I was tempted to fret

psalm 37-3

I trekked across the parking lot at Epcot in the mid-day August heat with my two-year-old in tow.

Why were we attempting this feat?

Because my son uses Caprisun juice pouches like most kids use pacifiers or a security blanket.  When he is tired, overwhelmed, scared, or maybe even bored, he asks for a juice.

Normally, this is no crisis.  But that day was the final stretch of a six-day marathon at DIsney.

He was tired.

He was a bit overwhelmed.

He was a teeny bit bored because, while Epcot was awesome, he was too small to ride some of the attractions.

That meant he was cruising through our Caprisun supply faster than I anticipated and I was running out.

No fear, though!  I had more in the minivan.  Hence, my mid-day jaunt out to the parking lot.

We finally arrived, a hot, sweaty mess.  I unlocked the van, plopped him on a seat and enjoyed a few seconds of air-conditioning while I pulled Caprisuns out of the cooler.

He promptly hopped into the front seat and pretended to drive.

Then, we walked back to the park and had a grand old time with our refilled Caprisun supply and a happy two-year-old.

But that’s when I began to fret.

Normally, any time my son climbs into the front seat of the minivan, he immediately turns on the lights.  He has an auto-reflex with buttons.

See button.  Push button.

So, we’re touring around Epcot and I’m wondering, “Did my son turn on the van lights?  If he did, did I turn them off?  Will the van battery be dead by the end of the day?  Will we be stranded at Disney in the August heat?  Will we be abandoned forever in an Epcot parking lot?”

My fretting began as a fairly reasonable question and quickly escalated to worries beyond proportion.

I had to get control.

After all, I’ve never been to Disney before.  This was my big chance to enjoy the day with my family.

I could spend it relishing the moment.

Or I could spend it fretting over a hypothetical future.

It was my choice.

I considered the worst case scenario: He turned on the lights and I didn’t turn them off.  The van battery is drained.  We ask the Disney car-rescue people to jumpstart our van.

Would it be miserable?


Would I survive?

Well, yeah.

So, could I let it go?

Yes, I could.

At the end of the day, we found the minivan with its lights off.  No crisis at all.

Had I spent the day worrying, I’d have wasted every joy-filled moment on a hypothetical that never happened.

The truth is, we have plenty of opportunities to fret in life and most of them are for naught.

We often worry over a future we’ll never face and circumstances we won’t even endure.

I certainly had a week full of chances to choose to fret or choose to trust.

Our cat became extremely ill just as we left for Disney.  An odd warning light flicked on in our minivan just as we pulled into the first Disney parking lot. My husband’s car sat at a repair shop back home waiting for the mechanic’s verdict about brakes.

Fret, fret, fret.  I could have done it all week long.

But God cared for us: Cars without the problems we expected, a cat who was better cared for than we could have even cared for him ourselves.

All those opportunities to worry became opportunities to trust Him and find the blessing of His grace and abundance.

During the week, I read Psalm 37 once again:

Fret not yourself because of evildoers;
    be not envious of wrongdoers!
For they will soon fade like the grass
    and wither like the green herb.

Trust in the Lord, and do good;
    dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness.
Delight yourself in the Lord,
    and he will give you the desires of your heart.

Commit your way to the Lord;
    trust in him, and he will act.

David was tempted to fret also, in his case over evildoers who seemed to get ahead.

But, like me, he had to discipline his vision.

Where was he looking?  At circumstances?  Hypothetical tragedies?  At others?

No, he recaptured an eternal perspective.  What truly matters in the light of heaven? (verse 2).

He focused on God:  trusting Him, delighting in Him, and committing his ways to the Lord.

And then he chose to “do good.”  He didn’t remain paralyzed by the fear and the fretting; he took one right and true step forward at a time and kept on moving closer to God.

We can do the same.

Recapture a vision of heaven.

Fix our eyes on Jesus.

Take the next good step and trust Him with everything else.

