Lost & Found

Never A Dull Moment – Week 3, Day 2

 

NADM Lost & Found

Luke 15 is one of my favorite chapters of the Bible.  I guess because I know so well what it is to be lost.  I know how good it feels to be found and to find that which is treasured.  I love how Jesus tells story after story of something valuable lost and the rejoicing that occurs when it’s found.  Even if it’s only one of His little flock, Jesus goes searching.

Wouldn’t any Good Shepherd?

Won’t He light a lamp, make a sweep, and search carefully for us like the woman who lost her silver coin? He will.

Doesn’t He watch for and receive those who have planned out their repentant speeches?  Doesn’t He even go out and find those who are too proud to come in on their own?  The Bible says He does.

I just love it.  I have been the Prodigal.  And, heaven knows, I have been the prideful older brother, pouting outside the party, refusing to go in because, in my estimation, God’s goodness was somehow “better” toward someone else than it was to me.  Gracious.  I love how the father looks everyday to see if his lost son is coming down the road.  He must have been watching for him, right?  Verse 20 says “while the son was still a long way off, his father saw him.”  You don’t see something far off unless you are looking for it.  Before the practiced speech was given, the father was running to grab his boy up… he was lost and is found.  Before the elder brother even had the chance to come to his senses, the father “came out and pleaded with him (v. 28)”… he was lost and the father went to find him.  Thank you, Father.

We don’t know how the other brother responded and, I think, it’s by design.  I think just like so many in Jesus’ audience, we tend to be more like the older brother than the prodigal.  I am.  I haven’t demanded my inheritance and run off to do God knows what in a foreign country, but I sure have looked around and decided that something wasn’t fair.  I think we get to decide how the other brother responds and what we decide makes all the difference in the world.  One thing is certain, no matter how long it takes, when he decides to join the party – when WE decide to join the party… to come back and go in – all will be forgiven, full restoration will be granted, and there WILL be rejoicing.

Oh how He loves you.  Oh how He loves me.  Oh how He loves you and me.

All In The Family

Never A Dull Moment: Week 1, Days 4 & 5

Two facing pages: both sweet recollections on being adopted into the family of God and my own earthly family; relating to God as Father and allowing Him to teach me how to mother.

When “I Love You” is Enough

I love seeing God parenting Jesus in scripture!  I don’t even know if that is a legitimate thing – theologically – to say, but it sure resonates with me!  As a “quick to speak” girl, I do an AWFUL lot of talking, reminding, and guiding where my kiddos are concerned.  I am by NO means a parenting expert.  Heaven knows a truer sentence has never been written! But, the older Caleb and Keppley get, the more I am learning to measure my words.  They don’t NEED constant reminders of what to do… that might be construed as nagging in some “tweenage” circles.  LOL!  It also might ultimately drive their Momma insane and undermine my goal of turning out two independent, Jesus-loving, contributing members of society!

What they DO need is consistency and boundaries and the assurance that my love is not dependent on their performance.  They do need me to follow through when I levy consequences or put conditions on their behavior.  As my good buddy “Joe-Lee” would say, “I know I am their momma and I have got a job to do!”  But I can’t allow myself to get so caught up in trying to make them do or be whatever I think the moment demands that I forget to simply ENJOY and love them.  God made them who they are.  I need to let them grow into it even if it looks different than I at first imagine it.  It’s a hard balance to strike some days.  I’m exceedingly thankful that God gave such a precious example of it in His own parenting.  With His children, His love is a settled condition that He sometimes demonstrates by His discipline (see Hebrews 12: 5-7). To His One and Only Perfect Jesus, He said, “you are my child, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.”  Even on the Mulligans’ toughest days, THAT is the truth.

Running To Daddy

My monologue, “A Daughter’s Prayer” is all about how my earthly father reminds me of my Heavenly Father.  He may not be my “Daddy” – and I so hope what I mean by that comes across properly – but he is a GREAT DAD!  He loves me.  He taught, supported, encouraged and provided for me as I grew up and still does all of those things in many ways now.  He is the one God chose for me… there is obviously none better to accomplish what my Heavenly Father intended.

