When a Second Grader is Your Role Model

My creaky body is finally finished yelling at me for going to kids camp. I swear, even my hair hurt when I got home! But oh, what a time it was!

The kids were flat-out phenomenal. I couldn’t get over how the older kids looked out for the younger ones. It’s obvious Woodridge kids are getting some solid Bible teaching and some excellent parenting.

I can still hear their laughter as they played. I can still see their red, sweaty faces after they played ga-ga ball in the muggy Louisiana heat. Oh, and I can still smell ’em, too! Ha!

I was blessed to spend time with a wide array of age groups. I had the 4th-6th grade girls in my cabin, a mixture of all the grades in my Trash Band break-out track, and the 1st-2nd graders in my small Bible group.

There wasn’t a kid I didn’t like, but there was this one girl—she inspired me without even trying.

She’s a freckle-faced second-grader with enough spunk and sweetness for a whole Brownie troop. I loved watching her in action. She got along with everyone. The quiet ones and the loud ones. The young ones and the old ones. The boys and the girls. She seemed so comfortable in her own skin.

In small group, she listened and led by example. Oh, and she asked me to explain how God and Jesus are the same person. Can I just say that wasn’t in the curriculum? She seemed satisfied with my answer, though. I hope God was!

One afternoon, she walked up to me and took my hands in hers. With a concerned face, she asked, “How come you have all these bo-boes on your arms?”

Over the last few years, I developed a stress-related skin problem on my arms. When anxiety hit, I caught myself digging at those wounds. Long story short, my arms are scarred and still healing some, but, like my heart, they’re getting better every day.

My sweet girl’s compassion touched me deep. I hugged her and said, “Oh, I was a little sick for a while, but I’m getting better! No worries.”

I was telling her the truth. Every day, I feel stronger body, mind and spirit. I’m hungry again—for God and for life.

I want to be like my little second grader role model. Curious and compassionate. Friendly and focused. Unhindered and unafraid.

A few months ago, a FB friend posted this meme on her page.

I found myself commenting, “I don’t think I have one of those.”

I was so low. So heavy in spirit. I honestly didn’t see a way out. I couldn’t sense God’s presence, and I was too tired to care. I couldn’t remember ever feeling confident, free and unafraid.

Save me, O God, for the waters have come up to my neck. I sink in the miry depths, where there is no foothold. I have come into the deep waters; the floods engulf me. I am worn out calling for help; my throat is parched. My eyes fail, looking for my God (Psalm 69:1-3 NIV).

These last couple months have been miraculous. God is healing me in every sense of the word. My foot is healing from surgery slower than I’d like, but my heart and mind are pulsing with hope and purpose.

I waited patiently for the Lordhe turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear the Lord and put their trust in him (Psalm 40:1-3 NIV).

I think I do have one of those girls inside me. A girl like my freckled-faced camper. A girl like the one in that meme. A girl brimming with confidence and laughter and limitless potential. It’s gonna be fun finding her!

Lord,

Thank you for bringing me back to life! I don’t want to waste a minute of this joyful existence. May the new song you’ve placed in my mouth draw others to Your heart. 

I know there are countless folks out there just like I was. Stuck in the muck and losing hope. Please rescue them just like you did for me. Use me in any way you wish. Give me divine appointments with broken hearts. Use my story to extend hope to people barely hanging on.

I am Yours, AMEN

Has God brought you through to the other side? Who can you use your story to help today? Are you in the middle of the muck and plumb out of hope? I’d love to pray for you. Leave a comment or message me through the contact tab. We’re on this journey together!

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When I Fall

Do you ever watch America’s Funniest Home Videos? Every so often, I catch an episode, and there’s always a video montage of people falling. Why is watching people fall down so dang funny? I always feel a little guilty for laughing, but I just can’t help it!

I’ve bit the dust more times than I can count, and my first response is always to look around and see if anyone saw me. It’s not quite as funny when it’s happening to me, but it’s not long before I can laugh about it.

Most of the time, tumbles aren’t a big deal. I fall down. I get back up. I limp to the band-aids and Advil. I move on to fall another day.

Unfortunately, I’m not as good at taking emotional tumbles in stride. When I get tripped up in life, my track record is one of staying down. Shame sure is heavy.

Here’s the thing about staying down.

  • Staying down says I reject God’s mercy.
  • Staying down says I doubt God’s love.
  • Staying down says I don’t believe Christ’s sacrifice was sufficient.

I don’t want to say any of those things. I want to live what I believe.

  • I believe God’s mercy is bigger than my biggest mistakes.
  • I believe no good thing I do can make God love me more, and no mistake I make can make Him love me any less.
  • I believe Christ’s death on the cross was a complete and perfect sacrifice to pay for my sins and for the sins of all the world.

I deal with the consequences of my mistakes every single day. In my finances. In my relationships. In my mental and physical health.

I’m picking through the ruins right now, but I’m not wallowing in the ashes. Shame can only shackle me to the ground if I let it.

Yes, I’ve done my share of falling down, and since I’m human, I’ll fall again. It’s what we do.

Before my next tumble, I have to decide what I’ll do differently. One thing I know I’ll do is pray without ceasing.

Lord,

When you knit me together in my mother’s womb, you knew I’d be clumsy, careless and crash-and-burn prone. You knew how much I’d fall, but You also knew how much I’d flourish under Your steady hand.

I won’t ask for forgiveness for sins I’ve already confessed. You and I have settled a lot of things, haven’t we? My spirit no longer bears the crushing weight of shame for past mistakes, and for that, I thank you.

But You and I both know I’ll fail again. I’ll say the wrong things. I’ll do the wrong things. I’ll make the wrong choices.

I’ll fall on my face, and the accuser will say, “Aha! There you go again. The only way to keep from falling is to stay down.”

Prepare my heart and mind for that day, Lord, so I’ll be ready with a steely response. An armor of God response. A pray-without-ceasing response.

When I fall, help me remember:

  • I’m a sinner saved by Your generous grace. “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,  and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus” (Romans 3:23-24 NIV).
  • If I own up to my sins, You’ll forgive them. “If [I] confess [my] sins, [You are] faithful and just and will forgive [my] sins and purify [me] from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9 NIV).
  • I’m not a pit dweller. I’m a rock stander. “[You] lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; [You] set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand” (Psalm 40:2 NIV).
  • I have a race to run. When I fall, I will get up. “I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me” (Philippians 3:12 NIV).

I’m linking up with my friend Suzie Eller for #livefree Thursdays! Each week, she shares a prompt that has something to do with living out our freedom in Christ. Living free and praying without ceasing go hand-in-hand, so I’m excited to add #livefree Thursdays to my blogging calendar. If you want to join in on the fun, head over to Suzie’s blog and link up!

 

 

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