Tag Archives: hope

The Great Buts of Human Limitation

24 Apr

Who are you, deep down? What is it you really desire to do? What is it you’ve been putting off for years, despite the constant yearning? We all have dreams, hopes, a purpose . . .  but some of us are sitting on our buts and may never see them realized.

It seems the more I write, the more I hear from people who want to write. The more I write about peace and positive outlook, the more I hear from people craving peace and positive outlook. The more I write about jumping off the ledge to follow your dreams, the more I hear the word “but.”

But I’m too old. But I’m too young. But I’m too sick. But I’m too far in debt. But I don’t know where to start. But the kids…

I understand completely, because I’ve been there. I pined to write for 35 years, yet never stuck my head out past the margin of societal expectations. Despite having an active imagination and dreams of writing for a living, I believed the voices that said to leave my current job would be irresponsible, that making lots of money is more important than pretending to be a writer, that I might not be good enough to make it in the writing world.

But perhaps when I’m old enough to retire; but maybe if I could secure a solid offer for something first; but perhaps when the youngest graduates college…

Then, quite out of the blue, I do believe I heard the Lord tell me to get off my but(t) and start scribbling. I did, and although I wouldn’t call myself a financially successful author yet, I’m on my way and having a ball. I’m happier than I ever was when money was assured (although, depending on your spiritual foundation, one could argue that sufficient money has been assured and IS being provided, as we are not in need.)

As I walked through my neighborhood recently, I took specific notice of some trees that clearly do not conform to nature’s expectations, and it occurs to me that sometimes, despite our greatest yearnings, we make decisions based on the world’s expectations and let fears and past hurts keep us from what may be the true happiness we’re seeking, a happiness that comes from doing what we were meant to do with our lives.

So, the photos on this blog post will be larger than usual, because I want you to study them and search for your face amid the leaves.

stubborn treeThis first I call the Tree of Determination. You might say it’s a young tree with an old soul. This is a rebellious Eastern Redbud, which sports radiant purple (go figure) flowers every spring. This tree has clearly experienced a recent tragedy, yet refuses to go quietly into that good night. Notice how tall and full its new growth is. There’s nothing meek or hesitant going on here. This is how we were meant to be, alive and vibrant, pushing forward despite the negative buffeting of the world around us, and despite the passing of those who went before us. It’s okay, and quite healthy, to mourn those who are no longer with us, but we can also honor them by taking what they left behind and letting it nourish our growth.

The second is this Tree of Hope, quite possibly a Red Maple, but I’m not a tree expert so don’t write that down. When a fire stripped this pitiful thing bare last summer, I was sure someone was sharpening the axe. But the owners, who are clearly wiser than I am, burned treepruned back the branches and let it rest over the winter. This spring there is evidence of hope. It put up a small patch of growth this year, perhaps all it can muster, as if timidly testing the environment. I will track this tree’s progress over the next few years, and reblog someday with hopefully a fantastic fall display. The lesson I take from this tree is, sometimes we know where we want to go, but we’ve been burned too many times to stick our neck out there. In that case, it’s okay to go slow. Do only as much as you can right now, but move forward. Fires can and may happen, but the likelihood that they will keep happening and in the same place is not great. That picture in your mind of where you’re going? That’s your dream. Do something every day that brings you closer. Don’t give it up, even if the world mocks you or knocks you down (see picture #1). It’s YOUR dream and they can’t have it.

 

 

Finally, we have the No-longer Imprisoned Tree. I have no idea of its species, because I boxed treewas too focused on the roots of this tree to examine the leaves. Here’s a fully functioning, helpful tree. It’s tall, and straight, and even supports a swing. A giver. At one time, though, its roots were apparently boxed and tightly constrained. Sadly, the message here is one I see all too often. Many of us were once boxed and tightly constrained, but although we’ve been set free, we haven’t moved a muscle. We function, day after day, provide care and nurturing for others, but we keep our own selves confined. What’s keeping us from stretching those limbs and experiencing the freedom we’ve yearned for? Other voices? Reminders? For me it was fear of failure. Or more precisely, fear of success. I worried that if I succeeded with my first book, I’d have nothing else to say, and I’d be found out a fraud. The voice I listened to said anyone can write one book, but only a “real author” can keep the words coming. I still worry sometimes, but I know the dream is still in my heart so I’m striving to be a purple Redbud tree.

