Press On…

June 10, 2015


No dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.”  Philippians 3:13-14  NLT

The Apostle Paul experienced the Hope and the Grace to leave the past behind…the successes and the failures…and to press forward to what God had for each new moment…for each new hour…for each new day…

The prize…The prize which we begin to claim here and now and which we reach for into eternity with Him, our Father, our Savior. And we, Press On

Press On

Yikes!  Summer is here!  I remember the count-down as a student. I most specifically remember counting the days until my own precious ones would spend countless hours on the home-front!  Yes, the wonderfully crazy, seemingly endless days…The frustrating crazy-seemingly, endless days…The crazy memory-making, endless days…which all too soon– END…as the school calendar issues its call.

AHHH…summer….long awaited for Family Time…

Some moms count the days as blessings from above…but for others, the very thought of the long days and how the family will navigate through them is overwhelming…And to be honest, I truly believe that every mom has, including myself, experienced both sets of dialogue, depending on the age, stage, and the circumstances of the family.

To be sure, one of the most important keys for happy and prosperous home life and a successful summer experience is Family Time. Yikes, there it is again! How will I fill the days?  How will I keep them busy?  How I will I keep my sanity? (Assuming I had any at all) How can I possibly plan Family Time when the days are crazy, when I feel overwhelmed…(their back-packs  filled with countless summer opportunities and they are over-zealous to “do it all”) Is it possible to plan successful Family Time…especially when expectations are high…

I particularly remember one Easter when our special Family Day started a little rough, okay…a lot rough!  But I remember, how the lessons I learned that day actually helped me to plan and to protect Family Time for years to come, especially as summer  approached. I learned on that eventful day about expectations, the unexpected, and grace for the moment…and the moments after…Family moments throughout the year…

Years ago, I decided to make matching Easter dresses for Christie, age six, and for me. (I know you are thinking what a lucky girl she was)…and Adam, age eight , asked for a big boy suit.  Perfect!  I would sew, and Bill would shop.  Adam and Bill came home one evening after they had purchased Adam’s outfit and Adam was exuberant and so proud as he ran through the house to his closet to hang up his newly acquired Easter attire, shouting to me, “Mom, we are all set!”  I repeated back to him, “ALL SET!” He excitedly showed me his new socks, shoes, suit, shirt, and of course the tie!9b

Wonderful, I thought to myself…I just have to finish these masterpieces, two matching Easter dresses coming UP!  I finished them on Easter Eve evening and laid everyone’s clothes out for the early morning church departure, the beginning of our glorious Family Day!

The next morning arrived and with it came the Easter excitement!  We were putting the finishing touches on all the outfits and Adam came running into our bedroom asking for Bill to help him with his tie (no clip-ons then).  Much to our shock and dismay, Adam’s hands were not visible because his sleeves hung past his eight year-old hands and further inspection revealed pant legs which hung over his shoes.  Adam, however, was totally unaware that there was a problem, feeling as dapper as a eight-year-old could possibly feel!  Christie was standing, waiting for me to fix her hair, also oblivious to the dilemma.

Bill quickly expressed his dismay as he said, “Deborah, don’t you know that every man needs his suit tailored…?”

And I quickly responded, “No, first of all, he is not a man, yet.  And no one told me that the suit needed work.” Yikes!  We were in a tiff! I immediately felt the teeter of the Fabulous Family Time…

I grabbed the pins, a needle and thread, and finally, some tape to quickly alter a desperate situation. Did I mention that we were in a tiff?

And this was Easter morning, the day of HOPE, and we were having a true family disaster, which I was sure would contaminate our whole day. I berated myself as a LOSER MOM!!!!  I began to imagine that Adam would think that I did not pay attention to him, to his new clothes…Was I so busy sewing that I failed him? And to make matters worse, we were now late for church….

Bill and I grumbled our way into the car; we grumbled on the way; we grumbled our way into the church parking lot.  However, you may identify with an amazing phenomenon; something miraculous happened when the car pulled into the parking lot of the church and the car approached other hurried people.  I have heard others talk about this. (Perhaps you have experienced this too!)

