Help Me…

My now 3-year-old grandson is very busy, a bit bossy, and thwarting his independence on a daily basis. If you have seen the movie Boss Baby, you will have a good idea of what he looks and acts like.

Yesterday was a beautiful day here in Texas, and we spent the day enjoying our backyard and much needed fun in the sun. My dog, Baby, and my grandson both love to play in the sprinkler and with water hoses, which proved a bit muddy; but, oh, so worth the mess!

My grandson insisted that he could turn the hose on and off without the help of his overbearing MiMi, which proved unsuccessful much to his chagrin. After many failed attempts to get the water turned back on, he finally turned around, cocked his head, made eye contact with me and said, “MiMi help me?” I quickly told him “of course” and turned the water back on for him in a flash.

Last week, life definitely threw some curveballs. In fact, it seemed like every time I answered the phone, it was bad news. I spent the majority of the week, if I am honest, in fear and pleading off and on with God; playing the “what if” game and borrowing tomorrows troubles. The truth is I was trying to “turn the water back on” completely on my own. It truly wasn’t until my sweet grandson ernestly asked me,”MiMi help me,” that I realized that very question was the key and the exact one I should be asking my heavenly Father.

Our daily burdens, trials, and sorrows are simply too much for us to handle on our own. We are so limited in our own power, thinking, and best efforts. We need the power of a God who has the ability to “turn that water back on” in the blink of an eye; trusting that He has provided an advocate that gives us access to His infinite power every single day. (I John 2:1) The key is that I must humble myself to Him and invite Him to be a part of my everyday life, the highs and the lows. Yes, I need to learn to turn away from the problem, cock my head and let my eyes settle on His divine face, then ask, “Father, help me?”

I think God gives us some additional insight on how to handle trials and sufferings in 2 Corinthians through the apostle Paul, and it has to do with God’s grace.

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weakneness so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
2 Corinthians 12:9‭-‬10 NIV

So, I ask you, is God’s grace sufficient for you? And is it sufficient for me? I want my answer to be a resounding yes! When the phone call reveals challenging news, I want my answer to be Your grace is sufficient. When a loved one is called home, I want my answer to be Your grace is sufficient. When I feel alone and misunderstood, I want my answer to be Your grace is sufficient. When that addiction comes knocking, I want my answer to be Your grace is sufficient. When I simply do not understand my circumstances, I want my answer to be Your grace is sufficient. And when I feel like the water has been turned off for good, I want to rest in the assurance that God will never leave me. He will never forsake me. He is faithful. He is true. His burden is light, and His yoke is easy (Matthew 11:30). Yes, His grace is more than sufficient. Yesterday. Today. And tomorrow, too!

Lord, here my ernest plea, help me, please! But, remind me daily that regardless of your answer, your grace is sufficient and enough!

Hiding and Seek

My grandson loves to play hide and seek. Although, he will ask you to play “hiding” and seek. The game typically looks a lot like this: he will hide (always in the same location) while MiMi covers her eyes and counts to ten. Then, MiMi will find him after looking in several locations. Press repeat. He can do this over and over again.

Now, you are probably thinking, when is it MiMi’s turn to hide? Well, that is an excellent question. Typically, my grandson prefers to be the one hiding. So, this MiMi does a lot of counting and a lot of pretending to not know exactly where my grandson hides.

Hmmm… does this sound familiar? It sounds a lot like my own life. There have been countless times that I have hidden from God, usually neck deep in the same old sin, waiting for Him to find me. But just like my grandson, I am never truly out of sight. Yes, my Father in heaven may pretend to not know where I am and allow me to hide in that same sin, bad relationship, addiction, anger, jealousy, comparison, or even grief. But, make no mistake, He knows exactly where to find me. And He will find and rescue me over and over again.

What if I decided to stop hiding in my sinful nature and instead decided to hide in Him? Well, I would then find protection and deliverance. Psalm 32:7 tells us, “You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance.” Oh yes, the best hiding place is found in God himself, with his mighty arms wrapped around you tight.

