Better than a Bubble Bath

 

Yesterday, a glorious idea came to me: My kids are getting along great, I’m going to take a bubble bath. For most moms like me, reading a good book in a hot bath is a luxury. I grabbed my book, added faint music and peppermint oil, and felt ready for a peaceful 30 minutes.

The moment my feet touched the warm water, my youngest two children started arguing. I assumed it would end in a minute or so. It kept on. I waited for my oldest to jump in and handle it, but the bickering ensued. I turned the music up a little louder, because good moms do that sometimes, but the kids kept on. My head pounded with the sound of their quarreling. Bath dream over.

After I got dressed, I went downstairs and my youngest daughter asked, “Mommy can I cuddle with you?” Normally, I’d say, “Of course!” But unresolved tension claimed it’s place in the room. I couldn’t shake the feeling if I let her climb into my lap it may appear I was taking her side. I am FOR both of them and FOR unity. What I wanted to say, was “Go make it right with your brother, then come back to me.”

Immediately I thought of Matthew 5:23-24 when Jesus says, So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you,  leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.”

Peace is elusive when unresolved tension lingers in the house.

I sat both my kids down and shared Romans 15:1-7 from my morning reading. The passage speaks of serving one another, living in harmony, and welcoming each other. After talking to them about their quarrelling, I encouraged them to speak out loud to one another: “I will try my best to serve you, live in harmony with you, and welcome you. Will you please forgive me?” Then I told them to hug it out. Asking for forgiveness requires humility, and hugs crumble walls. The tension lifted like rising steam, while their lips formed subtle smiles. It feels good to be light, free from the heaviness of bitterness.

The weight is lifted. Unity stands at the door of our home, welcoming peace back in. Now, I invite them in my lap, both of them.

That evening I listened to them laugh together, which is music to my ears. This morning, when I woke up, PJ wasn’t in her room. It turns out she snuck into her brothers room last night, creating a makeshift bed right beside his.

The altar represents a place of prayer, offerings, worship – a place to exchange with God. But in the instance of unresolved tension between His children, God says “First go make it right. Then come back.” I understand this verse a little better now. It doesn’t feel quite right if my child sits in my lap while glaring at her brother. Maybe the nudge of the Father’s heart, is not just for my kids this week, but for God’s grown up children too.  

Child of God, go make it right. Then come back. Invite the right kind of house guests; humility, forgiveness, and unity. Pull open the blinds, let the light of peace fill the house of God and the house of your heart. Then climb into your Father’s lap and enjoy living light and free.

I’d say this is better than a bubble bath, any day of the week.

When You’re Not Ready Yet

My son: “Why can’t I have a phone?”

Me: “Because you’re not ready yet.”

Son: “Why can’t I have a job like Dad?”

Me: “Because you aren’t ready yet.

Son: “Why can’t I watch the movie with you guys?”

Me: “Because you aren’t ready yet.”

Maybe you relate to these conversations. A child eager to grow up is like a race horse anticipating the gate flinging open. I remind him adulting is overrated and that most adults wish to be kids again, but he still doesn’t seem to believe me.

I realize the words “because you aren’t ready yet” aren’t the most comforting to hear. But as I look back at most of my childhood, adolescence, and beyond, I realize something: I always felt ready before I was ready. It took loving people in my life to hold me back from what I wasn’t ready for, and times I didn’t listen exposed me to regrets.

I realized recently how much more I’ve learned to embrace those words. Recently, my mentor looked over a book I’m working on and said, “It’s almost ready, but not quite yet.” then she gave me a few things to work on. Then she did that three more times because it still wasn’t ready for our end goal. I cringed a little, because I worked hard only to hear it still wasn’t ready, but it also made me thankful. I’m thankful someone cares enough to fine tune, correct, and share advice to help me grow. I’m thankful because I learned something new every single time she said it.  It shows she believes in me, she wouldn’t waste her time if she didn’t. Someone who doesn’t care tells you you’re ready before you aren’t.

How about you? How do you respond when someone tells you that you aren’t ready yet? Do you pridefully rush ahead, or do you respond with a teachable heart? Do you give up or commit to growth? Do you point blame at others or take personal responsibility?

1 Peter 5:6 tells usHumble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you.”

Stay humble. Stay teachable. Be thankful for seasons of preparation and people who want to see fruit ripened in your life. And when someone says “you’re not ready yet,” strap yourself in and commit to growth. One day the gates will fling open and you’ll be off to the races.

Vegas Strong

A photo my husband took at dinner last month. This city holds a special place in our hearts. Vegas we love you.

 

My heart breaks for those affected by tragic massacre in Las Vegas. We called Las Vegas home for four years, it is the birthplace of our first daughter, the place we started in ministry and marriage. It holds a special place in our hearts. My husband and I sat by the pool at the Mandalay Bay just a month ago, visiting our old stomping grounds and reminiscing about a city with special memories.

I couldn’t stop crying watching the footage. For a moment, I got a glimpse of how terrifying that night was for so many people. In the process of wiping tears, praying for Las Vegas, and looking for ways to show support, there are a few things that bring me comfort. 2 Corinthians 1:4 tells us the comfort God gives is meant to be shared.

This isn’t an exhaustive list by any means. It’s just my personal list of a few things that bring me comfort and hope in light of the tragedy. I hope they will bring you comfort as well.

  1. If you live your life in fear, he takes one more victim.” – These words shared from a counselor to a women at the concert are words not just for her but for many like me, who may be tempted to live fearfully.

2. This video by Pastor Craig Groeschel reminds me of the heart of our Father in heaven.

3. Acts 9:31. It has become my prayer for the churches around our nation. “So the church throughout all Judea and Galilee and Samaria had peace and was being built up. And walking in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, it multiplied.” 

During this time where many feel uncertain, I pray for God’s church to rise up in peace and the comfort of the Holy Spirit. For those who are hopeless, searching, and in need of comfort, I pray the Church would be the arms of Jesus wrapped around the hurting. So many churches already are.

What brings you comfort during times like these?