Consequences and Grace

As a parent the fine line between consequences and grace is one that I find myself sitting on often.

It also happens in other relationships as well – spouses, friends, co-workers, church goers, and random strangers who don’t know how to drive others.

No matter how we look at it, there are consequences for our actions. When a child behaves badly discipline is necessary. When we make bad choices with our money, we pay the price.

It doesn’t matter how much we don’t like the consequences, they just are.

Except when they are not.

Sometimes we don’t punish our kids for something because we see their heart of repentance and we offer grace. Sometimes we receive unexpected and undeserved grace instead of paying the price for our bad choices.

This is a hard one for me! I want to show grace. I want to receive grace. But I also want to see people who have made mistakes have to learn to deal with their consequences. I want justice.

Is this how God feels about us? Is he torn?

In 2 Samuel 11-12 we see a good example of consequences for actions. King David, who should have been off at war with his troops, is at home and sees this lovely woman bathing next door. He sends for her, has his way with her, and sends her back. Not long after, Bathsheba finds herself pregnant, but since her husband was off at war (where David should have been) it will soon be obvious it is not Uriah’s child. When David gets word from her about the child, He sends for Uriah to bring news from the front lines. David tries, unsuccessfully, to get Uriah to go home to his wife, but Uriah will not go. So, David sends him back out and orders that he be sent where the fighting is fiercest so that he may be killed in battle. David’s plan succeeds, and he brings Bathsheba into his home.

But the problem is this, God saw it. He knows what happened and He sent Nathan, the prophet, to confront David about it. David repents of his sin, but there is still a consequence to be had. David’s child dies.

There it is. Consequences for his actions. Yes, David had more children, and Bathsheba even bore Solomon, the heir to David’s throne, but there were still consequences for what he did.

But what about us?

In the New Testament we hear over and over of the story of Jesus, God’s Son, who came to this earth as an infant, grew up and lived a pure life. He was charged for crimes He did not commit and suffered the consequences for not His actions, but ours, as He died a criminal’s death on the cross. He gave us something that we didn’t deserve – grace. We shouldn’t be forgiven, but we are. We shouldn’t be loved and cared for by a God that we turn away from, but we are.

How are we any better than David? Why did we get to experience such significant grace?

And yet, there are still sometimes that we get what we deserve in the short-term – consequences. And other times we get what we don’t deserve – grace.

I don’t always know how to reconcile that. Especially the justice-seeking side of me. Especially the grace-giving side of me.

I guess what it comes down to is there is a fine line between consequences and grace and I will never, on this side of heaven, understand why sometimes we have consequences and sometimes we have grace on this earth. But I do know that if we will receive it, ultimately we are all eligible recipients of the eternal grace of God. And that is more than enough.

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Coming off of a weekend of craziness tends to lead to a Monday that is rough. So, in order to combat the “Monday Blues” here are some of my thoughts today.

  • Theme parties are fun. Plan one. Invite friends – old and new. Plan a fun menu. Throw in some silly dress-up items. Have fun. Last month we did an 80’s party. This weekend was Hawaiian. Don’t stress over it. Just let it happen. You will be glad you did.
  • Pineapple Cheese Ball Hawaiian Party Friends
  • When was the last time you tried something new? I went down to Forest Park and watched a movie on Art Hill Friday. It was the first time I had done that. Was the traffic terrible? Absolutely. Was the parking situation less than ideal. Most certainly. But watching “Clueless” with friends on the hill outside in the beautiful weather was so much fun and worth the trip.
  • Sometimes you just have to kick off your shoes and dance. Even in the summer heat. Even if you get soaked with sweat. Even if you and your friend are the only two on the dance floor. It does wonders for your soul.
  • And my public service announcement for the day via Jen Hatmaker is this:

Happy Monday everyone!

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One year ago this week I started a journey with PiYo, 21-Day Fix and Shakeology that has brought me here. My story in video form is posted below and here is some photographic evidence of my transformation.

PiYo Transformation

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I had a great month of blogging in October 2014. It is now June 2015. Since the end of October I just quit blogging. No real reason, just haven’t done it.

But I need to do it. Blogging helps me process ideas. Blogging keeps me motivated. Blogging makes me work on my writing.

So, I am adding it back to my to-do list. At least once a week. Baby steps to get me back into my routine of three times a week.

Here goes. And it’s Monday, so here are my musings for today.

