Conversations

Lost…

If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me.
If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me, and the light about me be night,”
even the darkness is not dark to you; the night is bright as the day,
for darkness is as light with you.
– Psalm 139:9-12

I’m sitting on the ground. Alone. Weeping. Exhausted. I don’t know where I am. I don’t know how to get there from here. I’m overwhelmed. I’m tormented by worry overtaking my thoughts.

I feel lost and worse, discouraged.

The map lies smudged and tattered on the ground. I thought I’d taken the right trail to get to where The Father was taking me. So why do I feel so lost and uncertain? Have I been walking in circles? Did I miss interpret the directions? I need help. I need a guide.

The Father kneels down to the ground, laying His hand on my shoulder His gentle voice speaking into my darkness “What’s wrong, dear one? Did you forget I Am here?”

He picks up the map from the ground and begins to gently fold it. He doesn’t need the map. The map is for me. I wanted to know where I was going. I wanted to figure it out on my own…or at least I thought I could follow it. After all, He’d told me where He wanted me to go. Isn’t some part of this journey my responsibility? Aren’t I supposed to know how to follow His directions and not get lost?

I don’t know how to move forward. The path isn’t clear and I can’t figure this map out. I’m so confused and lost …

“I saw you focusing on the map and what I called you to. You were so busy looking at the map and figuring out the way to go, you didn’t look to see I Am right here with you. I’ve never left your side. I know the way to go, precious one. You’ve never been alone on this journey and you’re not lost because with me you are found. I know you’re scared and worried about how to get there. Let me be your Peace. Let me be your Guide. Trust me to get you there.”

Will I ever figure this out? There are so many things I don’t know! What do I need to be doing? How will I know if I’m walking the right direction and taking the right path?

Because I Am with you. Stay with me and you will always know the path. You will see great and wonderful things on our journey together if you stay with me and keep your eyes on me. I will take care of the journey and the destination. I love you and love that you want to get there. We will get there, dear one. Have peace. Be patient. I have so much more for you on this journey than just the destination.”

The Father hands the folded map to me to hold and gently gathers me in His arms, lifts me to His back, and starts walking.

Rest on me, little one. I’ll carry you a little while and when you’ve rested and you’re ready again to walk, I’ll lead you. But for now, just rest. We’ll get there right on time.”

I know I can trust The Father. He is the one who knows the way. He’s never lost. It seems like He’s come this way lots of times before…or maybe that He’s made this way. He made the destination, He knows how to get there and He’s taking me there with Him.

Father, thank you for lifting me out of discouragement and setting me back on the path with you. Thank you for calling me and taking me with you. May I know how to trust you with the next step. May I seek your lead with every step along this journey so that I don’t miss your wonder. May I learn to look for you, see what you see, and take from your strength what I need for this journey.

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

Running Toward You

“So he returned home to his father. And while he was still a long way off, his father saw him coming. Filled with love and compassion, he ran to his son, embraced him, and kissed him. His son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against both heaven and you, and I am no longer worthy of being called your son.’
“But his father said to the servants, ‘Quick! Bring the finest robe in the house and put it on him. Get a ring for his finger and sandals for his feet. And kill the calf we have been fattening. We must celebrate with a feast, for this son of mine was dead and has now returned to life. He was lost, but now he is found.’ So the party began.
Luke 15: 20-24

 

This particular parable is no doubt very familiar to a lot of people and I’m certainly no exception. I can’t remember how old I was the first time I heard the story, but it must have been at a very young age because it seems like I’ve known the story my entire life. It is a great parable, full of rich content for many a sermon. At a pretty simplified level, its about how our Good Father, God, loves us, His sons and daughters. As many times as I’ve heard and read this story, recently for the first time I was overwhelmed with very vivid imagery while listening to a sermon on the passage. Perhaps it was because I was listening as a parent. Perhaps something the teacher said struck a chord. Perhaps I identified with the son more as a child this time instead of a bystander. Whatever the reason, I haven’t been able to stop thinking about the picture I still have stuck in my head.

