“You’re just gonna have to buck up!”
As soon as I said it, the van went quiet. Normally one to follow with a law school-worthy list of reasons supporting my thesis, this time I forbade my mouth from uttering anything further.
The words hung in the silence.
I’d been trying to convince my son to do something that seemed easy to me but felt hard to him. In fact, I’d been having one too many of these conversations lately with each of my youngest two.
After a summer move, they were adjusting to lots of change. They were visiting new youth groups, getting to know a new neighborhood, attending new camps and starting new classes.
Each new thing was met with new resistance. I knew they longed for the familiarity of our old routines and old friends, but we weren’t there anymore.
They needed to flourish here.
They needed to overcome limiting excuses to move forward well.
I had tried my soft motherly approach, listening and offering, “Well, you’ll never know until you try it” and “There are lots of other new kids, too” to each of their objections.
I had tried persuasion, rebutting their protests with a rationale that seemed perfectly logical from where I sat.
I had even caved a few times as they wore me down and it just seemed easier not to push.
So, when in exasperation I finally declared, “You’re just gonna have to buck up!” it surprised all of us.
Because I needed that gut-honest prompt more than anyone.
Truth is, I was nurturing my own set of excuses that I let limit me when life changed.
Things like –-
I’m a single mom, so I can’t disciple my children to follow Christ like I could have with a husband.
I’m a single mom, so my kids will always be sad and feel the sting of missing out.
I’m a single mom, so I can’t be the kind of grandmom I want to be.
We can be in the Word every day and have trusted God through impossible seasons and still come up with a list of excuses to keep us from moving forward. Especially when that move is into a chapter we didn’t plan or expect.
Maybe you’ve nurtured your own excuses —
Because of my diagnosis or my child’s disability or my wonky parent, I can’t be a good wife or mom.
Because my spouse was unfaithful, my kids won’t be able to keep stable, godly relationships.
Because I have to work, my child won’t have a happy and carefree childhood.
These excuses are lies that give us permission to stay stuck when life doesn’t turn out like we planned.
They work to convince us that moving forward is useless because everything we wanted is behind us. They help us resist the change that comes from a life we didn’t plan and taunt that a life different than we expected is by definition less.
These excuses limit us from stepping out into the unexpected because they limit what we believe about God.
Our excuses are lies, every one of them.
If we weren’t so busy raising objections to the unexpected, we could hear God’s soft encouragement: I am the faithful God, who has gone before you and who upholds you with my steadfast love.
If we weren’t so mired in how perfect it could have been, we would see that God has incredible beauty here because he always does more than we could ask or imagine.
Instead of nurturing a list of limiting excuses for why we can’t move forward, we need to flourish in life as God has given it.
We can flourish in life as God has given it.
Tell your limiting excuses to meet your limitless God.
Not one of our excuses holds up against an all-powerful, all-knowing, good and gracious God.
God delights in our limits because he delights in doing what we cannot. He delights in bringing beauty where we see ashes.
So, my excuses?
Yes, I’m a single mom but God says he is father to the fatherless and defender of the widow and so I count on him to disciple my children as a good, good father.
Yes, we will always miss Dan and there will be pockets of sadness, but grieving with hope means we can live fully and abundantly for as many days as God gives us on earth knowing that eternity will far, far eclipse days apart.
And yes, grandparenting will look different than I imagined but different doesn’t mean less because God withholds no good thing from those follow him.
Maybe you need to tell your excuses to buck up too.
Because what seems impossible to us is easy for God.