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Let the Little Children Come

I really must admit that I have had many times in my life where I have been really distracted.  I have too many balls that I am trying to juggle and I just don’t feel like I have time for my children like I should.  They are my priority in life, but I am not living as if that is true.  I noticed this specifically the other day as I was outside gardening and my daughter came prancing up to me, excited to show me whatever bug she caught.  I had my hands up to my elbows in dirt and I said something to the effect of, “Not right now sweetie. Mommy’s a little busy.”   She walked off with a very dejected look on her face and if she had a tail, I know it would be between her legs, as if she had done something wrong.  Continue reading

The Blue Ball

I mentioned in a previous devotion that my children are both a little fascinated with the toilet, well this story is another of that nature.

One day, while going through our normal routine, my son, Bryce, came down the stairs and told me that the toilet was clogged.  He said, “Mommy, my blue ball got stuck in the toilet.”

I trudged up the stairs with him and saw no blue ball in the toilet, just a lot of water.  As I went to get the plunger, I asked him why he was playing in the toilet.  He told me that he was playing in the water with his blue ball and the toilet sucked it up.  Not quite believing, or understanding that his ball had actually gone down the toilet, I proceeded to plunge until the water began swirling down into the pipes.

Life went on as usual until a few days later, when my daughter told me that the toilet was, again, stopped up.  Not wanting to pay a plumber, yet wanting to solve the problem, I bought a toilet snake and snaked the toilet drain this time. The snake wouldn’t go all the way through, so I had another idea.  It can’t be all that difficult to disassemble the toilet and snake it the other way.  4 hours later I emerged victorious, sweaty and wet , but all the same, I had snaked the drain backwards and it went all the way through.  I put the toilet back together and caulked it in place, thinking that my problems had been solved.

Now, before I go on in the story, I should tell you how toilets work, especially when they are turned upside down and snaked backwards.  Toilets have a small cavity that, if turned over, will collect anything that is stuck in the main drainage line.  So when it is snaked, it will appear as if there is nothing in the drain.  The item will stay hidden in the cavity until turned right-side up.

Okay, back to our story.  Another few days later, when the toilet was clogged again, I removed it, now knowing that there was a blue ball lodged in there.  I bought and installed the new toilet and took the old one out to the backyard , determined to find this ball, and hammered it open.  Triumphantly, out rolled the ball, seemingly innocent in the part that it played in my three day frustration.

Some sins that we have in our lives can be like the blue ball, hiding just out of reach, yet causing devastating results.  Sins like pride, lust, gossip, or envy are just some of these hidden sins.  We don’t always know that they are there, but below the surface they are waiting to clog up our lives and cause destruction in our relationships.

We can take solace in what Hebrews 4:13 says, “ Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight.  Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.”

God knows our sin and only He can help us to uncover and remove it.  We need to confess it to Him and He will help us to stay on the path of righteousness and not to stray from it.  We have a loving God who knows our innermost being and wants to help us in our struggles.

Take some time today to examine your heart and see if there are any hidden areas that you need God to help reveal and remove from your life.

Value

Since moving to our new house, I have been to the local Home Depot at least a dozen times already, for one thing or another.  My kids joined me on one such trip, and if you know anything about bringing kids to a hardware store, you know that it can be a challenge to keep them entertained.  First of all, with my children, I needed to keep them contained, or they would have been running all over the store getting into everything.  However, we were in the store for longer than I expected and they began to get bored very quickly.  I decided to let them out of the cart for a few minutes to stretch their legs while I looked at a specific product. 

This turned out to be a mistake, as they did exactly what I didn’t want them to do.  They were exploring everything, and at one point my son climbed into the shelving where a product had been sold and there was a hole just big enough for him to fit.  He proudly announced to me that he was for sale.  Once I got him safely out of the spot, I looked at him, very amused, and asked, “How much are you for sale for, bud?”  He looked up at me and very sincerely said, “Mommy, I am one dollar and ninety-seven cents.” 

Chuckling to myself I told him, “You are worth so much more than that, little boy.  I couldn’t even put a price sticker on how much you are worth.”   As we left the store, I was processing what had transpired, and God brought verses to my mind on how much we are valued in His eyes.  Matthew 6:26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?   Likewise in Psalm 139:13 For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.

God values us so much that He individually created each one of us, according to His perfect plan.  Not only that, but He takes care for our needs and our lives as a mother cares for her children.  We need to feel and accept this value and love from Him, even if we do not get it from other people in our lives.  We are a treasure to the Lord and we need to live our lives like we believe that. 

Remember that, today and always, you are valued and loved and cherished by the King of Kings!

Bigger and Bigger

When our son Bryce was 2, we went on a trip with our youth group into the Redwood forest in Northern California.  As soon as we exited the car all Bryce could do was stare at the enormous trees.  He was fascinated by how tall they were.  During one of the worship sessions Bryce couldn’t sit still, so I took him outside to let him burn off some energy.  The first thing that he did was look up at the enormous tree and say, “Mommy, I’m going to climb this tree!”  I smiled, picked him up, and showed him the tree and said, “Bud, you are going to have to get a little bigger to climb this tree.”

