Dear Thief

Dear Thief,

I’m the person you ripped off, and I have a few things to say to you.

You stole my children’s preschool tuition check, but I’m sure you already know that. You saw whom the check was made out to. You no doubt saw their names in the memo explaining it was their tuition payment and read it also included a supply fee for the Spring semester. That money was meant for markers, paint, friendships, songs, and all kinds of learning and happy childhood memories. It was meant to pay teachers who have families and work hard each day. It was meant to keep my children safe while learning how to be kind to others. You stole it.

I’m not sure how you got the check. Somewhere between my bank printing it and it being delivered to their school, you managed to grab ahold of it. Not only that, you decided to take it to a bank and cash it for yourself. I don’t understand how you did it, but you did.

Maybe you used it to buy yourself new clothes or an expensive watch. Maybe you used it to feed an addiction. I’d like to think you used it to pay your overdue electric bill or to buy food for your own children who were in desperate need. The fact is, it doesn’t matter why you took it. My reaction to you is the same.

I forgive you.

I’ve already spent an immeasurable amount of time trying to clean the mess you’ve created. I’m not even close to being done. Your failure of a good choice really caused me a headache. You made me pretty angry. I’ve chosen to forgive you anyway.

You see, I happen to fail every day myself. And although stealing someone else’s money isn’t in my history, needing forgiveness each day is. I’m no different than you in value or in need of Grace. I’ve decided to extend Grace to you because Grace is extended to me each and every moment I’m in need, and it overwhelms my heart. I wish the same for you.

I’m not sure if the name you signed is your own or a fake mask you use to pull a con. I see through your signature on the back of my check. I know hurting people hurt people. I see you as the person in need that you are. I pray for you to have a life that brings joy to others and not sorrow. I pray for you to treat others the way you wish to be treated. Finally, I pray you will extend the same Grace I’ve given to you, to someone who hurts you in this crazy world.

Although we will most likely never meet face to face, our paths have indirectly crossed for a reason. May it be so you will be blessed by it and be a blessing to others because of it.

With all my heart, I wish you the best.

Sincerely,
Beth Brinkmeyer

 

Photo Credit- http://www.unsplash.com (Paul Garaizar)

The Full Garbage Can

There’s nothing like trying to shove down the urge of unleashing a record string of curse words out at the kitchen garbage can. Seriously. The garbage sees all from the kitchen. It knows all. It can hear the kids crying and demanding your everything. It purposely shoves and packs awkward shaped things in such a way you will never be able to pull the bag out with ease. It makes you have to not just work at it, but struggle. It makes you feel so worthless and weak, and you can’t even do the simplest tasks because the world is against you. Garbage cans of the world are known to plot against us, you know. They stink (literally), and they beckon children to throw valuable things in them. They not only love vial things of the world but actually welcome them. They fool you when you consider emptying them out. It’s not too full, come back later when you aren’t in a rush. No need to take precious time now to empty me. Then they pack stuff in so tight, it takes something short of a miracle to get the bag out. Their trickery and foulness know no boundaries. And just when you think they can’t sink any lower, they hold on to that garbage bag as you try to pull it out, and tempt you to say terrible things. The Proverbs 31 woman’s nemesis: The full garbage can.

 

What about the garbage we tote around you can’t see? Past hurts, old grudges, or battles that haven’t been settled? What about that kind those garbage cans? The ones that tend to make us feel weak and worthless. They can get pretty full too. Unfortunately, we tend to not empty those out until they are bursting at the seams as well. And if we let them get too full, they will cause us problems on the days we are already barely holding it together.

 

I love how the Lord is always there ready to carry our burdens, give us strength, and allow us to unload the junk from our baskets (Psalm 81:6). All we have to do is call out for His help.

 

There’s nothing like the feeling of an empty garbage can with a fresh, clean bag. It smells nice, it’s light, and knowing I don’t need to worry about the stuff in it stinking just feels good. The unseen garbage we stuff down is the same. If we don’t dump it out and wave goodbye to it, it rots and can overtake the things around it with its stench. If it’s not taken care of, it can tempt you into things you wouldn’t normally do.

 

What garbage do you need to unload today? May you run to the One who is willing to take it out for you and lessen the toll, the stench, and the strain it is taking on you.

 

 

 

Photo Credit - Allef Vinicius www.unsplash.com

The Race

I ran a marathon yesterday. It was super impressive considering I trained zero days for it. I was exhausted, but my feet didn’t hurt. My arm did, but that’s because a sweet 36-pound boy needed to be held for a good portion of it.

 

My marathon didn’t have me glistening in sweat or even moving my legs in a running motion unless you count running to the bathroom when called upon for help. I didn’t clock any miles to write in a log book, but I felt I had emotionally run something worthy of at least a ribbon. Or a Sticker. A cookie. Chocolate. Anything. It was a classic #mommymarathon day.

 

It was a rough day. It started before the sun was up and was a struggle all the way past bedtime. Midday, my youngest and I had a 20-minute standoff in a parking lot. He was adamant about not wanting to wear a seat belt. I was adamant he did. Since the law was on my side, we waited. And waited. Eventually, he gave in and the seatbelt clicked.

 

I felt that victory was dance worthy, but the day wasn’t over and the race wasn’t finished. I fantasized about how I would do my celebratory dance through the day’s ribbon when I finished. Unfortunately, after I rounded that corner, I found more bumps on the road to push through to get to the end of the day’s race.

 

Life is like that. Some days feel like a marathon. I love how the Lord’s love for us never ceases. I love that His mercies never come to an end. I love how each morning, upon awakening, new mercies are offered to us (Lamentations 3:22-23). It’s true even when we find ourselves waking up to another marathon in front of us. And for many, we are often in seasons where it’s hard to tell where one marathon ends and the next one begins.

 

If you find yourself weary, just a few days into this New Year, be encouraged. You aren’t alone in running a hard race. There are others running with you and cheering you on. It’s okay to dance midway to the finish line. It’s okay to celebrate each bump you conquer and each corner you round. It’s okay to lean on and look forward to His new mercies each day to get you through. For each step you take is not in vain. There is a purpose in each footprint you leave on the road and each place your foot will land ahead. And above all else, it’s okay to look around and enjoy the view of where you are. You will never be in the same place and time again. Look for beauty in it.

 

May you tighten the laces on those shoes, enjoy the moments for all they’re worth, and dance your way to the finish line today, tomorrow, and throughout this year.

On your mark. Get set. Go!

 

photo credit- Martins Zimlickis www.unsplash.com