Today I can’t do perfect, but I can do good

psalm 37-1

Shhhh…don’t tell my daughter, but I let her down last month.

She just doesn’t know it.

Five years ago, I committed to having lunch at the school with each of my daughters every single month.

Now that I have three girls in elementary school, that’s three lunches a month or 27 lunches a year, plus an occasional extra lunch thrown in for a birthday or other special occasion.

My kids are typically on top of this, too.  If I haven’t had lunch with my youngest daughter within the first week of a new month, she starts nudging.

Mom, you know you haven’t had lunch with me this month, right?  When are you coming?

The very first day my kids went back to school after winter break—the very first day!!!!!–she came home from school and asked when I was coming for lunch.

But January zipped right past me.  I made it up to the school for my  youngest daughter (or I’d never have heard the end of that failure!), but not to eat with my two older girls.  Every time I planned a day for school lunch-time, we had a snow day.

When they actually had school, I was in a mad rush to make up for everything I didn’t get done because of those same snow days.

My husband says—You’re eating lunch with them at home.  Doesn’t that count?

No.  That does not count.

Finally, on the last day of January I resigned myself to the truth:  I’d failed: A five year streak of faithfulness broken by winter weather and a packed calendar.

Funny thing is, the one daughter who I thought would be bruised and destroyed forever by my failure never even noticed.  She didn’t pressure me about it, didn’t nag or pester.

So, I’m not telling her I missed out on January’s cafeteria lunch.  It’ll be our little secret. I just went early in February and hoped for the best.

At the beginning of this year, I set some goals in four areas of my life:  Marriage, Parenting, Ministry, and Self-Care.

I’ve been replacing soda with water or green tea.

I’ve been exercising and listening to podcasts while packing my kids’ school lunches.

But there’s one that’s harder to do. It’s not a box to check off or a physical habit to create.

It’s this:  Choose to be gentle with myself.

It means not letting Mom Guilt terrorize my like the tyrant it is.

It means not listening to my self-criticizing internal dialogue.

It means putting a Lunchable in my kids’ lunch box every once in a while.

It means not beating myself up if I occasionally have to order pizza for dinner or go for the quick-fix like boxed macaroni and cheese.

It means laughing instead of berating myself if I forget, and cutting myself off from chores in the evenings so I can spend some time with a cup of hot tea and a book.

And yes.  The struggle is real to let go and choose grace.

I still have this nagging sense of guilt that I didn’t make it to the school for those lunches in January.  It’ll probably plague me for a long time.  Because I can’t go back and fix it. I can’t make it all perfect.

Then I read what the Psalmist said:


Trust in the Lord, and do good;
    dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness.
Delight yourself in the Lord,
    and he will give you the desires of your heart.

Commit your way to the Lord;
    trust in him, and he will act.
(Psalm 37:3-5 ESV).

Trust Him and do good. That’s what it says.

It seems I spend a whole lot of time and effort trying to “do perfect” or “do all.”

But that’s not what God asks of any of us.

God doesn’t expect perfection because He knows we’re imperfect.

He simply asks us to trust Him, “do good” and keep doing good.  Choose the right things.  Show up day after day.  Be faithful.

Even more than that, don’t try to figure it all out or make it all work.

He’s not going to give us the desires of our heart because we worked like mad-women to make them happen.

He gives us the desires of our heart when our greatest desire is for Him.

And after Jesus, what is it that my heart desires?  It’s to love my kids to Christ.  One missed lunch isn’t going to change that.

You cannot be perfect today.  Neither can I.

But we can trust God and do good and leave everything in His hands.

And we can choose to be a little gentle with ourselves today.

Shrug off some shame and step into some grace.

Let go of some expectations and cling to the freedom Christ offers.



Weekend Walk: 10/08/2011

Hiding the Word:

Decisions, decisions.  It seems like I’m making so many of them lately.  Big ones with significant impact.  Little ones about my daughters taking ballet.  Yet, somehow they are all enough to send me to my knees, searching for God’s will and wisdom.

