I will never leave you nor forsake you.
Friend to Friend
The morning had been hectic and they were running late because the baby needed a last minute diaper change. Tara needed to get all three kiddos loaded up and to the car pool location quickly, but for some strange reason the back doors of her van would not open. She tried her clicker. She tried the key. She tried jiggling the lock.
Anxiousness started to well up in her heart.
“You’ve got to be kidding me!” She grumbled loudly while trying to open the back doors of her minivan. “This is NOT what I need right now!”
The kids began to sense the tension and take on the stress for their own.
“What’s wrong, mommy?”
“The back doors aren’t opening and we’re gonna be late! That’s what’s wrong!”
Pressed for time and strongly annoyed, Tara told the kids to get in through the front door and had them crawl back to settle into their car seats. As she started the car she was aware of her agitation and didn’t like it.
Taking a deep breath, Tara began to recognize the stress for what it was. She remembered the Bible verse that is written on the chalkboard in their kitchen. Spoken from the lips of Jesus Himself, the words flooded her heart…
In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world. (John 16:33)
Yes. They were having trouble getting a few doors open, but it was nothing that Jesus couldn’t help her handle. Calmed and cooled by the red-lettered love, Tara made an empowered decision … and a very cool minivan ministry moment followed that went something like this:
“Okay, guys! Here we go!” Tara began. “That was a bit stressful and I’m sorry for raising my voice. I’m not sure why the doors didn’t open, but we aren’t going to let it mess up our day. We can choose to let this situation get the best of us, or we can get the best of the situation by asking God to bring peace to our anxiousness. Remember the verse on the kitchen chalkboard? Jesus said that in this world we’re going to have trouble. Sometimes doors don’t open, but He’ll help us! Jesus told us to “take heart” because He has overcome the world.”
Then, from the back of the van her eight-year-old theologian son piped up and joined the sacred conversation.
“Yeah! And Jesus said that He’ll never leave us or forsake us. God is always with us, mom!”
From. The. Lips. Of. A. Child.
God is always with us.
What had begun as a chaotic and stressful drive to school became a celebration of the presence of God. It was a devotion-on-wheels that began with a door that wouldn’t open. A beautiful memory that started with stress, but was changed by the grace of Jesus, our Overcomer.
Sometimes doors don’t open for us.
We don’t always get the position we want, the response we want, the admiration we want, or the health we want. But with every closed door comes an opportunity of response. When Tara invited God into her frustration and opened her heart to His presence the tension transitioned to peace.
The same is true for you and me when we invite Him into our frustrations. God’s presence releases pressure and brings peace.
A few minutes after the “stuck door debacle” they arrived at the carpool line to pick up the other children. Tara figured she’d try again. She pressed the button to unlock the back doors, and this time they opened with no resistance.
A smile spread across her face as this thought danced in Tara’s mind. If the back doors had opened a few moments earlier, we would’ve lost the opportunity to celebrate God’s peace and our time of sacred conversation would never have happened.
With that in mind she thanked God for the doors that didn’t open as she drove the kids to school.
I don’t always respond perfectly in stressful situations. And Tara readily admits that she doesn’t either. But when we choose to turn our frustrations and disappointments over to God He gives us the grace we need to experience His peace in the midst of pressure.
Lord, Thank You for reminding me that You are dependable, available, and willing to help at all times. Please guide me toward Your grace when I grumble. Teach me to turn to You when I’m stressed so that others would see Your joy and peace in me.
In Jesus’ Name,
Now It’s Your Turn
Read Psalm 37. What verses in the chapter resonate with your heart today? What doors are not opening in your life that have you frustrated? Grab your journal and a pen and write a prayer of response. Not a journal girl? No worries. Swing over to my blog or hit me with a direct message on Instagram and tell me about it!
More from the Girlfriends
Have you listened to the GRACEOLOGIE with Gwen Smith podcast yet? Season 2 is now underway and it is a party you don’t want to miss! Hang out with Gwen and friends when you go on walks, exercise, run errands or travel. Podcasts are also perfect to listen to as you do household chores! (Laundry anyone?) Each GRACEOLOGIE with Gwen Smith podcast episode is filled with fun, faith-focused, grace-filled conversations that will help you know and trust God more.
These discussions are going to encourage you in meaningful ways to live out and lean on the GRACE of Jesus in the midst of cluttered, messy days. CLICK HERE to listen on iTunes, or visit GwenSmith.net/Graceologie for more information.