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.

Happy Birthday to a Grandchild

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Good night, my dear little six year old,

Who will never be six again.

For tomorrow you’re seven and my heart is aching

For a childhood that will not move slow.

 

Grandkids grow faster than children.

I know, for I’ve had some of both.

As I look to the sky, at days that flew by,

When I purposed to make them go slow.

 

Tomorrow is bright, there is no end in sight,

Of the great adventures we’ll have.

Winter is here, and your voice beckons clear,

To come out and play in the snow.

 

Yet one day you’ll grow up and walk out our door

To the grand adventures of life.

I pray that you’ll come back to see us,

For we’ll miss you more than you know.

 

So sleep little darling, your grandma is here.

Praying to keep you from harm.

The stories I’ve told you, the songs that we sang,

Remember them when you are low.

(For Arianna 1-11-2016)

The God Who Forgives

Here it is the start of another year. There is hope for a fresh start, a new beginning. To do better at life than I did last year. But there are old doubts. Can I really begin again?  Can God possibly love and forgive me after what I’ve done?

The simple truth is…”If God doesn’t speak to me in my darkest sin, He doesn’t speak to me at all.” Either he is a God who loves even the most vile sinner and longs for them to turn to him or he doesn’t care for any sinner and will condemn us all to hell.

His love is way beyond anything we can imagine and so we imagine his love is like ours. “Fragile, weak and conditional.”

We love those who are kind to us. God loves those who hate him.

We love those who are worthy of our love. None of us are worthy of God’s love.

We love those who we have the energy to love. God loves with a passion that takes our breath away. It is an unending wellspring of love for the people he has created for one purpose only…to love and serve Him.

And yet we put limits on the limitless God.  We say, “I have gone too far. He can’t possibly forgive this offense. I have sinned too often. He will not forgive me yet again.”

But we forget that he is the good shepherd who leaves the 99 righteous persons to seek and save the lost one. (Luke 15:4-7)

We forget that he loved people like David who were guilty of sexual immorality, betrayal and murder.

We forget he loved the extremely wicked city of Ninevah enough to send a reluctant prophet to preach them the gospel. Jonah tried to get out of the assignment, but God insisted, and the entire city from least to greatest had the nerve to repent. (Jonah 3:1-10)

Such a heart of forgiveness this God has. So at the beginning of this year I bring my past failures to him. I seek His power in changing who I am. I determine to set my eyes on my only hope. The grace and forgiveness of a God who loves me in spite of who I am.