Buckets, Lists and Filling Summer

15921573_sThere’s a lot of talk about buckets lately.

Top 10 and even top 200 itemized lists of fun-filled activities and freeing ways to spend meaningful time together with our child(ren) are popping up in an effort to generate laughter, a sense of wonder, adventure and best of all, memories in the unstructured season of summer under its sunny, iconic umbrella.

When I read though the lists of ideas they sound tranquil. Breezy. So Zip-a-dee-doo-dah. Oh summer, please come so we can wear flip flops 24/7,  pick blueberries and stay up late without a school schedule hovering overhead.

I have my list, of course. We all do, right? Granted, nobody else might care about taking their kids to see a Red Sox game, drawing on the driveway with chubby chalk sticks or reading picture books aloud on the sofa even though your kids might be elementary age but that’s okay. We all have those things we will do regardless of what our kids think.

Until of course, something gets in its way.

Or someone.

I’m more than capable of emptying my kids’ emotional buckets. At times, resenting the bucket. Even taking the gift of the bucket for granted.

At that time, it’s time for a humility check.

A God check.

A trip out to the pastures to get my bucket in smoother shape.

Which, when am convicted to my core, takes place on my knees. Prayer is there where I am reminded of all the things that I don’t want on my bucket list nor in my children’s internal emotional bucket that I can be guilty of pouring in. It’s time to confess it all and bring my muck to the feet of the One who can clean it up so that I can have a clean bucket.

What does God have to do with buckets and being filled?

Everything.

He the mighty bucket filler. He is Peaceful. Gentle. Loving. Kind. Joyful. Good. Faithful. (Gal 5:22). He fills me each day with the opportunity to develop these attributes so I can have just a smidgeon, a spec, of Christlike character. How can I not turn around and fill my children’s bucket with the same attributes and attitude Jesus has shown me?

Who am I to empty when He has filled?

That filling began at the cross, when Jesus emptied Himself until there was nothing but a submissive spirit left in His beaten, broken, weakened body. That submission, even though He had asked “…take this cup from me,” (Luke 22:42), led Him to the unthinkable. The horrific. The no-turning-back from what we each would have been desperate to flee and escape from as fast as our legs would move. Yet, as ugly as Jesus’ temporary death was and the events leading up to his death, is as beautiful and permanent as His eternal Godship is, including His heavenly home and the home He has for each of us who accept His gift of salvation from sin, who believe he died and rose again, defeating death.

Jesus’ obedience to do His Father’s will in going to the cross so that I and the world could have freedom from the condemnation we deserve from our own sin, and having and being an imperfect person day after day, is a fill I don’t think I will ever truly comprehend, and admittedly, on some days treat too casually. I have a life free of eternal judgment and consequence because of the price Jesus paid on my behalf. I am not going where I should.  I am not getting what I deserve and that’s a fill right there to be thankful about. A life merciful and graciously forgiven is another fill we experience when we believe that God sent his Son Jesus to redeem us with His blood, shed in our place, and set us apart for Himself to live a life empowered by His righteousness instead of my old icky nature.

Which can still rear its head but He helps me keep things in check. Daily.

How?

He convicts me. Corrects me gently. Reminds me to be in His word. Strengthens me.

So this summer, as I try and hit those items on my bucket list (and perhaps you as well), may I/we remember and never forget, the true bucket filler of all. With Jesus as our guide, we can be strong and loving fillers to our children who need a fun bucket list for sure, but even more so, who need strong bucket fillers.

My girls have Jesus, the ultimate bucket filler, and God willing, a mom who can pour into them with Him as her guide.

His bucket fills mine.

All summer and always.

 

Is There An Unopened Gift Under that Tree?

It’s a day of wrapping paper scraps strewn about, noise, laughter, music in the background, nibbling on sugar-filled treats throughout the day, being with with family and friends. It’s a day of appreciation, a day of gathering around the colorful, sparkling pine to receive something new, watching those around you with anticipation and hope, open what you gave them while you do the same…it’s Christmas right?

Growing up without the belief in Jesus, Christmas was just another day off…it didn’t hold any particular meaning other than being part of school break. But now, it’s so much more than a day off for me. It’s really a day to remember my gift…a gift that was given to me and a gift that is given to us all.

But gifts are funny things.

They really aren’t gifts unless they are received, accepted and used.

I hope today, that whatever gifts you open, you wear them, read them, eat them, use them fully. Enjoy them.

I also hope that the gift of Yeshua, Jesus, God, is part of your opening and receiving. For some of us, He has been, but we just haven’t allowed ourselves to take in that truth and live out that submission, dependence and trust in Him the way we may truly benefit. We are still operating in a, “I am in control” mindset and find it too challenging to surrender all parts of our lives over to Him. None of us are perfect, we are in process of learning what that looks like. Some of you are searching….

For truth.

For meaning.

For answers. 

For something or someone to believe in. 

You may look to the universe, you may look to crossing your fingers or positive energy that can be given out or received, and though Jesus may seem like a nice guy, believing in Him comes with a cost or He’s just not someone that resonates with you. I know. Been there for most of my life, felt that, lived that. I get that.

For others, we look to Him daily and know where we are going and the meaning our earthly lives have because of who He is. We know that He is God and that we are not, and we celebrate that truth and what He did for us. He died for us. He then overcame death so that we could have freedom which also proved His power and Godship.

For now and for always.

What did He do for us again?

Freed us from the personal consequences of our mistakes that we make pretty much daily, by suffering for us as well as suffering for the pain and hurt that life brings. Pretty sacrificial, isn’t it? But when you love, you sacrifice. You would do what He did for your children at any cost without even thinking. You get it, too.

So today, whatever gifts you open or however you live out this day, I hope it’s a great day for you. May you be blessed with the gift you have in the Lord, His love for you and desire to see you use what He has to offer by opening His gift to you and using it. He doesn’t benefit from it….He’s God. He has all He needs.

You benefit.

Not just on Christmas or during winter breaks.

But always.

Have a very Merry Christmas, Moms.