The two grumbling faces in our car were instantaneously replaced by “the happy faces”…It must be true that no one wants to be caught with the scowl of frustration and “the tiff” on their face…at church, especially on Easter morning!

And, what was even more amazing was that the happy faces and now happy hearts lasted the rest of the beautiful day! We had a fabulous Easter morning and a beautiful family day!  The HOPE of a new day…The Hope of Easter replaced the despair and the disaster which I thought would destroy our special day.

What is so funny to me now is that no one in the family remembers this event except for me, the Loser Mom! You see, the truth is that I had developed a very bad habit in my younger years of assuming that how something starts out, determines the way it finishes.  I always assumed that if the morning had challenges, well, there went the rest of the day.  If my clothes did not work well for school…that determined the day!  And, if by chance there was a “tiff”…well, chalk it up and just try again tomorrow! On that Easter morning, I thought that our Family Time was ruined, annihilated, disintegrated, destroyed…

I call these moments…Fractured Family Time. On this Easter morning, I learned that there is healing…there is redemption…there is restoration available to every family, to every person…even in the midst of Fractured Family Time!  By putting the past behind, the recent moments and hours, the potential of the gift of the day can be healed, redeemed and restored…

Yes, Press On!

I learned three things that day which can help to protect Family time:

First, I learned to do a better job of planning.  Whenever we had a special event, everyone tried on their clothes days before the event to prevent wardrobe malfunctions! We called them our “Family Style shows”.

I learned that it is absolutely, positively not about how we start out.  It is absolutely, positively about the process and how we finish.  We all have rocky starts sometimes…but it is about how we finish!

AND, I learned that even when you do have a plan, expect the unexpected and be flexible!  Be okay with the unexpected!

Press On!

Something that I have learned about our Mighty God is that He is never taken by surprise.  He is never taken by surprise by the unexpected circumstances in our lives; He is always ready; He is always available!

You see, on that Easter morning, He was not surprised…not unprepared…not shocked…He did not give up on us…Rather, His Hope and Promise of the Resurrected Savior  on that beautiful day still waited for us…was still available to us…to our family…and this is true of every day He gives to us.

In spite of the unexpected…through the unexpected…beyond the unexpected, I felt tremendous gratitude at the grace and the mercy found in the heart of our Savior because…

It was not how we started the day…it was not the wardrobe malfunction…or the subsequent “parental tiff”…it was not in the rough way we entered the car with grumbling hearts and faces that determined the outcome of the Family Day.  No, it was not in the way we began, rather, it was about the process of continuing on together…not giving up or giving in…allowing God to take the Fractured Family Time and repair and heal it during the process so that the “Finish” was much more beautiful than the start…and the prize waiting for us was so worth the…

“Press On”…

That day, and on subsequent days through the years, our Lord has not one time failed to renew and to restore and to redeem moments which are given to Him, which we intentionally hand to Him…and when we intentionally respond according to His ways.   It is always in His timing…It is always through His Ways…It is always by His grace and His mercy…Always…

I pray that we, His daughters, are ready and willing to set down our expectations…set them down at His feet.

…That we are always ready and willing to set down the offense, the disappointment, the mess-up, the “tiff”…set them down at His feet.

…That we are always ready and willing to embrace the love, the mercy, the grace, and the forgiveness, and I pray that we are always willing to give these in return to family members and friends…because of our Yeshua Christ…when we lay our hearts at His feet. And, He blesses Family Time…because, I remember now, the family was His idea!

…And, that we, His daughters, always Press On…Press On…

Abundant joy,

deborah signatuer copy


Over the next few weeks we will be offering a Family Devotional with Activities for any age. We invite you to enjoy these devotions with your whole family…we invite you to enjoy them when you are alone with your Messiah. We hope to encourage you, to inspire you, to motivate you, and to empower you as you embrace the wonderful, crazy Summer Time opportunities for memorable and productive Family Time! We are cheering you on!

Print the coloring pages for your kids to color and then put them together to create a fun memory verse booklet!

devocover          colorcover