Expect Something Beautiful with Laura Booz Podcast

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Don't Do Gymnastics in the House

Laura Booz: Do you ever wonder, what makes God happy? What makes Him celebrate? Throw a party, smile so wide, clinch His fists and say, “Yes!”? 

After today’s episode, you won’t have to wonder any more. 

Hi there, I’m Laura Booz, and you’re listening to Expect Something Beautiful. Today’s story illustrates that you can expect God to celebrate whenever you repent. 

It was a Good Friday. The evening was dark and stormy. Murky rain dribbled down the windows, thunder rumbled in the distance. My dad was home with us kids while my mom ran a quick errand. I was eight going on nine—third grade. 

We had begged for a movie, so dad popped in an old classic. Just as he was about to leave the room, he turned around and said, “Remember, no gymnastics in the house.” This was his one big rule, and rightly so, because my sisters and I were doing gymnastics all the time. We just had this daydream, or I just had this daydream that one day I would go to the Olympics. I could just picture myself there in the middle of the arena, performing the gold medal routine. 

Now, I had no probable cause for believing that. But around the clock it was running through my head. We would spend our days doing backbends and front walkovers and handstands. So if my dad said it once, he said it a million times, “No gymnastics in the house.”

As the dark storm continued to rumble outside, my sisters and I snuggled up on the couch to watch the movie. Well, you know how that goes, what started as a leisurely stretch kind of turned into a backbend. And then before you knew it, we forgot all about the movie, and we were completely immersed in choreographing our gymnastics routines. 

There were front rolls and splits and pirouettes. Then at one point we misjudged our spacing. As I bent down to go into a cartwheel, my sister launched into a front walkover and accidently kicked me in the mouth!

The next thing I knew, I was flat on my face, pain throbbing around my mouth. Well, if you can handle me saying it, blood . . . everywhere. I didn’t think twice; I needed my dad. I called his name, and my sister ran up to get him. He came down those stairs like a hero. 

He ran to my side and picked me up and brought me into the bathroom and cleaned up my face. Then he got some ice, wrapped it in a towel, and helped me compress the wound. Before I knew it, he had brought my sisters over to our neighbors’ house, and he was gently leading me to the car. 

I got in, and we drove to the emergency room. There in the dark murky night, I remember those windshield wipers frantically ticking off the time. My mind was reeling, but I remember feeling so safe because my dad was with me. I knew that he would see to it that everything worked out all right. 

The surgeon said he did the best he could. My lip was so swollen he couldn’t really line it up well, and I walked out of there with eighteen stitches and a dead tooth. 

My memories of the weeks that followed are pretty spotty, but I do know it put a damper on our Easter celebration that weekend . . . and my birthday was postponed. My mom had to feed me through an eye dropper in the corner of my mouth. I couldn’t laugh, smile, cry, or speak clearly for days. 

I couldn’t go to school or church. And when I did go back to school, my teacher encouraged the rest of my classmates to show a little empathy. Anytime any of us smiled, we had to squish our lips like this. I mean, you can’t see me, but this is what I’m doing. So we sounded like this for the rest of the school year. I appreciate those sweet students seeing me through so that my lip could heal up. 

But what I remember more than anything is that my dad took care of me. He made sure that I was comfortable and had everything I needed. He paid for my hospital bills, my dental bills. And I remember one day he came home from work with a gift, a purple and silver mechanical pencil. 

I couldn’t speak clearly, but now with my new pencil I could write. My dad, even though I had disobeyed him at a great cost to him, he never said a word about it, never. To think that it happened on a Good Friday of all days, on the day we commemorate Jesus dying on the cross for our disobedience, I was cartwheeling my way into disobedience and then landing flat on my face. 

On the day we commemorate our heavenly Father coming to our rescue with intensive care and grace and forgiveness, my earthly father came to my rescue and forgave me, too. You can still the scar on my lip. In fact, if you ever meet me in person, you’ll notice it. 

