devotions

nailing jello

Lately, and quite often (ahem), I keep thinking of the saying, “Raising teenagers is like trying to nail jello to a tree.”  Maybe you would agree?  I remember the first time I read this quote.  I was heading home from work, before we had any kids, and read it on a church marquee.  I thought, “Haha!  How cute- that’s funny!”

Fast forward several years and here I am with three of our four kids now teenagers.  Day after day, I’m trying to nail that jello to the tree.  I still laugh at that analogy, but in a different kind of way.  I laugh at myself for thinking maybe I could actually do it… escape those notorious teen years of trial and prayer and skate through drama-free.  I could nail that jello on where it would be firm, intact, and stay put right where I wanted.  Uh-huh.  Yea.  No big deal.

jello box on tree

Technically, jello can be nailed to a tree.  But, it would have to stay in a box- safe from outside elements.  The thing is, that is not how jello is intended to be- all boxed up.  No necessary ingredients have been added to mix in, strengthen and mold it to it’s desired state.

jelloe cube on tree

So, let’s say we do away with the box.  Take the jello, add water, mix together and let it do it’s thing to firm up. It’s on it’s way to becoming a Luby’s-worthy cube of gelatin goodness.  Yes!  Just like I’d imagined.  I decide to give it a go, find a tree, and try to nail it on.  It may even stay in place for just a bit.  But, not long after, it begins to wiggle and shift and just can’t stay in that one place.  It gets a little sticky and a lot messy oozing out from the grip of the nail.

jello glob on tree

Today, this is where I find myself with raising teenagers. Parenting often feels like a gloppy mess.  I can try really hard to keep them safe in the box.  But that’s not how they were made to live.  I have to expose them to the things that will mold and shape them into the strong, Godly people I know they can be.  But they’re  going to test the water.  They’ll wiggle around, oozing out their independence to find their way… figuring out the right path to be on. It’s a necessary part of growth.  Just like the jello, it will get a little sticky and a lot messy.  I’d imagine every parent before me who has ever raised a teen would agree.

I need to remember our sweet teenagers aren’t meant to have things all figured out.  They need us.  I need to do my part to help these almost-adult young people figure out the person God is calling them to be.  I need to be patient with the process of how they shape and mold.   And, I need to always remember that there will be a mess.  It’s just a fact.  Things will get sticky.  That’s a natural side effect of them figuring out their own way.  And that’s okay.  Messy and sticky.  It’s what happens when you try to nail jello to a tree.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not lean on your own understanding. Seek His will in all you do and He will show you which path to take.”     -Proverbs 3:5-6

daily moments, devotions

bible study partner

tess bible pic

Our sweet dog, Tess, hopped up in my lap this morning when I was doing my bible study.  She just planted her face right in my bible.  I think the best days start when I do the same thing.

Rarely do I sleep in these days.  I’m up early in the morning well before anyone else in the house is stirring.  It’s my own personal quiet time in a household of six.  I have really come to cherish that time and when I don’t get it, my day is just not the same.  It’s off-kilter.  I’m out of sorts.  I need His calming influence and words on my heart to set the tone for my day.  Even if that means sharing it with my pup.  The way she climbed up in my lap to get a little love from me is the same kind of affection I seek of Him.  I’m not going to find that hitting snooze or jump-starting my day with the news.  I’m going to find that same kind of embrace my seeking and talking to my Father.

Thank you, God, for early morning quiet.  Thank you for the coffee that goes hand in hand with it.  Thank you for breathing life through the words in my bible that often feel like you wrote them just for me.  Thank you for cheetah blankets and Shephard-mix doggies that help make my quiet time with you even more special.  Thank you for today. 🙂

 

 

daily moments, devotions

little yellow flower

little yellow flower

As I stepped out earlier this week to take my daughter to school, I looked down and saw this dainty little flower. Most days I wouldn’t have given a second glance to the flowering weed coming up in the driveway crack (note to self: ‪#‎needroundup‬), but in that split second it really stopped me in my tracks.

This last week has been a tough one. We lost our oldest dog unexpectedly.  To say we are heartbroken is an understatement.  Pets are family and the grieving is real. Maybe you can relate. Maybe you haven’t experienced loss, but maybe illness or parenting or work stress is taking a toll. Seeing this sweet little flower growing and blossoming despite the cold, hard cement and brick that surrounds it spoke to me. It found a way to bloom even though its circumstances are less than ideal. And then I thought… When I am in a place that feels hard, do I grow? Or even blossom? Do I put my trust in God and forge ahead relying on His provisions… And His grace… to keep going, to keep growing… right where I am?

We CAN blossom through every circumstance in life. It doesn’t have to be the ideal, comfortable conditions that bring out our beauty and purpose. We can blossom in the hard times- trusting God when things seem out of our control and when we don’t understand the why. We can lean in on God so that we grow and thrive right where we are.

Thank you, Heavenly Father, for the gift of this dainty driveway flower. Help me to blossom with Your grace and for Your purpose wherever you plant me- each and every day.

❤ Isaiah 26:3-4 You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in You. Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord, the Lord himself, is the Rock eternal.