Career Day

Career Day

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“Let’s talk about what me and monkey are going to be when we get big”, Arianna, my eight year old granddaughter, stated as we were riding in the car.

“OK”, I responded. “What would you like to do?”

“I’d like to work for God.”

My mind raced. What did that mean exactly, missionary…speaker…run an orphanage?

“You know,” she continued, “like helping an old lady across the street.”

I wanted to laugh out loud, but knew this was serious. Somehow I felt God’s very real eyes on me as if to say, “be careful how you respond to this little one who seems to have a better handle on serving Me than you do.”

Life is busy. I’m always looking for the next project, the pursuits that will bring fulfillment and if I’m honest, a little pat on the back from someone…anyone.

I thought about the little things I had left undone. Like visiting an old friend of my mom’s who is in the nursing home. Sending the sympathy card. Bringing a meal to someone with the flu. Saying hello to someone I don’t know. Asking the clerk how her day is going. And, yes, helping the occasional little old lady across the street who looks confused and lost.

Working for God is not the big projects, but all those little kindnesses. Just like God fills my day with little kindnesses from his hand, he wants me to do the same. To be like him. Those little things are what make a real difference.

In my own life I think of the short notes that came at just the right time, people taking the time to listen and cry with me, The quick nod and smile from the complete stranger. The unexpected meals when I hadn’t told anyone about our need. People who told me they were praying and I could tell they meant it. People who loved me even when I wasn’t easy to be around. People who spoke honestly to me when I was off course…

The conversation continued as we touched on different paths and opportunities.

“…and Monkey will be a preacher.” She concluded. All was now right with the world.

The Greatest of These is Love

Our family was under stress. My husband had just retired. We were getting our house ready to sell by cleaning, fixing, packing and throwing away. We were also looking for a new place to live in another town. It wasn’t going well. Most of the places we asked to see were selling before we could make an appointment. Our current house had a string of unexpected things to fix. It had all taken its toll.

Our mood changed from expectant to surly. We weren’t exactly fighting, but our tone must have been off because our granddaughter, Arianna, quietly handed each of us a handmade construction paper heart with the word love written in crayon.

She instructed us to put them in our pocket so we would remember to love each other.

We quietly said, “Oh, honey, we still love each other.”

She wasn’t convinced and her silence brought conviction. We had forgotten that circumstances and things are not what make a happy life. Our love for each other was much more important. Love must be lived out in words and actions and ours had not lined up with what we claimed.

I’m not used to being put in my place by a seven year old, but God will use whatever is available to get through to hard hearts, and Arianna was available.

We accepted the hearts and obediently put them in our pockets.

Our house eventually sold, we found a new one, and survived the move.

I would be lying if I said our surly days were over, but Arianna had helped us to be a little softer and kinder to each other. And every time I think of the paper heart for my pocket I breathe a prayer of thanks to a good God who blessed us with a granddaughter who knows exactly how to speak the truth in love.

Safe

Safe in the arms of Jesus.

Safe?! You call this safe?

Hush, I’m safe. I’m safe.

Are you mad?! Look around you!

I tell you I’m safe!

But the storm! Look at the storm!

I know, I’m with the one who made it.

Don’t you see this could be the death of you?

Even so,…I’m safe…I’m safe.

 

“In whirlwind and storm is His way, And clouds are the dust beneath His feet.” Nahum 1:3b

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For further study: Nahum 1:7, Job 30:22, 40:6; Psalm 83:15; Jonah 1:4;

Sorry for My Absence

I have had a busy few months. My husband retired, we moved out of our log house surrounded by trees to an open lot near a pond. I am struggling to find my rhythm or my brain for that matter. I think they were both lost somewhere in the move to a new town and house. Either that, or they are yet to be unpacked.

I have struggled to write without any success and so I apologize for my absence. As a peace offering I will be posting a musical advent calendar again this year.

Today I am offering two songs that remind us of our wonderful God who loves us more than we can imagine. Christmas, after all, is not about us, but about Him and the amazing gift he gave over 2000 years ago. My prayer is that you take some time each day this month to think about what Christmas is really all about. A God who stooped down to become one of us so we could live with him forever.

The Father’s Song – Matt Redman

 

Salvation’s Song – Stuart Townend

 

Starting tomorrow there will be a Christmas song posted every day. I hope you enjoy them. Hopefully I will be back to writing in January.

For Love of Cattails

 

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“Look Honey, cattails!”

That’s all it took for my dad to stop the car, get out his pocket knife, and traipse down into the ditch to collect some cattails for my mom. He would climb back up the bank with a big handful clutched in his farmer hands.

They both smiled all the way home.

My dad loved to see Mom smile and so time and time again he would stop the car, without being asked, when he spotted them.

It all came back to me last week. We had been frantically looking for a house. Our moving day was just three weeks away. We were scheduled to see two more houses. One we had seen before and although not right we thought we could somehow make it work. Our son-in-law had pointed the second one out to us and we were hoping it would be a better fit.

After puzzling at the first house we moved on to house number two. We went through the front door. My husband continued on through the house while my daughter, Anna, and I stood in the entryway. We looked here and there without moving from the spot. Finally Anna said, “Well, I don’t have to see anymore. This is it.” I agreed. It felt like home. We decided to move from room to room. Nothing surprised or disappointed us. We found what we were expecting to find in each room, only more.

If there was any doubt, it was completely removed when coming through the kitchen I looked out the window.

There on the lot line was a ditch…with cattails.

I smiled all the way home.

“You have given him his heart’s desire, And You have not withheld the request of his lips. For you meet him with the blessings of good things;” Psalm 21:1-2a

 

 

Where are We Going?

Where are We Going?

“Where are we going?” Our granddaughter asks.

“Just get in the car and you’ll find out.” my husband responds.

“Why? Where are we going?” Arianna insists.

“Just trust me, you will like it.”

“But Papa, I want to know where we are going. Is it the mall or the grocery store?”

“I’m not going to tell you. Just trust me. It’s a surprise! Don’t ruin it.”

“I want to know. I need to know!”

“You need to be patient.”

“I can’t, Papa. I can’t!”

And so the conversation continued all the way to Dairy Queen. Arianna was rewarded even though she wasn’t patient, demanded to know, and didn’t quietly trust. Her Papa rewarded her with one of her favorite treats, not because of her quiet obedience, but because she is his granddaughter and he delights to surprise her with good things.

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I was reminded of this episode when we found ourselves in the middle of a housing crisis.

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While looking for a home on short notice we encountered several slammed doors. A couple offers slipped through our fingers. We prayed again and again.

“Where do you want us, Lord?”

Almost as clear as day I heard Him say.

“Just trust me, it’s a surprise.”  (We were not amused.)

Funny how God uses our own words to pierce our heart.

…”In repentance and rest you shall be saved, In quietness and trust is your strength.” But you were not willing…Therefore the Lord longs to be gracious to you, And therefore He waits on high to have compassion on you…He will surely be gracious to you at the sound of your cry; when He hears it, He will answer you.”  Isaiah 30:15, 18, 19