  • My daughter graduated from 8th grade last week which means I have not only a teenager, but one that is going into high school. Not to mention my son is headed to junior high. It blows my mind how fast time has gone, but I am so grateful and proud of the young woman and young man that they are becoming. Spending the day with each of them for their end-of-school-year trips gave me another opportunity to watch them interact with their friends and be thankful that they are making wise choices in friends and in life.
  • Planning events is amazingly fun for me. I love to pull together details and people to make something happen. But what is even more fun is watching it come together to make a memorable event. I got to do just that last week for my daughter’s 8th grade class. Watching them dance, laugh, take silly photos, and otherwise have a great time made my night.
  • In 37 days I will be at 1 year since I began (again) a journey of transformation following my knee injury and surgery. PiYo became for me a gateway to a life-change I could never have anticipated. I had a goal of becoming certified to teach this extraordinary class in 2015 and realized that goal at the end of February. I have been teaching for over two months now and I LOVE it. In addition, PiYo, 21-Day Fix, 21-Day Fix Extreme, Shakeology, and various 30-day challenge groups I have run have helped me to achieve a 50+ pound weight loss.
  • This summer I am excited to be starting a health and wellness program for the youth in our community. I am in the midst of research and writing curriculum and planning schedules and in two weeks we will begin. I am looking forward to teaching and sharing what I have learned with them, hoping and praying that we can help them see how important it is to care for both their physical and spiritual health. Partnering my passions for Jesus and for health is amazing, and being able to do this program by also building partnerships and relationships with other organizations in the community makes it even better!
  • I love lists. I love to check things off of lists when they are complete. And when I make lists, I am very good at following through and completing the tasks listed. But when I don’t make lists, I get all kinds of distracted by whatever pops into my head. So I am working on my list-making this summer. When I am working on one task and another one pops up, instead of chasing that rabbit, I will simply add it to my to-do list for later, and keep focused on the task at hand. And my new favorite app for lists is Wunderlist. Not only can I make myself to-do lists, but I can also SHARE the lists with others. My hubby and I are currently sharing our grocery list so whoever has a chance to run to the store can grab what is on the list. When we think of things we need, we add it to the list. When we purchase something on the list, we check it off. Simply amazing.

What are you musing about on this Monday? Questions in your mind? Things you are grateful for? Fun you had over the weekend? Goals you are setting for yourself this month? Let me know in the comments!

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2014 Top 10

Happy New Year! We made it to 2015! It seems impossible to be 15 years in to the 2000’s!

Looking back over the year, there are so many things I have to be thankful for, but here are 10 of the many:

  • My husband, Mike.
  • My daughter, Anne.
  • My son, Ty.
  • My parents moving in just 5 blocks from us.
  • A new job crafted just for me, provided by the Lord.
  • More time with my family.
  • God’s provision in multiple areas of our lives.
  • New epically uplifting friends.
  • Ending the year over 20 pounds lighter and 17 inches smaller, despite losing running as an outlet.
  • And God, who has blessed me abundantly.

Here are the 10 blog posts that you liked the best during 2014:

Why don’t you take a moment and make a list of at least 10 things that you have to be thankful for from the last year. And look forward to all the potential 2015 holds!

 

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Fragile

I am feeling fragile today.

I feel like if someone were to touch me I would just shatter into a million pieces.

This is how depression feels sometimes.

Some people think that if you can get out of bed and function than you can’t possibly be depressed.

They are wrong.

Some of us have such strong personalities that we don’t want anyone to know we are struggling.

Some of us have such a strong sense of responsibility that even though we want to quit, we can’t.

Some of us have children to get to school and jobs to do, so we don’t have any other choice.

I can’t explain it. I don’t know why I can be fine one morning and by that evening the depression gets the upper hand. I don’t understand why I can’t just make it go away. I don’t get why my chest hurts and I can physically feel the heaviness settle in.

But I do understand that I am not the only one who feels this way. I know that those of us who struggle with this illness are often misunderstood by those who don’t. I know that we can feel isolated and alone when the bottom drops out.

And that is why I am writing this post: to let you know that you are not alone. You have comrades-in-arms to help you in the battle. You have friends who know how you feel. And even when it feels like it will never get better, you need to be reminded that depression lies. (Thank you Jenny The Bloggess for keeping that truth in front of me!) No matter what you feel in the moment, know that it will get better. It may take some time. You may need to take some time for yourself. You may need to seek counseling. You may need to get or tweak medication. But it will get better. Don’t let the lies of depression win. Keep fighting. Even if that means you need to stay in bed for a day and start over the next day. Keep fighting. You are worth it.

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Monday Musings

It’s Monday. And I am feeling a bit Garfield-like about today.

Garfield Monday

Not that anything bad has happened. I am just tired. And getting sick. And blah.

So instead of drowning in “I hate Monday” madness, I thought I would share a few random things that are going through my head today.

  • The laughter of my children is the most amazing sound in the entire world. And I was privileged to hear lots of it this weekend.
  • If you like fun apps, you need to download Relay. My friends and I have been sending funny gif messages back and forth since we discovered it and I may have spent too much time yesterday looking for funny ones to add to my collection for future messages.
  • If you like books about strong women paired with fantasy, you need to read Pennyroyal Academy. I just started it a few days ago and haven’t had a ton of time to read, but I am loving it and can’t wait for Anne to read it, too. Nothing like squelching the idea that princesses have to be of a royal bloodline and are just pretty faces with the fact that princesses are warriors for their kingdoms, just like knights.
  • When the weather turns cold, the depression sure comes on fast for me. I have had to fight to get my workouts in this past week, and I have not done very well with eating right, either. Here’s to a new day of doing what I know helps to keep the depression under control – exercise and eating right!
  • Singing at the top of my voice to some of my favorite music is one of my favorite things to do, ever. Thank you Trisha Yearwood for music that fills my soul!
  • A good cup of tea makes me smile this time of year when the cold is starting to seep into my bones. These are my three favorite varieties: Trader Joe’s Decaf Irish Breakfast Blend, Good Earth Decaf Sweet & Spicy, and Stash Decaf Chai Spice.
  • I have been working on a crochet project just because it is a pattern I have always wanted to try, but I have been looking for a new gift project and this week I was blessed with not only a person on my heart for whom to do a project, but the perfect project placed right into my hands. I found the perfect yarn yesterday and am looking forward to beginning on the project on Thursday. So excited to be able to bless someone!!
  • For the last few years, my family has done various forms of daily Thanksgiving. We have had a wall of Thanksgiving where we added post-it notes every day. We have had posters on each of our doors that we wrote reasons we were thankful for each other. This year, life has been a bit chaotic and I haven’t gotten anything organized to do daily, so I am thinking about other ideas. Right now, I am thinking of making family “Thanksgiving” trees on Thanksgiving day with all of our family that will be together. How are you practicing Thanksgiving with your family this month?

