Speeding Tickets And God’s Grace

Just a few weeks ago my 23 year old, passionate, impulsive, free spirited, deep thinking, dare-taking son received something in the mail that did NOT make his day.

He got his 3rd speeding ticket within a 2 week period.

I had to almost literally clamp my hand over my mouth so that I wouldn’t give him the “you know you could kill yourself or someone else, if you do this one more time I’m taking the car and you can walk to work, you drive like a maniac” lecture! I know that at this point in his life that particular lecture would not be helpful.

What I did tell him was that maybe he can see these 3 speeding tickets as evidence of how much he is loved, and that these tickets are God pouring out His grace and warning him to be more careful with his driving so that he, someone he loves, or someone he doesn’t even know doesn’t get hurt in an accident.

It’s on days like this that I am reminded that God really did hand pick me for the 2 kids that he gifted me. My son and I are so much alike that it brings me to my knees! God gives me insight into my son as I spend time before Him asking Him to show me my heart, pleading for Him to continue to change it, and thanking him for the work he has already done in it!

I read this quote recently,  “The person God made me is perfectly suited for my children. I’m the best mom for them. I am especially the best mom for them as I lean deep into the Word of God and draw upon his strength for long days. They need me to need him as I walk alongside them. I am the mom he wants to disciple them. I am the mom who their hearts bend toward. He has made it so. This plan? God says it is good. It has a purpose. It will lead to a future with hope.”

I am the mom God wanted to disciple my son when he was young. I am the mom who his heart is bent toward. God has made it so. I am the mom God wants to walk along side my son, without judgement, as he learns to tame his God given personality in the same way I have had to learn to tame my personality.

Both of us need to lean deep into the Word of God and draw upon his strength each day. What a privilege it is to now walk along side my grown son and remind him of truth.

Infact, I think I will text him right now and tell him what a privilege it is to be his mom!

He Remembered!

I opened my laptop to get some work done and took a quick detour to Facebook just to see what was happening there. To my surprise I found that the following had been posted on my wall by my 23 year old son:

“Romans 13:7- Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed.” I just want to take a moment to give a shoutout to the worlds best mom. She has never stopped trying to be the best mom she could be. When I walk by a playground or go to Safeway or walk around campus I remember the great times as a child that I had with you at those places. I love you mom.”

Caleb is a quiet man and he rarely shares his feelings like this, especially on Facebook, so I was really shocked (yet very blessed…there may have been some tears!) to see that he had taken the time to share this.

As a mom of two grown kids, I often reflect back on the years of raising them and wonder if I did enough or spent enough time with them. I remember how busy we were homeschooling, running to sporting events, and the busyness of running a home. I know that it doesn’t seem like it when you are in the thick of things, but those years of raising kids eventually become a blur! They pass so quickly.

What I found significant about the things that my son remembered was that it was the daily life stuff that provided him the good memories. The times that he and I would go to the grocery store – just the two of us. Simple things like the daily walks and the visits to the neighborhood playground. Those were the times he remembers and those were the times I remember setting down my agenda and the busy tasks of each day, and taking the time to focus on him.

When we take the time to focus on our Savior, our priorities get adjusted and we are reminded of what is most important. We are choosing to not allow joy to get squeezed out of our life! That joy found in Jesus does flow out onto the lives of those we are with and affects what we choose to do with our time.

And our children remember!

Am I Enough?

I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing“. John 15:5

Now that my children are both in their 20’s, I often find myself in the middle of one of those “Remember when you did THIS, mom?” conversations. You know those conversations? The ones where we get to reflect on the moments that your children remember you messing up or doing something that you now know was “too much”!?

If I am being completely honest, I have to admit that my initial heart response is to become a bit defensive. In one split second I can go from being defensive, to embarrassed, to fearful that I messed my kids up for life! Thankfully, the Holy Spirit quickly interrupts my racing thoughts and reminds me of how he has faithfully taken my mistakes and is using them for his glory and my children’s good.

