Conversations

Ouch!

I fell down and skinned my knee.
Sitting here in the dirt, crying, and bleeding.
It looks like just a small scrape. I didn’t break anything. I’m not in the hospital. Nothing fell off. I’m not dying.
So why does this hurt so much?

The Father kneels down to my level to examine the damage. He takes my bruised and bleeding knee in His hands while He speaks gently, with sympathy for my pain.

“It hurts, Daddy. It hurts a lot!”

“I know precious one. I’m here. I will help it heal. I will make it better.”

“I don’t want it to hurt more. This hurts so much. Can’t you just heal it with a wave of your hand and the command of your voice? Like you did when there Jairus’ daughter was raised back to life? Or when the Israelites needed to cross the Red Sea and you parted the waters? Or like the time you healed that guard’s ear after Peter cut it off? Can’t you just heal like that?”

With tears still flowing freely, I search the Father’s face for agreement with my plan for a miracle. Looking up at me, I see tears rolling down His cheeks as well.

“My precious daughter, I am weeping with you. I am hurting with you. I know this does not feel good and that you are worried about experiencing any more pain. My heart breaks for you because I don’t want you to be in pain at all but there may be a little more still as I clean this wound. It is necessary for proper healing. But I am here. I am with you. Hold tight to me. I promise I will be gentle as I clean this wound. I will pour my grace on it as a balm. I will bandage it up so you can heal. Even through all of this, I Am with you always. I Am right here. Hold on to my hand; squeeze it tight; cry. I know what is best for you, even when it hurts. You will see. In the end, it will be better than before.”  

When I was a child and had a scrape or a splinter, I didn’t want my mom or dad to use rubbing alcohol or even touch the site of my injury because I was afraid that it would hurt worse. But if they just left it alone, and didn’t clean it out it would have become infected and that certainly would have been worse. As good parents, they knew that the wound had to be cleaned and bandaged for the best outcome. So they would clean my wounds. Sometimes it would take both of them – one to calm me and one to do the work. When it was all over, I started feeling better. The only evidence of the pain before was a slowly scabbing wound. The Father does the same with the wounds no one can see…His healing work has only just begun.

Conversations

Thorny Trials

The landscaping in our front yard has a very beautiful bush that blooms the prettiest pink flowers and grows more like a vine than a bush. It is not a very friendly bush, however. It has what I consider “killer” thorns all over the branches. A few months ago, my husband was doing yard work and noticed this bush was starting to get a bit more unruly and decided to trim back the branches to keep them from overgrowing onto the sidewalk. Cleaning up was difficult and a bit painful when a misplaced finger got pricked by one of the thorns. We carefully got all the branches cleaned up and out of the yard – or so we thought. A few weeks later, my youngest was outside in her bare feet and all the sudden I heard a gut-wrenching cry. It was the kind of cry that makes you feel your heart drop into your feet and your stomach jump into your throat. I raced out to find her gasping for breath between cries and standing frozen still. I quickly discovered she had a half-inch thorn directly through the bottom of her heel. I went into full mom-mode. I pulled the thorn out of her foot and scooped her up tend to her wound, comfort, and pray over her. The happy end to this story is that she was completely fine. There were no problems after the thorn was removed and the wound washed. It was almost like it never happened. But the memory is still there.

I  recalled this story when I read 1 Peter 1:6-7 recently:
“In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith – more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire – may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.”

How does that work?

How can this work?

“…for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials…”

How is a trial necessary?

Reflecting on these verses, this story with my own daughter came flooding to mind. I asked The Father my questions.

He whispered back, in His still, small, wise, loving, tender yet authoritative voice:

The thorny trial is not what is necessary. The trial is what happens in the midst of life. Just like your heart broke to see your daughter in pain, so does my heart break when I see you in pain. In the same way that she knew you would come to help her and comfort you, you know that I do that for you too, little one. You know that I care for you. You know that I weep when you weep and I rejoice when you rejoice. My precious one there is still good for you, yes even in the thorny trials because when you have one, your faith is strengthened. You see something more about Me that deepens our relationship and the joy you find in me. Those amazing worship experiences you have are often birthed out of a thorny situation.

