Well, I’m back. After more than two years of silence on this blog, it’s time to write again. I’m not sure what silenced my blog for two years; was it my lack of discipline or a burned out heart or a busy schedule or just my constant state of being a tired mom? I’m not sure. Whatever the case, it’s good to be back. I’m hoping it sticks. The last blog I wrote over two years ago was my first blog to ever go viral, and then my words dried up. How weird is that?
The last two years have been full to the brim with the good, the bad, and the ugly. Just like your life, there have been wonderful highs and really depressing lows. Weeks and months have flown by. I’ve driven my kids to more activities than ever before in my life, immersed myself into their worlds by subbing in their schools, traveled to some beautiful places, read more books than ever and read the Bible from cover to cover. This blog started several years as a journey through grief after losing my Mom and segued into being a place where I shared struggles and joys of parenting littles. But my littles are growing into bigs now, and while they’ll appear in many a blog, my heart pounds to write about Jesus and His Word. That’s what you’ll find in this space from now on.
After over 2 years of silence, where does a girl start? With the kindness of God.
Have you recently just sat down or taken a walk and pondered how nice God is? I don’t really mean in a “count your blessings” kind of way, because then we usually end up thinking about tangible things…which is good, but not really what I’m going for here. The last two years have conjured up some pretty rough moments…Paul’s career has been immensely taxing, marriage is often the hardest thing ever, and parenting brings me to the end of myself on a daily basis. In a life in which every single day is different than the day before, one constant has remained the same: the kindness of God. Over and over I’ve wanted to write about it but couldn’t find the words. It’s so wonderful; I can’t do it justice. It stops me in my tracks and takes my breath away.
God is so nice to me. So gentle and loving and tender. He lets me get to the end of myself but doesn’t let me break. He invites me out of bed in the morning to sit in His presence, wooing me with the aroma of fresh coffee, knowing that without at least 30 minutes alone with Him I’ll barely make it through my day. He listens to me as I tell Him my same stressors every single day and gives me the wisdom and insight I desperately need. He is so kind.
It seems like being kind is the new thing to be. In the 60’s it was “all you need is love.” And then in the 80’s it seems like being a rebel was sort of the thing. Push back against the grain. And then for at least a decade in the 2000’s it was all about being tolerant. Accept everything, disagree with nothing. But now, it seems like everything is all about kindness (which is a huge step up from just being tolerant…what a sad thing it is to simply “tolerate” everyone). In every school I sub at there are posters that say, “In a world where you can be anything, be kind.” We have kindness weeks and wear shirts that remind us to be kind. We even eat KIND bars. In our quest to spread kindness, what we may not realize is that it all comes from the heart of an incredibly, shockingly, incessantly kind God.
With all the destruction and suffering in the world I think the kindness of God gets overlooked and swept under the rug. We recognize our material blessings because they are right there in front of us, but the tender, gentle, kind heart of God gets missed, or even ignored or denied. It’s so often suggested that God must be harsh or, at a minimum aloof, for there to be such evil in the world. How could a kind God ever allow x, y, or z? But let us consider the powerful words of the Apostle Paul in Romans 8:32: “He who did not spare His own Son but gave Him up for us all, how will He not also with Him graciously give us all things?” WHAT??? Did you see that? Since God gave up His SON for us, to redeem us from sin and set us free forever, will He not then also GRACIOUSLY give us everything? Graciously, not begrudgingly. We (meaning I) tend to be so near-sighted and narrow-minded that I think this means things I want – like new furniture and a growing savings account. But it doesn’t. It’s not even a promise for health or physical wellness. It’s not a promise for safety either (think about the Apostle Paul’s life…he was never physically safe and had a “thorn in his flesh” that he said tormented him). But God gives us everything we need to know Him…wisdom, faith, joy, hope, salvation, forgiveness, freedom, perseverance. And in the coming Kingdom, it will be that and everything else we’ve longed for on this earth. God’s kindness is shocking. It should take our breath away.
The Bible agrees with our distress that we absolutely live in a world that groans and aches under the immense weight of corruption and sin (Romans 8:22). But, oh for the tender, kind heart of our God! Without the kindness of God there would be no beauty or good in this sin-stressed world. Our struggle is not that God’s heart isn’t tender; our struggle is that we don’t seek His tender heart. Have you watched the sunset over the ocean? God is tender. Or stared at the wonder of sundogs around the sun on the most bitterly cold day? God is encouraging. Have you had a big floppy dog lay his head on your lap? God is playful. Have you been brought to laughter when you were trying your best stay mad? God is gracious. Have you taken a bite recently and been in awe of the amazing savory taste? God is so kind!
According to Ephesians 2:7, He longs to show us the “immeasurable riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus”. He’ll show us completely in the new Kingdom after Jesus returns, but even now He eagerly gives us glimpse after glimpse after glimpse. And the only reason He is waiting to show us completely is because He wants all to come to believe in Him (2 Peter 3:9). He is so nice! Since His kindness is immeasurable, if we were to begin to make a list of all the ways He’s shown us kindness (which is a great exercise), our list would never end. And since He is eager to show us kindness, we don’t have to beg Him. It is His joy to shower us with kindness. Our problem isn’t His lack of kindness; our problem is that we don’t press in. He’s not going to force His kindness upon us. He paints the sky every morning and evening but doesn’t crank our necks up to see it. He whispers to our hearts often but doesn’t reach over our shoulders to turn off our devices. Because He is kind, He lets us choose. Let’s choose to press into His kindness.
A verse that has gripped my heart recently is “May the Lord direct your hearts to the love of God and the steadfastness of Christ” (2 Thess. 3:5) I just love it. I’ve been praying it over my husband and kids and made them all memorize it. We live in a harsh world and our hearts can grow distant from the love of God. But oh! Would God direct our hearts into His love! It’s like God is reaching out His hand, grabbing the metaphorical hand of my kid’s hearts, and guiding their hearts to His own. Oh yes please Jesus! How kind of God to direct our hearts, knowing full well that without His guidance my heart gets way off course And then, we not only find shelter in His love but also we are able stand firm in the steadfastness of Christ. Do you need some steadfastness in your life? I sure do.
There’s so much more to say about the kindness of God. But for now, would you just ponder it please? I know your world is stressful. The whole world is. But how has God been tender toward you? How has He given you mercy when you deserved a scolding? How has he encouraged your heart when you’ve been down in the dumps? When has He guided your heart straight to His love and steadfastness?
My prayer is that you would encounter the kindness of God today and that it would melt your heart. Drop your jaw. Stop you in your tracks.
Press into it. Let’s be stunned, my friend.