Category Archives: Trust

Daddy’s Girl

Have you ever run across a talk show featuring an episode on parent child reunions?  The viewing audience, after hearing the personal story of the individuals to be reunited, is offered an up close and personal front row seat to the first smiles and touches of two people who had for various reasons up until that point been separated from one another.  Everyone claps through their tears, the host wraps up the episode with a huge smile and fond farewell, the climatic music de crescendos and everyone goes home.

The guests which were the focus of the show are now left face to face and heart to heart with someone who they were intended to have relationship with all along.  This causes them to feel close on one level; and yet they must now walk through the motions of establishing those elements of true relationship perhaps eventually, emotional intimacy.  The heart’s longing for that which “should have been” mixed with the reality that relationships are not built in a day must make for an interesting journey.  I’ve often wondered how those two individuals proceed with their relationship after the excite of the re-unite.

Although I always remember believing in God, it wasn’t until I was twenty-one that my heart was eternally reunited with Him.  Much like the excitement, music and lights were the initial days of  my salvation.  My entire life had been impacted by the weight of a single decision.  In a moment, I went from condemned to saved,   guilty to forgiven, tainted to pure and victim to over comer.  Never again would I be alone or unloved.

That God shaped hole within was experiencing the first tastes of what had always been intended to fill it.  It wasn’t until that point that I was able to  realize the insufficiency of previous substitutes.  The introduction to my Savior was glorious and I reveled in His peace that transcended my understanding, joy that was my strength, mercy that was new every morning and love that held no limits.  It was a sweet, sweet time.

And yet, life goes on.  The warm embrace of salvation and the New Birth held firm but the daily reality of life quickly came back into view.  I was now face to face and heart to heart with a Savior whom I did not know.  As I was mentored in truth I quickly learned that this was a relationship that required more than the acceptance of my Savior…it required the offering of my heart to my Father.  Faith, trust, and obedience were apparently key and this is where I struggled.

The facts were, I had never known a Father’s love.  Those things that we all think of…Daddy/Daughter dances, strong arms to rescue you, protection, safety, unconditional love and affirmation…these had been the furthest thing from my personal experience.  From the time I was two until I was fourteen each man within my life, to include my biological father, my stepfathers and my grandfather had taken their turn as thieves to steal from me sacred things that were not ever meant for them.  Sexual, emotional and physical abuse were what characterized my relationship with anyone I had ever called “Father.”  Control, manipulation and fear summarized my experiences with those whom I had called “Daddy.”

And so, for a long time, my way of loving the Father was simply to allow Him to love me.  Like an infant who  is overly tired and has nothing to give, it was a good day when I could rest enough and trust enough to simply allow Him to hold me and offer me comfort rather than flailing about in life consumed by my own misery.  Each time I was willing to become vulnerable enough to spend time in His presence, seek His face and hear His voice, He was abundantly faithful, gentle and patient leading me ever so slowly into those deeper places of intimacy with Him.

After years of relationship trust came more easily.  He taught me through everyday life that He was faithful, trustworthy and true.  As  He was faithful to continue the good work that He began within me, binding up my heart and making every broken place whole; the scales of fear, mistrust and suspicion fell from my eyes helping me to see my Father clearly.  Like with most relationships, it was our time spent together that made the difference.

Perfect love really does cast out fear (1 John 4:18).  Once free to love Him we grew closer at an accelerated pace.  I learned that only I determined the limits on how close we could become.

Daddy/Daughter dances, strong arms to rescue you, protection, safety, unconditional love and affirmation?  Yep…I know them now; Praise you Father I know them now.

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Gambler’s Choice

For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.  (2 Tim. 1.7)

Having a horse loving little girl means that we have spent our fair share of time seated upon bleachers as spectators at equestrian competitions.  The riders and horses work as a team and the feats performed vary.

Among the competitive events offered is one called “Gamblers Choice.”  In Gamblers Choice there are a multitude of “obstacles” for the horse and rider to maneuver through and around.  In one particular competition we observed obstacles such as a “Tickle Me Elmo” in all of its giggling glory, a caged rooster and a path of colorful swimming pool “noodles” that had to be walked through. These items that would typically draw the close-up interest of even the smallest human child have the ability to instill pure terror in a horse.

Timid by nature, horses have a tendency to be extremely wary of anything new, different or unknown that they happen to encounter.  The “fight or flight” instinct within them is perpetually set to “flight” and when feeling afraid, their favored response is to turn tail and run. Literally.

As horse and rider attempt to overtake each obstacle before them several important elements come to light.  It’s understood that it is impossible to for a rider to force an equine to do anything that it does not want to do.  With no less than an 800 pound advantage, a horse only does ultimately what it decides it is willing to do.  When asked to maneuver around an object that it would rather have nothing to do with,  it is ultimately trust that encourages a horse to “walk on.”