The truth is that I should give seeking God a try. I should get out of my hiding place and seek Him. Open up the Bible, bend my knees in prayer, attend a Bible Study or Sunday School class, worship Him on Sundays, lean into Him with a daily devotion, have a conversation about Him with a friend or even a stranger. He will be found because He never hides from me. He never closes His eyes and counts to ten. No, He sent His Son so that He could see me, even in my sinful nature. He will always be found because He created me to worship Him, need Him, serve Him, love Him. And not just for me, for you too! What an awesome God! What a good Father!

Yes, let’s play a round of “hiding” and seek with God. We need His forgiveness and restoration in the hiding. And we need His love, peace, joy, gentleness, faithfulness, and grace in the seeking.

You go first….I’m counting to ten!

You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.
Jeremiah 29:13 NIV

My heart says of you, “Seek his face!” Your face, Lord, I will seek.
Psalms 27:8 NIV

Look to the Lord and his strength; seek his face always.
1 Chronicles 16:11 NIV

Color within the lines….

One of my dearest friends shared a story about her 6-year-old granddaughter. They were coloring together. Her grand daughter looked up and said, “MaeMae, try to stay within the lines. But that’s okay if you can’t.” My friend shared that her mom is trying to work with her on perfectionism. Boy, can I relate. There have been so many times that I have tried so hard to stay within the lines in my own life, realizing that I was failing epicly.

As a Christ follower, wouldn’t it be so much easier if we could just follow a specific list of rules each day. You know, check the boxes as we go, stay within the lines, and win our way right into heaven. The delusion that we could accomplish this perfectly is the biggest indicator of our need for a Savior. The bottom line is that Jesus doesn’t need for us to color within the lines perfectly, nor does he need us to live perfect lives. He simply needs us to recognize His sacrifice for us as a perfect Savior and put our lives in His perfect hands. It has nothing to do with us and everything to do with Him! “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God.” Ephesians 2:8 NIV

This precious 6-year-old’s statement wraps up grace perfectly. We can try; but, when (not if) we fail, it’s okay because we have a perfect Savior who loves us and gives us His grace, hope, joy, and forgiveness.

It also occurred to me that the wisdom imparted from these little lips didn’t tell her MaeMae to stop trying. No, in fact, she encouraged her to try to color within the lines with the security of knowing that it would be okay if she was not able to do so. And we should do exactly the same! We should get up every day with the focus and desire to serve our Lord obediently and to turn away from sin; to let Him guide our steps; and to love Him with all our heart, soul, and minds; and to extend that love to those around us. “Jesus answered, ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” Luke 10:27 NIV

We should give God thanks every day for His sacrifice and for His blessings in our lives. As Christ followers, we should be in constant prayer and try to serve Him with our thoughts, words, and deeds. Why? Because that is exactly the example that was set when His Son Jesus spent time on earth. “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16‭-‬18 NIV Did you catch it? Our very ability to try is found in Christ Jesus.

Oh yes, grab those crayons and try to color within the lines. But, let’s not linger there. Let’s put our final assurance in Christ. I say to you earnestly that He makes everything okay, indeed!

Color away!

Me okay…

My grandson loves to bounce, climb, jump, and fall. In fact, we kept an old mattress in our living room for the majority of the year so that he could do all of those things a little more safely on the mattress.

His favorite way to play on the mattress was to jump from the back of the couch to the mattress. Sometimes, he nailed his landing. Sometimes, not so much. When he didn’t nail it, he would pop right back up and exclaim, “Me okay!”, with an enormous grin on his face. He would then get right back on the couch and try again.

We are saying goodbye to 2022 today. 365 days that God gave us. 52 weeks of memories. Like my grandson, I often bounced, climbed, jumped, and fell during this past year. Sometimes, I nailed my landing. Sometimes, not so much.

