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May is always a crazy busy month for us. It holds our wedding anniversary, Mother’s Day, and my birthday. These events give me plenty of reason for reflection. Around our anniversary, I reflected on our marriage. On Mother’s Day, I ruminated on motherhood. By my birthday at the end of the month, I was thinking about life in general. One thing that came up in all of these reflections, the common thread that strung these thoughts together, is grace.
I need more grace for other people. More understanding of the grace that’s given to me. I need to give myself more grace.
For my birthday, Nate and the kids gave me the The Message Canvas journaling Bible. After a month of really thinking about grace, the first day I lifted that pretty coral cover open had the perfect verse for me.
Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” Matthew 11: 28-30.
Unforced rhythms of Grace
This is going to be my summertime goal. It seems like a perfect time for unforced rhythms, for recognizing grace. Really paying attention to grace, letting the slow rhythm of the summer revolve around appreciating the graces in my days. Living a life of worship and appreciation, instead of rushed accomplishments.
I need to recognize God’s grace in the morning when I sneak downstairs to sit in the quiet, preparing to have the best possible day. And then again in the evening, when I sit down defeated, vowing that tomorrow will be better.
I need to give my husband grace when he says something I don’t understand- a miscommunication that is as much my fault as his. And grace for my daughter, when all she really wants is me, and all I really want is to tame the clutter that exploded all over the house.
When I lack grace for others, it’s usually because I’m not taking the time to relish in God’s grace for me. I try to keep plenty of white space on our calendar, but there are these self-imposed deadlines and duties that invisibly appear, binding me in stress and busyness. Things to do around the house. Time-consuming projects that don’t really need to be done. How I long for a different summer rhythm. A heading-to-the-back-patio-barefoot-with-my-coffee kind of rhythm. A let’s stay in pajamas because we don’t have anywhere to go kind of rhythm. We don’t do formal lessons yet, but I’m craving this separation from our normal routine.
But this goes deeper than schedules. This is living a life of thankfulness and worship, forgiveness and presence. I need rest, not just physically, but from the emotional burdens I incur by refusing to forgive myself. Instead of saying at the end of the summer, “That summer flew by!” I want to say, “I enjoyed every minute of it.” When I’m tired and overwhelmed, I want to sit and take in these fleeting moments with my little ones, instead of shutting down.
This is an idea that I can keep thinking about over and over again and continue to come up for fresh implications of it. I hope that this seed of an idea blooms and grows in your mind, too. Maybe you’re taking a break from homeschool, or maybe your days will continue with a similar rhythm. What will your summer rhythms look like? Hopefully filled with grace.