Boxes stacked. Cabinets and closets mostly empty.
A kitchen that doesn’t serve.
Clean laundry waiting for hands to fold and put away.
Children under foot. Bedrooms disbanded. Rain interrupting. Husband and wife going in different directions to the same place. And the heavy weight of having too much stuff.
This is not the kind of environment that encourages grace. It’s more likely to produce bickering, impatience, disconnect, and anger. And I, for one, stand guilty today. Of all of it! Guilty of letting my environment negatively influence my responses and behavior.
We are affected by our environments. They have the power to change us, grow us, weaken us, strengthen us, give us life…or suck it right out of us.
Sure, moving is stressful. And we can expect abnormal responses. But stress in no way justifies a lack of grace extended to the people I love the most.
I have complained. I have expressed disappointment. I have ignored. I have expected the impossible. I have yelled. And today – the day I set aside to join Ann Voskamp in being thankful – I desperately need to do just that. Be thankful. Thankful for all the reasons my environment is currently chaotic. Thankful for this transition that moves our family toward a new environment, one of grace. There’s always a bit of chaos before new life is birthed.
The true test of our spirit happens in times like this. When things are messy and chaotic, frustrating and unexpected. The choice is set before us to respond with judgment or grace. What will we choose? How will we respond?
I know it’s possible to extend grace, even in chaos.
So I will begin trying. I will begin to change my environment, instead of letting it change me. Today I choose to be thankful. Today I choose to be gracious. Today I will breathe deep the ways of Jesus and hope in confidence that I will become increasingly like him.
#167 A husband who answers the calls of his frustrated wife. Man he’s good.
#168 Children who endure through changes
#169 Parents who change their plans to be available
#170 A mess of stuff that makes me question what I collect and own.
#171 A sister who cleans my new but old (and very dirty!) refrigerator
#172 Throwing away and giving away
#173 The long sighs that happen each night when we crawl into bed
#174 The warmth
#175 A brother (in-law) and sister who are always there.
#176 A tragedy of another that reminds me life on earth is fragile and short.