I Was Wrong

“If you don’t have time to spend in Bible study every day then your priorities are wrong.”

It hurts me to type that sentence.  Because it is embarrassing to me that I have said it many times to people who didn’t need to be admonished, they needed to be heard and encouraged.

About two or three years ago, the Lord began showing me the depth of my pride and self-righteousness in the area of daily Bible study.  I used to judge people who said they just didn’t have time to spend a lot of time reading their Bibles every day.  I thought if they had time to watch TV, they had time to read.  I thought they were lazy and not as devoted to the Lord as I was.  I believed I was better than them.  And I said things that made that clear.

I was arrogant and self-righteous.  I was wrong.

If I could go back about ten years, I’d handle all of that so much differently!  Instead of looking at moms of newborns and toddlers and offering my “wisdom” about how to spend time reading your Bible during that season, I would give hugs and offer to keep their babies so they could take a nap.

Instead of judging the moms who were always at the ball fields and never joined the latest Beth Moore study at our church, I would have asked when their kids’ next games were and made the effort to cheer on the next Adam Wainwright (who plays for the St. Louis Cardinals and graduated high school in Brunswick, GA, where we used to live).

Instead of spouting out platitudes, I would have extended grace and spoken words of affirmation.

I doubt my words and attitude caused one person to draw closer to God.  I imagine my words did not result in a rush to spend hours a day in Bible study.  Instead, I bet I caused a lot of unnecessary guilt and hurt and self-doubt.

Part of having the opportunity to speak into the lives of others is the responsibility to do so with sincere understanding that each person’s situation is different.

Instead of spouting out platitudes, I would have extended grace and spoken words of affirmation.

I know women who say, “I really want to spend more time in the Word.  I just don’t have time.”

My response ten years ago would have been, “Well, you just need to readjust your schedule.  We make time for what is important.”

My response today is, “It is hard, isn’t it?  I struggle also to do the things I want to do.  Some days it just feels like everything is conspiring against me.  I do what I can and trust that God is sovereign and that He knows the heart of this weary mom.”

Sometimes, we don’t have time.  And it’s not about over-scheduling or mismanaging the time we have.  The reality is kids get sick. We get sick.  Husbands lose jobs.  Family situations interfere.  That doesn’t mean the dreams and goals are unimportant.  It simply means that they are put aside to deal with the reality of life’s changing seasons.

I intended to publish a book in April.  I started talking about it and sharing quotes in March.  But we had a very difficult situation arise in our extended family and making time to write simply fell down the list of priorities.  It needed to.  The lives of people we love were radically changed and our attention rightly belonged to those circumstances.  Did that mean writing wasn’t important to me?  Not at all.  My longing to write was there.  But the emotional energy and time needed to devote to it simply were not.  That was the reality.

Thankfully I had people in my life who were encouragers.  They didn’t tell me that I needed to finish the book.  They didn’t question my desire to be a writer.  They didn’t imply my priorities were incorrect.  They simply walked with me as I travelled a rocky path.  And now, as the book is finally nearing publication, they are celebrating with me.  And somehow this book means more to me because I had to set it aside to live the season we were in.  It wasn’t my first choice.  But it was the necessary choice.

Why am I writing all of this?  Because I want you to know that this is a safe place.  That you can have dreams that you haven’t started pursuing because you are taking care of babies and loving your family.   That I don’t believe for one minute that if you are not doing what I do there is something wrong with you.

There is something sacred in living right here, right now.  Looking around and cherishing the moments today without longing for what might come tomorrow.

Yes, I want to encourage you to read your Bible and I try to offer suggestions for finding the time to do it … but if you haven’t slept in two weeks because you’ve been taking care of your sick parents or if you are still waiting for that glorious day when you don’t have to buy diapers, know this—there is grace here.  No demands and expectations.  Just a girl who is thankful you stop by and share a few moments of your crazy life with me.

You are dearly loved by the Giver of all grace!  And you are enough!

 

22 Replies to “I Was Wrong”

  1. ‘Grace is never the wrong choice’…I LOVE that. And I love you.

  2. What a beautiful display of His love and humility…you are precious…and we have ALL been in that place where we fail to receive and extend grace…so I am thankful for His grace that covers all of that!! It’s a growing process. What an example you are…and I do feel safe here :)…love you!

