This is Real Life…

Today we’re using the #RealLife Filter, because sometimes life doesn’t go as planned. And that’s okay.

I was feeling pretty proud of myself this afternoon. It was 3:00 and not only did I actually know what I was making for dinner (which is a minor miracle), but tomorrow’s dinner was already thawing on the counter! Impressive, I know.

It was a simple dinner with very little prep. After squeezing in a quick walk, I washed my hands and pulled all the ingredients out of the fridge. Tonight’s menu included French dip sandwiches, salad, and roasted brussel sprouts. Sounds delicious, right? (Again, total rock star.)

Well, unfortunately (or fortunately, for my kids) the brussel sprouts spent a little too long in the crisper drawer and ended up in the trash. Not wanting to be outdone, the lettuce I bought last week plopped into the bowl as a giant pile of slime… so I had to toss it out as well.

I was 0 for 2; it was not looking good for the home team.

Thankfully, French dip sandwiches are easy to make and pretty hard to ruin! I heated up the au jus (that’s a fancy word for beef broth) and added the roast beef slices from the deli. Carefully, I transferred the roast beef into the perfectly cut rolls, gently adding a layer of provolone cheese over top. Then I slid them in the oven to broil while I figured out what to serve in place of the slimy veggies.

Since this was supposed to be a simple dinner, I gave myself permission to go the easy route. I dumped some baby carrots on a plate and grabbed the ranch dressing.  I cut the bad spots off some strawberries and dropped them in a bowl. Then I picked out a few grapes left in the bag that weren’t yet rotting, and added them to the table.

[Side note: Am I the only one who buys a bunch of produce only to end up throwing half of it away? Seriously… why do we bother? Anyway…]

As I congratulated myself for creating a healthy rainbow of goodness from what was left of last week’s groceries, I suddenly smelled something burning.

Y’all.

I burned the sandwiches.

Not just a little bit either; like, blacken-the-bread and fill-the-kitchen-with-smoke kind of burned.

Seriously??? Make that 0 for 3…

So much for my simple dinner and rock star mom status! I officially struck out, ruining my ENTIRE menu.

And the truth is, sometimes life is just like that.

Sometimes we plan ahead and have everything all figured out, and it just doesn’t turn out like we expected it to. Things sit too long. Things that seem healthy turn out to be not so healthy after all. Something that started out good ends up decaying from the inside. Other things can’t handle the heat.

Jobs. Friendships. Ministries. Relationships.

Real life happens and we find ourselves suddenly needing to come up with a new plan.

When that transpires, I am tempted to just throw the whole thing out and order a pizza… and occasionally, that’s the best plan! But more often than not, I just need to get creative. I need to give myself permission to stay simple, and then I need to work with what I have.

Cut off the bad spots and save the rest. Pull out what I was saving for another time. Replace the original with something good enough for now. Then put it all on the table and thank the good Lord for providing what I needed…

Manna. Daily Bread. Just enough.

Are you struggling with something that’s not going quite the way you planned? Maybe motherhood is a bit more than you bargained for, or marriage has left you lonelier than you were when you were single. Perhaps you stepped out in faith following God’s leading, only to find yourself suddenly stranded in a wilderness. Maybe your job or your friendships or your faith feel like they are imploding from the inside.

This is real life without a filter. It’s hard and imperfect and unpredictable. And sometimes the best we can do is bring it to Jesus and make the best of what we have to work with, trusting Him— our author and perfecter— to make it enough.

Our Father doesn’t expect perfection from us. He doesn’t mind bruised strawberries and stale hot dog buns; He knew dinner wasn’t going to be perfect before we ever started. He simply wants us to trust Him to provide what we need when we need it, and to believe that it’s enough.

Sweet friend, what you have to offer Him today is enough; burned bread and all.

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