Posts filed under ‘Devotional’

Wedges

A few weeks ago I experienced a defining moment in friendship:  my close friend shared with me that I’d hurt her.

Although the situation that led to hurt feelings was unintentional, it happened nonetheless. Feelings of isolation, rejection and bitterness crept inside of her heart. I walked around oblivious.

And would have stayed oblivious had she not broken the ice.

After we both recognized our weaknesses in the situation and talked it out, we were fine. Actually, our friendship grew closer.

And the wedge that had grown, unbeknownst to me, was removed.

But it didn’t end there.

As I reflected on the experience, I realized there was another relationship in my life where wedges had formed.

Except this time, I was the hurt friend.

And the person who’d hurt me was God.

And while I knew I needed to do what my friend had just done with me, I delayed the experience. What place did I have to tell a perfect God that I felt hurt by Him?

None, or so I felt.

After realizing that this next step was inevitable, I finally caved. I shared with God feelings I’d suppressed and hidden. Feelings that brought me shame, but needed to be spoken nonetheless.

I shared with Him that I felt He caused my cancer. That I felt hurt from Him allowing it to happen. That I don’t know why I get to live and others die. I told him I struggle with knowing He is good. I told Him that sometimes the physical pain, embarrassing moments and situations that leave my heart broken because of cancer are tough. Really tough. And that as a big God who controls everything, I didn’t understand how His plans are labeled as “good.”

I felt silly saying some of it. I knew a lot of it wasn’t true. But as I shared my heart and admitted how I felt, I immediately noticed a change.

He wasn’t mad at me. Lightening didn’t strike. Ironically, I felt closer to Him.

And ultimately, I felt like I could believe Him again.

The walls came down once I addressed my feelings and the lies I’d believed. I recognized that I’d been trying to not make waves or ruffle any feathers. Even God’s feathers.

While openness was tough in the moment, I learned it’s what intimacy requires. If I want solid relationships, I’ve got to draw close and be willing to do the hard things.

I’ve got to remove the wedges.

October 14, 2013 at 9:55 am 2 comments

Learning to obey :: a devotional on parenting

Know then in your heart that as a man disciplines his son, so the LORD your God disciplines you. – Deuteronomy 8:5

There’s something missing from photos of children featured in adoption calendars and brochures. Sure, they are adorable and cute. But a small line saying something like “Warning: these children are normal and may cause you to pull your hair out from time to time” needs to be somewhere in the marketing materials. At least I think so.

Teaching a child to obey

warning-im-two-shirt-toddler

Photo from cafepress.com

To say we’ve entered the “Terrible Twos” might be a decent way to describe most days and nights at our house. It’s a roller coaster of emotions. The highs are a bit higher as Mae gets older and builds a relationship with us. My heart swells when she says “love you” before I walk out of her room at night. Mike digs the fact he asks, “Mae, who is this?” while riding in the car and she answers back either “Beastie Boys,” “Chili Peppers,” or “Dave Matthews.” She even requests “Beach Boys” these days.

But with these highs come a few lows too. I wasn’t ready to be told “no” and physically hit and smacked. Telling a toddler to change her attitude and close her eyes, only for her to repeat those words back to me, can get under my skin. “Mae, obey” is a famous phrase around our home and the time-out spot is beginning to show some serious wear due to her hesitation to follow the rules.

Learning to obey

In the midst of trying to keep my cool, hold my tongue and not overdose on chocolate, I’m humbled by how gracious of a Father we have in Jesus. As I nearly go bald trying to parent an independent two-year-old, I am humbled by the Lord’s grace as I try to pull the same stunts in the spiritual sense. I ignore God some days. I don’t want to sit and read his Word, much less obey it. I have my own ideas of how my day will go, how my money is spent, how to use my time and what my future holds – I don’t want Him to interfere. I want to do my own thing.

Following God’s discipline and instruction

Any parent knows that discipline and instruction for our kids is ultimately for their benefit – it’s not fun making anyone mad, much less a two-year-old. We don’t upset our kids because we want to, we instruct them because it’s ultimately best for them. And while this concept makes sense when I’m in control, when I put myself in the “child’s seat,” it seems to be a bit more difficult.

God’s commanded us to love and obey him. To surrender our independence and to follow the commands and calling He’s placed in our lives. When we choose to push back on that, half-way obey or even “hit and scream” at Him, we’re missing out on the joyous relationship He offers us. Sure, he offers us grace over and over. But the chance to know Him and experience true joy and fulfillment is lost each time we say “no.” We become just like those sweet kids on the adoption calendar who need a disclaimer under their name. “Warning: this Christian may look sweet and say the right thing but her heart is really a mess.”

Friends, it’s time to obey… without being told twice. God’s love awaits us.

November 26, 2012 at 10:28 am 1 comment


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