I’ve honestly had a hard time writing this week. I didn’t know what to share. I had planned to do an exercise in studying the truth of God’s Word using Jeremiah 29:11, but that somehow felt misplaced this week. It would just be a cover for what was really stirring in my heart. I even procrastinated writing this on my normal Thursday schedule.
Every morning as we drive to school, we always pray as we drive down a certain road. Some days I forget, but on those days, my two-year old usually reminds me. And that’s exactly what he did Thursday morning.
“Mommy! You forgot to pway!”
I was in the middle of a sentence and by the end of the sentence, I had already forgotten the reminder. Can any of you relate?!
One of my mentors calls this month “May-hem.” There’s a strange mix of excitement over the rapidly approaching summer break, but also sadness as a year comes to a close. It’s full of lasts: last centers, last exams, last lunches, last concerts, last award ceremonies, last class party, last precious days with teachers who’ve poured out so much of themselves this year. I want to soak up every last, and in the midst, I find myself drowning as I try to keep up with it all. Was today a special dress up day? Where are those library books due today? Was I supposed to bring ice cream today? Thursday morning at 6am, other class moms and I were texting back and forth trying to keep it all straight. Another friend posted a funny photo on Facebook of end of school year lunches: a lunchbox with a potato, two carrots, dog biscuits and four packets of hot sauce. I know many of you are with me when I say that we are crawling toward the finish line this school year. (And praise the Lord: I only have to pack lunches for two more days!)
The cruel thing about May is that all this piles on the normal stuff. The other hard areas of life don’t take a break so you can savor and enjoy those lasts. The washing machines still break. The cars still don’t start. The doctor visits still happen. The hard days at work still drag you down. I don’t know what it is in your situation, but, sweet friend, I know it’s there. The heaviness, the pain, the fear, the unknown, the illness, the plans that went awry. It doesn’t stop for May.
As I pulled into school Thursday, my sweet little boy wouldn’t let me forget:
“Mommy!” he said more emphatically, “You forgot to pway!”
I barely got the word “Father” off my lips and the tears began to well up in my eyes.
“Father, you are a good, good Father. You’ve given me more than I deserve, and it’s enough.”
The tears threatened to spill over onto my cheeks. I knew what God wanted me to say, and I did not want to say it.
“If you never did another thing for me, what you’ve done would be enough.”
And then the words I feared most left my lips as the tears left my eyes:
“I will rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: rejoice.”
I was preaching to my heart in that moment, willing it to be thankful. And apparently I needed to hear the message again, because a few hours later, sitting in tiny chairs with other parents, we watched our little four and five-year olds teach us big truth in their sweet, little voices:
“The fruit of the Spirit shows Jesus in me through:
Love – I will put others first
Joy – I will be ok with what I have
Peace – I won’t be afraid because I trust in God
The fruit of the Spirit shows Jesus in me through:
Patience – I will wait without complaining
Kindness – I will be nice to everyone
Goodness – I will do what is right
The fruit of the Spirit shows Jesus in me through:
Faithfulness – I will not give up
Gentleness – I will care for others when they mess up
Self-Control – I will think before I act
The fruit of the Spirit!”
I think sometimes our adult minds need a good reminder of the simplicity of the Gospel. When we give our lives to Jesus and He in turn gives us the Holy Spirit, we get His fruit. What a beautiful explanation of what the Spirit of the Lord does to our hearts.
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.
If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.” – Galatians 5:22-26
When mayhem sets in and our worlds are spinning, we can press on and persevere because Faithfulness lives in us. When the answer to our deepest, heartfelt prayers is wait, we can do it without complaining because Patience lives in us. When we don’t get what we want, what we have can be enough because Joy lives in us. When we want to give in to fear, we can trust Him and not be afraid because Peace lives in us. It’s not easy. Notice what happens to our fleshly passions and desires in the verse above: they are crucified. That’s a painful process. But the beauty of what begins to unfold in us is worth it. Because then we can truly do what Paul encourages:
Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. - Philippians 4:4-7
Amen. Let it be.