You didn’t “allow” your precious daughter to step on that thorn. It happened as a result of nothing more than living her life unaware. But when it did happen, you came to her rescue and comfort. She learned an unfortunate but valuable lesson in wisdom but more important than that is that she knew once again her mom loves her tremendously.

The same is true for me, your Heavenly Father. Thorny trials in your life have and will come. But remember precious one, I was there with you for all of them and I will be right beside you with the next one. Remember, I helped you through it – I will help you through again. I cared for you, mended your heart, comforted you and restored joy to you each time and I will do it all again because I love you so much more than you know. Through every thorny trial, I have been The Rock you can cling to and The One you know you can cry out for. No matter how many thorns you encounter, I will always be your Rock, your Refuge, your Strength, your Joy, your Comfort, your Father who loves you unconditionally and forever. I will always be I AM.

Conversations

Who Am I?

Now you are no longer a slave but God’s own child.
And since you are his child, God has made you his heir.
Galatians 4:7

alone-back-view-blonde-247195

Who am I, really?

What am I doing?

Why am I here?

I can’t seem to do anything right. I’m just failing all over the place. What good am I?

These are thoughts I struggle with far too frequently. I am my own worst critic, especially when things aren’t going according to plan (specifically my plan). This morning, after what feels like a very long week couple of weeks, I was definitely down on myself again. I was thinking about all the things I’m not doing well – I’m not being a great mom, or a great wife, or excelling at work, or keeping my house clean… the list just seemed to go on forever.

I pulled out my Bible to find help and encouragement and read just a few short verses in Galatians chapter four, and paused on verse 7. “What does a good, well-rounded (not stuck up) heir to a wealthy fortune look like? How does someone like that behave every day?”, I asked myself. I came up with a few things: confident, secure, they know who they are, they know how their father is respected.

But right now, I don’t feel like I look or act that way at all. I feel like I’m “failing all over the place”, not measuring up. So I asked The Father, “What does this mean – that I am Your heir? How should I be acting?” I started to write down what came to mind: strong, loved, confident, teacher, encourager, learner, studier, held, wise, helped, capable…img_5407

This mindset shift reminded me of who my Father is which then helped me begin to remember who I really am. All that muck and self-guilt that I started my morning with – that is not what my Daddy-God says about me. That’s not who I am. “Failure” is not one of my labels. I am not a failure, because my Daddy-God is not a failure. I still have things to work on. I’m an heir, not a perfect heir. But I’m not useless, purposeless, or a “failure all over the place”.

Sitting on my couch with my coffee in hand, I thought “Yup. I do know this. Got it.”

I was thankful for the reminders and did have more peace, but I had an almost casual response. I still wrestled a little with my thoughts.

And then came the tap on my shoulder.

I was listening to the radio in my car (I rarely do that these days) and a brand new song by Lauren Daigle was playing. It was about what God says about us. It was exactly the things my Daddy-God had been speaking to me earlier this morning!

Tap. Tap.

“Are you listening to what I’m telling you, little one?”, says The Father. “You are MY child. My child is not defined by averages, successes, or feelings. You are my very own Daughter. There is nothing we can’t do together and I’m always right here to help you, to hold you, to give you exactly what you need to do all the things you need to do. Who are you? -You are loved, you are strong, you are held, you are able. You are Mine.”

To the Precious Ones reading this, if you are struggling with your thoughts today, know that you are His. You are held closely by The Father, who loves you so dearly, without condition. You are helped by Him. He is able to do anything you need Him to because you are His child. Who you are is not defined by the measurements of the world around you. Who you are is declared by your Daddy-God. You are priceless to Him. You are His very own precious, beloved child and all He has is yours.