When I am tempted to see the little girl twirled and the adult daughter who still sweetly calls her father, “daddy” as something to wish for, I always remember that my dad had a different way of lifting me up and IT. WAS. AWESOME!  My dad was a diver and a pole vaulter in high school.  So, when it came time for him to interact with his little girl, he taught me to stand on his hands, focus on a point far away and balance while he lifted me slowly all the way up!  We started with him laying on the floor and worked our way up to me balancing on his hands, lifted high above the top of his 6’2″ head.  Ultimately, we almost gave my mother a heart-attack by WALKING across our front yard with me proudly balancing way up high on my dad’s strong, unfailing, “always ready to catch me” hands.  Don’t those hands sound familiar?  See Isaiah 41:10.  Fear not and be upheld, my friends!  God’s got you.  He never fails and when He lifts you up, IT. IS. AWESOME!

 

The First Day of a New & Better Way

What Would Your Relationships Be Like If You…

  • Treated everyone, including yourself, as a person in process rather than as a machine that performs?
  • Showed in your words and actions that you valued relationships more than time?
  • Listened long enough to understand what another person was thinking and feeling?
  • Gave up harsh and condemning words and learned to speak softly?
  • Focused on finding solutions to problems rather than finding someone to blame?

From Love as a Way of Life by Gary Chapman

This is the book my Sunday school class is currently studying.  At the same time, as you know, the Ladies Bible Study I attend is studying the book of James.  Tuesday, because both studies asked me to, I wrote James 1:19 TWICE!  My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.  Today, MasterWork, our Sunday school curriculum, took me to James 1:2-4.  Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. 

I am glad that the same God who holds the stars in place and created everything we know of (and things we cannot even imagine!) is ALSO the God who knows me better than I know myself and actually cares about how I interact with the people around me.  So, again, by grace, I say:

I hear you, Lord and I so want to be a doer of your word and not just a hearer. (James 1:22)  Even on days when the “job” of Mommy seems a little bit like a trial, I wouldn’t want it any other way.  I know that my Kiddos have taught me more in 8 short years than I have learned in the 30 before about being the person You want me to be.  The role of “Mommy” is the one I KNOW cannot do well without You.  It’s the one that motivates me more than any other to be better: more loving, more patient, more compassionate, kind and gentle, more self-controlled, more peaceful and more joyful… more like You.  Because more than anything, I want these Kiddos You’ve entrusted to me to see who You are when they watch who I am. 

It’s been said that when it comes to what we pass onto our children, more is “caught” than “taught”.  I want Caleb and Keppley to “catch” abundant life in Christ.  I want them to “catch” that His Word is living and active and makes a difference.  I want them to see that their Mom is different now than she was without Jesus and that it’s better this way.  So, even though my toes are feeling a little squished these days, I am thankful.  The God of the universe is meeting me where the rubber meets the road!  He’s challenging me to let His Word, which is planted in me, do a great work and grow into an oak of righteousness that will yield its fruit in season.  I am thankful because I don’t want my faith to just be something I “do” on Sunday mornings or slap onto my bumper or pull out when I’m in crisis.  Since this is the life [I] have chosen, the life of the Spirit, [I want to] make sure that [I] do not just hold to it as an idea in [my] head or a sentiment in [my] heart, but work out its implications in every detail of [my life].  (Galatians 5:25)

So, I wonder what my relationships with my two favorite Little Loveys would be like if I remembered that God’s not finished with us yet?  I wonder how different things would be if I showed them every day that my relationship with them is more important than my schedule; if I really listened when they talked, sought to understand their point of view and learned to speak softly?  I wonder what our relationships would be like if we stopped trying to figure out who’s to blame and started just loving on and being thankful for each other?  I’m not really sure.  But I can’t wait to find out!  Tomorrow morning when they forget their glasses, beg to snuggle with Daddy for just a few more minutes, REALLY dislike the shirt I picked out and suddenly hate Pop Tarts for breakfast, I am going to take a new approach.  I will remember that they are 5 and 8.  I will take one second to see how sweet they are with Kevin in the mornings and how good he is with them.  I will have a “back up” shirt ready to whip out and seek to understand their sudden boredom with toaster pastries.  And I will hustle them out of the house with a smile and a “still small voice”.  (No laughing!)  And so will begin the very first day of a new and better way.  For with God, all things are possible!