I’m comforted by the fact that if I mis-step, the Lord will lift me up.  It is God who orders my steps and who guides my way.

So, my verses for this week are:

The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD,
         And He delights in his way.
 Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down;
         For the LORD upholds him with His hand.
Psalm 37:23-24

I hope you’ve picked a verse or two to meditate on this week and memorize!  We’d love to hear what your verse might be!

Weekend Rerun

Walking on the Smooth, Straight Road, Originally published 02/22/2011

“Love for God and obedience to God are so completely involved in each other that either one of them implies the other too.”
~F.F. Bruce~

“If you love me, keep my commands” (John 14:15, NIV).

Obedience is on my mind.  That’s partly because I’m a mom and I spend most of my every day giving commands for my kids to obey.  “Brush your teeth.  Get your lunch.  Don’t forget your homework.  Practice the piano.  Move faster.  Don’t run.” If you’ve never seen Anita Renfroe sing her William Tell Momisms, a quick listen will show you how most of my days sound.  If it’s been a while since you heard her sing this, treat yourself to another listen and a good laugh.

I’ve also been thinking about obedience, though, because since the start of this year, God has been gently compelling me to take new steps of obedience, to follow Him into some new areas, even though I don’t know if it will be “worth it,” or why it’s important for me to do these things.  I don’t understand; I’m just obeying.

As I’ve meditated on obedience, I’ve realized that healing, deliverance, blessing, and provision come as we obey—not before we obey.

When we hear God tell us what He wants to do, we could sit back and say, “Okay, God, I’ll totally give that after You provide” or “God, I’ll be happy to minister in that way after You deliver me from my pain.”  I’ve been telling Him I’ll obey after He gives me the time to do it or after He shows me whether what I am doing will matter.

That’s not how God works, though.

In Luke 11:11-17, we read about Jesus healing 10 lepers.   The men were outcasts of society, who cried out to Him to “have pity on us!  It says, “When he saw them, he said, ‘Go, show yourselves to the priests.’ And as they went, they were cleansed.”

At a recent women’s conference, Lysa TerKeurst emphasized how Jesus’s instructions were so strange.  Technically, these men weren’t supposed to leave the leper colony.  If they thought they were in remission, they were supposed to call for the priest and the priest would come to them.  Only when the priest verified that they were “clean” were they allowed to go back to the village.

Yet, Jesus told them to leave and go get the priest before anything had changed for them.  They weren’t healed yet.  The Bible says, “As they went, they were cleansed.”

Sometimes God tells us to obey even before we’ve seen the provision or the healing.   I love reading about families who are adopting and their testimonies are almost always the same.  God called them to adopt.  They were overwhelmed by the financial cost and they had no money to pay for it.  They pursued adoption anyway and God provided every penny at just the right time.

As they obeyed His call to adopt, God gave them the resources they needed.

As you obey God’s call to give, He will provide.  As you obey His call to minister, He will equip you.  As you obey His call to go, He will direct your path.

The blessing is in the going and in the obedience.  In Psalm 128:1, it says:  “All you who fear God, how blessed you are! how happily you walk on his smooth straight road!” We’re blessed when we are walking on the straight road that God has directed us to take.  Our blessing is not in sitting beside the road watching others go by.  Our blessing isn’t in trailblazing our own road, heading in the direction we choose.  It’s only when we are in motion and taking steps of obedience, that we are blessed.

As it says in Psalm 128:2, 4:  “Enjoy the blessing! Revel in the goodness! . . . Stand in awe of God’s Yes. Oh, how he blesses the one who fears God!” (MSG).


Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer for www.myfrienddebbie.com and worship leader.  Most importantly, she is a Christ follower with a desire to help others apply the Bible to everyday life with all its mess, noise, and busyness.  To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.

Copyright © 2011 Heather King