Hello there! This post is part of a 31-Day writing adventure I’m now halfway through! Woop woop!  I’d love for you to meet up ’round here and read along. You can find the introduction to the series, and a “Table of Contents” as each day goes live, right here. Thanks so much for dropping in!

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Last night, I won a Rock, Paper, Scissors match with the Hubs. And I think that was the first time I’d won in our six and a quarter years of marriage. It was an epic big deal… here’s why.

At bedtime last night, the boys were not particularly rowdy–they were just the same sort of rowdy they’d been the entire day. (Not sure why — maybe because after days and days of clouds the sun was finally shining?) Anyway, I have yet to figure out how, but somehow at teeth-brushing time, when I left the Tank after I’d finished brushing his teeth, while the Bear was still brushing his, I stepped out of the bathroom for a moment with the Belle.

During that moment, the Tank somehow got hold of the travel-size kid toothpaste I’d already told him he could not have and placed in the back of the cupboard and began to eat it. The Bear ran into the room with the grave announcement… “Blakey is eating TOOTHPASTE!!!” and handed me the offending toothpaste.

A few moments later, the mischief (as his Gammy in South Africa aptly calls him) toddled in and handed over the toothpaste’s cap.

We sighed and scolded, and put the boys to bed, and I started the ginormous task of getting the day’s dishes clean and starting a load of laundry.

I need to pause here to explain a different part of this story so that it will all be nicely connected for you.

Ever since we moved, I’ve looked at the den-area and thought this room really needs a rug. For the sake of the baby, to warm up the space and make it feel like home and comfortable in the evenings, it would just be really nice to find THE rug for this space. But I haven’t bought one yet. I found some I really liked at fairly good prices, but didn’t have a peace about buying one, and decided to set it aside and look more later.

The room is currently rugless, which is not an awful thing, not at all. It just is what it is.

So. I’m in the throes of preparing to climb Dish Mountain, when I hear the door to the boys’ room crack open. Through the open plan kitchen-to-rugless-den, I look down the passageway toward their room and see the Tank quietly toddle out, confused, looking down the hall toward our bedroom, and then looking my way and spotting me in the kitchen.

He turns to head toward me, slowly moving into the rugless den, there it is — his dinner all over the floor.

At first, I’m just shocked he has emptied his tummy onto the floor, and busy scrambling, as I call for HH, to think of what to do next. We whisk him to the bathroom, get him some water, wipe off the parts of him the need wiping, strip off the clothes — they definitely needed stripping — and a few moments later, he is his usual, cheeky, smiley self.

After we settle him back to bed, we ponder what could’ve caused it — tacos are a usual event on our menu, nothing out of the ordinary on the menu all day, no other signs of sickness at all. Then HH quickly arrives at the conclusion:

The Toothpaste.


{Hard not to love this little guy.}

It was a little later in the evening when the thought occurred to me to thank the Lord that I hadn’t bought a rug yet. I would have been SO disappointed if he’d puked on a new rug — would it have even come clean?

The principle behind this long story is a simple one, and these verses sum it up really well:

Lord, you alone are my portion and my cup; 
you make my lot secure.
The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;
surely I have a delightful inheritance. {Psalm 16:5-6}

There are times when things aren’t going the way we hope they will, or when we clearly hear a “NO” when we’re hoping for a yes. And sometimes it’s frustrating. Other times it can be devastating.

We put boundaries around our own children with No-no’s. From a very early age, we hedge them about with things they are not allowed to touch or do, and as they grow older, we choose more and different no’s for their boundaries: No playing in the street. No biting your brother. No drawing on the walls.

Sometimes the No’s are personal preferences, but very often, they are for the child’s benefit. His protection, his character development, his interpersonal skill development, his education.

No’s often lead to a better yes — and we sometimes have that yes in mind when we’re issuing the no. You can’t watch TV right now but you can build something with blocks, which is much better for you anyway.

If we are the children of an amazing Heavenly Father, then we can be sure, He, even more than you or I, is thinking clearly about what questions are answered with “No” and which ones are “Yes.”

When we shift our focus from the primary desire of gathering up stuff to make a comfortable life to “Your name and your renown are the desires of our hearts” we will naturally arrive at a place of trust.

Isaiah said:

But for those who are righteous,
the way is not steep and rough.
You are a God who does what is right, 
and you smooth out the path ahead of them.
Lord, we show our trust in you by obeying your laws;
our heart’s desire is to glorify your name. {Is. 26:7&8}

It takes trust to obey God, it takes trust to put a smile on your dial when you hoped for a yes and got a know. I never could’ve known that my rug would’ve been puked on when I was busy perusing the offerings at Overstock.com. But the Lord set a boundary line for me — and in His glorious goodness, I think that might’ve been part of the reason He did so.

Yesterday, we spoke about contentment — and this is where contentment becomes realest real. Your financial situation, your health, the amount of furniture in your living room — if you are living in obedience to God, you can trust His hand is creating boundaries for you.

Sometimes, they are boundaries He’d like you to accept for the time being. {Don’t buy that rug yet.} Sometimes, they’re boundaries He has created with the attention of calling you to rise to the challenge. If your marriage is on a rocky road, the Lord may want you and your spouse to seek some counseling or have some serious heart-to-heart time to find out what is at the root of all the strife between you, and to begin changing the way you interact with one another for the better. He may be calling you to fight for one another in a world that’s fighting to pull marriages apart.

How will you know what to do with those boundaries? Spend time in His Word and listen for His voice. His sheep know His voice, because they spend their days with the shepherd.

His glorious goodness speaks a good yes and a good no — and you can trust His greater plan is at work in both of them.

And about that Rock, Paper, Scissors match? In His glorious goodness, the Lord let me win this one, and my precious, wonderful, handsome and amazing Hero Hubs had toothpaste-incident-related-clean-up-duty.

Bless the Lord for another boundary falling in a pleasant place. {Mark, I love you.}