Living God’s Grace When Life doesn’t Turn out Quite Like You Plan

Ten years ago number one son married the girl he believed was his forever love. Just shy of his 19th birthday his dad and I gave our blessing to the union because the alternative was to lose our son.

Not an option.IMG_0535

The marriage was full of love, passion and fun, but also full of struggle and competition. These two young adults were not only learning to be grown-ups, but also learning to care about someone other than themselves. They were grounded in their faith, their families and their friends. IMG_0483

But that wasn’t enough.

Six years after that beautiful August afternoon, my daughter in love, decided she needed something more. She walked away from the love of her life to see what she had missed by marrying at 18.

Devastated doesn’t begin to describe number one son after this happened.

He tried everything to work out the issues to get her to come home, but nothing worked. She didn’t want to be with him or with our family.

So he moved on.

Slowly.Mother Swan and chicks


Sometimes faltering.

But always covered in our prayers and the prayers of those who love him.

Tucked under God’s wing. Wrapped in his love.

It’s been four years now since she walked away.

Regret has come to her. Freedom to him. Reconciliation has occurred, in that they are now friends.

But reconciliation as a couple won’t happen. Too much hurt, too much pain. Life goes on.

Yesterday number one son called me to ask me if I remembered where we were ten years before.

How could I forget.

He’s a better man now. Lessons learned. Battles won. I wish I could say faith restored.

We’re working on that one.

I hold on to the God’s promise in Jeremiah 29:11-14

“I know what I’m doing. I have it all planned out—plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for.When you call on me, when you come and pray to me, I’ll listen.When you come looking for me, you’ll find me. Yes, when you get serious about finding me and want it more than anything else, I’ll make sure you won’t be disappointed. I’ll turn things around for you. I’ll bring you back from all the countries into which I drove you.”

and Proverbs 22:6, “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”

And, I pray.

For him,

and for her…

without ceasing.  (I Thessalonians 5:17)



Getting Ready for Christmas

I’ve had a hard time this year getting into the Christmas spirit. I’m not sure if it’s because I’ve been sick and so I am drained by the time I get home in the evenings, or if it’s because I’ve lost a little of my faith this year. The wonder and grace that this holiest of seasons normally holds for me seems to be lost this year in the hustle and bustle of work, worry and weariness. I know that part of the reason is because I am choosing to let the world creep in to what should be a spiritual time, and I know that I also am still grieving the loss of my mom in 2010, but those are just excuses. And poor ones at that. I’m choosing to not “be still” as God directs us and I’m choosing to not spend time in prayer and study because I am ashamed of how I have allowed this year to take a toll on my faith and my belief.

But why? I have so much to be thankful for and so much to rejoice over. I shouldn’t be questioning the wonder of the season or the majesty of the birth, but rather I should be embracing the gift that is Jesus Christ our Lord. I see Him all around me. I experience His grace every day. Yet now, when I should be rapt with joy and proclaiming the Messiah, I find my mouth stilled and my written words scarce.

I know the answer to why. I just don’t want to take the time to deal with the answer to the question. I hear God speaking to me, tugging on my heart strings, pleading with me to be who He wants me to be, but I resist. I know He has a plan for me (Jeremiah 29:11) and I know He wants me to be content (Philipians 4:12) but I can’t see or feel either and that is why I can’t get ready for Christmas this year. Avoidance is something I do well. It’s something the Father deals with me on daily.

And, so, I cry out to Him “Father, forgive my unbelief.” Christmas is the most special time of the year. This Christmas I want to find my way back to the wonder of the season without the need for presents under a tree or more food on my table than any one family should have. I want to find the wonder of Christmas in the Christ of Christmas. Only this, and nothing more.

Will you join me? Starting tomorrow I am going to begin to post “The Twelve Gifts of Christmas”, something I wrote a year or so ago. My prayer is that reliving the words and rereading the scripture will help me find Him again this Christmas. I hope you’ll join me.