And here is the thing, tomorrow begins a whole new cycle in 2023. A brand new year to bounce, climb, jump, and yes, even fall. I have no idea what the year will bring; but I know who is sifting this new year through His Sovereign hands. God knows exactly what I will face. He knows exactly which landings I will nail, and He knows exactly which landings I will not. It is because of Him that I have the ability to pop back up and exclaim, “Me okay!”, with a grin on my face. God provides a safe landing every time. He sent His own Son to conquer the cross just so that I would not feel the sting of death. Because of Jesus, I will not be defeated. I am victorious! Oh yes, “Me okay indeed!”.

I think our battle cry for the New Year should be just that: because of Jesus, we are okay! Because of Jesus, we are not afraid to get back up and try again, even after failure, disappointment, loss, rejection, or even sin. And especially when we don’t nail the landing.

So, what do you say? Will you claim it with me as we walk confidently into 2023? “Me okay!” Because of Jesus, “Me okay indeed!”

“So, what do you think? With God on our side like this, how can we lose? If God didn’t hesitate to put everything on the line for us, embracing our condition and exposing himself to the worst by sending his own Son, is there anything else he wouldn’t gladly and freely do for us? And who would dare tangle with God by messing with one of God’s chosen? Who would dare even to point a finger? The One who died for us—who was raised to life for us!—is in the presence of God at this very moment sticking up for us. Do you think anyone is going to be able to drive a wedge between us and Christ’s love for us? There is no way! Not trouble, not hard times, not hatred, not hunger, not homelessness, not bullying threats, not backstabbing, not even the worst sins listed in Scripture: They kill us in cold blood because they hate you. We’re sitting ducks; they pick us off one by one. None of this fazes us because Jesus loves us. I’m absolutely convinced that nothing—nothing living or dead, angelic or demonic, today or tomorrow, high or low, thinkable or unthinkable—absolutely nothing can get between us and God’s love because of the way that Jesus our Master has embraced us.”
Romans 8:31‭-‬39 MSG

Enjoy this moment…

I have the privilege of experiencing the growth and development of my grandson on a daily basis. There is not a doubt in my mind that this is one of the tremendous blessings God has bestowed on me since my teenage daughter had a baby. You see, God placed my daughter in my life when she was seven years old. So, I missed the infant, baby and toddler years as a mom. After experiencing a miscarriage a few years ago, I truly thought that I would leave this earth without experiencing the day to day life of raising a baby.

Yet, here I find myself actively involved in the care of my precious grandson. Yes, I get to experience that first morning grin, the wonder of his toes, his first taste of carrots, his first roll from tummy to back, the babble and screeches, beach sand on his toes, butterfly kisses on his cheeks, giggles, diaper changes, and the sweetness of rocking him to sleep. My latest perfume is the lovely smell of soured milk, those little fingers have nails that can dig in, and my grandson has discovered the perfect time to fuss is the minute we sit down for dinner. 😉 There is not a day that goes by that I don’t thank God for this experience. I get up each day satisfied, in the moment and marvel at this little life.

It won’t stay this way forever. Nor should it. My daughter plans to attend Cosmetology school this fall and establish her career in the world of hair and make-up. My grandson’s father is involved, attending college and working. They are both doing their best, finding their way co-parenting. I am sure there are hard times ahead and possibly even some heartbreak. But, my goodness, today. Today, I sat with my grandson on my lap and sang to him about Jesus while he laughed and reached for my face. I wouldn’t give a minute back. I choose to live blissfully aware of the gift he is to me.

My life would be significantly different if I approached every day and season in this manner. Hear these words again: satisfied, in the moment, thankful, life, marvel, blissfully aware of the gift. When we live in the truth and grace of Jesus, we have an opportunity every day to live life much the same. Even with uncertainty of the future, heartache, loss, chaos, and the smell of soured milk, we have the choice to stay in the moment and look for the blessing. We have the opportunity to consider the gift of Jesus. And not just consider Jesus; but, grab onto His goodness, mercy, love, forgiveness and grace. We can choose to live blissfully aware of the gift He is to us. Yes, we can enjoy this moment and we can give thanks!

Choose Joy!

Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.” James 4:14‭-‬15 NIV

You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.
Psalms 16:11 NIV

I will praise God’s name in song and glorify him with thanksgiving. Psalms 69:30 NIV