My inspiration to keep moving forward, however, comes not from trees but from three women I greatly admire. My Tree of Determination friend is Erin Elizabeth Austin a writer friend who suffers from an often debilitating disease called Lupus. She refuses to let negative events of the world dictate how she will behave, and chooses to make every healthy minute of her life count by helping others and by blooming wildly. She has just released the 11th issue of “Broken but Priceless” magazine, an uplifting and encouraging magazine for people who have, or care for loved ones with, chronic illness. And in all this, she’s so danged funny, just like a purple Redbud tree.

Aimee Gross is my Tree of Hope. She’s a fellow blogger who suffers from mental illness and chronic depression, but she’s sticking her neck out there in hopes of reaching that one person who might be looking for help in this vast internet. Aimee has a physically demaanding day job, yet she writes to inspire others in her free time. Her main message is, you’re not alone. you can overcome, we can do this together.

And my Tree of No-longer Imprisoned? That would be Michele, a strong-willed, smart, big-hearted woman whose dreams are repeatedly squelched by buffeting storms. Some of the waves have even knocked her down at times, but she resolutely stands each time and braces for the next. What she can’t see, but her friends can, is that the waves are getting weaker, further apart, and the sea is ebbing. I, for one, cannot wait to see what happens when she realizes she can stretch out her limbs and take a step forward. Michele is not a writer (yet), but boy, does she have a story. I’ll keep you posted there as well.

So, a lot of words blogged today to ask, again, who are you deep-down, and what’s the next step in fulfilling your dream? I would love to hear your answers, unless there’s a “but” attached, because on this blog, we don’t sit on our buts.

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For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. – Ephesians 2:10

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Book Signing Poster2Oh, two announcements! First, for those who live in the area, I will be co-sponsoring a book signing with Bea Fishback this Sunday (April 30), at Brew Republic Bierwerks in Woodbridge (near Wegman’s). If you can make it, please stop by between 1 and 3. Even if the idea of good books and fellowship doesn’t grab you, at least try the beer cheese pretzels or the crab dip—such a treat!

Breaking the Chains Cover_300 dpiAND, I’ve recently contributed two stories to the Lighthouse Bible Studies anthology “Breaking the Chains,” an uplifting place to start if anything in the blog above strikes a chord. This book addresses the spiritual attacks that keep us bound and believing things about ourselves that just ain’t true. If you want to take that first step forward, I’ll have books at the signing on Sunday, or you can order them here.

New Year, New Page, New Start

1 Jan

On this, the seventh day of Christmas, I received a most precious gift, as did you.

I stayed in bed this morning as long as I could, savoring the opening of it the way one unwraps a much-anticipated present—instead of tearing into the wrapping, I glided my metaphorical finger just under point where the paper overlaps and I nudged the tape until it released its hold.

Then I pulled back the wrap and lingered over the newness of it all, inhaling the scent of promise and potential.

It is here.

sunriseThe new year has dawned like a magnificent sunrise over an expansive ocean, with a freshness of clean linen, the newness of a tighly folded flower bud, and the secrecy of a locked treasure chest. I’m giddy over the endless possibilities of what lies ahead.

In my heart, I’m staring in wonder at a book that contains 365 blank pages, and my heart can only smile.

Right now, the pages are unstained, unblemished in any way. I haven’t hurt anyone with my sarcasm all year. I haven’t said any words I cannot take back. I haven’t judged someone for being different. I haven’t broken a promise to a friend, or missed an opportunity to put aside my work to take a long walk with my husband.

At this moment, anything is possible.

In time, the pages will fill, some with heartache, others with joy and victory. I pray for more of the latter but understand it’s not my decision, just as I also know that, when the year ends, page after page will contain absolutely nothing—a chronicle of hours burned up on mindless tasks.

I resolve to turn the pages more purposefully this year. I pray I can record at the end of each day that I smiled more, laughed more, and loved more on that day’s page than on the one before it. I pray this year my focus is not on how I can better myself, but on how I can make life better for others. Forgive those who hurt me, reignite waning friendships, write encouragement for others. What does that mean, exactly? I have no idea, but I’m sure I’ll learn.

This year I will write a book, see more family, and meet new people. It’s going to be a blast.

