Posted by: Kara Luker | August 16, 2021


“Are you 9 years old?,” my brother, Michael, asked Chase who was struggling with his math at the island in our kitchen. “Not yet,” replied the 8 year old. “Hmmm. And can you drive a car?” The same response was given: “Nope. not yet.” “Yet. It’s an interesting word, isn’t it?,” Michael continued as I quietly prepared dinner, wondering what Chase’s thoughts were with this line of questioning. “Could it be that you just don’t know your multiplication tables… yet?” Chase bristled at the suggestion that his future knowledge would include the massive collection of numbers he had deemed impossible to learn.

Chris, the teacher at the tutoring center Chase attended this summer, didn’t expect him to know the answers… yet. He kept telling us that Chase wasn’t required to study and memorize his multiplication tables; only to read them aloud every day and then practice them on his daily worksheets. “Even though some students think it is silly to read the numbers aloud,” Chris wrote me in an email, “it forces students to say them, hear them, process them and eventually memorize them.” Because Chase not only found it silly, but also futile, he was reluctant to follow this simple but crucial component.

It was fairly easy for me to laugh off Chase’s exaggerated sense of defeat since I have no doubt that he will learn the numbers that seem so elusive right now. He’ll probably even look back and wonder why he thought it was such a big deal. But it wasn’t so easy to laugh off my own perceptions of defeat that arose during our pileup of company this summer. Although it was mostly a rich and magical fulfillment of my heart’s desire to gather people together and live in the midst of community rather than on the sidelines, it was also hard. Having that many humans under my roof for that long, especially over the third anniversary of Cole’s death, was bound to expose my rough edges.

I griped, hurt some feelings and didn’t love everyone with the gentleness and grace I longed to. I relied on some old coping mechanisms instead of quieting myself and allowing God to restore and strengthen me. These are all familiar foes and it didn’t take me long to disqualify myself from continuing with this role in our little community. But then I remembered Michael’s conversation with Chase and started wondering, “What if I don’t love as well as I would like to… Yet?” “What if I don’t fully trust God to uphold me … Yet?”

As hope reentered my thoughts, the realization surfaced of how loved I felt by my family despite my shortcomings. And also of how much I’ve grown, both in comfort and capacity, and how far I’ve come. The fact that I’m here in this place, willing to love and be loved and extend what I have, risking failure and rejection in the process, is an outright testimony of God’s presence and power in my life. 

As if to snuff out any remaining sense of disqualification, I received a text from my friend, Rachel, while on a walk the morning after the last batch of company had gone. She knew nothing of my recent struggles but wanted to share a dream she’d had. “I was looking out a window,” she wrote, “at a big place and I knew it was your house but the space was huge. There was an event for the Lord there with a lot of people and there was so much peace!!!” Tears came to my eyes. Not only is God at work, I decided, but I still get to be part of it.

As with Chase’s math, my job isn’t to arrive on the impossible mountaintop. It is simply to keep putting the truth in front of me, thinking on it, saying it aloud and practicing it as best as I can until it has worked itself into my very nature. Through this, God’s love will manifest itself through me. His peace will pervade times of chaos. Joy in being with His people will grow. I will continue to realize that I am not disqualified because God Himself has qualified me – each one of us, actually – to wholly belong and engage, no matter what our shortcomings, in His kingdom and community. According to His love and power, not our own.

These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates. Deuteronomy 6:6-9

Are there any areas where you are struggling to have hope for change? Are there verses or worship songs that speak to that struggle? Can you begin to speak or sing them each day, even if it feels silly or hopeless? If that is overwhelming, can you ask God to help you do it?


  1. I love this comparison between Chase and yourself/us, Kara. A much-appreciated word of encouragement.

    • Thanks Mitch!

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