Illuminate me

Early this morning, I peered through the windows into a dim backyard. The trees were shadowed, leaves dark and devoid of color. The shadows seemed to tell lies, holding back the glorious hues of the day before. Each leaf contained brilliant golds, oranges and fiery reds — yet, in the dark, they stayed silent shades of brown.

Then, the sun rose.

The higher the sun, the more pervasive the rays of light, and the more vibrant the world became.

Sunshine princess

The sunshine brings a smile to the earth, and yesterday to my kids and I as we crunched the leaves with our feet leaping to catch a frisbee beyond our grasp, as we bounced even higher on our trampoline, and as we wondered at this world God created. It’s the sun that showcased the beauty surrounding us.

John chapter 1 describes the Light coming into the world, to change us and allow us to see.

There it was–the true Light [the genuine, perfect, steadfast Light] which, coming into the world, enlightens everyone.

All of us were created with vibrancy that is only revealed through the light of Christ. We need His Light to shine onto our sin-covered lives and drive out the darkness. And, we don’t just need a little light. We need the full-force strength of God’s redemptive grace illuminating every shadow. 

I will never be all that I am intended without all of Jesus saturating every part of who I am. It’s only then that His full beauty can be seen in me.

Join me in this prayer, based on Ephesians 1:17-19:

God, would you give me a spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of You? Would You enlighten the perception of my mind so I may know the hope of my calling, the glorious riches of the inheritance You give me with all others who follow You, and the immeasurable greatness of You power to us who believe — all this according to the working of Your vast strength? Amen.

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.