As soon as the kids got out of school, we headed to North Carolina for Christmas. When we arrived, a party was in full swing. As we walked through the door of my dad’s new home, we were met with hugs and smiles by lots of relatives. I think everyone should be greeted this way after a very long journey – it’s good for our hearts. We laughed a lot, caught up on life, exchanged skincare tips, heard about adventures and spoke of grace. There was plenty of food, but that did not draw my attention. It was the people who held my focus and I did not want to miss a thing. My husband commented later that night when all was quiet, how I seemed to be in my element. He was very right. I love family, encouraging conversations, laughter and grace.
The next morning, I quietly came downstairs and found my way to a familiar chair. To have time with my Savior is also good for my heart. With the Christmas tree lit and coffee in hand, the silence was interrupted by the ticking of three different clocks that were totally out of sync. Do you know how loud clocks can be? It was a bit annoying and distracting. However, I ignored the sound after awhile when God’s word captured my full attention. I thought to of how the festivities of the day before had totally drowned out the noise of the clocks. Good words and laughter can have a wonderful affect on many things.
As the days went by and the clocks kept ticking, I started noticing what was also out of sync. People we encountered around town were sometimes angry and in a hurry. Everywhere we went seemed to be crowded and I got caught up in the need to try and beat the crowds to make sure we had a place. Beautiful mountains surround Asheville, but too small streets for an enormous amount of people, made me want to run home to the open spaces of Texas. When change of any kind is rushing into what seems like a small space and the desire to remain the same collide, I feel out of sync in a town or in my heart. The only thing that never changes is God, His Word and His love. To hold back moving forward can cause one to become angry, rushed and blind to beauty. So I move forward in the new today, but firmly planted in the unchangeable. Makes my steps much more confident, a bit slower and more friendly I like to think.
These were the thoughts that I was thinking about yesterday morning as the day began. One of my sweet boys and I headed out to buy much need groceries. We had just driven home and we were out of pretty much everything. He wanted to spend time together and off we went. We needed to reconnect. While we were in North Carolina, he was the one I felt like I was watching constantly to make sure he didn’t mess anything up or break something. You never know what he is going to say and that can keep you on your toes. The whole thing was exhausting for him and me. Instead of looking for the good, I watched for mistakes. While he is a bit immature, he is also very insightful and fun. One misses that when you do not have eyes of grace. Out of step again.
After shopping and loading everything into the car, I noticed eye makeup that had not been rung up but remained in my cart. To leave the makeup in my cart and drive home was an option, but not the right one. So, we walked back in, paid for the makeup and walked out hand in hand. He said, “Mom, look at our feet, we are walking the same!” I told him that we were walking in sync and this is how we are to walk with God. We were keeping in step with one another. He then said, “And I am following your footsteps.” I told you he was insightful.
To walk with God matters and if I choose not too, what would happen to this child? If I allowed noise, distractions, anger, to want to go back, remain the same or have this ever changing worlds opinion on truth to cause my steps to move away from God, how would this affect him? I make mistakes like how I acted towards him on this trip. Thankfully, there is grace given by God and repentance on my part for my mistakes. As with this child and for the rest of our kids, I have found them to be very forgiving. I also know that God’s love for me never changes and I am secure because of His love. Also, things change as the days, months and years tick by and I am changing too. To want to go back or hang onto what was will keep me from moving forward. As I move forward day by day, there is so much more I have found God has in store for me. Just when I think things cannot getting any better or sometimes any worse for that matter, the Lord surprises me. My faith is strengthened and I fall that much more in love with God.
Read with me these words, “Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.” (Galatians 5:25). The Spirit is what comes to dwell inside of us when we accept Christ as our Savior. It is the power of the Holy Spirit that causes us to change more into the likeness of Christ. It is the Spirit that keeps us in sync and our footsteps worth following. “For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want.” (Galatians 5:17). This conflict plays out in all of us and can become heightened during the holidays. What was is not anymore and places are overcrowded, time is short and expectations are high. The sound of time ticking becomes heightened and our hearts beat fast and out of sync. Then our thoughts, actions and words follow. We forget others, especially our children, are watching and are influenced by our steps.
So what do we do to get back in sync? We quiet our hearts, read His word, repent and ask the Lord how He would have us walk. He word is full of guidance and love. His ways are not rules to follow, but boundaries to keep our steps close to His. Why would we want to move away, falling and tripping our way through life? I want my steps to cause my children to see Christ. I want my life to reflect Him and not my flesh. When they walk beside me, I want them to imitate what will matter in eternity. I want them to see my eyes turn to them in love and not carefully watching for mistakes. Some days I do this better than others because of this whole flesh thing, but tomorrow is a new day. As we walk towards a new year, I am reminding myself of these words – “Through the LORD’s mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” (Lamentations 3:22-23).