Are you ever hard on yourself?
Sometimes in moments weak I’ll remember my poorest choices, shameful sins and messy mistakes. And it can get ugly until I remember something better.
God has forgiven me and I must do no less. And He forgets.
And you and I must remember to forget those things we’ve done that keep us up at night or make us cringe and cry.
Because remembering won’t change the past. It will only bring down today and that hurts tomorrow. And God, He’s always making things new.
So we change the station inside our heads playing those old, critical tapes and keep pressing forward until we hear the music of grace transforming the moments of now into life far, far better than anything from our past.
Even when we feel like we deserve nothing but the dungeon, God delights to give us good gifts. Is always giving us good gifts. Sometimes we just have to open our eyes, hands and hearts and receive.
And the goodness of God leads us to repentance and all things become new.
This came home to me recently thinking of my children. How much I love them unconditionally. How they need do nothing — good, bad or indifferent — to make me want to gift them with good things.
And God is such a better parent than you and me could ever be!
He goes above and beyond. Lavishing us with love in ways that take our breath away and stay with us for all the rest of our days.
And sometimes God even ties it all up in a pretty bow as He ends one chapter to gift us with the next.
We had a whirlwind summer. We sold the house ourselves and closed on the cash deal in seven minutes flat one warm Friday morning in August exactly a month ago today.
God who gifted me and my family with that house so long ago saw fit to bring back my young men and one young wife and a son’s dear girlfriend — all who had been living out West for years.
And this summer it was us and a houseful of grown kids and three sweet grand-kitties.
And the season of fire flies and fireworks and sand between our toes and suns setting late seemed to melt like chocolate in the summer sun.
Space was sparse with boxes lining the walls. Young people moving in for a season and us older folks getting ready to move out,.
We played musical chairs in the refrigerator as we vied for a place for our food.
And the floor stood in for beds now gifted to a single mom and her children.
And my Michael and I agree over and over that we would do it all over again in a heart beat for it was all a gift.
Us together under one roof — hearts belonging to each other — saying so long and closing a lengthy chapter of all the good and bad and in-between that happened in that old house. Bringing us close before we all would part, some of us going far.
Living, laughing and loving together just like the words on our living room wall said. Often around a table laden with hearty home cooking.
And decades worth of photos. Snapshots of doing life as a family.
And lots of love.
And just when I thought I could catch my breath for a moment I would remember there was another drawer of files to sort through before the shredding appointment the next week.
More photos to go through for keeping and giving and even shredding some!
There was furniture for sale to list on Craigslist and Facebook. And pick up appointments to arrange. And meeting some of the nicest people and them sharing their stories sweet and sad.
Phone calls to the attorney, the bank and the town.
And making arrangements for my mom to come up for lunch to say goodbye to the home where she and my dad often visited a tired, lonely single mom bringing bags of groceries, extra pairs of hands to help and hearts full of love.
And in the midst of it all our third anniversary! On the river we love, under a full bright sun, sailing away from stress for a day, leaving behind a thousand things to do in the process of selling a home and moving.
And then there was the sofa.
The one that matches the loveseat and fit great in our home but when we moved it into our new place proved too bulky for our cozy little loft.
It was the day before our closing. The house needed to be empty. With no time left to try and sell or give away the sofa my Michael and my son Ben took it to Good Will.
But they were told there was no room for it in their store.
Time was running out and the decision was made to junk it. And we felt awful contributing a fine piece of furniture to landfill. But we had no choice, or so it seemed.
So I’m at home sweeping all the empty rooms and the sun is streaming full and my eyes brimming liquid.
Then a knock at the front door. A woman who bought a dresser at my garage sale a year ago had seen my SOLD sign and was stopping by looking for furniture for a family that had lost everything.
A quick call stopped my husband and son just as they were ready to unload the sofa onto the junk pile. The woman met them and they followed her to what turned out to be her ex-husband and his new wife’s place where gratitude and surprise swirled.
And redemption for all and all of it covered in love.
God’s good gifts abounding for us all.
And Him never late. And us deserving even when we don’t feel that we are deserving.
Because He is our forever Father holding His kids tight. And always giving.
So whatever you are walking through right now — even if it’s hard — or whatever you might be remembering, open your hands and heart and receive.