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God Is NOT Punishing You

The last couple weeks have been a long haul for me. I have not been feeling well. Saturday, I wasn’t feeling good, and my lanyard, that had both sets of car keys attached, went missing. Just days prior, when I was praying, I oddly enough, felt God put it on my heart to separate the keys, but I wasn’t feeling good and didn’t feel like it, so I didn’t.

Erik and I spent a miserable four hours searching high and low. We were bickering and blaming each other. We searched in every nook and cranny thinking maybe possibly, Eli took them and put them somewhere. In my exhaustion, sickness, and desperation, I went into the garage to have a little mental break down away from Eli. My desperate hand flailing prayer went to the tune of, “I knew I should have listened when I felt it on my heart to separate the keys the other day. This day has been a miserable hell. Is this some kind of punishment for not listening to you?!”

Right away, I felt God say, “Kelsea, my grace is sufficient for you.”

I turned my head to the other side of the room and immediately saw the keys on Erik’s tool shelf where he had been digging out supplies to do some painting touch ups on the exterior of our house. (So it was Erik’s fault after all 😉).

I paused for a second to take in that sigh of relief moment, and I acknowledged that I’d be returning to that message to dig a little deeper in to fullness of what God meant for me to take from that. Then, I grabbed the keys, and ran inside to tell Erik that I found them.

So, here I am, circling back to that moment. It’s interesting how when something bad happens, we automatically jump to the thought that God is punishing us for something. I know the truth of God’s love, goodness, and finished work on the cross, yet STILL, after all this time, my religious trauma and church hurt gets in the way of me knowing the true heart of the Father that is clearly spelled out in contextually read scripture.

Friendly reminder for myself and anyone else who's knee jerk reaction is to think we are being punished by God when bad things happen: God is not keeping score. Jesus won the game for us. Between us and God, there is nothing but love and unconditional acceptance. If anything else were true, than Jesus died for literally nothing. I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness comes by the law, then Christ is dead in vain” (Galatians 2:21).

Actions have consequences. It was sheer stupidity of me to not separate the keys when I thought of it, when they were safe and sound on the key rack. God even tried to warn me, and I didn’t listen. God wasn’t punishing me and trying to ruin my Saturday. It’s simple, I was a dumbass, and I reaped the consequences of being a dumbass.

It reminds me of my parenting philosophies. My love for my son is indescribable. I’d go to the ends of the earth for that kid. I hope that he will grow up to be a happy, well-adjusted, stable, loving human.

I don’t believe in punishment. While I will not allow him to hurt himself or others, I am not going to spank Eli or put him in time out because he won't act the way I want him to act.

He was on a kick of throwing toys on the ground. I warned him multiple times that he shouldn’t do that because his toys will break. Ultimately, if he breaks them, that’s a consequence he will have to live with.

Sure enough, he broke the arm of his favorite Buzz Lightyear toy. He’s had a broken Buzz for a couple months now. It made me sad that he was so sad about it. I comforted him when he cried about it. I wanted to fix it for him and save him from his misery, but that was a choice that he made. This is a natural consequence that he has to live with. Such is life. He seems to have learned a valuable lesson from this and has been more gentle with his toys. He’s even managed to find joy in brokenness as we now call this Buzz, “Mrs. Nesbitt.”

In my thirty-two years on this earth, I’ve found that there are lessons to be learned and beauty to be found in the mistakes that we make and the trials we face.

My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing. If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.” James 1:2-5

“Count it all joy.”

There is so much power in those four little words.

This is calling for a mindset shift. Instead of “Woe is me, God is punishing me, my life sucks” we should be saying, “Thank you God for this opportunity to grow. Let me trust in Your love for me and gain the wisdom, growth of faith, and/or learn the better way of living that You are trying to teach me."

In my life, I have found that I keep hitting the same types of road blocks over and over until I put down my defenses, abandon my narrow mindedness and cyclical thinking, and open myself up to learn whatever I am meant to learn and think differently. This is how growth takes place. It’s not usually pretty when I am growing.

So, back to God’s word for me in the garage. “My grace is sufficient for you.” 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 says:

“And he said unto me, “My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions,in distress for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.”

This message was not just meant to serve as a reminder to me in my moment of doubt in the goodness of God and His love for me in the garage. It was also meant to speak to me in this moment in my life where I have been struggling physically to feel myself. I’ve been out of commission and feeling like a bad mom. I feel like I am missing out on such a cool phase of Eli’s life. I feel like a lame boring mom. I feel so deeply bad and have been shaming myself that a lot of the load has fallen to my wonderful and already hardworking husband.

Then, in the midst of it all, God says to me, “My grace is sufficient for you.”

Wow. Like healing balm to my aching soul.

I am going to choose to “count it all joy,” get out of my cyclical thinking, and learn whatever it is that God has me to learn in this rather unpleasant moment of my life. This should make for some good blog material going forward. Stay tuned friends. 💜

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