    1. Thank you, Ashlie! My greatest desire is to ooze grace into the lives of others.

  3. This is such a great post. I have been guilty of thinking those things about others and even about myself. I had a mentor who was very vocal about how other women spent their time not in the Word and I allowed it to influence my own thinking. But God took me through a season of rest as I went through battling cancer and by having so much alone time away from my “normal” routine, He revealed that prideful issue with me in our quiet times together. I repented privately then, and today, I type it publicly that I find your confession here to be a soothing reminder to keep the grace alive and banish the pride.

    1. Thank you, Amy, for your kind words – and acknowledgement that you’ve done the same. 🙂

  4. This “grace” talk has been forefront at our house for the last month or so. After #1 son’s graduation party, which included 2 “little old ladies” from our former church, son commented that talking to Miss Anne and Miss Betty made him want to go back to church there, just so he could talk to them each week. He was dead serious. That started me thinking…why would a trendy, smooth acting 18yo want to go to church just to talk to little old ladies? Granted, I LOVE these ladies…they are heroes to me, but what on earth about them would make an 18yo want to hang out with them. One word….grace. The just LOVE my son. They make him feel like he’s the only young man in the world that they care about and pray for. They don’t try to correct how he wears his hair, how he dresses, or the friends he associates with. They just express a genuine interest in hearing about his life, what he’s been doing and what his future plans are. Oh, they’d correct if there was blatant sin in his life…but he’s also be more apt to receive their correction because they’ve already invested in him through their prayers and love.

    So, my fellow nursery coordinator and I have determined to be the “little old ladies” that all the young people love…not because we’re cool and hip, but because we love them for who they are, pray earnestly for them, and are genuinely interested in their lives – not just their outward appearance or current attitude (the two things that normally get judged and set the tone for relationships with adults – guilty here, myself). A little grace goes a long way.

    1. Oh Natalie! I want to be that “little old lady” too! What a great story. And your son is one of the wisest people I know. Your family inspires me in countless ways. Miss you.

  5. Christina Burrell says: Reply

    Oh thank you, thank you, thank you for this. I have needed Grace in an extra measure lately. This was so beautiful and so true. Love you!

    1. You are so very welcome, my sweet friend! It is gift that you grace this space. Praying for you. With love, Teri Lynne

  6. Teri, thank you for this post! It was beautiful. How I need that Grace.

  7. We’re learning a lot about Grace over here to Teri Lynne. Grace for moving forward but also Grace that covers the past years of my ‘lack of grace’. He’s such a good and gentle Father.

    1. “Grace that covers my lack of grace” … I need that!! Thank you!!

  8. Thank you for your words today. I needed to hear that grace for myself this morning. I injured my ankle a year ago and it’s still not healed properly. I feel like I’m a year behind on everything…losing weight, exercising, missing out on activities, taking time for myself, etc. I’ve been very discouraged lately and this was an encouragement to me.

    1. I am so glad you were encouraged in this space today, Glenda! It’s hard to give ourselves grace, isn’t it?

  9. Thanks for your honesty, friend. I appreciate it–and YOU. Especially on days like today when it’s tough to get motivated to do what needs done, and unwritten articles, blog posts, and even maybe a book or two swarm in my head because I can’t stay focused when my husband is on another continent.

    1. I know! Well, I know all of it except the husband on another continent part. But there is something very sacred I am finding in living right here, right now. Probably because it’s so rare to find people who do it.

  10. “It wasn’t my first choice. But it was a necessary choice.” Oh, how that resonates with me! Our son was involved in a serious car accident in January and life has changed for all of us. Much as been put on hold — not my first choice, but definitely a necessary choice. God’s teaching us all a lot through this time, too. Thanks for the affirmation today!
    Laura recently posted…Telescopes in JuneMy Profile

    1. Laura, thank you for stopping by and lending your voice to this conversation. Praying for your family as you make these adjustments.

  11. Jacque Watkins says: Reply

    Loved these words…beautiful grace!

  12. […] March 8, 2012.  Things fell apart.  Major fell apart.  A crisis rocked our extended family and all my plans were set aside, rightly so. […]

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