I warned you that this would be a random post! But just putting these things down in print has helped me move past my initial Garfield-esque response to Monday. If you are having a case of the Mondays, perhaps you should make a list, too!!

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Food & Fitness Friday

Ouch!

That is all I have to say this morning.

After two months of 21-Day Fix workouts, I started PiYo again this week.

And I am feeling it.

But it helps me to remember that it is GOOD to switch things up. Different exercise routines use different muscles in different ways. When you do the same thing over and over again, your body gets used to it, so switching things up helps your body continue to work and get fit in new, and sometimes painful, ways.

So if you see me walking like an old woman whose hips are sore today, you will know why.

And even though I am sore, it is a happy sore, because that means what I am doing is working.

And working is progress! Progress toward being more fit. Progress toward my weight loss goals. Progress toward a stronger body.

And I like it!!!

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MOB-LinkupPrayerBadge

Some of you may remember that the in month of October, I committed specifically to pray for Ty for 21 days using the Praying for Boys: Asking God for the Things They Need Most and the MOB (Mothers of Boys) Society Blog.

Well, I did it. Some days were better than others, but I did it.

The book was a great resource, and in addition to reading the chapters and praying through the provided prayers, I typed up the prayers and taped each day’s onto Ty’s door, so as I walk by, I can read a prayer or two.

But as with anything that you are committing to do, whether that be prayer, exercise, eating right, keeping your house clean, etc., it is in these moments that you will find yourself most challenged.

October was a rough month with my son. Fifth grade is kicking my behind. A new lack of responsibility has popped up, along with a sometimes super-emotional boy that I have never seen before. Disrespect and disobedience has reached a previously unattained level. Focus is a rare occurrence, and the desire for self-indulgence rather than self-sacrifice is rearing its ugly head.

There have been days when I just wanted to bang my head against a brick wall because that is what it feels like I am doing all of the time.

But, what I am realizing through all of this is the fact that when I take up the work of praying for my children in a more concentrated way, there is going to be a battle in the spiritual realm for their hearts. And I plan to win that battle with the Lord’s help. I will not give up. I will not allow these things that are trying to grab hold of my son to get a grip on him. I will continue to pray. I will continue to work with him. I will continue to fight for his heart and soul to be fully overtaken with the Spirit of God and not the spirit of the evil one.

It may not be easy, but it is necessary.

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I know I finished my 31-Days of Parenting posts on Friday, but the evening before that last post went live, our community was touched with tragedy.

As I dropped my kids off at school that morning, with a heavy heart, this song came on my iPod. It is from the upcoming album by Garth Brooks.

Send ‘Em On Down The Road”


He didn’t ask
He didn’t pry
He just held the ice that covered my black eye
And when that girl
She broke my heart
We just threw that baseball back and forth ‘till dark
And when I started playing guitar
And didn’t have a clue
He wanted to protect me
But somehow my father knew, that

You can cry for ‘em
Live and die for ‘em
You can help them find their wings but you can’t fly for ‘em
‘Cause if they’re not free to fall, than they’re not free at all
And though you just can’t bear the thought of letting go
You pick ‘em up
You dust ‘em off
And send ‘em on down the road

A little kiss
On a skinned up knee
From playing soccer, riding bikes and climbing trees
When bad dreams
Filled their heads
I chased the monsters out from underneath their beds
I guess I always knew those days would end
But the hardest thing I’ve ever learned has been, that

You can cry for ‘em
Live and die for ‘em
You can help them find their wings but you can’t fly for ‘em
‘Cause if they’re not free to fall, than they’re not free at all
And though you just can’t bear the thought of letting go
You pick ‘em up
You dust ‘em off
And you send ‘em on down the road

You can cry for ‘em
Live and die for ‘em
And even though it’s gonna break your heart, you let ‘em go
You pick ‘em up
You dust ‘em off
You pull them close
And you pray to God
To send ‘em on down the road
Down the road
Down the road

Our kids will hurt. They will lose family members, friends, and acquaintances. We may even lose our children. Letting go is hard, because what we want to do is hold them tight and never let go. But we have to let go, and let God take care of them.
Our prayers go out to those in our community impacted by the tragedy of Thursday evening.
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