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Archive for April, 2012

We were convinced Ella was going to skip crawling…she was just not the least bit interested.  Then, last week, while waiting with Dad at Miss Jenny’s house while Abby and Will were in piano lessons, she decides she is interested after all…and crawl she did (and thank goodness Dad had the forethought to record it for me so I wouldn’t feel sorry for myself for missing it!). Technically, it’s half a bear crawl and half a knee crawl.  She crawls with one leg straight to push off of and one leg bent with her knee on the ground, but somehow she propels herself forward and gets where she wants to go…

 

And now, 6 days later, she is getting faster and faster…and stealthier and stealthier…and her inquisitive nature has led to learning another new thing – the word NO.  No, no, Ella – you can’t eat the ashes out of the fireplace.  No, no, Ella – you can’t eat Daddy’s smelly shoes.  No, no, Ella – don’t eat the mulch out of the flowerbed.  And, my favorite – No, no, Ella – the dog food is for the dogs, not you.  Don’t eat the dog food,silly girl!!  You get my point…now that she has this new found freedom, she’s got to learn some new limits as well. 

 

And when we tell her no, her first reaction is to stop, look at us, and then try again – you know, to see if we REALLY meant it or maybe we were just kidding.  And when we again tell her no, she wrinkles up her face, sticks out her lip, maybe puts her hands to her face, and then what?  She tries again…and again…and again. The way we know it has REALLY sunk in that we aren’t going to let her have it is when her bottom lip goes down and she starts to cry like we are beating her and look at us like we have just destroyed her dreams…

 

It got me to thinking about how God “parents” us and how we handle hearing the word “no” from him…

 

With Ella, Dallas and I come in on different ends of the parenting spectrum and, thankfully, balance each other out.  He’s of the school of thought that we don’t move anything or put things away where she can’t reach them – she has to learn no and adjust to it – the inmates don’t run the asylum!  I’m on the other far end most of the time – I’ll just take this fireplace poker and put it in a closet.  It’s just too tempting for her and I’ll just take the temptation away so she doesn’t get hurt.  As I said, we end up somewhere in the middle with a nice combination of both schools of thought and somehow, our other two kids have turned out fairly normal so maybe Ella has a shot to make it. 

 

But what about temptations in our lives?  God doesn’t take them and hide them in a closet so we don’t know they are there.  We may hear the Holy Spirit whisper no to us, but sometimes, like Ella, we reach for those things again – you know, in case our Holy Spirit “tuner” was faulty or something.  And we have the free will to just ignore that no and go right ahead and grab on anyways. 

 

And we get hurt and sometimes hurt others around us…

 

And then we get mad at God – why didn’t you protect me?  Why did you let this thing happen to me and to my family?  What kind of a God are you, anyways? 

 

Well, the answer to that is He is a God who loves us so much and knows us so well that He lets us fall sometimes.  He lets us bear the consequences for our choices so that we will learn and we will grow and, during the midst of the sucky “learning” times, He holds us and wipes away our tears. 

 

There’s a line to a song that has been taunting me for over a year now – the song is called “Held” by Natalie Grant – and the line says “who told us we’d be rescued?” The song goes on to talk about what it means to be held by God when the rest of your world is falling apart…but that one line – who told us we’d be rescued – has been playing with my head for the past year….

 

God never promised to rescue us from this world – in fact, He makes it pretty clear through His Word that in this world, we will face troubles – we will be persecuted for being His followers (although it’s hard for us in the U.S. to really wrap our minds around the idea of persecution). 

 

We will face hard times, friends.  Some brought on by our own choices, some that are brought on by this world or choices of others around us….and through it all, our loving Savior is there and He will help us pick up the pieces and He will love us and hold us tight and He will make beautiful things out of the ashes and out of our lives…I know, I’ve lived it. 

 

You know, you’ve lived it.  God is faithful….even when we eat the dog food.

