"This is what you always do," she groans. "You tell me to do something I have no idea how to do. You just expect me to know."
I hate that word, "always." Really, "always"? I almost wonder if we should take it out of the English dictionary. Or at least my vocabulary.
I want to retaliate. Really, do we need to wash the dress right now at 7:30am? The kitchen is a mess, the baby wants to be held and I'd rather just drink a cup of coffee. And there's that stinkin' word always. Why does she always have to make mornings so difficult?
"Okay, let's go wash the dress." We muddle through the function of each machine dial and while holding baby brother, get the dress she wanted to wear to school today in the wash machine.
I retreat to the kitchen mess and begin my one-handed clean-up. While singing "So Rise and Shine," the umpteenth time, I ponder.
She stomps back to the kitchen, throwing herself into her chair at the table. "Draw a goldenrod."
"What?" I ask in bewilderment. What does the goldenrod she learned about in iNature have anything to do with washing clothes?
"See, you don't know how to draw it. You need me to show you," she makes her point and spins back out of my sight.
Finally, I hear her say that I don't teach her. She's saying she'd like to know how and I'm not taking the five minutes to teach.
I return to her pouting body sprawled out on the living room floor, admit that I've not done a good job of teaching her, I'd like to do better and I suggest we return to the whirling washing machine to review the dials on the machine. Why do moms need to be willing to change? Can't I just be right all the time?
Thankfully, she bounded off to the bus with a kiss, hug and smile while I retreated to my coffee cup and study of 1 Peter.
Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind. Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing. 1 Peter 3:8-9
I've been studying the meaning of the word translated, "bless." Our English word, eulogy is derived from this greek word. Zodhiates argues that it would be better translated "speak well of one" and also in 1 Peter three, it implies asking God to act in one's life. The application couldn't have been more spot on for the morning that had just unfolded. Every inch of my being wanted to retaliate, yell, justify my actions but God says through Peter, don't shout back, don't criticize or insult your child but instead speak well of her, listen to her and ask God to work in her life.
So often, I think of Scripture applying to the really big things in life, like being hauled to court and sued for holding fast to your moral convictions. Not what happened over the breakfast table, at the checkout lane or on the highway. Thankfully, my nine-year old helped me see that it indeed applies to the seemly little occurrences and encounters.
The rest of verse nine says, speaking well of others no matter how they treat us is why we were called into God's family or saved, so that we can be spoken well of by God and invite His work in our lives. Through this loving, sympathetic conversation with the golden head, humbly admitting my wrong and inviting Him to work in her life, He will also always work in my life. These encounters refine me to make me more like Jesus. And I think that's a better use of the word always.
The next verses in 1 Peter 3 reference Psalm 34:12-16, which I understand to be a formula for wisdom or the fear of the Lord. ("Come, o children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the Lord," Psalm 34:11.) Take a few minutes right now to mediate on these verses. How does God want you to pursue peace today so that He might work in your life as well as those you speak well of, no matter how they may criticize you.

What's enough?

For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. Ephesians 2:10
This is why we were created: to show the world God's goodness. But when I think of being God's handiwork, I wonder what's enough?
Struggling with certainty in my roles, I wonder if I am suppose to do more outside or even within these four walls (our family's home). I know I'm called to do the urgent within these walls, just as the engineer is called to provide for his family, but am I missing a call or ministry outside (or from within) these walls?
I've heard over and over, give yourself grace the first year with baby. Heck, I've preached this message myself, but something in me can't help but wonder if I'm missing a work for which God has made me. What about other goals or ministries: freelance graphics; writing; intentional bedtime prayers, hugs and chitchats; date nights; relationships with unbelievers; volunteering at church...? Every time I attempt to add one of these, I get overwhelmed.
But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, Ephesians 2:4-8
I am God's creation gone wild and then by His goodness alone, reclaimed because of my faith in Jesus' perfect offering of Himself in place of my life. And God did this for His glory and my good joy. He gets glory when I show the world how good and kind He is.
Whatever I do, has to show God's grace to the "world" in which I'm sitting. Show them that I am nothing and God in His mercy, love, riches, and kindness, gave me a gift: salvation, joy, peace and contentment (just to name a few).
Today, I need to wear His salvation "on my sleeve" for all in my sphere of influence to see. I have to believe that this is enough work. It's gotta be; it's all I got most days!
How can I do this while pursuing other ministries or life goals? I need to be real. The people I meet along the way have to know who I was before God's grace gift to really know His infinite rich grace to me and that it is also available to them. They have to know how rebellious and sneaky I was as a teenager, wanting to fit in with the world and yet have a good face on Sunday. They need to know how self-righteous I was in college, thinking I could gain God's favor through my own self discipline and depravation. They need to know I was a nervous, sleepless wreck last night and God in His goodness gave me peace in the morning. Everyone I meet today, needs to know that the same God who rescued me from who I was before wants to rescue them. He wants to show them mercy, love, generosity and kindness. It's never too late and He never says never.
So what's enough work? Well, we can set out with big goals, but achievement is secondary to showing people the patience and goodness of Jesus along the way.
No matter the goal of your work, what is one way you can show or tell those in your sphere of influence today God's goodness toward you and how in His kindness, He gave you a grace gift and it's changed who you are today.