I wouldn't go so far as to say I enjoyed tests, but I was good at them. They were a source of pride. Proof that I had learned the material.
And then I went to college. The first year or so went smoothly. But then my engineering professors changed the rules on me. Tests were no longer about proving what I had learned.
They were designed to discover the holes in my knowledge. To highlight weaknesses in logic and understanding.
Thank goodness they graded on a curve. I remember being thrilled with a 37. (It was an A).
At the time, it drove me crazy. If they were going to curve the scores anyway, why didn't they give exams we had a chance of passing? I didn't see the value of an exam designed to point out how much I didn't know.
I get it now.
God gives the same kind of tests. Tests that aren't designed for us to get all cocky about how great we are doing. These tests show us our weak points. Not to condemn us. But to give us an opportunity to discover a whole new level of His grace.
Today, I'm taking a test. I'm not getting an A.
I thought, after spending the past several weeks focused on renewing my mind and living a lifestyle of gratitude, that the past week of family illness and insanity was the test. If it was, it was the high school version.
The college level exam started yesterday when I went from feeling spunky, eagerly anticipating a day of food, family, and fun, followed by a weekend at my parents, to feeling achy and miserable. This test blindsided me because it hit me in my weakest spot. My "compliant, pleaser, perfectionist" spot.
I have strep. And I'm contagious. So I'm sitting at home while my family is at my grandmother's house. My parents had to change their plans. We aren't going to their house at all. And my three-year-old was devastated.
I don't like to disappoint people.
Am I really supposed to be thankful for strep? For having to tell my three-year-old that we are not going to Papa and Nana's house after all? For my mom having to pack up all the food and goodies she had planned for us and bring them here? For my husband to have to travel with three kids, alone, to Granny's?
I could handle it if it was just me. I'll feel much better tomorrow. It's the part about disrupting everyone else. Being the cause of disappointment. That's the part that's eating at me. I expend a lot of energy avoiding that very thing.
Don't misunderstand. My parents aren't blaming me for having strep. My husband has handled bathtime, bedtime, and breakfast without complaint. My three-year-old, well, he seems to be okay with the idea of Papa and Nana coming here instead of us going there.
And I'm trying to feel thankful. Not so much for the strep, but for the God who loves me too much to let me get away with thinking I've arrived. For graciously pointing out the places where I still want to be in control. For highlighting the holes in my logic. And for giving me an opportunity to see more of Him.
I'm definitely feeling thankful for the family and friends who love me and who will be bringing me food. (I'm also ridiculously thankful for antibiotics).
And I'm thankful that I know there's a reason for the change in plans. I may never know what the reason was, but I'm choosing to rest in the knowledge that God loves me. Loves my son. Loves my parents. And none of this was random.
I don't think God grades on the curve.
I believe God grades with grace.
May His name be praised.
For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith - that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly than all we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen! Ephesians 3:14-21 (ESV)
#53. A husband who isn't afraid of dirty diapers
#54. The way sweet tea slides down a sore throat
#55. Homemade mochas
#56. NCIS marathons
#57. Flexible family
#58 Knowing I am loved and missed
#59 Turkey, mashed potatoes, & gravy