Three Strikes

Have you ever had one of those days when things just didn’t go your way?  Last week, my daughter did. 

It all started when she was accidentally poked in the eye during PE class.  Later, her misfortune progressed to falling off the ladder of our treehouse.  As I heard the screams, I came running to find her looking like a pretzel – one foot still on the third step of the ladder, arms twisted under and behind her and chin on the ground with a mouthful of mulch.  Luckily, there were no major injuries and I was able to nurse her back to happiness.  She was a trooper following both incidents but the final mishap of the day pushed her over the edge and into a fit of frustration.  You see, the door in my office will only stay open if it’s held in place by a door stop.  Otherwise it slowly inches back towards the door frame. She entered my office, talked for a minute and as she turned to exit, met the door square in the face.  It happened so quickly that I was unable to intervene.  Her response, “That’s it! I’m going to bed.  Tomorrow has to be a better day.”

I’ve had similar days in my walk with the Lord.  Those days that everything seemed to go awry – I just couldn’t get it right.  I desperately wanted to please and glorify Him, yet my words and reactions were woefully askew.  I prayed, “Lord, help me to be patient with my children,” yet spoke in frustration anyway.  Or, “Lord, help me to have the willpower to not eat that chocolate,” yet overindulged because my flesh is weak.” Or, “Lord, help me to love my husband as you love him,” yet complain to him about his schedule and question his priorities instead of acting with thanksgiving that he’s a hard worker and provides for our family.    

But thankfully, I’m reminded of God’s mercy and grace.  As I approach Him with a broken heart over my actions and behavior, He forgives me.  He forgives me and remembers those sins no more!  We serve a loving God who redeems us.  Seek His forgiveness and tomorrow becomes the promise of a new day.

For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us. As a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him. Psalm 103:11-13

The Gift of Laughter

Have you ever been drinking from a straw and a few minutes later forgotten there was a one in your glass?  Recently, I was out with a group of friends having lunch when I picked up my drink, forgetting I had been using a straw.  As I raised the glass to my mouth, the angle and timing aligned in such a way that the straw entered my right nostril like a train barreling through a tunnel in the side of a mountain. After the shocking sensation, and then extracting the straw from my nose, I began to laugh… and so did all the others.  I’m sure the expression on my face was a combination of surprise and bewilderment as it t took a second to figure out what was going on.  In response to my straw-in-nasal-passage issue, they began to snort and convulse – looking as absurd as I had seconds earlier.

The point of my story… well I don’t really have one.  I just thought it was funny.  OK, so maybe that’s my point.  Life is funny, but too often we forget to laugh?  Have you laughed lately?  God created humor.  God created laughter.  But sometimes we get so busy and stressed that we forget to exercise that part of us.  God wants us to enjoy life, so go ahead and laugh. You may find that it’s not only therapeutic, but also contagious.

My challenge for you today is to not go to bed tonight without first having a good laugh. And tomorrow, be sure to pass it on as you find a way to share the gift of laughter.

On your feet now—applaud God! Bring a gift of laughter, sing yourselves into his presence. Psalm 100:1-2 (The Message)

Rejected by Them, But Not by Him

Ouch! I just got the dreaded email message. My latest book idea was rejected.  Not because it was a bad idea, but because another book that the publisher released last year in the same genre didn’t perform well and they don’t want to take the risk.  OK, I understand… it all comes down to a business decision.  It’s not personal.  But it still hurts. 

No one likes rejection.

We all long for acceptance, yet rejection is a reality in our lives.  We feel rejected when other people don’t notice our efforts.  We feel rejected when a relationship ends.  We feel rejected when someone doesn’t agree with our ideas…

Jesus understands our struggles and hurt because He, too, was rejected.  So much so that He was put to death.  Yet He accepts us unconditionally.  His love for us is so great that He died for us – that’s the ultimate demonstration of acceptance.  So, if you’re feeling down and out, I pray that you’ll remember that God loves you – and accepts you – even when others may not.

Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God. Romans 15:7