I Blame the Weather App

Proverbs3-5I love summer.

I’m not a fan of heat and humidity, but otherwise, I really love it.

I love my kids being home and the quiet nights of freedom instead of the evenings rushing to activities.

I love not having an hour of homework and a surprise project sent home on the one week you don’t have time for an extra project.

I love lightning bugs and lemonade and concerts by the beach.

I love not rushing through the morning routine every day to make the bus on time.

Love it.

But recently my husband said he thought I was more stressed during the summer.

So, I wonder, how can I feel like I love summer so much and yet exude stress to others?

I blame it on the weather app.

Because, as much as I love summer, what I really love is a plan.  Summer would be so much more fun for me if I could just schedule every relaxing activity, every day trip, every play date on my calendar in May.

That way, I would know exactly what kind of fun I was going to have every single day from June through August.

Perfect! It’s probably the only way besides outdoor air-conditioning that I could possibly improve on the whole concept of summer.

But, alas, the essential unpredictability of life bumps into my happy bubble.

So, one day I’m blissfully driving my minivan into town for a walk on Main Street.   The sages who run my weather app say there is 0% chance of rain for the next few hours.

It starts raining on me as I drive.

Maybe we need to have a chat about what 0% really means.  I mean, I’ll allow for a tiny bit of rain if there is even 10% chance of precipitation.  But when you say 0%, I’m kind of going to count on sunshine.

Last week, I foolishly thought ahead, gathered information, and made a plan for this week.  I even wrote on my calendar in Sharpie marker.

Sharpie marker! That’s permanent planning for you.

I checked the commitments we already had on the calendar.  I checked my weather app.  This day would be gorgeous.  I could take my kids somewhere outside.  It will be 86 and sunny.  Perfect.

On Sunday, though, my weather app reloaded with new numbers.  Surprise!  It will be 95 and gross outside.  Make a new plan.

I hate making new plans.

I get it.  Really, I do.  The weather folks have a tough job with vocal, unreasonable critics like me who mistake ‘predictions’ for facts.  It’s a complicated system and God can move clouds and alter weather patterns at will.

But here’s the bottom line.  What stresses me out about summer is that I am forced into a flexibility I don’t possess.

It’s like my daughters complaining about doing the splits in dance class.  I’m yelling at the pain as my Teacher assures me I can go a little lower.

This feels as low as I can go. It hurts.  I’m pretty sure I could snap some bones and permanently damage my hips with all this forced flexibility.

And, one of the few thing I hate more than changes in plans is making decisions.  But every time a plan changes, I get to make a new decision about something I had already decided before.

I am now making double the decisions and trying to make them with constantly changing, thoroughly unreliable information.

I hate summer.

Oh really, what I need, what I truly, deep-down really need is grace.

God made me a planner.  He etched agendas and schedules and calendars on my soul.  He loves me enough to use all that’s good about my planning ways, but He won’t leave me here with the pitfalls of control and idolatry and lack of trust.

He stretches me into someone even more beautiful and Jesus-filled:  A planner who trust Him with her plans.

That means not hyperventilating when someone calls me and asks to interrupt my plans for the day.

It means checking the weather app without a meltdown.

It means getting rained on sometimes and just laughing in the rain.

It means making a decisions that turn out to be wrong and just letting that go instead of allowing it to throw me into a mudpit of self-condemnation.

Maybe I can learn to really love summer after all.  It won’t be easy, of course, but it will be God at work in me, and that’s beautiful.

Trust God from the bottom of your heart;
    don’t try to figure out everything on your own.
Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go;
    he’s the one who will keep you on track (Proverbs 3:5-6 MSG).

 

Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer 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.  Her book, Ask Me Anything, Lord: Opening Our Hearts to God’s Questions, is available now!  To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.

Copyright © 2015 Heather King

A family motto for summer

My daughter asks, “Why is it so much easier to get along with friends than with sisters some times?”

Four days into summer vacation and she’s already pleading for more time with friends and less time with siblings.

But here’s the truth I tell her….time with others destroys masks, facades, and fake perfection.  It has a way of dragging all of those sins and faults, all of that selfishness and the bad attitudes from where they stay safely hidden during play dates and public outings.

Anyone can behave for a few hours on a play date.gracemotto

That’s what I tell her.

Then I remind myself: Any mom can respond sweetly to her child who is having a meltdown in the Wal-Mart aisle five minutes into your shopping trip when there are people around who might overhear you.

And those TV moms—sure, any of us could be super creative, fun, and even-tempered enough to fill 40 minutes of film footage once a week.

God isn’t satisfied with superficial sweetness, though.  He wants genuine transformation.  He wants the world to look deep and long at us and see the reflection of Christ, not some plastic Jesus or some temporary super-Christian persona.

It’s part of His design with family and others to wield us as tools, chipping away at one another, breaking off the pieces that simply need to go, and  masterfully forming us little by little into tried-and-true, walking and talking, in-season and out-of-season examples of Christ in the world.

Proverbs tells us:

Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another (Proverbs 27:17).

So He places us in families and in community with one another.

And then He gives us summer seasons…when we’re up close and personal and with each other all day instead of scattering away to schools, activities, and our own busy lives.

It’s so much time so close together that causes the explosions….when she won’t share the game, and she says something unkind, and she makes annoying noises, and her piano playing is too loud, and she’s hungry and impatient, and she wants to go to the library when she wants to stay home in her pajamas all day…when all this “self” collides with the “self” in everyone else, that’s when He reminds us of grace.

Maybe that’s the lesson in summer, after all.

Grace to rest.

Grace to stop the frantic running from school pick-ups to evening activities, tossing back granola bars to your kids from the front of the mini-van while you rush to ballet where you yank hair back into buns and push in bobby pins before class begins.

Grace to linger over the cup of tea in the morning instead of putting on the drill sergeant hat and barking out commands to children to get dressed, brush teeth, comb hair, find shoes, pack lunches and then kiss them on the cheek and send them out the door just in time to rush onto the school bus.

Grace to skip the chores and pack the car for the beach.

Grace even that I need to extend to myself—to not adhere completely to the writing schedule, to post late to the blog or even miss a day—because we’re out enjoying the summer and I’m taking this time I’ve been given with my kids for these few short weeks and I don’t want to miss it.ephesians4-32 photo by  Jaroon Ittiwannapong

And grace for each other.

This is the mom speech I make for my daughter after a sibling melt-down.

In this family, we give grace because we need grace. When someone makes a mistake, we don’t mock, or point fingers, or jump up eagerly to show off how they were wrong.

After all, we need grace.  We receive grace, so we show grace to others.  It becomes my call, my standard, my motto for this summer with my kids:

We need grace.

We receive grace.

We show grace.

Paul wrote this:

And be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving one another, just as God also forgave you in Christ (Ephesians 4:32 HCSB).

And that’s how we breathe in and breathe out when daily annoyances and mistakes, sins, and forgetfulness, bad days, troubles, and trials threaten to consume us.That’s what we do when others step on our toes and bruise our feelings.  We forgive because we’ve been forgiven.

This summer, we lean back full into this grace and rest.  Choosing not to be stressed over the schedule, but to relax in relationship.  Choosing to forgive the hurts and cease the fault-finding as Christ uses this season together to transform us.

That’s the grace that is summer.

Originally posted June 12, 2013

To read more about this 12-month journey of pursuing the presence of Christ, you can follow the links below!  Won’t you join me this month as I ‘Invest in Friendship’?

 

Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer 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.  Her book, Ask Me Anything, Lord: Opening Our Hearts to God’s Questions, is available now!  To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.

Copyright © 2014 Heather King