How about you? What do you hope to put on your blank pages? Imagine the unimaginable with me, would you? Set your sights on the seemingly unattainable and laugh, because you can do it. Believe and make that first mark on the pristine page.

For no yearning is too big, no dream impossible on this, the first day.

—-

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! — 2 Corinthians 5:17

A Mom’s Prayer on National “See you at the Pole” Day

28 Sep

I parked strategically, near enough to see the small group of teens huddled around the flag pole in the rain, but far enough away that I couldn’t see my son roll his eyes if he spotted me in what was clearly his “space.”

There amid the hustle and bustle of cars, buses, horns, and umbrellas, I prayed. Grateful to be living in a time when public prayer is still allowed, grateful that my youngest is unapologetic about bowing his head to the Lord in front of his friends and peers, and grateful to know that this scene is being repeated at schools across the country today. Perhaps tomorrow I’ll lament that such a sight may one day disappear in this nation’s race to proclaim tolerance for everything BUT the Living God, but today I feel only peace.

It’s fitting, I think, that they’re gathered around another symbol being bashed in the latest cause du jour, and I pray that each continues to hold the other up through the battles we all know are coming.

I’m so proud of these young people. These are the ones who will carry our nation forward, who will be asked to do and accept things we never imagined could be forced upon us. They’re told today that it’s perfectly acceptable for a healthy child who lived and grew in its mother’s womb for nine months to be killed on its way into the world because mom doesn’t want “it.” And they’re told that this beautiful child, whose clear blue eyes would have been able to move and blink and see and process light using ten interconnected components has a lineage that traces back to an amoeba, and that those eyes somehow evolved out of nothing. They’re going to need thick skin and strong foundations to stand firm as people they consider friends today spit on them tomorrow, hurling vile threats and claiming their Jesus is a harbinger of hate.

Which is why I pray today, not for the schools, because I know that’s what they’re doing now. They are praying their school remain a safe and healthy place to learn, that truth be taught without bias in their classrooms, that healthy and solid friendships form, and that everyone in the school feel accepted and free to pursue those unique interests that give each of them joy and purpose. They’re praying for believers and non-believers alike, for their families, their friends, and for the future of their nation.

ebenezer

We can know, because we have seen.

But in my car on the side lines, I pray for each child in the group, for moral and spiritual strength as they head into adulthood. That they push forward to do good works for Jesus’ sake, and not their own. That they choose the paths they know to be right, regardless of difficulty. That they might each demonstrate to those around them the inexplicable, unquenchable love of Jesus in such a way that the NOT-evolved eyes on our college campuses are opened and ears unstopped. That this generation of Believers will never be silenced.

Will you add your voice to mine today, and to theirs, and to those of the angels in Heaven? Pray with all the gladness and thanksgiving you can muster, because your voice matters. Remember, where there is one person praying, there is always hope.

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Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you. – Deuteronomy 31:6

 

 

A Story is Born: From the Remnants Just Released

12 Sep

It’s official!

Today Cathy Schrader and I released “From the Remnants, A Story of Light and Hope.

bookcover

Click on Book Cover to Order! …And thank you. 🙂

It is the true story of Cathy’s journey from heart-shattering brokeness to a place of healing and purpose.

This book is for anyone whose faith in God has been tested by the sudden and unexplainable loss of a loved one. Although we all race through life understanding its inherit brevity, we sometimes take for granted the days we’re given to share with those we love. We choose our paths based on what we expect they hold for us. However, God, in his sovereign mercy, knowing infinitely more about our journey than we do ourselves, sometimes allows devastation in our lives by calling our loved one to Himself sooner than we could have predicted, turning those paths into dead-end roads, and thereby prompting that age-old question:

Why, God?

This book responds with the age-old answer:

We don’t know.

Because we’re not God.

However, sometimes, if we press forward through the anger and pain, and we resolve to retain our faith despite the apparent senselessness of it all, we can catch a glimpse of the larger picture—an aerial view, so to speak—of our lives and purpose through His eyes.

This vision may not, and probably won’t heal the scars of our suffering, but it’s not supposed to. Those scars brought us to the place we are, to a place of awareness that we are not the author of our own destiny, but that we can walk with the One who is. And when we walk with Him, we can know we’re on the course he intended for us to travel. Only then can we truly receive the joy and peace He has placed along the way.

