Time for Thanks - Lessons Learned

Last week wasn't a great week. I mean, nothing tragic has occurred. Really, it was only a few slightly crummy things that put a damper on the whole week, but sometimes that's all it takes.

Crummy things happen...

I took Maddie to the orthodontist for the first time this week. Then I took her for the second time, because the first time upset me so much that I thought we should just try again. Talk about first world problems! I was in a serious "mood" at the thought of how much I will end up paying for my kids' teeth to look good. I think what put me over the edge was going to the grocery store and buying ground chuck afterward.

Just a tip: When you get less than stellar financial news, just go home and have a hot cup of coffee and relax. Don't go to the store and spend money. Because it just might leave you thinking that it's all over. The economy is in the pooper. You have four kids to raise, four sets of teeth to straighten, and you are probably going to have to eat beans for the next ten years to do it because that dadgum ground chuck is so expensive!

See. Home and coffee.

So we spent the next few days at home, conserving gasoline and eating only the food we'd already purchased. Okay, we really stayed home because there was so much laundry to do and taking Sam in public is a risky venture even on a good day. My hopes were set on Thursday, when I get to go out into the big world and spend most of my day at Bible study, talking to grown-ups while someone else entertains my boys. And this was a special Thursday because my sister-in-law was having the aforementioned surgery and I had plans to go visit her sans preschoolers.

Then the puke happened. It always does.

Okay, that might be a slight exaggeration. It doesn't always happen, but when it does happen, it feels like it always happens.

So we stayed home again. On the bright side, we saved more gas!

All in all, the main thing that was bad about this week was my perspective and the attitude that went with it. And all this rambling leads me to the point...what I'm thankful for.

I'm thankful for the lesson the Lord is slowly teaching my heart. He is showing me the difference between conviction and condemnation. For much of my life, I've confused the guilt and defeat of condemnation with the encouraging push of the Spirit toward better things. While sin is nothing to be justified or brushed under the rug, the Lord desires to help us change, not to leave us feeling like hopeless losers.

I liked this quote from Bob Sorge (I have no idea who that is, but it was in a study I'm doing), which says, "The purpose of the voice of condemnation is to push you away from His presence - that which is the very source of your victory. The purpose of the voice of conviction is to press you into the face of Christ."

So, even though this week feels like one that I'd just as soon forget, I am doing my best to shush the voice that says, "You stink at this whole being a Christian and a decent mom and a loving wife thing. You're never going to get it right." And I'm trying to tune my heart to hear the voice that whispers, "Confess and turn from all this junk. You've made bad choices, but you can start fresh right now. Remember the joy and hope you have in me? I can help you with this. It can all be redeemed."

I still don't know how the Lord plans on paying for braces, or if he does, and I still don't know which doctor to use, and the price of groceries is climbing ever higher, and I got impatient with my kids again today, and puke is likely to happen again (though I'm really hoping it's not for, like, another 72 years), but Jesus will be there for it all. He'll be helping, reminding, encouraging, loving, nudging, pursuing, and sometimes disciplining, but never condemning.

And for that, I'm thankful.


  1. sweetness! I remember the long dark decade of young'uns. vomit happens. fevers happen. not showering happens. scary bills happen. you forget how to talk to adults. This too shall pass. for now, kiss your kids, and remember that your Heavenly Father cares for you more tenderly than you care for them. You are more precious in His sight, and He rejoices over you with singing.

  2. Amy, I needed to hear this today regarding condemnation versus conviction. Thanks for always sharing your heart friend


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