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Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Close to Us

One afternoon last week, my 4-year-old daughter frantically ran into my room wildly waving the Operation game in the air.  Somehow, uhem, the tweezers got ripped off the electrical cord, so of course they weren’t buzzing properly when she played the game. 

She asked, “Mom, can you fix this?”  After a quick glance, it was obviously out of my scope of toy repair.  I said, “No, honey, I don’t think so.”  Then, without hesitation, she replied, “We REALLY, REALLY need Doc McStuffins.”  (For all of you Disney channel moms out there, you know who this little gal is.)  “Yes, I believe we do,” I responded with a smile.

My daughter has seen her fair share of Doc McStuffins and has watched the pint-sized doctor patch up countless toys.  She immediately knew who could fix her game.  I also want to teach her who she can immediately run to…to mend, heal, repair, and restore in all areas of her life as she grows.  I want to be sure and guide her to the One who desires to be close to her.

However, sometimes I get caught up in “do” mode.  I mean, as women, as wives, and as moms, we do a lot of…well, ”doing,” ya know?  We’re constantly doing something…dishes, cooking, picking up, cleaning, driving children somewhere, helping with homework, volunteering, working, laundry, etc.  How many times can we turn those undies inside out before we just hunker down and do a few loads?!  Heh…kidding.  But, seriously, in addition to the strength in “doing,” have I also shown my children the incredible power of silence?

I recently read a book that reminded me of a few things.  In Michael Yaconelli’s book, “Dangerous Wonder,” he says, “Maybe we have become so active and noisy that we have drowned out the thin silence of God.  Instead of trying to do more, maybe we should try to do less and pay attention to the presence of God.”

Yaconelli also shares John Claypool’s story about his daughter, Laura.  “When she was four, John was attempting to put her to bed one night, but she was like most four-year-olds.  To avoid going to bed, Laura took three trips to the bathroom, asked for a drink of water, wanted another story told, needed Dad to put the light on, heard a sound, and so on.”

“John finally took care of his daughter’s needs and went upstairs to write.  He was deep into his writing when he could tell Laura was standing at the door of his study, staring at him.  Frustrated, he turned around and said, with a bit of anger in his voice, ‘What do you want me to do, Laura?’  Laura sauntered up beside her father, grabbed his arm, and said, ‘Nothing, Daddy, I just want to be close to you.’

(Gulp.  Are all of you other moms and dads swallowing hard about now?  How many times has a similar situation played out in our own homes? Yikes.   “I shouldn’t have held my littles that much when they were younger,” said NO MOM EVER!)

As Yaconelli suggests, maybe Laura was, in fact, speaking the words of God to us?  “I don’t want you to do anything.  I just want to be next to you.”  Certainly, our Lord tries to get our attention each and every day by trying to quiet us long enough to hear His whisper.

Many of us desperately struggle to find the quiet, but I think it’s becoming more and more imperative that we do in order to deal with life’s challenges.  Another book that I’m reading is Lysa Terkeurst’s, “Unglued.”  She shares a wealth of information on emotions and how to control them.

Terkeurst says, “Dealing with emotions and relationships is like nailing Jell-O to the wall.  It’s a complicated, messy, and unpredictable process, for sure.  Sometimes a girl can get worn out, wonder if she’s ever going to stop exploding, and feel like giving up.  But, before I give up, I’ve learned to hush up.  This often means hitting some sort of pause button on whatever situation is making me feel like exploding.  The only way I can see what God is doing and attend to what He reveals is to get quiet with Him.”

Terkeurst suggests five things about being quiet that help to smooth the raw edges of a soul on the brink of exploding:
1.      In the quiet, we feel safe enough to humble ourselves.
2.      In the quiet, God lifts us up to a more rational place.
3.      In the quiet, anxiety gives way to progress.
4.      In the quiet, we acknowledge that our real enemy may not be another person.
5.      In the quiet, we can rest assured that God will use the conflict for good – no matter how it turns out.

Being quiet allows us a chance to grow closer to the Lord.  He wants to be close to us.

My husband and I were honored to be godparents for our friends’ infant daughter this past Saturday.  We have been to several Baptisms over the years, but this one in particular really struck us.  The priest talked directly to little Julia, calling her by name and looking into her eyes, just inches away from her adorable face. 

We won’t discuss the fact that the poor sweet child of God had a tremendous amount of gas and cried for much of the Baptism because of it.  Sometimes, even Mylicon just won’t cut it, ya know?  But, we did find it very interesting that Julia stopped crying during those moments when Father Tommy was talking to her.  Her precious noise stopped…in order for her to listen.  (Sound familiar?  Hmmm….)

Father explained each step of the Baptism to us, her parents, and all those in attendance.  What grabbed my attention was the reminder that we are called to be soldiers for Jesus Christ.  We must resist the attacks by our spiritual enemies by following and obeying Our Lord. 

As Father Tommy traced a cross on Julia’s chest, he shared, “The Oil of the Catechumen symbolizes the strength and protection of God against the Evil One.  In the ancient days, Roman Soldiers would purposely lather themselves with oil before a battle, so that in case the enemy tried to grab them, they could easily slip away.  This then, symbolizes how we, armed with the anointing of God's protection, can do battle with Satan and with God's grace, ‘slip away’ from the grasp of the Evil One.”

Another thing that had me in awe was how the photo turned out.  Directly above Julia in the picture was a wooden sculpture of Jesus, looking down at her…just inches away.  The picture wasn’t planned that way.  Believe me; we didn’t have a lot of time to “plan out” the perfect photo op.  But, as it appears in the picture, her screaming didn’t faze Jesus in the least.  He wanted to be close.  Ever so close.

Doesn't that sound a bit like us?  All of our crying, kicking, screaming, moaning, groaning, complaining, imperfect, and sometimes ungrateful ways do not deter Him from wanting to be close.  He cannot get enough of us.  Crocodile tears or not.

But, can we be quiet enough to hear His whisper?  Will we allow Him to be close?

Have a wonderful week, Sunshines!

2 comments:

  1. Well, I just have one comment. Julia's parents (with the help of the Holy Spirit, I'm sure) picked the best Godparents ever!

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    1. Awww! Thanks, Jennifer, for your sweet words.

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