I invite you to walk briefly along Cathy’s path, and to discover as she did, that God’s ways are not our ways, but when we trust him, they tend to be just a tad better…

Blessings and Happy Reading!

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Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or imagine, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen. – Ephesians 3:19-21

Mirror, Mirror on the Wall, Quit Looking at Me!

26 Jul

 

A person who has good thoughts cannot ever be ugly. You can have a wonky nose and a crooked mouth and a double chin and stick-out teeth, but if you have good thoughts they will shine out of your face like sunbeams and you will always look lovely. — Roald Dahl

It goes far beyond the makeup, ladies.

There’s a movement afoot reminding women that we don’t have to paint our faces to be beautiful, and that’s a great start, but there’s a much more important question that needs to be asked by women everywhere, and men as well:

Who gets to define beautiful?

At a luncheon recently I heard two women chatting about their hair. The first, who had a lovely mop of naturally curly locks said, “I’ve always wished I had straight shiny hair like yours.” The other replied, “I hate my hair, I wish I had your curls.”

Why, when we look at ourselves, do we want to see someone else? And worse, why do we go to such lengths to change what we have for the sake of fitting someone’s definition of beautiful?

I read an article about the Lahwi women of Thailand, who put coils on their necks to enhance their beauty. These coils, which are rarely removed, weaken their neck muscles and deform their clavicles to make the neck appear longer. In another article I read that Chinese women used to bind their feet (beginning at age 4!) to keep them small and ladylike. The process involved repeatedly breaking the foot at the arch and letting it re-heal in a bell shape. Do you think that’s crazy? Well you’re likely doing something similar. According to the Spine Health Institute, 72% of American women force their feet into high heels, taking their hips and spine out of alignment and putting excess pressure on the knees—just for the sake of appearance.

Why can we not be satisfied? It’s nonsense, the way we stare at ourselves with such criticism and question God’s design. It’s like looking at the painting of the Mona Lisa and zeroing in on her receding hairline. We must get past appearance altogether if we’re to truly see ourselves the way God sees us.

When I was a teenager, I was ashamed of my crooked nose and the dime-sized brown spot on the side of my chin. My friend Tanya had three birthmarks in the middle of her cheek that formed a division sign, and she loved it! Guess which of us smiled more. Today I don’t give them a thought.

Consider international supermodels, Cindy Crawford and Lauren Hutton. If moles and gap teeth matter, how does one explain their success? In France, people with gaps in their front teeth are actually considered lucky, and in Ghana, they are beautiful. In fact, in many cultures, physical features that deviate from the ordinary are held in high esteem. They mark a person as unique, not ugly. Why then, in our Western culture do we buy into the lie that we are anything other than Created in the image of God?

…Which might make one wonder, what does God look like? I propose that He has buck teeth, ten thousand freckles, and radar-dish ears. It doesn’t matter. Since we cannot answer that question with any degree of certainty by describing physical features, we must instead draw from what we do know about God’s image. We know God is love, light, and peace. And I can assure you, when you get that first glimpse of Him, you won’t see physical features. You’ll see beauty, perfect beauty.

And to my new friend Maude: I haven’t met you face-to-face, but I know that if I ever do, I won’t be staring at that gap in your front teeth you fret over. Instead, I’m quite sure I’ll be drawn to the light in your eyes that I know is there, because the love in your heart for hurting young women comes through the phone like a beautiful beacon.

noseys

Because what’s important is not what we look like, but what we might become…

If you want to work on something, work on your health, on your mind, and on your thoughts toward others. Keep yourself physically fit for whatever comes at you, and mentally prepared to have meaningful conversations. Look for ways to shine your light in this dark world by caring for others and spreading joy. If you do these things, you will be considered lovely indeed.

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But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” — 1 Samuel 16:7

What the Habukkuk is Going On? The April Fool’s Antidote

25 Apr

 

“I am not bound to win, but I am bound to be true. I am not bound to succeed, but I am bound to live up to what light I might have.” —Abraham Lincoln

I had to take a few weeks off to regroup after my recent blog about April fools. Not that it doesn’t reflect my true feelings, but because I diverted from my mission. Let me assure you, all you wonderful people who sent me encouraging messages, although I’m frustrated with the direction this nation is taking, my spirit is still at peace.

