Things I Learned (or relearned) in 2016: Part One, Probably

1. My kids success isn't always in God's plan.

I prayed that my child would win. Not for bragging rights or for the parental status it would bring. For my child.

So, I watched my child run like the wind...way behind all the other kids. And my heart sank. Why couldn't God allow my child to be good at this one thing? Why couldn't He allow my child to be successful this one time?

I blinked back hot tears as my heart hurt for my child who was obviously working as hard as they could...and still losing by a large margin. And I asked God why.

It took a few minutes for the answer to come, but I realized that my child is not the only child on the field and I am not the only parent praying for their child to win. Obviously they can't all win.

So I changed my prayers. Instead of praying for my child to win, I prayed that God would do whatever He thought best and to help my child not find their worth in their loses or wins but in the Father who loves them regardless of how they perform. And I thanked God for whatever He was doing to draw my children to Him.

2. Elton John is NOT singing "hot do-o-g" in Rocket Man. He's singing "oh no no no".

I liked the song more before I learned this.

3. Communication is hard. Bad communication and NO communication is harder, but is so embedded in me that it's really hard to break out of it.

Good and open communication makes life so much easier. It's baffling how often I used to make assumptions and act on those assumptions. Like, I would immediately judge why someone did something and then react to them as though it were true. But the thing is, if they didn't tell me it's true, I have no right to assume it is. In fact, I have no right to try to guess why someone else did something. If I am going to assume anything, it should be that their intentions were good. And when in doubt, ASK!

I can't even tell you how much I appreciate being on the receiving end of being asked. And how much I abhor it when I am punished for something I never even THOUGHT, much less acted on. Both encourage me to be more open in communication.

4. "Grace without truth is enabling. Truth without grace is bullying"--Jean-Anne Cooper

5. God is so much more bigger than I ever knew. Yes, more bigger. He is so much bigger than rules and walls. He is alive and active and beautiful and good. And He is in me. And that's the most beautiful part. Me. The girl who struggles to keep her home clean, the girl who has moments of doubt, this ex-Judas girl. He is in me and He is changing me.

6. God's community is so much more than "going to church". It's more than refreshments after church. It's forgiving without being asked to. REALLY forgiving, not resenting and SAYING I forgive but actually forgiving. It's INCLUDING, not condescending. It's serving. Not out of some codependent need, but with a heart that is indwelled by the Spirit and with the mind of Christ. It's full of safe people who don't believe or repeat or listen to ugly things said about another. It's bearing one anothers burdens and honoring each other. And saying the hard things. It's laying down my "rights" at Jesus' feet and allowing others to have their way instead of demanding my own. It's a LIFE. Not just a day of the week.

So far, I think the theme is...the Majesty of God and the breaking down of my walls of biases.

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