While running to grocery the other day to grab a “few” things, I thought, “I’ll just pop into Goodwill to see if there is anything my life is missing, and I didn’t even know it.”

Well, if you frequent Goodwill stores (and I’m sure you do if you’re reading my blog), or any stores for that matter, then you already realize there is never a shortage of interesting people about. 

The first person I see as soon as I walk into the store is a man wearing a t-shirt that says, “Will trade wife for tractor.” This, apparently, is John Deere humor. So you know how you can have many thoughts in a matter of seconds?  Well, many thoughts were going through my mind. 

“Wow, I bet his wife feels highly favored and loved.”

“Oh, lighten up, Susan! It’s just a joke. I really am becoming a fun-sucker!”

“I wouldn’t want Adam to wear a shirt implying he’d rather have a piece of farm equipment than me.  Ugh.”

Now, you must understand—this all happened very quickly. I wasn’t standing at the Goodwill entrance with my mouth agape, staring at this apparent lover of John Deere. This all took place in less than ten seconds.

So, who do you think I see next? 

I couldn’t make this stuff up!

That’s right—his wife! Can you guess what his lovely wife’s shirt read?! (Hers was pink, by the way.) It read, “Will trade husband for tractor.” 

I won’t itemize every thought this generated in my mind. You can probably imagine fairly easily. 

I moved on, doing my typical fast and furious thrift store browsing, and found a few items we simply had to have, right? 

I checked out and headed to my real destination—the grocery store.  Remember, that’s where I was going in the first place?

I pull into Kroger, having quickly forgotten about the devoted couple at Goodwill; and what is the first thing I see?

A woman wearing a t-shirt and walking out of the store.

Her t-shirt read, “Think Positive.” 

Please do not misunderstand. Of course I believe that there are many benefits in “thinking positive,” aka a can-do attitude. The reality is that you can think as positively as you can, and sometimes things do not turn out the way you would like. 

This made me think about all of these messages bombarding our minds. 

Just in going to the regular everyday life kind of places, you see (and hear) all kinds of messages—like it or not. 

Since you’ve already guessed, I was in a pondering kind of mood. Nothing new there.

I started thinking on all of these messages constantly going into my mind and the minds of my family.  Some of the messages enter intentionally, but many by mere chance.

My next line of thought was, “Yes, obviously lots of messages are going in; but how about what’s coming out?”

What kind of messages am I sending?

What about in my home when I’m busy trying to check the million and one things off my daily to-do agenda? 

What messages am I sending my husband, my children? It doesn’t have to be printed on a t-shirt for people to read it. My actions are my life’s t-shirt. What does it read?

                I love you, and I want good things for you?

                How we treat each other inside the walls of our own home is important?

                Learning to be a hard worker will, in the long run, be a good thing for you?

                I am committed to loving you through all of life?

These are the messages I want to send, but I know that some (probably many) things are lost in translation.

Does my attitude, my sighs, my frustration over the continual messes and the continual redirection and correction of children send a message opposite of what I’m trying to communicate?

What is my message?!

In my heart I want them to hear: 

                We are loved. 

                We extend love and grace to others. 

                We are a family that stands together.

                The world is going to be tough, but we are on the same side of the fight!

                We ARE a team, working for the good of everyone.

I know that love is intricately laced through the fabric of the small stuff, the seemingly minor things.

The love and grace that I want my children and husband to extend to me, I all too often fall short of extending myself. Sometimes I know my message is as clear as mud.

I get physically tired.

I’m talking bone weary, drooling on my pillow, want to sleep for three days tired.

I get emotionally tired.

Are the children never going to get the life lessons we are trying to teach?

This world is S-A-D!

Horrible things are happening!

Babies are being aborted, children are being orphaned, wives and husbands are being widowed; and it makes me tired on the inside.

I get spiritually tired.

You know?

Pouring my heart out to my God, heavy hearted variety kind of tired? Everyone does. I am not the exception but the rule.

I don’t have some easy e-book, fix-it solution (although I wish I did). 

The fact is that we live in a broken, sinful, and hurting world. We are people that do what is wrong even though we know what is right.

I have knowledge, but sometimes I lack wisdom.

I am so thankful that that is not the end of it. There is still hope!

The Bible is my compass, my road map, the user’s manual to humanity.

 I will cling to it unapologetically, and I hope you do, too!

James (who would have had a much sweeter blog than mine) said in James 1:5:

“If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.”

Boy, this is encouragement for this girl!

I need His wisdom, and He promises to give it to me! More of Him and less of me sounds like a pretty nice upgrade. That is the stuff I want to fuel the details of my life!

We are all sending out messages, and I am not talking about on our t-shirts. 

People are watching you; people are watching me.

They want to know if we are the real deal. 

Christianity has been watered down, polluted, and all sorts of things we wish it hadn’t been. The problem is that Christ’s ambassadors are all human.

I know that our God is merciful and good, and He can (and does) fill in my many, many gaps.

Let your message matter!

Let your life be your t-shirt for the whole world to read AND benefit from. 

Ask God to give you wisdom (and ask Him for me, too, if you think of me) so these things will be possible.

Love each other through the good stuff (and the not-so-good stuff).

Forgive when needed, and ask to be forgiven the same (I cannot tell you the number of times I have had to ask my husband and children to forgive me). My children live under my very imperfect authority (for now), and I do try to do right by them. I don’t always make the perfect call, but I am what they’ve got. 

Thankfully God’s authority is not like mine!

Remember, your life is not a sprint; it is a marathon. It’s an every day, choice by choice, run in the right direction, toward Christ marathon. Why do you think everyone doesn’t run marathons? It’s hard.

Sometimes we are running  faster than others. Sometimes we look like I did that ONE time I jogged with 70 lbs. of little boys in my stroller. It wasn’t pretty. It was a struggle. It took everything I had to just keep moving forward!

I have a message, and so do you!

Let’s let our message be truth and hope to the hurting! 

Let your message be love.

Let’s run this race together!

Thanks for spending some time at The Modern Mayflower Blog! I would love if you would stick around!  Please be sure to “subscribe” to keep in touch!

I’ll be seeing you,