Yesterday was one of the hardest days I can remember in a long time. The circumstances don't ultimately matter since they contributed to, but were not the reason for, why it was such a disaster.
I will say it involved a whole lot of "I can't do this" and a big helping dose of "What were we thinking?" It had something to do with motherhood, how we educate our children, doing hard things, and feeling defeated.
It was a day in which I really just wanted to throw in the towel, hit delete, and restart.
Those are the kind of days you begin and end the day with a chorus of crying children. Those are the kind of days when it doesn't matter what your degree's in or how well you excel here or there. Those are the days when despite your most sincere efforts to be godly and fruitful, only rotted and withering fruit seem to fall from the tree.
And we remember...regardless of how difficult, unjust, unbelievable the circumstances, it's not the situation that needs an overhaul, but our hearts.
But that child who won't listen...?
But that impossible deadline...?
But that lack of support...?
But that feeling of inadequacy...?
I know. It's gotta change. So we scramble to do something...quick!
When I was a child, I had this tendency to start a drawing, hate it half-way through, then crumple up the paper, and start again. I never wanted to be in the middle of discomfort, imperfect, not good enough. If I could only start over, I thought, I could do it right. I could make the perfect choices. I could avoid pain.
But as it turns out, life is not sheets of paper. Sometimes you simply can't restart, reboot, or begin again with the perfect set of conditions.
So what do we make of this...this truth we believe so dearly and sometimes feels so far away:
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. (2 Corinthians 5:17)
How do we live in this truth, Lord, when circumstances and sinful responses to those circumstances do not simply "pass away?"
The verses that directly follow help to remind us...
You see, when we can't reboot and start over on circumstances, we must rekindle the truth of what we believe about them.
If the flame of hope is the good news of the cross, we fuel it by rehearsing what is true: We are a new creation because God made us righteous on account of HIMSELF. He took our sin and replaced it with his perfect life...his clean slate.
I don't have to crumple up the paper and get it right this time, because he already did.
Are you breathing a big sigh of relief yet? We need to remember, friends, that while the struggles and imperfect circumstances of today may not pass away, in Christ, our addiction to wanting them to does.
Our circumstances might not get a fresh start, but when our souls become new creations in Christ, we need only to realign ourselves with the truth via reminders of grace. Isn't it a beautiful paradox: That what we need to change is inside and not outside. But what changes us within is not inside of us but without...
Grace -- God's merciful love through redemption -- reboots, restarts, and ultimately rekindles. It did all that we couldn't when we came to the end of ourselves. It continues to do the same today.
Here's hoping the tender thoughts from my hard hard day remind you of a good good God.
Because of grace,