The First Day Of School, A Stolen Purse & The Hands Free Life


The first day of school brings a whirlwind of change, upheaval, sweat, tears, and … awesomeness in my house. This year, it’s a four-school year for us: we’re sending our eldest off to a school that isn’t where his mom works, we’re preparing for four days of preschool with our younger bundle of energy, my wife is tackling her fourteenth year of elementary education (as a teacher…), and I’m teaching a pair of classes at the local junior college in addition to pastoring a local church.

After days (or is it weeks or months?) of preparation, the perfect outfits are on, the lunches are packed, the pictures are taken, and … we discover that someone has stolen my wife’s purse.

Credit cards … gone.

Brand new jewelry… gone.

License …. gone.

Sense of security… poof!

What are the options in the moments that follow, when credit cards need canceling and customer service acts like it’s your fault? How do you respond when you feel punched in the face by someone else’s laziness, by their decision to take from you rather than commit their own efforts to working hard?

Anger? Grief? Defeat?

The night before, as I read through Rachel Macy Stafford’s second book, Hands Free Life, I’d come across and tweeted out this line: “There are moments in between life’s obligations when we are in the presence of our loved ones that can be made sacred.” It actually starts with the word “But” which I had subtracted for tweeting – and yet, today was a “but” kind of day.

This hurts but …

We spent the day thanking God no one was hurt.

We realized that credit cards (and even licenses, at the DMV) could be replaced.

We spent extra time shared in the riding around to accomplish the corrections of the theft, eating Frosties, hearing about stories from ‘first days,’ and taking selfies in the DMV. All sacred moments in the midst of life’s obligations.

I was sure that this attitude (one of many Stafford proposes in her book) was just for me, God’s little nudge to suck it up and move on. And then the magical time that makes me cringe (at times) and cry happened: good night prayers.

With sleep heavy eyes, my eldest thanked God for the school day, and friends made, seemingly immune to his parents’ unease (thank God). And then he said, “Thank you, God, for forgiving us. And please forgive the people who stole Mom’s purse.”

Like it was no big deal.

Like those moments along the way matter more than they hurt.

Like we don’t have to worry about who stole it because God has it covered.

It’s then that I realized something: to have a hands free life, to make a difference with my kids and my world, I have to be prepared to adopt these attitudes everyday. Some days, you fake it until you make it.

Because every moment can be sacred.


About Jacob Sahms

I'm searching for hope in the midst of the storms, raising a family, pastoring a church, writing on faith and film, rooting for the Red Sox, and sleeping occasionally. Find me at,, and the brand new
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2 Responses to The First Day Of School, A Stolen Purse & The Hands Free Life

  1. Tears. Thank you for your story … for reminding us what matters … for allowing me to be part of this healing and hopeful message. I, too, am so glad no one was hurt. Bless you & your precious ones.


  2. Jacob Sahms says:

    Thank you, Rachel. I enjoyed our chat about your first book, and am privileged to have received this one in advance. It was a blessing to me yesterday – and will be in the days ahead!


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