What do you hear The Father say about you?

Conversations

Daddy’s Help

Blessed be the Lord, who daily bears us up. – Psalm 68:19

Another version of scripture says “who daily bears our burdens”. What a great picture of the Father. He doesn’t just know about our burdens and worries, He doesn’t just wait to hear about our troubles and He doesn’t sit around doing nothing until we cast our cares on Him. He actually already carries us and our burdens.

As I was thinking about these things, an image came to mind…

holding_handsThe Father and I were walking along together. He was carrying quite a heavy load – all of the things on His back were mine. And as all good fathers do, He was helping me along, carrying me over the distances when my feet got tired, telling me what to watch out for along the path so that I didn’t get hurt, and holding my hand to steady me. This is a very long journey we are on together and as I started to grow and recognize for myself the dangerous areas and I was able to walk a little more on my own, I started to recognize the things He was carrying.

“Here Daddy,” I said “let me carry some.” He looked down at me with a loving concern on His face and began to explain “They are heavy, Little One.”

“But, Daddy, I can do it. See how I’ve gotten better at walking by myself and I’m stronger than I used to be; besides, those are my burdens to carry. Shouldn’t I be carrying them and learning to be like you, Daddy?”

The Father tenderly, knowingly responds without a single word. He sets the pack down and carefully selects only one or two items out of the pack. Turning toward me I saw a look of great love and the concern a good father has for his child, knowing she is choosing the hard way but understanding that she will not understand his help or his great love for her, unless he allows it. Was that a tear I saw run down His face? He places the select few burdens on my back. “Wow. These are heavier than they looked on The Father’s back.” I think to myself.

The Father lifts back up His very heavy pack and we continue on walking together. The Father, as any good one does, repeatedly checks on me, looking to see if I’m ok and asking me if I need help. He returns to pointing out the dangerous parts along the way, and extending His hand to help me over the rocky places. My response is quietly continuing along without asking for and rarely accepting His outstretched hand.

After walking for quite a while over difficult terrain, I fall. This pack is so heavy! But The Father makes it look so easy! I have scrapes all over me and I’m so tired carrying these heavy burdens. I start crying and I call out “Daddy! Wait!” The Father turns and immediately returns to my side, still effortlessly carrying that huge load. He has scrapes and bruises too, in the exact same spots as me! But He’s not out of breath, He’s not tired.

Knowing full well what I’m going through and seeing how worn out I am from all of this, He still asks me, with compassion in His voice, “What’s wrong, my child?” Fighting to not break down sobbing due to the pain, fatigue, and disappointment in myself for not being able to do this, I respond “This burden – its too heavy. You were right, Daddy, I need your help.”

The Father kneels down beside me and speaking tenderly, with another tear running down His face, He asks if I really want His help. He reminds me that it was me that wanted to try to do all of this on my own and that He had been there all along the way, ready to help. There was no condemnation in His tone, just a concerned Father, just as concerned about the lesson I would learn as the scrapes and bruises I had everywhere. As He gently wiped away the dirt and blood stains and tenderly wiped my tear-stained face, He reminds me “You don’t have to be like me, Little One. Yes, you are my child and in many ways you are like me, but there will always be things I can and should do that you will not be able to do. Like all of these burdens, I carry them for you because I love you. I want you to be able to walk freely and happily enjoy the journey home together with me.”

With the burdens secured back on The Father’s shoulders, with a bright smile and a hint of compassion, knowing what His child has been through and that this lesson will be repeated again, The Father smiles and hugs me as He stands back up. Holding out His hand I place mine in His and He lifts me to my feet.

We start back on our journey home together again. “Hey! Look at that amazing flower! And what a beautiful sky!” I remarked joyfully. I hadn’t noticed those things in such a long time. “Oh! And look, Daddy! Did you see that beautiful bird fly by?” The Father looks at me again with a smile, my hand in His “Enjoy it all, Little One.”