Figure it out

Jackson works to build his fort

Jackson works to build his fort

Jackson brought a box into the living room, and dumped all of the contents out with the intentions of building a fort that morning. After putting a few pieces together, he started getting frustrated. The angles weren’t just right, and the braces wouldn’t stay without a good bit of effort.

Mom, will you help me do this?

Of course, I would love to help him build his fort! We had worked together on several different designs before. But, I knew he could do this on his own. He had the problem-solving skills to piece it together. He just needed to exercise the patience it would take to complete it.

So, I encouraged my son to figure it out.

That wasn’t what he was expecting me to say. In fact, Jackson was frustrated with me at first. So, I gave him the space he needed to realize building his fortress was worth the work.

God often challenges us in the same way. He invites us to build right by His side. Then, He hands us the hammer, and lets us try on our own. He shows us how, then gives us hands-on opportunities to put His principles into action.

We will probably not get it at first. We may become frustrated, and ask God to bail us out or do it for us. God doesn’t always give us the answer. In some situations, He loves us too much to intervene.

God doesn’t have to give us the shortcut or fix every problem we face. Sometimes He allows us to figure it out. With the Bible as our guide, God wants us to step out in faith and put into practice what we’ve learned. We may make mistakes. We might not have instant success. Things probably won’t turn out exactly like we thought they would. But along the way, we learn lessons about perseverance, humility, gratitude and how great God really is. Through the challenges, we grow.

Jackson decided to keep building. With some trial and error, the pieces came together. He stuck with it. He persevered.

When he was close to finishing, my son called me back into the room to watch. The last piece went into place, and Jackson leaped into the air with his arms outstretched. He did it! He was so excited!! We celebrated his accomplishment together with high fives and hugs. 🙂

He did it!

He did it!

Today, stay close to God and keep going, keep trying. Listen to God in prayer and through His Word, then actively obey. Persevere!

And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation.
– Romans 5:4

Finding Rest

Lately Lauren has developed the skill of falling asleep wherever and whenever she happens to be tired.

She is playing happily in her room, and the next time I walk in, she’s asleep on the floor surrounded by her stuffed animals. We are playing in the living room, and Lauren crawls up on the couch and falls asleep. Recently, we were having music time. Jackson was picking strings on the mandolin and I was playing scales on the piano. Lauren began pounding the keys next to me, and suddenly I realized in the midst of the cacophony her head was nodding and her eyes were closed. The same day we were about to get the kids ready for bed, and Lauren beat us to the punch, again konked out on her floor.

The girl needs her rest!

As we began bedtime routines, Lauren didn't make it to the crib

Lauren is likely going through a growth spurt right now, and when her body requires rest, she complies.

Why is it that a nearly 18-month-old knows better when to rest than her 31-year-old mom (and probably most adults, for that matter)?

Rest becomes this elusive concept after college, and certainly after children. Rest is impractical. There is too much to be done. Life becomes one huge checklist, and you are always behind. Who has time to rest?

Apparently, God does.

After He created the entire universe, every intricate detail of our planet, and painstakingly shaped the first man and woman with His own hands, God declared that His work was good, excellent in every way. And, on the seventh day, God rested (see Genesis 2:1-3). This was our bedtime devotion with Jackson a few nights ago, and after he learned about Day 7, Jackson asked, “Mom, did God use covers?”

Besides observing the Sabbath day of rest, Jesus also took time to rest and recharge by withdrawing from the crowds of followers and journeying into the wilderness or the mountains to pray and spend alone time with His Father.

Lauren requires rest so that she can grow properly. So do we. Our souls crave rest in our Creator, time spent one-on-one with Jesus. If we want to grow, rest is necessary. Rest is the time God is preparing us for our next growth spurt and mission for Him. It is when we can just talk, with no pretenses, with our Savior, and He will share His very heart with us.

Come to Me, all of you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.  All of you, take up My yoke and learn from Me, because I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for yourselves.  For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.

– Matthew 11:28-30

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