Growing in Grace and Peace

I blew it the other day.  I mean I really blew it.  I’m the mother of three very busy teenagers.  Only one drives.  I really, really need my 16 year old to drive. My sanity depends on it. But first she must get her driver’s permit, and to get a permit, she must pass a written driver’s test.  You’d think this would be fairly simple, but apparently it’s not.  She can’t seem to pass the test.  Did I mention, I need her to drive? SOON
About a month after crashing and burning during her first test (not literally, it was a written test), she was ready to give it a second try.  When we arrived at the testing place, the permit guy asked for her picture i.d.  She didn’t have it.  She thought she left it in the car so I agreed to go get it while she studied some practice questions.  The trip to the car was a long one which involved stairs and running.  It was not in the car.  Then she remembered she had left it at home.  I knew we would not have time to go home before the place closed so I put on a “smile” and asked if we could skip the whole i.d. thing.   Believe it or not, the permit guy agreed.  I was relieved as she really, really needed to take this test and pass it (Did I mention that?).
The guy then asked for her social security number.  She didn’t have it.  I felt a wave of impatience stirring inside of me, but it was calmed when I remembered I had the number in my phone in a secure app I had just bought.  My phone, I left it in the car.  So I ran back out to the car to retrieve it and made the long trip back to the testing center.  Unfortunately, the app required a password – a password which I couldn’t remember.  After several failed attempts at entering the correct password, the program self-destructed taking her social security number and my patience with it.
My daughter, sensing that I was about to self-destruct, said in a sweet, calm voice “Jesus loves you mom”.  The permit guy started smiling.  Awww, sweet right?  A reminder like that should calm anyone.  Anyone, but me it seems.   At this point, I was unable to ignore or calm the wave of impatience growing inside of me.  But I was trying to keep it together.  Finally we found the number, I calmed down and she was allowed to take the test.  The permit guy was really nice.  He even tried to give her “insider” test taking tips.  He was very encouraging.  I guess he knew Jesus loved him!  But did he know that I really, really needed her to pass that test.
After all of this, she failed the test AGAIN.  As we walked out, I was holding on tight to the last bit of patience I possessed, but as soon as we hit the door, I blew up.   I said some not very nice things.  She cried.  I felt terrible.  She cried some more.  Later I apologized to her and to God.  She still hasn’t passed the test and my sanity is still in question.
Yep, I blew it.  I certainly didn’t act like Jesus would have acted or do what Jesus would have done.  I was even reminded in the midst of the situation of Jesus’ love for me and I still blew it!
There are times when we all blow it.  It is inevitable.  We are not perfect and God doesn’t expect us to be.  The good news is that God loves us and makes available to us through his divine power everything we need to live a godly life and rise above our circumstances and mess-ups.  2nd Peter 1:3
In order to receive all that God has available for us, we must come to know him.  To know someone means to develop a relationship with them through meeting and spending time with them.  One way of getting to know God is reading your Bible every day.
“This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. ” Joshua 1:8 NKJV
By reading the Bible, we are able to recognize and know God’s promises – His “great and precious promises”.  (2nd Peter 1:4) One of God’s promises is the Holy Spirit.  The Holy Spirit renews the mind (Titus 3:5) and enables us to become more like Jesus in our qualities so that we are able to live a godly life and rise above our circumstances and mess-ups.  God wants to give us his character; we however, need to “make every effort to respond to God’s promises”.  This means that we have to take action.  We have to get up and do something.
“So don’t lose a minute in building on what you’ve been given, complementing your basic faith with good character, spiritual understanding, alert discipline, passionate patience, reverent wonder, warm friendliness, and generous love, each dimension fitting into and developing the others. ” 2nd Peter 1:5a MSG
All of these qualities will make us more like Christ.  These qualities flow from us knowing God.  We are to make every effort to grow spiritually.  That means that we must work on our character, spiritual understanding, discipline, patience, wonder, friendliness and love.
“The more you grow like this, the more productive and useful you will be in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But those who fail to develop in this way are shortsighted or blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their old sins.” 1 Peter 1:8 NLT
If we don’t develop these qualities, then we can’t see the truth and we forget we are forgiven of old sins.  We then continue in our old sinful nature.  And we blow it time and time again.  I don’t want to blow it time and time again.  I don’t want to cause those I love to cry.  I don’t want to act in a way that demands an apology later.  I don’t want to self-destruct.
Don’t get me wrong; I know I’ll never be perfect, but I will always strive to be more like Jesus.  So I will work hard to prove that I am among those God has called and chosen not because I must earn his grace but because of what He has done for me!
So my prayer is this “May God give you more and more grace and peace as you grow in your knowledge of God and Jesus our Lord. 2nd Peter 1:1
 IMG_0523
Just to add a little footnote to this story:  As part of my writing process, I brainstorm in my journal.  I had pages after pages of notes on 1 Peter 1.  You can see one page above.  I left my journal open on my bed one afternoon.  Later that day, I discovered this:
IMG_0522 (1)
All my hard work undone!  After spending time in God’s word studying, 1 Peter 1,  I must have added to my faith some patience as I did not get TOO angry!   My cat is responsible for this destruction!  I managed to recreate most of my notes!
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