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10 Minutes Peace

    by Susan McGrath

Date Posted: June 12, 2004

Two houses away from us live two little girls who are close in age to my two boys. They all enjoy playing together outside and riding their menagerie of toys up and down the sidewalk. But their favorite thing is to ride in large circles around a large driveway.

The problem: we both have gravel drives -- not conducive to smooth rides on bikes, not to mention tricycles and wheeled horses.
The solution: in the house between us lives a wonderful couple who have a wonderful paved drive and have welcomed the kids into it anytime. They have grandchildren who visit and use it as well.

What we moms find amusing is that the kids seem to think it is their driveway and no one else (cars in particular) should be using it. The last holiday weekend our two youngest had just gotten out several riding toys to haul over to the drive. As we approached, two cars (visiting relatives from out of town, who apparently weren't notified of the driveway agreement) pulled in and parked in the middle of the drive -- one on each side.

The kids looked at the cars, turned and looked at us, and back at the cars. Confused, puzzled, not happy to have lost their "freeway" they headed for the sidewalk. Someone had overstepped into their territory.

Another day the younger two were riding, enjoying trying to run into each other in a kiddie demolition derby, and making it hard for the older ones to avoid them while riding their "big" bikes around.

My neighbor's oldest daughter, five-year-old Stella, decided she would make lanes for everyone to drive in. She announced this loudly, and disappeared into the house. A few minutes later she reappeared with a roll of crepe paper streamers and some tape. She proceeded with marking off three lanes with the streamers and then told the "babies" (who are both approaching three years) which lanes they were to use.

The wind was already snapping at the streamers, making the lanes crooked. My son Sawyer, who is two, having his attention drawn to the streamers, ran over and picked up one end, letting it loose to blow away.

Stella immediately descended on him, scolding him about touching "her" lanes. But her younger sister was already headed over to dismantle what was left of her boundary system. Stella huffed, gathered up the blowing streamers, wadded them up and handed them to her mother on the way to play somewhere else!

The boundaries she set were violated before they were even observed. So she gave up and went on to something else.

I'm so grateful God doesn't do that. From the beginning with Eve and Adam in the garden, we as God's creation in his own image have violated the boundaries he sets for us.

The Israelites did it over and over. He punished them, yet still cared for them and took care of them. King David committed sins we would find difficult to abide or overcome -- adultery, murder -- but God knew his heart and protected him.

With Christ, God set some new boundaries for us, but our nature is the same and even without hundreds of rules to remember, we cross the boundaries and disappoint our loving Father.

But regardless of the boundaries we cross, God's love for us is boundless. "But because of His great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions -- it is by grace you have been saved." -- Ephesians 2:4-5

As you seek your 10 minutes' peace this week, remember it can only be found inside the boundaries of Christ's sacrifice and the abundance of God's love. Pray that the boundaries around sin will be clear to us as we seek to turn away from it, and invisible when we do sin and seek to return to our Father.

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Biography Information:
Susan McGrath is:

a recovering journalist trying to encourage others and glorify God through writing;

living the small-town life with husband Tim and sons Lincoln, 12, and Sawyer, 6;

completing a few put-off writing projects while using chocolate for therapy.
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