With no confidence in themselves, it is confidence in the one who leads them which spurs a horse to overcome their fear of those things which seem insurmountable.  I continue to be amazed at these  majestic creatures who are obviously clueless of their own strength.  Even one mild kick of their hoof would obliterate any of the obstacles that oftentimes render them paralyzed, balking in fear.

The trust that exists between a horse and its rider is one that has been developed over long rides, long talks and sometimes long battles of the will.  A skilled equestrian is one who has worked with their four legged friend faithfully and patiently enough to assure them that they will never lead them into danger.  A horse was created to feel most comfortable when it is being led.  The one who leads must endure the process of proving themselves confident, consistent and courageous enough for both of them when courage is in question.

As a child of God I can identify with an all around fear of the unknown.  So much more comfortable to me are those things which are familiar, safe and known.  And yet, life continues to be one great big “Gambler’s Choice” event.  One unknown obstacle after another presents itself before me.  Often I balk at that which seems insurmountable, sometimes paralyzed even by fear.  And yet, consistently, it is my reliance upon the one who leads me that helps me overcome each time.  I tend to forget 1 John 4:4 which states “You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.”

Whatever obstacle is set before you Child of God, be encouraged…the one who leads you loves you more than you could ever fathom.  He is trustworthy and faithful and as you submit to His leading, you will be strengthened by the Joy which you find in Him.

Father, thank you for your Holy Spirit which leads and guides me into all truth.

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Keep the Change

 Now the LORD had said to Abram: “Get out of your country, From your family, And from your father’s house, to a land that I will show you.” Gen 12:1 NKJ

“Outward processor” that I am, my husband was a faithful sounding board as I worked through the options again…and again….and again. He just listened while I laid out our choices, picked them up and scrutinized them, and then repeatedly found myself at the same indisputable conclusion.  God was asking me to make a change.

Up until this point I had been comfortable where I was.  For months though, the Lord had been revealing to me, in the gentle way that He does, that it was time to move forward into the next thing.  Unwilling to deal with the brewing discontentment,  I shoved it into to the pile  labeled denial.  The inner nudge was confirmed however when that which once seemed easy, was easy no longer, and the satisfaction, joy and fulfillment that had once been now waned.  Each were replaced by an undeniable hunger for more and different.   Seeking Him to discern the lack of peace, it was found when I acknowledged the life transition He was leading me to walk in.

Transiton

1. a:  passage from one state, stage, subject or place to another  : CHANGE

Because change is one of my least favorite things,  I struggle not to grimace at my change loving friends.  To them, change magnifies life as an adventure; and venture they do, diving boldly into the deep places of the unknown equipped with faith.  Me, I’m more of a stick my toe in the water kind of girl when it comes to transition; because we all know that, once you do a cannon ball into the pool of change, there are no takesy-backsys.

Change requires Faith.  Change requires Trust.  Change requires us to step out blindfolded into the unknown.  It demands our own willingness to allow the Spirit of God to lead and guide us into all truth, all the while trusting that He is making our path straight and will not allow us to fall.  Change, in my opinion, is hard and each time it knocks upon the door of my life, I quietly  peek out of the peephole of my heart, deciding whether I will let it in.

I know that God’s Word is complete, infallible and undeniably true.  When I read the account of Abram however something seems to be missing.  God told Abram to “go,” and Abram went. I would love to have been the fly upon that tent flap when he went home and shared this news with his wife Sarai.  Had I been her I’m sure I would have responded something like “So, let me get this straight; we are packing up everything we have, and leaving everyone we know, to go …and we don’t even know where we are going?!”

I might need to read it again because somehow I missed the part where they whined, cried, feared, questioned and doubted in response to God’s command before they were obedient.  It isn’t there; They heard, and they obeyed.  They trusted their God which told them to “go” so much that they knew if He was telling them to go, then where He was taking them had to be better  that where they now were.

That same God who told them to “go” is just as faithful within my own life, and yours too.  What is familiar always seems safer than the unknown.  The truth remains however that God loves us so much that if He is telling us to “go,” then we can be confident that where He is leading us is the best place for us to be.

Father, help me to have the courage to obey when you tell me to “go.” 

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Draw Near

The worst types of illnesses for little ones seem to be tummy related.  Those unpleasant issues mixed with a “snuffy” nose –as it has always so been called in our house because of the large burnt orange elephant off of Sesame Street- make for long days and even longer nights in the life of the parents of a child who has “come down with something.” With no ability care for or tend to their own needs, it seems that at these times they just leak all over, and occasionally erupt from one place or another.

I remember feeling helpless in those early years with my first child, burning up with fever, crying nonstop. All ability to soothe her misery seemed futile.  Cycling through the motions of rocking to swaying to walking, hour upon hour we together would find only pockets of sleep to ease our weariness.  My sweet husband, seeing how miserable she was and how exhausted we both were stood idly by wishing that there was something he could do to help either one of us but settled in the knowledge we had previously learned; when the baby was sick she wanted her mama-no one else would do.

