet, hoping that every pair was the kind whose soles lit up with red lights every time she took a step. It didn’t matter the size–12-8-10–as long as they were pretty, as in sparkles and fluorescent colors, they ended up on her feet.

“Hannah Grace,” I tried again, “these are beautiful, but we’re not getting tennis shoes today. We need sandals for the warm weather and to match your Easter dress.”

Boxing up the other shoes as quickly as I could, I grabbed her hand and led her to the next display full of sandals. I found the pair that I hated the most, one with a big flower stuck near the top and showed them to Hannah Grace.

“How about these?”

“No. I don’t like them.”

“Really? You don’t think they’re pretty…”

She started to move back toward the tennis shoes.

“What about this pair, Hannah Grace?”

“No, I like this one,” she said grabbing a pair of strappy hot pink and orange sandals.

They were hideous, but I didn’t care. I knew how this day would go. The shoes wouldn’t match her purple Easter dress, but they would serve their purpose for the summer. I could check out some consignment shops if I needed to, but for now, we had to leave the store happy.

“Okay, Hannah, let’s look for your size.”

As soon as I started pulling boxes, she turned around.

“Oooohh! I love these!!!”

And she began pulling boxes of pink slippers off the shelf behind us, all adorned with Disney princesses.

“No, Hannah Grace, we’re not getting these.”

My blood pressure was rising. I began fanning myself. I turned to the back wall of the store where the thermostat was set. It was set for 74 degrees. That meant it was at least 112 with all the hot air my daughter was releasing.

She began running from aisle to aisle, looking at all the pretty shoes that we weren’t getting. Next she found beautiful white, patent leather shoes, and she tapped into my guilt reserve. They were sweet little shoes just like I had when I was a little girl. But that wasn’t the plan. I had budgeted for three kids and was trying to be economical. Matt only got paid once a month–this plan made sense.

Our church is contemporary. The little girls don’t wear big, poofy dresses every Sunday, so I figured she would get more use out of a pretty pair of sandals than white shoes that she would only wear once. But now as I looked at these shoes, guilt began to gnaw at me.

But I couldn’t do math that quickly, couldn’t recalculate figures in my head to ensure fairness among all three children and still get what we needed. The problem with children five and under is that they can’t reuse shoes from season to season–their feet are always growing.

And thus started the tantrum. There was crying. There was stomping of feet. Hannah Grace threw a pretty good fit, too.

And Matt intervened.

“Here, I’ll walk with Hannah Grace,” he said while leading her by the hand back to sandal aisle.

I grabbed Chloe and found the section of shoes in her size and grabbed the first pair of sandals that I liked.

“Do you like these?” I asked her.

“Yesh,” she replied.

“Good.” I grabbed the box, and we went back to the chair to try them on.

Two seconds later, Hannah Grace joined us with a pair of tennis shoes.

“Hannah, I’m going to go crazy,” I said through gritted teeth.

Matt came back with a pair of metallic pink and purple shoes, and panic set in. I tried to communicate with him telepathically to turn around, but he didn’t get the message. I had seen those shoes, too. Yes, she would love them. No, they didn’t have her size. But it was too late.

“What about these, Hannah Grace?”

“I love them!!!”

And I hung my head in despair.

More crying.

The sales clerk came over. She had two pair of shoes from the back that were in her size but not on display.

“What about these?” she suggested.

“No,” Hannah Grace said.

“Hannah Grace, why don’t you like these?” I know my daughter. She was turning up her nose at most of the bright colored sandals, sandals with flowers, the silver sandals, too, all sandals that normally she would love.

“We can’t stay here longer. You don’t have to get sandals today, but then we’re leaving with nothing. We’ll go to another store later.”

She put on the silver sandals, decided she liked them, and I started to box them up to go the register. Matt had picked out a pair for Caleb. We were finished.

And then she took off for the sandal section again.

“Hannah Grace! We have to go now! You like the silver sandals,” I ordered her.

“No! They don’t match,” she began to cry. “My dress is purple. I need purple sandals.”

Please, Lord, tell me this hasn’t been the problem all along.

“No, Hannah Grace, they don’t have to be purple. They can be white, brown, silver, black–all those colors match.” I was using very loose matching rules. I just wanted her to pick a pair of shoes and leave happy. Today was supposed to be a special day, not  a sign of the suffering and despair that is to happen in the end times.

“They have to be purple.”

“No, sweetie; they really don’t. Look, white goes with anything.”

Hannah Grace walked over to one of the most modest pair of white, closed-toe sandals with pink flowers, a pair that I purposely overlooked assuming she wouldn’t like them. She tried them on and was satisfied.

“Okay, we can get these?”

And I started boxing them up before she had time to change her mind.

I was certain she would hate them later, but she didn’t. She wore them out of the store, in the mini-van, and the whole rest of the day.

And when I asked her later if she were happy with her new sandals, she shook her head ‘yes’ and gave a big smile, lighting up her whole face.

And while I’m glad she’s happy, I’m already praying that her feet don’t grow for two years.

 

 

Washable Finger Paints

Sometimes I take my job as a parent to teach right from wrong so seriously, that I forget my responsibility is also to model grace. I allow my children’s acts of disobedience to ruin my day, erase my memory of all the good they do. Granted, sometimes they take disobedience to a whole new level, but I forget that even finger paint stains can be made clean (at least if they are of the washable variety).

Finger paint on chairs.

Finger paint on the carpet.

Finger paint on the sofa.

And various spots that will continue to surprise me throughout the week.

They will all wash clean.

Yet, it is on these stains that I tend to focus. I forget that these children who took the opportunity of Mommy using the bathroom to redecorate the downstairs are the same children who, earlier in the day, shared God’s love with the elderly at a nursing home. These children, on their first time meeting these men and women, most bound in wheelchairs, some with blank stares across their faces, others with sores or masks covering their mouths and noses, didn’t hesitate to walk into a room and share their smiles.

Caleb didn’t hesitate to tell everyone he is five now and share all the details of his life. Hannah Grace, my shy little girl, was able to work through her cautiousness to stand in between two people she had never met and shake the parachute with them during activity time. Even Chloe, once she got over her toddler anger that the ball in the middle of the parachute was not for her kicking enjoyment, watched in amusement at the game.

They were living examples of God’s love. And when they picked flowers lining the sidewalk entrance (to my horror) to give to the man enjoying the birds chirping and fresh, warm air on his skin, they shined the face of Jesus more clearly than any sermon explanation.

Yet that night, I only remembered finger paints.

And at the end of the weekend, as I rolled the steam cleaner from spot to spot, I had to ask myself why do I remember the stains my children make so easily when God willingly forgets mine?

While disobedience comes with consequences and must be addressed, it is not the whole of my children. I need to see them for the beautiful creations they are and the wondrous splashes of color they bring to life.

After all, that’s how God views me, and I’ve left more than my own fair share of finger paint trails.

Reflecting today on the ‘Puzzled by the Bible’ series at 12 Stone Church and the amazing dichotomy of God’s holiness and the offer of Christ’s forgiveness. Come back Friday for ‘Journeys’ and the last fruit of the Spirit topic–self-control.