Paper Towel Grace

Our morning

“You have got to be kidding me.”

Those words escaped my lips before I could pull back the exasperated tone at the emptied cup clattering around, slogging milk across the kitchen.

Immediately my son’s head went down and soggy footprints marked the tile floor as he trudged away in shame.

With a deep breath, I went around the expanding white splash zone, and gave him a hug. It was okay. It was just milk. I know he didn’t mean to – it was an accident, I said. I love you, and we will get it cleaned up. After a few minutes of encouragement, he lifted his head. We rearranged the breakfast table so we could finish our pancakes, and I poured a fresh glass of milk for him.

I had just put out a new roll of paper towel on the kitchen holder, and generously laid it down to cover the mess.

Just like that, in the midst of our crazy morning, the kids and I were treated by God to a picture of grace.

During my church’s Sunday evening service, a video was played of people swirling around a city, the hustle and rush of life speeding across the screen, and then everything stopped as the voice over urged us to “be still” and know God. I get the sentiment, and it resonates, but that’s not how life is most of the time. It doesn’t stop, it just keeps spinning faster as our kids grow, and ministry expands and the stuff of life continues to come. Milk gets spilled, and messes are made.

So, how do we as a family live that verse out, when our kids can’t stay still or keep a cup upright?

Paper towel grace.

God shows up in the midst of milk splatter and covers our mistakes and sin and spills with a generous layer of grace, soaking up the shame and worry and defeat. God helps still our hearts and minds, and to know His presence in the midst of the chaos, busy schedules and reality of life. Because, He IS peace. He is who we need most.

2 Corinthians 2:9 reminds me of this: “Each time (God) said, ‘My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.'”

As I’m staring at my kitchen floor that needs mopped this morning, that’s what I need to hear, and need to know.

God is saying to me, and to you: My grace is ALL you need.

Thank you Lord, for your amazing grace, and the brand new package of paper towels in the closet.

Well-worn, Well-loved

Freddy

This is Freddy. He has seen better days. In fact, when Jackson brought Freddy to me with stuffing seeping out, I almost suggested it may be time for His crocodile to gracefully say goodbye.

Instead I found myself (easily) being talked into stitching him back up to love another day.

Freddy is special to Jackson. I found Freddy several years ago and knew he would be just the right gift for my boy on Valentine’s Day. Freddy reminds Jackson every day that I love him, with that message written across the heart Freddy carries.

Since coming to our family, Freddy has been through a lot living with the other stuffed animals on Jackson’s bed — smells, drool, sickness, being kicked, thrown, squeezed. And, it shows. The once soft fabric is now matted and worn. The stuffing is falling out. One of his eyes is a little wonky.

But, he is loved, just as you and I are by our Heavenly Father. Many of us can say we’ve been through it — we are worn. We’ve been kicked, misaligned, pulled in too many directions. Our faith has been stretched and pulled almost thread bare. We may look in the mirror and see people who have had better days.

Look closer. View yourself through God’s eyes. He sees each of us as someone precious to love another day. We are well-worn because we are well-loved. Yes, we have faced tremendous obstacles, hurt and frustration. We have stumbled and been stained.┬áBut, the matting and thread bare places also prove we have been held so tightly. Those stitches are reminders of God’s plan to make all things work together for good, and the scars are evidence of His faithfulness and healing.

We may think we’ve grown useless, but our Savior has never been more proud to have us by His side. We are worthy because He loves us. We are His.