Not that we are sufficient in ourselves to claim anything as coming from us, but our sufficiency is from God.” 2 Corinthians 3:5

One memory they often reflect on is that short season when their mom was drawn into legalism. Those few years when they were young and I analyzed everything to death, filtering everything through a very black or white lens. I’m actually grateful for those conversations because it gives me another platform to be able to share with them that I am in a process of growth, that I am still learning, and that I am so thankful that God opened my eyes to the error I was walking in! It also gives us a great opportunity to talk about legalism and how it goes directly agains the message of the gospel.

Because of my mistakes, and having experienced the changes in our home because of the work of the Holy Spirit, they have learned how to better understand the message of grace and the dangers of legalism. Ultimately, I am so, so grateful for these conversations because it is an opportunity for me to humbly point them to our need for Jesus…to MY need for Jesus!

I loved what my friend Brooke McGlothlin shares in her book “Hope For the Weary Mom“:

I know you want to be enough for your kids. I know you want to be enough for your husband, your work, your home, your everything. And I know there are other people who will tell you that you ARE actually enough. That you have what it takes…can do this…can pull yourself up by your bootstraps. But I disagree.I believe their intentions are good. I believe they want to help you put one foot in front of the other, keep going. I believe they want to encourage you as a mom. But I believe they’re wrong. I just don’t see anywhere in the Bible that says we’re enough. If we were, we wouldn’t need Jesus.”

Reflecting (and even laughing at!) the mistakes I made is a much needed reminder that I will never be enough. I am flawed. From day one I have been determined and intentional to be the perfect mom and have failed miserably!

God sees my sincere desires to honor him, takes my messy attempts, and chooses to redeem them and use them in the lives of my children. Not only is he enough, but he is the definition of grace and mercy!

You are not enough, but he is! Keep clinging!

“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 of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”  2 Corinthians 12:9

 

My Children Have Rebelled…

While at an event recently I had the opportunity to spend some time with a mom of 3 grown children. Out of the three children, two of them are not walking with the Lord. She is very weary. At the beginning of the evening I intentionally pulled her away from the party and found a private place for us to talk. We sat down and tears immediately began streaming down her cheeks as she told me how, at one point during this journey she has been on with her 2 precious, rebellious children, she withdrew. After all, 2 of her 3 children aren’t living for the Lord. What does she have to offer anyone in the church? She has failed.

I had the privilege of reminding this faithful, godly woman of truth.

8 Truths To Cling To If You Feel Like You’ve Failed As A Parent

  1. You did the best you could with the knowledge you had while raising your children.
  2. We are not perfect parents. God is the only perfect parent.
  3. If there are areas of failure, you are forgiven. Take some time and ask God to show you anything that you may have done that was not the best. Repent and ask for forgiveness of anything he may show you, then ask your children for forgiveness. God forgives you and so will your children!
  4. It’s not all up to you! Ultimately, God is the only one that can do a work in our children’s heart. We do not have the power to do that work.
  5. There is not a list or a formula for parenting. As moms we desperately want a formula (I am one who wanted that formula–sometimes I still do!) a list of things to do that might guarantee that our children will do what is right. That formula does not exist.
  6. God does not fail. God is good! Because God is the one who does a work in the heart’s of our children, even if you did fail as a mom, God has not failed! God is good!
  7. You have MUCH to offer the church! You have this message to offer: God ultimately is the one who will capture the heart’s of our children and GOD IS GOOD!
  8. The story is not finished yet. THERE IS HOPE!

Yes. There is hope! God is good!

Isn’t it encouraging to know that God is good and that He REALLY IS in control? That He REALLY DOES want what is best for us and what is best for our children – – even more than we do!

We must cling to the truth that God is good and that there IS hope!

Are there circumstance that are you walking through today that tempt you to lose hope? Is the enemy whispering in your ear that God is not good?  Take time to share that in the comments so that we might be reminded that we are not alone in this battle, and so we we might have the privilege of praying with you!

We are in this together! Keep clinging!