Occasionally we would find merciful respite when the medicine would kick in and ease her symptoms enough that she could rest.  Knowing that to lay her in her crib would be self defeating due to the prior explained snuffiness, gently positioning her upon my chest I would lay my head back against the recliner. In what seemed like only moments we would both be awakened by a snot induced cough that would trigger her gag reflex causing her to vomit.

At these times I would have to hand her off to her father in order to clean up.  When out of my arms her crying immediately escalated from a tempered “I am so miserable why is this happening to me?” steady cry, to an all out raging scream.

Every second I could see her reaching her arms out to me calling my name “Mama”, “Mama” through her tears seemed like a painful eternity to my heart.  I longed to hold her and bring her the comfort she needed and desired.  .

In these times I never even considered how my daughter’s illness would impact me.  Would I catch what she had?  Would I be puked on, snotted on, and potentially worse?  Probably so; it didn’t matter.  All I could think about when she was holding her arms out for my comfort was how very much I loved her and how I longed to give her the comfort that she desired.  My heart hurt because she hurt.

As a child of God there have been seasons when very much like my sick little girl my own heart symptoms have been unlovely.  I was happy to run to God when I felt strong and obedient  but in my moments of weakness, disobedience and un-loveliness, those times when in truth I needed God the most, I would withdraw my heart from Him because I did not feel worthy of His love and forgiveness.

I had to learn that I am not a better parent than my Lord.  When we are weak and needy, it is in these times that our Father longs to be the comfort that we need.  He doesn’t see us after our faults and weakness, but instead, no matter how unlovely we seem, always with the heart of a loving parent.  When we hurt, He hurts for us.  Mercy and compassion abound toward His children, especially in our times of weakness.

Father, thank you, that even in our weakest moments as we draw near to you, you draw near to us. 

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Scare Tactics

Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” Hebrews 13:5

The smell of French fries lingered while squeals and laughter filled the air.  We were quarantined and confined behind the glass doors which separated those who must dine amidst colorful ball filled pits and twisty slides.

We nibbled on green side salads while stealing one or two of the grease entrenched goodies left uneaten by our distracted dates. The social norm of don’t talk to strangers was now exchanged for “play nice with your new friends…”

All was lovely until one mom decided it was “time to go.”  Every mom in the room involuntarily stiffened and without saying a word we collectively pooled our strength, resolve and determination as a joint offering to the mommy in question.  Together we stand, mommies of preschoolers Unite!

A novice she was not as her tactics were clearly well planned.  Having previously withheld the coveted plastic wrapped toy, she now offered it as a bribe to leave. The daughter, no novice herself, had somehow already caught wind to what was going down and as soon as her dirty bottomed feet hit the floor we caught only a glimpse as she scurried back up the impossibly steep climbing tube never intended for anyone over the age of 25 or taller than 3 ½ feet.

With raised eyebrows a forced Cinderella pitched voice that had undertones of “if you don’t come right this second you are really gonna get it” escaped from the mom. With bravado and spunk the four year old faced off with her mother through the thick plastic of the highest tube bubble and giggled.  One could faintly hear the whistling of Old Western dueling music in the background.

Desperation spread across the mother’s face.  The child was in control of when they were going to leave; she knew it, the child knew it and every mommy in there knew it.  All tact aside the frustrated mom began to lose composure.  First, counting in the ominous tone; One….two….three….  She could have counted to one hundred, the girl was indifferent.  Then “If you don’t come right now I am going to throw away your toy.”  For a second this caught a fearful glimpse but her daughter quickly decided the power in her possession was more enticing than a pint sized plastic pony. Finally, the mother, obviously infuriated and powerless had reached her limit and said in a tone indicating that she had already won, “okay, FINE, I’m leaving.”  She aloofly walked out of the door and pinned herself against the wall on the other side out of sight to her daughter.

After a minute or two the four year old looked a great deal smaller as the question of “was mommy serious” turned to the recognizable fear of “mommy was serious.”  Frantically scuttling out of the tubes and down the slide she was crying and hysterical as she ran out of the play land screaming “Mommy! Mommy!”

There have been many times when I have resembled that stubborn child, remaining in a standoff of obedience with the Lord.  In these times I am so very thankful that He never threatens me with abandonment.  Instead He is longsuffering and waits patiently for me to choose obedience…as long as it takes.  Even when my own disobedience causes me pain He comforts me and loves me through it.  Romans 2:4 states Or do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and tolerance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance?  I am thankful that my Abba will never leave or forsake me.  No matter what.

Father, thank you for your compassionate mercy.  Thank you for loving me and never abandoning me even in the midst of disobedience. 

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Filed under Analogies, Faith, My Father's Daughter, Trust