The four of us and our minivan pull into the parking lot of Powers Dental, and as I turn off the ignition my eyes travel to the clock.
I can’t believe what I see. I turn around and shout,
“Holy smokes, kids! Look! It’s only 3:11 and Ethan’s orthodontist appointment isn’t ’til 3:20! We’re early!”
And here’s where I need to remind you that the Strongs don’t often show up early. Or at least we rarely do when yours truly is at the wheel. While we manage to get to school or practices on time, we usually roll into appointments a few minutes (or more) late.
We hop out of the van and saunter into the office as Ethan gives the receptionist his name. I walk up to the counter behind him all but clicking my heels in the air.
“Good afternoon!” I chirp, pulling my wallet from my purse to pay the next installment of my son’s invisalign care. “I know we’re early, so we can wait a while if need be.” I practically sing the word early.
The receptionist looks up from her computer with a puzzled expression,
“Um, Mrs. Strong?” she checks her computer screen one more time. “It looks like we have Ethan scheduled for tomorrow at 3:20, not today.”
Insert slumping shoulders and hanging head because of course.
“Well,” I smile, forcing my shoulders back up. “I guess I’m even earlier than I thought!”
I try to ignore the familiar sound of yet another ball dropping.
Every year, I flip our (old school) family calendar to May, and every year my eyes grow wide and my breathing shallow at the lack of white space in each side-by-side square. Projects, appointments, and meetings oh-my. It’s enough to make my long ‘n lanky self curl up in a ball and call for my mama.
A mixed-up appointed time is easy to forgive, I know. But what about when that’s just one little ball of several you’ve dropped? When you’ve mixed up the appointment and forgot to buy that birthday gift and missed that deadline and didn’t make that reservation you promised you would?
It all adds up and pretty soon, my head falls to my hands as I say to myself,
If you don’t get your act together, then you’ll always be a hot mess.
I act like God must be saying the same thing, shaking His own exasperated head at me.
And the ‘if, then’ scenarios start raining from the sky.
If you mess up that project, then you won’t be trusted with the next one.
If you don’t do well on that test, then you’re a failure.
If your kids don’t behave well in public, then you’re a bad mom.
And on and on.
While these all may be on the smaller, everyday part of life, we’ve all let our minds travel to the darker ‘If, then what?’ scenerios.
I mull this over while sitting on our back deck on a rare warm Colorado spring morning. I glance up at our little robin who’s built a nest high in the corner of the roof. She’s so still while sitting on her bright blue eggs, only cocking her head a bit when one of us opens the sliding glass door. It’s then I hear the words float in on a breeze,
Be still and know.
And really, it’s true:
If you don’t finish that whole project, still know you’re wholly loved.
If you drop that ball, still know you’ve caught the more important ones.
If you don’t meet her expectations, still know He holds you in high esteem.
If you forget to sign that important school paper, still know you’re a good mom.
If you talk ugly to your husband or kids, still know your repentance brings grace.
And on and on.
It’s not if, then what? It’s if, still know. God’s voice promises If the worst happens, still know you can count on Me to redeem it.
Entwined in our days are countless graces just waiting for us to grab, and when we do so, we braid Truth into the deepest part of our hearts. May we be timely in turning our ears toward His truth and our hands toward His grace.
And maybe even a little bit early.
I tell ya, friends, I have some big announcements arriving this month that have me doing cartwheels *and* hiding under the bed. I’m sorry to be Vaguey McVaguersons about them right now, but soon I will spill all to you. In the meantime, I would love love love (times a thousand) your prayers more than you can possibly imagine. Thank you for them in advance ~ I love you like crazy!