Monthly Archives: October 2013

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Hands Off

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My daughter likes to touch things, little things, heavy things, other people’s things . . . everything! I watch her constantly for fear that she will get into something that could harm her or someone else. We have started telling her “hands off” when she approaches something she shouldn’t touch. She knows to hold her hands in the air when I say this, which makes her stop for just a second and think before she touches. If I had a nickel for every time I said “hands off” . . . well you get the picture. Does it work? Sometimes yes . . . and sometimes no. Asking her not to touch something is like asking her not to breathe.

The other day she got a hold of a tootsie pop, which she immediately put in her mouth. By the time I got to her she was sticky, not just a little sticky, I mean sticky everywhere, her face, shirt, hair, but especially her hands. She had also managed to bend the stick until it broke off, so the entire tootsie pop, and what was left of the stick, was still in her mouth. I tried not to think about where the rest of the stick might have landed. I’d have to find that later. “Hands off”, I told her as I began to unbuckle her car seat. She grabbed the seat in front of her, the armrest and the buckle trying to “help” get herself out. I sighed, all three were sticky now. I held her hands as I worked her out of the seat as best I could without letting her touch anything. We headed inside and I repeated “hands off” as I guided her through the door, which she touched, and up the stairs, where she grabbed the wall to steady herself before I could stop her. We finally made it to the bath where I cleaned her up from head to toe. Then, I had to go back and clean up all the sticky places she left behind.

Funny, I guess in some ways, we never grow up. We still want to get our hands on everything and “help” God do things. Unfortunately, our selfish motives make our hands hopelessly sticky. We end up making a mess of everything we touch along the way. God patiently tells us to wait upon Him and trust Him, but we just can’t seem to remember not to meddle. While we should be waiting and resting in the peace that surpasses all understanding, instead, we take matters into our own sticky hands and end up making things worse than they were to begin with.

Once again, God cleans us up (an ongoing process, just like it is with my daughter) and then goes back to take care of all the messes we’ve created along the way. If only we would listen to His voice and patiently wait with childlike faith knowing that if He says not to touch, it is because he has our best interests at heart. If only we could learn to keep our hands off.

“But those who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.” Isaiah 40:31 ESV

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Be Still

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I sat on my sofa next to my daughter and picked up my laptop. This was an ill-devised plan from the start, but I needed to get a few things crossed off my ever growing to-do list and so, I decided to give it a shot. I turned on Elmo, got her a few toys and powered up my Mac. Maybe . . . just maybe I told myself. She came and sat on my lap and immediately climbed back off. For a moment, she was next to me, but then she went and sat on the floor. A minute later she was back on my lap again and then off to find a new toy, only to cast it aside a moment later. The next thing I felt was the corner of a book to the side of my head, she was climbing back on my lap with a book in hand. Needless to say, it was impossible to concentrate on my work.

Busy.

That one word sums up my daughter well. In fact, it is often the first adjective used to describe her by almost everyone she meets. She is in constant, almost insatiable motion. It is like she is driven by some unseen desire or unmet need, always searching, continuously moving from place to place or toy to toy unable to stick with any one item too long. I have become accustomed to her motion, but I know that all of the things that she seeks will not satisfy her for long.

I know what she needs even though she has no idea. She needs me. She needs to learn to trust in my provision and love instead of seeking an endless array of entertainment and stimulation. She needs time spent gazing into my eyes and sitting quietly beside me. She needs to play with me and as she plays, she will learn and grow.  I see what she needs, and I know what it is before she does. If only, she would trust me and know that I will take care of everything.

In the midst of her whirlwind of activity, I pause to think. Isn’t that what God is saying to me?

“Why are you seeking all of these other things when I am all that you need? You look to comfort, entertainment, accomplishments, other people, and a myriad of other diversions, but I am right here. I am the only thing that will satisfy your searching heart. Be still, gaze into my face and find all that you could ever want or need. Spend time in my word, searching, learning and delighting your heart in my presence. Trust in me. I know what you need before you ask, not what you think you need, but what you really need. You need Me.”

I have to ask myself, what am I truly living for. Do I want an easy life, a comfortable life or maybe an exciting life? Am I seeking to meet my own needs and desires or am I living for God and His glory? A “me” centered life, that seeks my own happiness is in reality the least happy of all. So now, it is time for me to stop all of the business, all of the endless pursuits and pursue the only One that can quench the desire of this insatiable heart. It is time for me to climb up on my Father’s lap and simply be still.

“Trust in the Lord, and do good; dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness. Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord; trust in Him, and He will act. He will bring forth your righteousness as the light, and your justice as the noon day. Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for Him.” Psalm 37:3-7a ESV

 

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Letting Go

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College? Could it be that time already?

I have to admit, I feel a slight (um ok, massive) panic at the thought of my firstborn looking at colleges. I am NOT ready for this! The thought of filling out applications and visiting colleges (and picking one!) on top of a rigorous academic schedule is bad enough, but the thought of actually sending my kid out into this crazy world is another thing all together.

There is something precious about knowing that all of my kids are tucked safely in their beds. This, I know, can not last. All too soon I will have to let go. I will always be there for them, but by necessity it will be in a different way. They will be ready, and so, I must also be. Still, there is a part of me that struggles with letting go.

The other day I watched as my kids played together. Remember this, I thought, because the pages of life turn quickly and once this chapter ends it will never be quite the same again. The images before me blurred and I began to pray. “God, how can I let them go? I won’t be there to protect and guide them. What if they make bad decisions? What if they are in danger? Who will be there? God please watch over them. I am entrusting them to you. I can not always be there, but you God, you will never leave them.”

A shaky sigh escaped my mouth and I wiped a tear off my cheek. It was then that I heard a whisper to my heart, “Daughter, it was I who made them, who knew and loved them long before you did. I knew that you would sometimes be too harsh and sometimes too lenient. I knew that you would make mistakes. I saw all of your weaknesses and brokenness, and I placed them right into your hands. Don’t you see? It was I that entrusted them to you in the first place.”

And suddenly I saw.

They were not really mine at all, but His all along. Why He ever entrusted them to me I can not say, but I am infinitely grateful that He did . . . for a time. I know “that day” will come too soon. Tears will be shed and I will wish for more days that I can not have. It is then that I will remember that I am returning them into the hands of the Father, the One who entrusted them to me in the first place, which is far better than just letting go.

“The Lord is your keeper; the Lord is your shade on your right hand. The sun will not smite you by day, nor the moon by night. The Lord will protect you from all evil. He will keep your soul. The Lord will guard your coming out and your going in from this time forth and forever.” Psalm 121: 5-8 (NASB)