LOVE.

LOVE. It’s more than a word. Love is the lens to which we are supposed to view life. Last night I sat with two dozen cold hard-boiled eggs, a white crayon, and my Bible turned to Colossians. I scoured the pages looking for words that would mean something, or at least, make a little more sense to my son, age 7, and daughter, age 5.

Finally, I settled on Colossians 3:12-17:

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And out of all these virtues, put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.  I then went on to find other words such as grace, sing, obey, and of course, our Savior’s name, Jesus.

Tonight, to my children’s surprise, the words appeared as they lifted the eggs out of the dye. My son exclaimed, “You did it again, Mommy! You wrote words on the eggs!” I tried this last year, and only one word showed up. (Although, a lesson was learned from that one word.) Thankfully, all of the words showed up this time.

After we dyed the eggs, I read the verses above and each time I came across a word they spotted on one of the eggs, we put the egg in a basket. It was a fun and meaningful activity.

I admit that I could have had a little more patience when color-drenched hands were grabbing at the eggs. I could have used more wisdom and compassion about the excitement that two young children show at dying Easter eggs. My attempt to finish the activity with reading about Jesus’s crucifixion seemed to be in vain as the children were too busy dancing around the table, singing songs, and chattering about the rest of our weekend plans.

As I cleaned up the table, put the eggs back in their cartons for overnight storage, and closed my Bible, the thought hit me that I am often too busy dancing around the many tables of responsibilities I have. Sometimes, I am too noisy with songs of my own rhythm, or simply talking too much to listen to the Word.

And then, I re-read the verse…

And out of all these virtues, put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity…

I’m still learning to use wisdom, compassion, gratitude, humility, gentleness, and patience as a parent. Aren’t we all?

Out of all of these, LOVE binds us together. LOVE.

On this incredible weekend as the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ resonates within us, let us not forget to love.

Let us not forget to love as He loves us.

Thank you, Jesus, for Your Love that led You to the Cross.

The Egg of Grace

We dyed eggs this weekend with our children like we usually do on the eve of Easter.  I wanted to add an element of learning about our faith in Christ during this Easter tradition.  After boiling the eggs, I took a white crayon and wrote words on them in hope that when the eggs got dipped into the dye, the words would appear.  Thanks to my friend, Charity, for her wonderful ideas about incorporating our faith into Easter activities for children. The egg of grace showed up when I needed it to.

I chose the words justice, love, helping, forgiveness, kindness, hope, freedom, faith, humility, mercy, patience, and grace.  These words, in my opinion, are all characteristics of how Christians should walk in this world.  They are also characteristics of Jesus, and the words He spoke.  My plan was to talk about each word after we were finished.  My hope was for the kids to walk away not only with colorful fingertips from dying eggs, but also with little nuggets of wisdom tucked away.

Well, this momma’s plan didn’t exactly work the way I wanted it to.  I messed up by writing the words when the eggs were a little too hot.  One by one, as the eggs were pulled out of the dye, white blotches appeared.  It looked more like bleach spots instead of formed words showing up.  My kids were saying things like, “What is that?!”  They didn’t seem to mind and quickly moved on to the next egg. I was a bit frustrated and already figured out a plan of correction for next Easter.

As my son pulled another egg out of the green dye, the word began to form a little clearer than the others.  One might not be able to make it out, but since I wrote the words, I immediately recognized the word grace.  “What’s that say?”, asked my son.  I answered, “It says grace.”  He gave me a puzzled look and moved on to the next egg.

I didn’t have the words at the time to tell my children what grace means.  I was flustered from the whole project being awash, so I just let it go.  As I started to put the eggs up, I couldn’t help but notice that eleven of the dozen eggs were a mess. The only one that was clear enough to form a word was the egg of grace.

Immediately, I began thinking that life is just one big mess up over and over again, and yet, God’s grace is always present.  Grace cleans up my messes.  Grace doesn’t hold a grudge, and grace doesn’t change.  I also thought about how often I fail at showing more grace to my children for their messes.

As I was tucking my son into bed, I asked him, “Do you remember the egg that had grace written on it?”  He said, “Yes.”  I said, “The other eggs had messed up words on them.  We mess up in life and make mistakes, but God offers grace to us.  God doesn’t get mad when we mess up.”  I went on to tell him that we are to offer grace to others when they make mistakes or upset us.  I kissed him goodnight, and walked out of the room.

I learned from this that I should never disallow a lesson that the Lord is placing in front of me.  I should never assume that I messed up so bad that nothing can come from it.  I also learned that my offering of grace needs to supersede what I expect to be offered from others.

There are messes all around me, within me, and because of me.  Most of all, I was reminded that when it seems that nothing good comes from mistakes, and that things are just too messed up to be worth anything, grace appears.