If you are like me, every now and then you start to feel down and out about life…measuring your success (or lack thereof) with where you wanted to be at this point in time. As a home school mom I have had countless opportunities to reassess where my children are academically. I’m sure I speak for many home school moms when I say I went into it with these grandiose assumptions that my children would be further ahead in EVERY subject than their “other school” counterparts. But as we learn when they are born, children have a mind of their own, ready made with their own strengths, weaknesses, and limitations. In short, my timeline doesn’t always line up with their needs!

I often sit down to start a painting and liken it to my personal journey. The beginning can be a little frightening but exciting. A fresh start, a new challenge. But inevitably unexpected challenges set in. Things don’t always go according to plan. Doubt can set in. Is this piece ever going to look right? You keep going, using every ounce of faith. Progress is usually much slower than you would ever want. Then a number of possible things happen. You start to see a light at the end of the tunnel, or you feel like you’re getting deeper into this glorious hole you have found yourself in. On the worst day you are ready to call in all off, throw in the towel, and start something else.

Well, I usually don’t give up on a painting. I’ve learned and determined to see it through, and most times, it works out. I remember (again) that I usually go through this process with every painting. And, like having a baby, once you see the result, you almost forget all the pain and suffering in the process. Almost.

Funny how life can be so similar. We can go through the pain and suffering of a thing, come out better in the end, but often forget all we went through to get there.

The best lessons learned are often the hardest. And in truth, we are all a work in progress. You are not complete until your last breath on this earth. Until then there is hope. Hope for something better…hope for something more…or less!

An then there is grace. Grace in remembering we aren’t perfect. We sometimes need forgiveness. Sometimes needy. No one is perfect…well there was this one guy, but for the rest of us…works in progress.

So where do you need to give yourself grace right now? Where do you need to give someone else grace?

The trick is to choose joy and find the blessings in SPITE of our trials, in spite of our shortcomings. I’m preachin’ to myself today. I hope you got something out of it too!