I grew up in the mountains of North Carolina. As a little girl, I remember visiting my dad’s parents who lived out of state. Of course, I loved seeing them, playing on Grandpa’s tractor, sleeping on a feather bed (for real), and snagging cookies from Grandma’s orange cookie jar. There was a green porch swing with worn, calico printed pillows. I would sit with Grandma and swing at night listening to my dad and Grandpa talk about distant relatives I had never met. Grandpa would give me a fifty cent piece, and once told me I had a smile like Jimmy Carter.  

As great as it was, I knew that I would not want to live there when I grew up. Everywhere I looked, there were chicken houses and red clay. Junkyards dotted the countryside as we drove. Did I mention red clay? I can literally remember telling my mom, “I would never want to live in Georgia!” 

I live fifteen minutes from that house with the green porch swing. Yep. Funny, huh?

At the age of twenty-two, I really thought I knew what I was doing. My mother was concerned about my love life, and suggested that I give Hot Pastor a call.(He wasn’t Hot Pastor then. He was a boyfriend from college that I dumped. He was Mom’s favorite.) You ready for this? I said to my mom, “It will never work between us.” Seventeen years of marriage and six kids later…

I would like to think of myself as a fast learner, but maybe not.

Two years ago, when we stopped home schooling our kids, I thought about eventually getting a job. I’ve told you before that my husband recommended several options, all involving a drive-thru window. What I didn’t tell you is that those suggestions came after the obvious one. Teaching. I bet you can guess what I said to that. “Honey, I’ll never teach in public school.” I had reasons. Red tape, testing, paperwork, discipline…

I am a special education teacher and I love it!

Never is a dangerous word. It really should be avoided for several reasons. For one, we are not the one keeping this planet spinning, or orchestrating the events of our lives, weaving them together into something beautiful. We do not possess the wisdom, foresight, or knowledge to use the word “never.” 

I laugh when I think about what I told my mom as a little girl and as a young adult. As I pulled my school t-shirt out to wear tomorrow, and finished my lesson plans, I smiled at myself. Never here. Never him. Never that. The joke is on me. 

Secondly, we pull this little word out to unfairly assault those we love. Thrown into an argument, it packs a heavy punch. “You never listen!” “You never help out around here!” “You never show me respect!” Ouch. Talking about a deadly weapon. This little five-letter word can escalate a fight in lightning speed. That’s what I’ve heard, anyway. 

Out of curiosity, I searched for the never word in the Bible. Ironically, it’s mostly used in God’s promises to us. “I will never leave you or forsake you.” Hundreds of promises of his love and forgiveness. With God, he uses this word to show us his love. I find comfort when I read about people like Peter did what he said he would never do. Even more, I sink into the promises from God, and I rest there in his truth. 

I alone know the plans I have for you declares the Lord; plans to prosper you, not to harm you; plans to give you a hope and a future.  Jeremiah 29:11

Matthew 26:35

But Peter declared, “Even if I have to die with you, I will never disown you.” And all the other disciples said the same.