2016-04-20 07.21.00.png I'm a work in progress.  God is continually refining me and I'm grateful for that.  I love that He is working on me, pruning me, and helping me to grow.  I don't know about you, but it seems like, for me,  one of the areas that requires the most refinement is parenting.  Being a mom is a  challenging job.  It requires us to be selfless, patient, loving, generous, tender, and all of those other wonderful qualities that seem to go against all that is natural in us.  For me, there has been a learning curve with this.  My boys are 13 and 9.  I was kind of hoping I'd have it all together by now.  I don't.  I love my kids and they know this, but I also make some mistakes parenting.  My kids know this too.  We are on a journey together and they know that we are all growing and learning through the process.  Tonight I learned some things and I thought just maybe someone else might find them meaningful too. These lessons came after a rough start to our bedtime routine.  (Please tell me you've been there and that this doesn't only happen in our home.)  It was going so well, and then, all of a sudden, it wasn't.  Meltdowns ensued.  Consequences and corrective conversations had to happen.  The correction wasn't really very sweetly given and even less sweetly received.  Earlier in the evening, the boys had asked to sleep in my room, but I had taken away that privilege as a consequence of the craziness that we had all just participated in.  Tears were shed.  By the time I had both kids in bed, we were all a little frazzled. I was frustrated and worn, but was trying to bring a little peace back into our night before we all went to sleep.  I asked the boys to sit beside me in Gavin's bed, and I reminded them that today had been a little rough and we needed to all work a little harder at being loving and respectful tomorrow.  I pointed out some of the areas that we struggled with throughout the day and mentioned that we all should try to do a little better tomorrow.  The list wasn't a short one.  It hadn't been our very best day and I wanted to use this as a teaching opportunity so that we could all improve in the areas that were problematic for us.  I wanted to drive this lesson home so that it stuck because I wanted tomorrow to be better for all of us. My tender-hearted and wise-beyond-his-years 9 year old stopped me and said something that has been on my mind ever since.  He looked at me with very sad eyes and said, "Mommy, really, it has been a pretty good day.  There was way more good than bad. Right?" You know what?  He was right. It actually had been a pretty good day.  It wasn't perfect, there was way more good than bad.  However, in my frustration, I was focused on all the bad moments that had happened.  Not only that, I made sure we were all focusing on them.  I was wrapping up a pretty good day together by dwelling on all of our mistakes. Don't we all tend to do that sometimes?  We forget about the day's blessings because we let ourselves be consumed with the frustration of the moment. I am all for looking at the areas we struggle in and finding ways to improve in those areas.  We all need to do that from time to time.  It is an important part of the growth process, but there is also a lot to be said for extending a little grace and mercy sometimes too.  God does that for us so often.  I am afraid that I don't do it nearly as often.  I thought of the verse that I had read earlier that morning in Romans 2:4b that says that God's kindness is meant to lead us to repentance.  Maybe a little kindness sprinkled in with my correction would do more to encourage a repentant heart in my kids than my list of wrong doings.  Hmmmm, God, are you trying to tell me something? I finished tucking in my boys and then jumped into the shower to just physically and literally wash away the day.  Some of my best thinking happens in the shower, and tonight wasn't an exception.  I couldn't get Gavin's words out of my mind.  I was reminded of my tendency to look at the frustrating moments and forget the bigger picture.  I was also reminded of God's mercy and grace, and especially His kindness.  I thought about the times my heart was most often turned toward repentance, and I saw that it was most often due to His kindness.  He doesn't throw my mistakes back in my face and make me confront them over and over again.  When I've asked for forgiveness and owned my failures, He forgets them and loves me like they never happened.  He's way better to me than I deserve.  He is so patient and longsuffering with me. I finished my shower and went back into my kids' rooms.  It was obvious that both boys were having a hard time falling asleep after the emotional evening.  I told the boys what the Holy Spirit had pressed upon my heart.  I told them that most often, when we need God's kindness the most is when we deserve it the least.  We had obviously had a rough night, but what we all needed was a little grace, love, mercy, and some kindness. So, here I sit, typing away.  I've got one boy curled into his sleeping bag on the right side of my bed.  The other is sprawled across the top of his sleeping bag at the foot of my bed.  My heart is full as I reflect on the pretty good day that we had.  We definitely had a few hard moments, but, those few hard moments allowed us all to be reminded of the grace, love, and mercy that is always there waiting for us.  Those moments reminded me of God's continual kindness that draws me to repentance.  Those moments, the words of my sweet boy, and the Holy Spirit,  taught me a lesson tonight that I hope sticks with me for a long while. Love and blessings, Bobbie    
