Playdates with God: Missing the Mark

Yesterday, it rained all day, and if you know me at all you know how I feel about that. We took it as invitation to stay inside and let our hearts slow. At church there were soups and sandwiches for the annual Souperbowl luncheon to raise money for the hungry. At home, Jeff made his homemade Buffalo wings for us to enjoy as we watched the big game.  I read this book as my guys cheered their team, and it left me disturbed—such good writing brought me into the world the author created but I found it a world I wanted to avert my eyes to.

So, this morning, we wake up to find all that moisture coming down has accumulated, painting the world white, covering over all that mud. The boys are home from school again and I am filled with worry about things like preparation for AP exams, math field day, and the SAT. This winter has been an exercise in opening the hand, and this I do, over and over again.
On Sunday, the preacher preached on 1 Corinthians 1:18-31and when he spoke about God using the foolish things to shame the wise, the weak things to shame the strong—I prayed to be lowly and despised.  I am feeling very small lately and I keep asking God what I should be learning in this place. I am still studying the Lord’s prayer on these cold mornings and today I made it to Matthew 6: 12-15.
“Forgive us our debts…” it says, and how many times have I uttered those words thoughtlessly?
William Barclay tells me that in the New Testament, there are five different words translated as sin.The most common word, he says is hamartia.Hamartia was originally a word used in the sport of shooting and it means a missing of the target.
Hamartia is not the word for sin used in the Lord’s Prayer but these words from Barclay caught my attention, “[S]in is the failure to be what we might have been and could have been.” This short sentence—this Greek word hamartia—it names my fears of late. Last week, I had a teleconference with my publishers to discuss cover art for my book and during the course of the discussion; we decided we need a new subtitle. Everything feels unsettled and hurried and I feel like I’m failing this opportunity. I’ve let worry crowd out joy and this morning, Barclay reminds me of that Chesterton quote, “[W]hatever else is true of man, man is not what he was meant to be.”
This morning I am reminded that we all fall short of the glory of God and there is grace. Thank God, there is grace. And it is covering me this morning like the snow covers the meadow outside my window.

What are you striving to be, Beloved? Do you dare let grace cover you?

How do you embrace the God-joy? Every Monday I’ll be sharing one of my Playdates with God. I would love to hear about yours. It can be anything: outside, quiet time. Maybe it’s solitary. Maybe it’s loud and crowded. Just find Him. Be with Him. Grab my button at the bottom of the page and join us:

The Playdates button:

And with Michelle today:


  1. says

    Beautiful, as usual, friend. I have felt very small lately too–sick kiddos, lots of home time…instead of enjoying it and “being” I tend to worry that I’m not “doing” enough. I love this reminder that Grace covers us like snow blankets the earth–fully and (thank God) gently. Praying that we both embrace that grace fully this week. I wish I could hug you in person but this will have to do: (((((Laura))))))

  2. says

    “…and how many times have I uttered those words thoughtlessly?”

    I’d hate to see a number for me. I know I’ve repeated holy words in such casual ways so many times. Until eventually they sink in and I’m surprised.

    Grace. Yes. Thank God for grace.

  3. bluecottonmemory says

    All these thought threads – and the missing it, miss being what He created us to be – but He takes those threads and makes something beautiful out of them – slowly weaving them into what He planned. Beautiful thoughts, Laura – and beautiful snow. When the snow come to our town, we suddenly become like Moses and the Red sea – and it parts going either below or above – I miss the snow.

  4. says

    I love knowing that we are both attending churches that follow the lectionary. (I guess I’m assuming you do, because we were studying those same verses in church yesterday.) In any case, it’s pretty sweet knowing that you and I were on the same page, on the same Sunday. I love being “linked” with you, even across these miles.

  5. says

    I have been homeschooling for 26 yrs…not enough has been a haunting phrase the enemy has tormented we with…but with age I find more grace and I now know..He provides grace for the gaps of our lives. And we would love at least one snow this winter …everywhere around us …but we have gotten none.

  6. says

    “I’ve let worry crowd out joy and this morning…” Oh me, too, friend, me too. It’s hard. But know that you are not alone on the journey – it gives me comfort to know I have good company in people like you.

  7. pastordt says

    Oh, yeah. Missing LOTS of marks, much of the time. Praying for your peace of mind as so many threads come to fruition for you. And linking my post on sin from Q & A because your post made me remember mine. Love to you, Laura.

  8. amyscanderson says

    Oh am I going to hold close to my heart, “We need a new subtitle.” Yes. And that is good. I feel that way with my life. And it is by God’s grace that He does it now before the final publication date. I’ve been missing so many marks, and it’s real in such clear ways. I feel I’m having a life conversation with God where I offer the negative and needy and He provides the positive provision. My formerly type A self has struggled to let go of my can do ways and let Him write a new subtitle. I’m smiling though to know He is doing so in perfect grace. Thank you for this, Laura. So beautiful and encouraging.

  9. says

    “I am feeling very small lately and I keep asking God what I should be learning in this place.” I think we all feel this way at times, I love how you have asked, “What am I suppose to learn in this place?” A lot of truth and wisdom here, Laura!

  10. Kelly Hausknecht Chripczuk says

    “This winter
    has been an exercise in opening the hand, and this I do, over and over again.” Yes. Right there, that is my winter in a nutshell and, more likely, all of life. And it IS the deep, deep grace that carries us through.

  11. says

    Amy, I love the way you think. It never occurred to me until you pointed it out that, yes. This is what God is doing. Writing a new subtitle for life. I love you, lady. You help me live with my eyes wide open.

  12. says

    Oh Laura, I feel like we need a phone call, I want to hug you tight and tell you everything is good, its going to be okay. I think sometimes we do miss the mark, but sometimes what looks like missing the mark is actually Jesus rearranging our good intentions for his best. I love your tender heart, love you just the way you are. This is such a good lesson for all of us, truly.

  13. says

    You are so good at reading between the lines, Shelly :). I’m in a little funk but your cyber hugs help. Yes, Jesus does rearrange the furniture sometimes. And you’re right, it’s always for the best. sometimes it just takes hindsight to see it. Love you.

  14. soulstops says

    Dear Laura,
    Oh, I remember our talk about the title for your book at LL; praying for you right now..wish I could give you a big hug…this week has been a little challenging…oh, for the grace to trust that God’s grace is really okay with where I am, right now…

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