I love thinking about what God’s able to do in, through, and around me, because I’m a work in progress—at times a mess making no progress. When I was younger, my days were marked by parenting fails. Now that I’m a little older, it’s grandparenting fails.
Several weeks ago, I had back-to-back “did that really just happen” moments with my two grandsons. On Wednesday I met Enzo for a play date. While walking along the waterfront of Lake Washington, Enzo asked to go to the bathroom. We quickly skipped back to his apartment building, but when I reached into my pocket for the keys, nothing. Nothing in my other pockets.
“Enzo, Grandma’s lost the keys. We’re going to need to go back to the dock.”
Ready for an adventure, Enzo forgot about needing to go to the bathroom and turned to nearby strangers and asked, “You have Grandma’s keys?
I winced and added a sheepish, “Yes, Grandma’s lost her keys” and then tried to avoid their looks of concern and disbelief. We retraced our steps again and again, but we never found the keys.
The very next day I picked up grandson Austin from daycare. Arriving at his house for our playdate, I unbuckled him from his car seat, set him on the ground beside me, and closed the car door, not realizing he’d put his hand back into the opening. The door closed on the tips of his little fingers. Unable to move, he screamed in alarm. I opened the car door as quickly as possible, thanking God the gap in the door had been large enough to pinch, but not crunch his small fingers. Still Grandma cried and Austin cried.
For several weeks the little boys reminded Grandma of the lost keys and pinched fingers. And then one Wednesday, while sitting in his car seat, Enzo caught my eye in the rearview mirror and said, “Grandma, it happens.”
The next day, Austin greeted me with a bouquet of lemon balm. “Smell my flowers, Grandma!”
“Oh, Austin, your mama will love them.”
“They’re for you, Grandma.”
Moments of loving kindness. God had inserted two small moments of loving kindness into a grandmother’s time of doubt, disappointment, and a little frustration.
On Fridays I host a live Facebook show inside Fave Lifestyle Women’s Group called “Morning WOLK with God.” We talked about making God’s loving kindness a more intentional part of our day. We talk about sharing the really big stuff—God’s loving kindness—in the smallest ways. We’re intentionally sharing what God first gave us.
We love because God first loved us. That beautiful verse is from a New Testament letter that the apostle John wrote. As you know, life happens. And I don’t want our “lost keys” and “pinched finger” moments to stop us before we even get started.
We can be God’s light, because He’s given us His light. We can plant His seeds of love, joy, peace, and hope, because He’s given us His seeds. We can have a meaningful impact, because He’s had a meaningful impact on each one of us.
As we set about to be intentional with God’s loving kindness, we will have moments that don’t go well, when we feel inadequate, when we feel like our “fails” are too big and our abilities too small, when we feel like we can’t do enough, don’t know enough, haven’t the time, the patience, the wherewithal. But into our lives steps a God of love and faithfulness, pouring into each one of us His loving kindness that was our saving grace.
Yes, some days go sideways. Some of our best intentions fall short. But God never fails to reach in with His love and kindness in the smallest moments and also the bigger ones, the harder ones, the ones that pinch. There will be days when we hear “It happens” from the backseat. There will be days when we’re given an unexpected bouquet of lemon balm. And then there will be days when we’re can say it and we can share it.
Watch for the ins and outs of God’s loving kindness. Watch for God’s loving kindness as it comes into your life. Look for ways He’s reaching in. They might come in the words of a three-year old. They might come in a moment with a dear friend. And then, watch for opportunities to reach out with God’s loving kindness. Find a time to say, “It happens.” Watch for a moment to share a bouquet of lemon balm, figuratively speaking. Someone needs to hear it. Someone needs to receive it. Watch for moments of loving kindness coming in. Watch for moments of loving kindness going out.
Speaking of lemon balm, did you know it can be used to relieve stress and reduce anxiety? It may even boost cognitive function for some of us. Yep! Who knew?
From Paul’s letter to the Romans (15:13):
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Amen.