I’ve disobeyed many times in my life, but this particular scar is my most lasting consequence. It goes with me everywhere I go. It shapes every word I speak, every song I sing, every smile, every prayer. But you know when I look at myself in the mirror, I don’t just see a scar from my disobedience, I see my dad’s kindness, and in that, of course, the kindness of God. 

It always brings to mind the story of the prodigal son in Luke 15. As far as I can tell from the context, Jesus is talking to a mixed group of people—there’s tax collectors and sinners, and Pharisees and scribes—and He’s describing God’s heart.

And in this particular parable, He tells a story about a father and his two sons. The one son, not caring about his relationship with his father at all, asked for his inheritance early. And he took it and left to a far country where he just squandered it. 

He just used it all up in a reckless, careless, wicked, living. And then once he had spent all his money, he was hit with poverty. A famine came to the land, and he was working for a farmer feeding his pigs. And he was so hungry, he wanted to eat the pigs’ food. 

And that’s when he came to his senses. That’s when he remembered his father. And he thought, if I could just go back, I know my father would accept me back, even maybe as a servant. And so, he started back towards his father’s house. 

Jesus said even when He was a long way off, the father saw him coming and the father ran to him, embraced him, kissed him, and called the servants and said, “Bring the best robe for my son. Put a ring on his finger, shoes on his feet. Get out the feast, and let’s be glad and celebrate because my son is back. He was dead but now he is alive. He was lost and now he’s found. He was disobedient but he repented, and he’s back in my arms.”

Whenever I read that story, I’m struck by one thing. It is the glad heart of God when anyone repents. This is exactly what makes Him smile. This is exactly what makes Him rejoice and clench His fists and say, “Yes!” A repentant sinner. 

We don’t talk about repentance very much, do we? But it is such a sweet word. It’s at the heartbeat of our lives as Christians. I mean, it should be something we’re thinking and talking about every day. 

The Greek word for repentance literally means “to think differently.” To think differently about your sin and to think differently about the good heart of God. 

Every Christian has an initial repentance where you turn from sin completely and put all of your trust in Jesus, to be saved by grace through faith. And then we live lives of repentance, daily asking the Lord to forgive our debts as we forgive our debtors; to forgive our trespasses, we forgive those who trespass against us. 

Continually receiving the grace—the grace of a changed heart; one that turns away from sin and turns toward God and the truth of His Word. An inner conviction that exalts Christ and wants to live a life according to His Word; to show the world how glorious He is, and how right He is in His commands. And quite frankly, to enjoy the life He purchased for us on the cross and to share it with others. 

If you’re looking for it, you’ll see the message of repentance all throughout Scripture—from the beginning of the Gospels through the letters, the epistles, the book of Revelation. Peter writes about it in his second letter. He says, “Listen, if you’re getting impatient about Jesus’ return . . . When’s He going to set everything straight? When’s He going to come back and create the new heaven and new earth?” 

He said, “Listen, the reason He is tarrying is because God doesn’t want anyone to perish. He doesn’t want anybody to fall on their face and stay there, but He wants everybody to repent.” And so, the sun continues to rise and the moon continues its cycle and the earth continues to spin on its axis, because God wants everyone to repent and come home.”

And every time we do, He celebrates. Sometimes I think about the prodigal son and what life might have looked like for him after his repentance, after he came home. I think he probably looked at his body and his hands and his feet and still saw the man who ran away, still saw the man who ran after lesser pleasures. And yet, he knew he was clothed in his father’s best?

So much like we are clothed in Christ’s righteousness. Sometimes I wonder if he looked at himself in the mirror and saw the face of a man who had rebelled and had disobeyed, and yet he saw the face of a man who had been kissed by his father and welcomed home?

Expect Something Beautiful is a production of Revive Our Hearts, calling women to freedom, fullness, and fruitfulness in Christ.

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About the Teacher

Laura Booz

Laura Booz

Laura Booz is the author of Expect Something Beautiful: Finding God's Good Gifts in Motherhood and the host of the Expect Something Beautiful podcast with Revive Our Hearts. She'll cheer you on, share practical ideas, and point out the beautiful ways God is working in your life. She lives in Pennsylvania with her husband, Ryan, and their six children. Meet her at LauraBooz.com.