The Grace of Bad Days (by Tabitha Caplinger)

I recently released my first novel, The Chronicle of the Three: Bloodline. Alongside it I created a devotional resource. It is my desire to help young women, really all women, learn to #LiveChosen, walking in the purpose that God has for their life and doing it on purpose. This little devotional was my way of connecting a story from my imagination to glimpses of our Creator and help readers connect that to their own life. Below is an excerpt from Daughters Arise.  I hope it encourages and inspires you.

By late afternoon, Zoe and Claire had brought in all the boxes and were slowly putting their touch on the place. Pictures and familiar knick-knacks lined the mantel. Plates and cups filled the cupboards. Clothes were folded in drawers. After a while, Zoe stopped unpacking to stare at a picture of her parents. She had taken it on their vacation last year – camping complete with rain, tents falling down, and her dad unable to start a fire. She was away from her friends and her cell phone and had grumbled, complained and fought with them the whole time. But now she sat, looking at the picture she had taken of her mom and dad after a morning hike, and the faces looking back at her were smiling. She brushed her fingers over the smiles as she heard Claire approach.

            “Your dad told me about that trip.”

            “Probably never wanted to camp again after that.”

            “Actually he wanted to go again next summer.”

            Zoe’s brow furrowed. “Why? This was a disaster.”

            “Well, he didnt think so, and based on the smiles in that photo I think it was more of a success than you give it credit for.”

            That was her parents. They found the good in everything, especially her, even when she was at her worst. She wiped away a single tear before putting the picture on the shelf.  (Excerpt from The Chronicle of the Three: Bloodline

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 Psalm 139:13-16 ESV

For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.

 Romans 5:6-8 ESV

For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

            We are not always at our best. For every day that our outfit is on point and our hair is magazine cover perfect there are six where we throw on a hat and hope no one notices our complexion. The same can be said of our inner selves, our spirit and thoughts and attitudes. Some days we are generous and kind and bold with almost no effort. Others we grit our teeth and fake a smile, if we can even muster that. We grumble and complain and let the negative flood in with all our shortcomings and insecurities. Things don’t go our way, being kind is somehow much harder than it was yesterday and unhealthy comparisons plague us. We find ourselves like Zoe, seeing only the worst in us and our situation. We look at our day, or week, or year, and wonder how anyone could love us when we are so messed up.


Because we are messed up.


We are imperfect people who struggle daily with dreams, fears, emotions and, well, other imperfect people. How can we do anything for a perfect God with such a pathetic reflection staring back at us in the bathroom mirror?

We can’t. At least not by ourselves. But thankfully we are not by ourselves. We have a perfect God who perfectly loves us even when we are most certainly not perfect.

He is not blind. He is not ignorant. He is all knowing and yet still all loving. He created us and knows us better then we even know ourselves. After all, He sees all of us, even the parts we fight to hide in dark corners. And even on days where we are at our worst He chooses to see the best in us.


How do I know this?


The bible tells us that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us. Not for our sins, but for us. He didn’t just die to fix some mistake, He died because we were not a mistake. He died for us because He loved us despite our mistakes, our imperfection.

God has a very good handle on reality. He knows that we have no chance of being perfect. He knows we will fight daily to even be good. But in dying for us He was able to connect us with His love and grace in such a way that we have hope for a future with Him and hope in a better today.

We will still have bad days. We will still be imperfect. But we also now have a choice. We can choose to keep pushing forward toward the goal, Christ, being like Him. I can choose today to be better than I was yesterday. I can choose to not see the flaws looking back at me but to see myself as Christ sees me, forgiven and full of potential. In that God-reflection I have strength to battle whatever comes my way. Whether the fight is in my mind, my emotions, or my relationships.

There is a fight after all. The enemy wants to keep you weak, defeated. Frankly he doesn’t need to kill you quickly, he is perfectly fine with you dying slowly on the sidelines. When we only see our worst we have opened a door for him to get into our minds and stop us from reaching for all that God has. He may not steal our salvation, though he might, but he definitely steals our joy and hope. And that is enough for him. Why? Because if you are weak you aren’t fulfilling your God given destiny. And that destiny isn’t just for you but the people around you who need to see Jesus. They need to see Him in you. They need Him to love them through you. You can’t do that if you are exhausted by the battle of “not good enough”.

God sees you, not at your worst, but always at your best, what you can be, what He created you to be. And He doesn’t just see you at your best He wants to help you get there. He will help you get there if you allow Him.


How do we do that?


There’s no formula really. It begins with knowing God. Believing He is who He says He  is and giving Him control of your life. I don’t mean just saying you love Him and asking for forgiveness but really turning yourself over to Him. I’m not going to lie, sometimes that hurts. It hurts when He asks you to give up things you like because they aren’t good for you. It hurts when he wants you to change some habits and create better ones because He needs you to grow and mature. It is hard when He doesn’t give you the full story but just one page at a time. But He knows you better than you know yourself remember? And He wants to get you to your best life, to being your best self, even more than you want to get there. And He will help you.

And finally pray and ask God to help you. Ask Him to help you see yourself the way He sees you. Ask Him to remind you often of how much He loves you and the bright future He has in store for you. Ask Him to fill you with the Holy Spirit so you can best battle the enemy that wants to make everyday your worst day.

Maybe today you weren’t at your best. There’s good news. Tomorrow can be better.


 

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ABOUT Tabitha Caplinger

Tabitha Caplinger has been in student ministry for close to 15 years, and currently pastors at Faith Community Church in House Springs, Missouri with her husband Brian. They have two sassy daughters, Lila and Rory. Student Ministry is core to who Tabitha is; she loves discipling others and helping them see themselves through Jesus’ eyes. Her goal is for every young woman to be confident that, “she is loved more than she will ever know by someone who died to know her.”

When not working, Tabitha and her family like taking in a good movie or walking through the park. She also admits to being a little obsessed with TV.

Connect with Tabitha:

Facebook: Tabitha Caplinger

Twitter: @pastortabitha

www.tabithacaplinger.com

Visit Tabitha Caplinger on Goodreads

Tabitha Caplinger: elevategirlsusa@gmail.com

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Tabitha’s novel is The Chronicle of the Three: Bloodline. Its the first installment in a trilogy. The second book is releasing this June.

Available on Amazon| Barnes & Noble | iBooks

 


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