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.

He loves me

I love my children because they are my children. God loves me for the same reason.

I love my children because they are my children. God loves me for the same reason.

In the middle of my temper tantrums, unreasonable expectations and bad attitudes, He loves me.

While I yell at my kids, leave dirty dishes for tomorrow and dig through a laundry basket of clean clothes I have no desire to fold and put away, He loves me.

After I say no for no good reason, challenge His authority and waste the time I should be spending with Him, He loves me.

When my pride takes over, and I try to step in and save the day in my own strength, then miserably fail those entrusted to me, He loves me.

Jesus loves me, even when I’m drenched with sin. He still loves me when I choose wrong. He loves me when I don’t want to be loved and when I don’t love myself.

Jesus loves me. He doesn’t wait until I’ve figured it out, or straightened up or gotten right. He loves me now.

He loves me enough to never leave me, even on the roughest day. He doesn’t give up on me. He makes it all work together for good because He called me. My actions and abilities don’t determine the extent of His love. He lavishly gives His love to me because I am His. He made me. He saved me. He has plans for me. He will finish what He started in me.

What I need to know most in this life, on my best days and my worst, in the midst of the mess and the victorious yes, is that Jesus loves me.