Time Out

May 9, 2022 by  
Filed under Christian Life, Family Focus

By Jane Thornton –

My daughter just called me Satan.

Not in so many words, but the “Get thee behind me, Satan” sentiment came through loud and clear. And too late. Off in Abilene, she is doing a great job of making lifestyle changes, shedding close to twenty pounds. She called and asked for her Easter basket to be healthy instead of the normal overflow of chocolate. Yes, we unashamedly still do baskets and probably will until we have a new generation to take over the children’s roles.

I complied, but with company in the house for the holidays, I filled the three candy dishes scattered throughout our living room. As strong as she has become, that inconsideration did not do her in. However, eight other adults scooping out Cherry Sours by the handful and heaping seconds of chips and salsa onto our plates brought her down with a crash.

She lay face down across my bed and moaned about my bad influence. After I laughed, I apologized. So much for being a supportive mom. Thoughtlessness and my own gluttony undermined us both.

A glimmer of proper parenting broke through, though, when I reminded her that all was not lost, or regained, and we could start fresh the next morning—Easter morning, perfect day for renewal.

Perhaps, this provision, at least in part, inspired God’s creation of time. As an eternal being, He exists beyond seconds, days, years, millennia. But all of these units bestow opportunities for His children to start over, with His grace removing the errors of the past. With each day and awakening, the world rouses to the prospect of new beginnings and do-overs. Each season, each year, each decade, nature reflects these chances. With technology, we’ve even broken down our days into innumerable measurable moments that provide starting points for restitution, rejuvenation, and restoration.

Sometimes our needs require us to move in both the space and time continuum, to use science-fiction lingo.

When I was a sophomore in high school, poring over the signatures in my new yearbook, I found the inscription, “To the girl I cheated off of in chemistry…”

What? I never gave that guy permission to copy my paper. Unfortunately, he probably knew that I had allowed others that privilege. I was too chicken to stand up for what I knew was right and didn’t want to be labeled even more of a goody-goody than I already was. A precedent had been established. A slippery slope breeched. I didn’t know how to halt the slide.

Until we moved.

Torn away from my home and friends by one more military decision in my father’s Marine Corps career, I found a silver lining in this opportunity for a clean slate. I could re-establish my integrity.

Not every weakness demands a move of a thousand miles, but some do. Thank God for the feet, yards, miles and the minutes, hours, and years He puts between us and our sins.

“As far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us” (Psalm 103:12 NIV).

Comment prompt: How will you take advantage of God’s do-overs? When?

About Jane Thornton

Jane Thornton, English teacher, wife, and mom of two almost grown children, strives to break free of the automatic boring label attached to those roles. Her two suspense novels eagerly await a willing publisher, and her articles search for inspiration in the humor and tears of life.
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