He gave me his cute little doe-eyed look and replied, “ Mommy, I want to get bigger and Bigger and BIGGER!”  While he said this he stretched his hands out to show me how big he wanted to get.  I told him that soon he would be big enough to climb trees, and continued to watch him run around and dig in the dirt.  As I watched him play, I started thinking about my responsibility as his parent to help him to grow.  Not just his physical growth, but also his spiritual growth came into my mind.

I thought of how I needed to continue praying that God would raise him up to be a godly man and a leader in his generation.  God reminded me of the parable of the growing seed in Mark 4:26-29

26 He also said, “This is what the kingdom of God is like. A man scatters seed on the ground. 27 Night and day, whether he sleeps or gets up, the seed sprouts and grows, though he does not know how. 28 All by itself the soil produces grain—first the stalk, then the head, then the full kernel in the head. 29 As soon as the grain is ripe, he puts the sickle to it, because the harvest has come.”

As a parent I tend to get anxious about the growth of my children, but I need to remember that God has them in His care as well.  I am to provide their needs and teach them in the Lord’s ways, but it is the Lord who produces the harvest.  They belong to Him and my husband and I are just their guardians for as long as God allows us to be. 

What are the seeds God is asking you to care for today?  Is it your children, your friends, your loved ones?  How are you going to encourage their growth?   Remember that they are in the Lord’s care too and that it is He who provides the harvest.

Texture

Have you ever had one of those moments with your kids, where you walk into a room where they have been playing/getting into trouble and you immediately have to close the door to keep from losing your temper completely. I have had many of those with my kids and this situation is no exception.  My kids are both very curious and I had been working on a project in our upstairs bathroom that involved using texture.  The kids had been very good that morning while I was cleaning things up and I had them situated watching a movie on the couch.  I was upstairs for maybe 5 minutes and came down and they were nowhere to be found. I called for them, thinking that maybe they had gone to their rooms to play, but didn’t receive any answer.  I heard some scuffling noises coming from the direction of the garage and thought to myself, “No, they couldn’t have”.  You see, in the garage, I had been storing all of the supplies and “mess” from my project, which included a giant bucket of wall texture. 

I opened the door to find both children, naked and using the bucket of texture to paint their bodies, the walls and everything else I had stored in there.  After closing the door and giving myself a few minutes to calm down, I carried both kids up for an immediate bath.  I managed to get all of the texture off of them and then I opened the garage door again.  Seeing the degree of mess they had made in just 5 minutes made me mad all over again, so I opted to wait a few days and let the texture dry and then remove it.  (It’s easier to scrape when it’s dry, then to mop up when it’s wet.) 

I spent a total of 4 hours in the garage a few nights later, after the kids were asleep, cleaning.  As I was angrily scraping, sweeping, and scrubbing, my countenance began to soften.  I thought about how I can do this exact same thing with God in my life.  I sneak off on my own, make a huge mess of things and expect Him to clean up.  As I cleaned, I began to pray that God would help me to have patience with my children as He has patience with me.  When we ask God for patience, He doesn’t always just give us patience, He usually gives us the opportunity to be patient.

I realized that I need to keep asking God for these opportunities and lessons, as difficult or challenging as they might be because they build character in me that is irreplaceable. What opportunity is God giving you today and how are you going to use it?

Exploding Toilet

Now if you have children of the potty training age, then you will know that they have a fascination with the bathroom.  My daughter Chloe, being of this age a few years ago, spent a lot of time doing things like playing in the sink and flushing the toilet repeatedly.  Usually all of this was supervised so that we didn’t end up with a big mess.  However, on this particular day I was packing and cleaning for our move across town and making sure that lunch was on the table for the kids.  I noticed that it was very quiet in the house and went looking for Chloe and Bryce thinking that I was going to have to repack another box that they for sure had unpacked.  All of a sudden I heard from the end of the house a very panicked Chloe yelling, “Mommy, the toilet exploded!”  These are never words that you want to hear so I went running to the bathroom to find a very upset Chloe and a bathroom with about a quarter inch of water on the floor.  In my mind I am thinking, this is the last thing that I need, another mess to clean up and another thing to do right before we move!  I pulled Chloe out of the water-logged bathroom and asked, “What happened?” 

“I put the toilet paper in the toilet and flushed and the water just kept going and then it exploded!” exclaimed my daughter through tears thinking that she was in trouble.  The way she phrased it, and how sorry she was made the whole situation seem comical. So I told her that accidents happen and got her and her brother set up with lunch.

As I got to work mopping up the water with every towel that wasn’t already packed I started thinking of how very busy I had been the last couple of weeks and I hadn’t had a chance to slow down and spend quality time with my kids or with God.  My knees soaking wet and my hands in toilet water I realized that I just had what I like to call a “God interruption”.  Life can get so busy and so chaotic that I forget to take the time to do what is most important in my life and that’s when God uses something to stop me to get my attention and focus back on Him and my family.  I started praying and asked God to forgive me for my poor prioritization.  He brought the verse to my heart in Matthew 6:33 that I am to seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to me as well.  If I put Him first in my life then He will help things to fall into place in His way and His time. 

I wish that it hadn’t taken a toilet “exploding” to make me learn this lesson, but God can use anything to get our attention and focus on Him and our priorities in life straight.  Where are your priorities at today?  How is God trying to get your attention back to Him?