By this point in the story, the son realizes that it was a stupid choice to disrespect his dad (essentially telling his dad “I wish you were dead”) because even servants in his dad’s house were treated better than where he found himself. He was homeless, penniless, and starving – so much so that he was willing to defile his body just to have something to eat. He was doing worse than the equivalent of dumpster diving – which is pretty gross just in itself! So he decides to go home and try to convince his dad to give him a job – knowing that even to get a job cleaning toilets for his dad’s servants would be better than what he was doing right now. If it were me, I’d be convincing myself that after the way I’d treated him, there’s no way he’d take me back even as a servant to the servants that was “paid” in 3 meals a day and a place to sleep.

Walking weakly along the road, each step a difficult task but knowing he must go on and at least give his dad the chance to reject him, he continued his weary walk toward home. Coming over the last hill, with the house in sight but still a somewhat small structure in the distance, feelings of nervousness and dread start to flood his mind – but he continues on. After a few minutes he sees someone emerge from the house quickly, appearing to scan the horizon as if verifying what had been seen from inside the house. Looking down at his feet and the broken ground he is walking on, full of rocks and weeds, and critters, its an all too familiar path back to the house he once called home. When he returns his gaze to the house, he notices the person who had been standing staring at the horizon was not standing there any more. Instead they were running. They were running fast! In his direction! For a second, he paused thinking that this person running toward him might be coming to tell him to get lost and never dare return again. He hesitated, thinking it might be safer to turn back. But, deciding that whatever came of this, he probably deserved the beating, he continued on, one foot in front of the other.

The person running was closing the distance rapidly between them and now he could see – it was his father! Not sure what to expect he paused again, still watching his father close in – faster and faster, closer and closer. He wasn’t sure what to think or do. He started practicing his speech again. He wanted to at least try to get it out before his father banished him never to return again. He thought for sure his father would slow down the closer he got, but as he watched, he just kept running! He was getting so close – he’s going to run right into me!

running-prodigal-fatherThe Father was overwhelmed with love and compassion as soon as he saw his son way off in the distance. Every day since his son left he would watch the horizon, waiting for his return. This day was different. Today, he was certain he saw his son on the horizon! He couldn’t wait to make sure. He couldn’t wait another minute without his precious son. He broke into an instant run. He kept his eyes fixed on his son’s location the entire time – straining to see if it truly was his son and not wanting the young man to leave. The closer he got, the more certain he became – this is his son! He has returned home to me! The insult long ago was nowhere close to the father’s mind – his heart had forgiven him long ago. As his son’s face became clearer, he began to weep. His son whom he loved more than his own life, was home! His prayers have been answered! Why can’t these legs move any faster?!

The father collided into the son with nearly the full force of the speed with which he had been running. He ran into his son so hard he almost knocked them both over. Flinging his arms around his son’s neck he hugged him tightly, determined never to let his child go. His sobs of joy and love came all at once. The son, taken back by this welcome and still feeling completely worthless tried to start his speech, even though his face was buried in his father’s chest. As he started in with a muffled voice “Father, I’m not worthy….. Father I’ve sinned….” he started to weep as well, but his weeping was a broken weeping. And as he wept at how he had hurt his father, he was able to hear his father was saying something too! He was repeating over and over through his own tears, “My son, whom I love, is home! My son, whom I love, is home!” The son flung his arms around his dad and tried again to get his speech out through his sobs. But the father pulled his face towards his own and looking him straight in his tear-filled eyes he said again “My son, whom I love, is home!”

The Father, carrying his son’s arm around his own neck to support his weary legs, walked with his son back toward their home. As they came closer, the Father was now shouting, announcing to everyone to prepare the biggest feast ever, as if his son had just been born and there was a party to be had! Because truly, there was.