image Have you ever placed your trust in the wrong person or the wrong thing?  Have you ever been let down by someone or something?  I think we all have.  I'm pretty sure that at one time or another we have all experienced the pain of broken trust. I know I have.  Even as a child, I learned the risk that comes with putting your trust in people.  I came from a divorced home and I would often sit, dressed and with an overnight bag in hand, waiting for my Daddy to come and pick me up.  Sometimes I'd wait for hours.  It was a hard lesson that taught me that sometimes people will let you down.  They often do not intend to.  My Daddy never really meant to cause hurt.  People are broken and flawed and sometimes react out of hurt or to protect themselves.  Sometimes, even with the best intentions and with love in their hearts, they fail you.  As Christains, we are called to forgive and to continue to act in love regardless. We've all had friends that have failed us.  Maybe a confidence has been breached.  Maybe you've been betrayed.  Even the truest friend isn't infallible.  People simply can't be perfect.  We understand that basic fact of human nature and we forgive and move forward in love. Maybe it's a spouse that has broken your trust.  Marriage is hard, friends.  When two flawed people come together, there is bound to be some difficulties.  Even the strongest and most loving marriages have experienced some level of hurt. I adore my husband.  He is one of the best men I've ever met. He is so kind and caring and compassionate.  He is so forgiving and so loving.  He is generous beyond belief.  However, our marriage has been littered with issues that involve hurt or broken trusts.  Every marriage is to one degree or another.  We've both made mistakes and we have both caused hurt.  Regardless, of the challenges that we faced, we embrace our Christian duty to forgive, to be united, and to daily walk forward in love. Just maybe, it is your own self that you don't trust.  There may be some thing that you are struggling with that has caused you to be the one who breaks trusts or causes hurt.  Hurting people sometimes hurt people.  It's often unintentional.  I know I've been guilty of this.  I know that I've acted out of pain in a way that has caused hurt to people that I love.  But I also know that God can forgive, redeem, and restore. Here is where all of this gloom and doom takes a beautiful turn for the better.  People will fail us.  We will even fail ourselves.   It is a given.  We are sinful people in this flesh.  However, that doesn't mean that we should ever become hard hearted.  We should never allow bitterness or unforgiveness to take root in our hearts or in our relationships.  We should always seek forgiveness, restoration, and love. Our hope doesn't lie in people.  Our hope lies in a God who is powerful enough to walk us through any hurt or broken trust that we may face.  He is who we look to.  We know people will fail us, but we know that God never will. Psalm 62:8 "Trust in him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge." If you are in that place where your trust has been broken or your heart is hurting, look to the one who takes brokenness and makes it beautiful.  Pour our your heart to him.  Let Him be your refuge.  He has the power to forgive.  He gives the power to forgive.  He has the power to redeem and restore.  He has the power to change hearts and minds.  He specializes in taking situations and people that seem too far gone, and turning them in to a beacon of hope.  He is trust worthy. He does that in each and every one of us when we trust in him for salvation.  He promises that if we call out to him in our brokenness, ask him for forgivenness, repent, believe in Jesus, trust in His name, and follow him; he will save us from death and hell.  If He has the power to save our souls, He has the power to redeem any situation or relationship here on earth. He is worthy of trust.  He is strong and mighty.  He is good.  He is forgiving and loving.  He is merciful and full of grace.  He is the God who redeems and restores.  He takes our brokenness and makes it beautiful. And He desperately wants you to trust in Him.  First, He wants you to trust in Him for salvation.  After that, He wants you to realize that you can trust Him to redeem and restore other areas in your life as well.  He wants to heal broken hearts and broken relationships and broken people. The verses leading up to Psalm 62:8 are a beautiful example of why we can trust him.  As you read these verses, meditate on them.  Remember His saving power.  Think about the fact that He is the only rest for our troubled souls.  Trust Him to redeem and restore.  Turn all of that brokenness over to Him.  Trust in Him to make it beautiful. Psalm 62:5-8 Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from him. Truly he is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will not be shaken. My salvation and my honor depend on God; he is my mighty rock, my refuge. Trust in him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge. Love and blessings, Bobbie