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.

Seek FIRST

God has had this verse on repeat for me since 2018 began: Matthew 6:33. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be provided for you. (If this Psalty song immediately starts playing in your mind — please let me know so we can reminisce on a common childhood!! 🙂 )

I am sure that all of us have responsibilities and expectations and schedules and other needs that rest on our shoulders, especially as we face a new year. There is much that God has for us, paths that He intends us to walk in, plans that He’s already made for us. Our To Do lists are filling up (or maybe it’s just mine?), and it’s only the second week of the year!

Every new year that God gives me, I realize how much more I need HIM. I need Jesus more than I need a strategic plan, an organizational system, or answers to my questions. Before this particular verse in Matthew in the middle of Jesus’s Sermon on the Mount, our Savior speaks on not worrying about the greatest needs of our life, like food and clothing. What are the greatest needs of your life? Stop and consider that question. If I dig deep enough, I realize that I don’t just need physical provisions. I need God’s grace. I need the eyes of Jesus to see people the way He does and a heart of compassion to respond the way He would. I need His presence in my daily life. I need supernatural wisdom. I NEED JESUS. And, Jesus tells us in vs. 32 that He already knows what we need.

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So, seek FIRST the kingdom of God and His righteousness—in other words, make your life’s pursuit to KNOW Jesus. The word “seek” means specifically to worship, or to desire, endeavor, require. And “first” is an adverb to the seeking, meaning first in time, place, order or importance. Isn’t that beautiful? Jesus tells us before any other movement in our lives, we must worship Him first, desire Him most, endeavor after Him, require Him at the forefront, ahead of any other priority. And then, when we seek God first—His Kingdom and His righteousness—all the things we need most will be provided to us. God’s provision literally means to add, again, give more, increase, proceed further. God never goes half way, and His desire is to multiply His grace and joy in our lives and be our Almighty God.

HE is what we need, and when we seek Him first, HE will be more than enough.