So, yeah, you can find yourself on the First Day of School, standing at the kitchen sink right under the clock ticking loud –
ticking just like your own heart pounding down —
and the faucet’s dripping slow and steady, and you can stand there really wondering.
Because after a parent makes a kid, what they do is wonder if the kid will ever make it.
If the kid who can’t ever find both shoes at the same time and who belly thumps his brother for breathing too breathy on a Tuesday morning will make it further than the local penitentiary…
If the teen who regularly sleeps blithely through an alarm clock set to sound like a F5 tornado bearing down will ever make it further than the local coffee shop….
And if the son scavenging through the fridge every five minutes, who weeps over cleaning off the table, and claims anything green and leafy was never intended for human consumption, will ever make it further than the line at the local drive-through.
Strange how that is and how you finally come to it: You take a child by the hand, but who they ultimately become is never in your hands.
You can breathe.
You can blow it and you can be focused and you can be committed and you can botch it and you can do that all before 9 in the morning.
And the truth can come like a something brewing rich and right and warming, the Truth about the First Day Back to School, about the First Day of Anything, and every day is the first day, Every Day is Always Day One.
Your sin can’t separate you (or your child) from Christ.
Your Father is bigger than your failures, your flesh and your faults.
And your strengths can’t save you (or your child) in Christ.
Your ego, your excellence and your efforts won’t ever be big enough to be a Savior.
Your sins aren’t enough to keep your child from God and your strengths aren’t enough to get your child to God.
Your sins aren’t enough to keep you from God and your strengths aren’t enough to get you to God.
Your sins aren’t enough to destroy your life and your strengths aren’t enough to determine your life.
Your sins aren’t enough to separate you – and your strengths aren’t enough to save you.
That’s the bottom line: Your sins aren’t enough and your strengths aren’t enough. You are not enough — for this parenting gig, this marriage relationship, this school year, this work project.
Write it on the wall, ink it on some skin, because Christ wrote it with His blood:
Grace is the only thing that is ever enough.
Because the thing is – every sin and every strength always falls short. Every sin and every strength is always both in need of exactly the same thing: the grace of God.
Grace is the only thing that ever makes a way.
You find yourself praying it at the sink, at the desk, at the door:
Life 101 is Parenting 101: You can’t control outcomes — you can only model how to become.
Because Life isn’t about controlling things – but about letting God control you. Parenting isn’t about controlling kids – but about letting God control you. Parenting isn’t as much about raising the kids — but about laying yourself right down.
You only parent as well as you know your Father.
You only live as well as Christ lives in you.
So the First Day comes and there is this bravery that lets you hold on and lets you let go, and there is trust that has you believing and be living it, and there is this:
Grace is always enough when nothing else is.
So you can stand at the sink, right under the clock ticking loud – ticking just like your own heart pounding down — with the faucet’s dripping slow and steady, and you can stand there and see it happen on the face of the clock –
how Grace pushes back those hands of time and gives you forever and always more than enough.
How all the bouquets of fresh yellow pencils start writing new stories today.
Need someone to throw you a lifeline of grace?
This one’s for you.
Need some courage to begin again?
This one’s for you.
Need the paradoxical, transforming secret to the abundant life?
I’m telling you: This one’s for you.