 

– Kacey

 

 

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Good morning! I’m glad to share a little bit of what’s been on my mind and heart lately. Even if you have not been able to attend the book club over One Thousand Gifts, I hope you are able to find time to read it. I was amazed at God’s perfect timing for opening my heart to read chapter 8. I hope you enjoy! – Cathryn

Spring can be a very hectic time. There is always something going on. Sports, school activities, parties. You name it, it’s happening. Calendars fill up, and everyone starts to feel the squeeze of time.

The spring of my junior year in high school, I certainly was feeling that squeeze. I had regional and state competitions for gymnastics, AP testing to prepare for, and grades to keep up. I was also set to take a national French exam. I had taken one the year before and done well. However, this year, I felt that I had to take something off my plate, and the French exam was optional. So I headed to Madame Dossett’s classroom. She was truly a fiery French-American with frizzy black hair and more personality than our school could hold. I just loved her, and I was so afraid that I would disappoint her. I was already frayed by the anxiety of gymnastics and trying to make it to my first state competition, working to excel academically, seeing college in the future and the need for scholarships, and AP exams with all the additional Saturday study sessions and expectations. I had allowed all these circumstances and their pressure to make me anxious and fearful.

As I began telling Madame Dossett that I would not be able to take the exam, I began sobbing. Totally uncontrollable sobbing. Madame Dossett, tough as she could be, wrapped her arm around my shoulders and calmed by crying. She told me it was fine that I was not taking the exam, and that I did not need to worry about anything else either. She then opened her desk drawer and pulled out a key chain of a headless rubber chicken. You know, the kind they would use on the Muppets, G-rated. She gave me this rubber chicken to remind me to not run around like a chicken with my head cut off. No longer crying but laughing at the realization that I had been doing just that, I left her classroom.

While I still have that rubber chicken keychain, I, unfortunately, have often forgotten to not run around like a chicken with my head cut off, letting circumstances sweep me away into a frenzy of anxiety, fear and worry. Recently, this has been an almost daily battle. I had found ways to manage it. Words of encouragement, reminders of God’s faithfulness in the past, lots of prayer, but I kept finding myself with my heart racing and my mind spinning about the events of that day and the next and the next. The “what ifs” and the “if onlys” tormented me.

One evening I picked up One Thousand Gifts to begin the chapter “how will he not also”. I had not idea that I would find a kindred spirit there, a woman who had allowed her life to be filled with fear and anxiety, too. She, who knew fear well, reminded me that we really have nothing to fear. Even if everything in our lives, jobs, families, finances, hopes, dreams, falls apart, we cling to God, who is good and loving, never falling apart. I especially love this passage on page 161:

All fear is but the notion that God’s love ends. Did you think I end, that My bread warehouses are limited, that I will not be enough? But I am infinite, child. What can end in Me? Can life end in Me? Can happiness? Or peace? Or anything you need? Doesn’t your Father always give you what you need? I am the Bread of Life and My bread for you will never end. Fear Thinks God is finite and fear believes that there is not going to be enough and hasn’t counting one thousand gifts, endlessly counting gifts, exposed the lie at the heart of all fear? In Me, blessings never end because My love for you never ends. If My goodnesses toward you end, I will cease to exist, child. As long as there is a God in heaven, there is grace on earth and I am the spilling God of the uncontainable, forever overflowing-love-grace.”

 Learning to trust God has not been simple. I can intellectually understand the logic of it, but living the belief is another story, and yet, how can I not live this belief. How can I look to God who has given me so much in my life, precious giggles, tiny fingers, strong arms, calming hugs, snuggle time, priceless conversation, good, good friends, and enduring family, how can I saw to that God, I don’t think You can take care of me or provide for me everything I need? You can do some of it, but not all of it or You can’t do it the way I want it done. I have to take on some of it, and in doing so, I will carry a burden I was not every created to carry and make a complete mess of it in the process.

No.

I will not run around like a chicken with my head cut off.

I will no longer live the fear that tells me God is finite and ending.

I will not just know that God can provide.

I will live the trust that knows God will provide exactly what I need, exactly when I need it.

I will live the trust that knows that God is good…always.

I will live the trust that counts the gifts and gives thanks for the big and the small.

I will live in trust so that fear has no room in a heart that is full of His unending love.

How will you live your belief today?

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