There had to be some value in the other day. Certainly, I’ve had days like it before but this type of day is getting really, REALLY old. I chose to sleep in because of the previous week/weekend but in the few short moments I had before the offical day began, I earnestly prayed that God would help me to make it a good day with the children and mostly, to function out of love for them. Not five minutes later, I realized I should have added Gabriel’s name (the pup) to my prayer. It was raining outside. He didn’t want to wait around outside to take care of his business any more than Jeff or I wanted to stand in the rain with him. In our nice dry home, on the front door mat seemed the perfect place to him. Brighton yells, I yell, Jeff yells. In comes the scooper, the paper towels, the neutralizer, and the air freshener. And come to find out a short two minutes later, our yelling had interrupted him. He wasn’t finished. Julia joined us in yelling the second time. You know how it is. It’s just no fun cleaning that up or smelling it for that matter, even if it is temporary and then wondering if it will ever stop. No one wants to start their day like that-- all that yelling (and smelling), everyone irritated with the dog, wanting to pin Gabriel’s mishap on someone who understood “blame and shame”, and facing the reality that it will rain all day, causing alert “Level Red” with the puppy for the remainder of the day. The extremely sad part is that I kind of stayed there until bedtime. Primed and pumped for irritation- through teaching Brighton how to trade pennies in for dimes (and convincing him that it really was just as much money), showing Julia how to add 5 digit numbers with decimals, explaining to both the six sounds of “ough”, and making sure Gabriel was not chewing on anything important nor expelling any digested food.
I have admitted before, as much as I want to be one, I am not a agile multi-tasker. I can do it- everyone is forced to at times- but character traits of “cheery” and “engaging” elude me. Just vanish. Adding Gabriel to the school morning mix has forced me to up my game, which was suffering pre-dog, but the other morning revealed hard evidence that my ability to multi-task is no better. I tried to turn things around when the kids and I did our Bible study. Is there anything worse than talking about “image bearing” when you know that all morning your face has looked like scary monster and your voice has sounded like, well, you know, that same scary monster? The kids didn’t have anything to do with Gabriel’s inept puppy bladder. It was a mere circumstance that I chose to allow to control me. I let the elevated atmosphere grab hold and then acted powerless to do anything to force it loose. How foolish. How ignorant. How faithless. How absolutely pitiful.
When I am able to pull away and think about a day like this one, I sometimes think it must be like a drunk who is finally sober. “Oh. Wow. Did I really say that? And do that?.” Ugh. And then, like a kiss, soft and sweet, you remember..... forgiveness. This is where you almost have to stand to your feet and shout praises to God. Forgiveness. For me, these intimate relationships knitted together as my family have been the classroom, teaching me to give it... often, to ask for it....more often , to long for it....with desperation, and to experience it.....wholeheartedly. I can’t imagine living day after day with the sins piling up and up and up becoming a smothering heap............... until finally, you are so covered up and laden with guilt you can’t even remember what it is like to hope for something different, something fresh, to breathe easy and to smile from somewhere deep inside. Forgiveness. Harmony restored. Within ourselves. With each other. With the Father. Glory be to Him. It was His idea.
“In Him the enslaved find redemption, the guilty pardon, the unholy renovation, In Him are everlasting strength for the weak, unsearchable riches for the needy, treasures of wisdom and knowledge for the ignorant, fullness for the empty.
At Thy gracious call I hear, take, come, apply, receive His grace, not only submit to His mercy but acquiesce in it, not only glory in the cross but in Him crucified and slain, not only joy in forgiveness but in the One through whom atonement comes.
O Lord God, without the pardon of my sin I cannot rest satisfied, without the renovation of my nature by grace I can never rest easy, without the hopes of heaven I can never be at peace. All this I have in Thy Son Jesus; blessed be His name.”
-excerpt “The Valley of Vision”
A Collection of Puritan Prayers and Devotions
“In Him we have redemption through his blood, the FORGIVENESS OF SINS, in accordance with the riches of GOD’S GRACE that He LAVISHED on us with all wisdom and understanding.” Ephesians 1:7-8
Praise His Name.
Photos: Mission in Carmel, California, Inside the Chapel at Rough Creek Lodge, The Chapel at Rough Creek Lodge