Being at peace does not enable me to close my eyes to what’s happening in this nation. It stirs me to act, using the only weapons God has chosen to armed me with: words and prayer.  Sometimes I feel as if I’m running through a forest of sleeping people, trying to wake them so they can flee an approaching tidal wave. But after posting my April Fool’s blog, I remembered, that’s not my job. My job is to remind people that there is light in the darkness for those who seek it. That there is hope, and love, and peace in this nation, regardless of what we see in front of us.

So this week, I present the April Fool’s antidote: light.  It’s an increasingly rare commodity, but it’s something we all need in order to keep hope in our hearts. There’s light in each of us that we’ve been given to share, and when we do, it becomes contagious.

Sometimes it takes darkness to bring out the light. I’m reminded of the prophet Habukkuk, an oft overlooked character in the Bible with a heart for his country’s fools. Habukkuk became fed up with God for not “fixing” what was wrong with Israel. He accused God of taking a rather heartless stance against the Israelites, refusing to hear their cries for help.

God didn’t reply with sweetness, but basically said, “Habukkuk, my boy, you ain’t seen nothing yet.”

The rest of the short story involves Habukkuk waging a futile argument to save his people despite their foolishness, and trying to show God the folly of his plan to have the Babylonians conquer the land—those stinking Babylonians who are even worse sinners than we are, thank you very much. But God assured him the Babylonians were on their way to enslave Israel. Eventually, the prophet realized he had only one recourse: trust God, regardless of his apparent senility.

So, Habukkuk looked for the light. He reviewed all the things God had done in the past for his people, from freeing the slaves living in bondage in Egypt to bringing them into a land of their own. And he reviewed all the promises God had made and brought to fruition. Then, despite all desolation and ugliness around him, Habakkuk vowed to continue praising God for his sovereignty and his goodness, and to trust God’s plan.

His spirit was at peace, even though the world was not.

That same peace is available to all of us. While it’s quite possible our country is about to suffer horribly for decades of bad decision-making and a tendency to race away from God, his people can still be at peace by remembering there’s more going on than what we see, and God’s plan for us is good. Review all God has already done in your life, and all the promises he has made. Not once did he promise that our lives will be easy, or that our loved ones will not suffer, or that the world will not crumble around us. But God has told you he knows what he’s doing, and you can trust him. He’s with you throughout all these troubles, and he’s going to bring you through it. But there’s more.

Once you find this peace, figure out what your job is in spreading it to others. Use whatever weapons God has given you to beat back the darkness. Be one of what former president George H.W. Bush referred to as the “thousand points of light.”

I thought of this when I heard a story on the radio this morning about a judge who sentenced a repeat-offender alcoholic and veteran to jail—and then spent the night with him. The judge, a fellow veteran, recognized the signs of PTSD, and while he had a legal obligation to sentence the man, he didn’t want him to be alone in that cell. Read about it here: http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/n-judge-jail-vet-article-1.2612232

So, as the antidote to April Fools, let me tell you about a few other points of light I’ve heard about recently. People who understand how to beat back the darkness. As you read, ponder this: what are you doing with your light?

. . . A restaurant owner in Kochi India put a refrigerator outside her business so the homeless could help themselves. She kept the fridge stocked with unused food from her restaurant and it remained unlocked around the clock. Other restaurant owners started adding to the supplies. A steady stream of visitors partake of the food, but they each take only what they need. http://www.presstv.com/Detail/2016/04/03/458925/India-Minu-Pauline-refrigerator-homeless/

. . .Two boys from Illinois helped a homeless man get out of the cold and talked one of their fathers into helping purchase a train ticket so he could visit his son.  Two years later the man sent $10,000 to their high school to say thank you. http://abcnews.go.com/US/high-school-students-good-deed-spurs-10000-donation/story?id=38006234

. . .A café owner, when approached by a homeless man for food, offered him a job instead. The man, who couldn’t get work because of his criminal background, is quickly becoming one of her best workers. http://www.cbsnews.com/news/minnesota-cafe-owner-shows-homeless-man-job-not-the-door/

strong_stronger

Now, THAT’s a man of light

. . .A powerlifting former Marine befriended a 12-year-old girl with a rare disease and is now spending all his efforts to increase awareness of her disease so others do not have to suffer. http://distractify.com/news/2016/04/06/powerlifter-girl-bff

. . .A young Houston girl with terminal brain cancer was given a Make-a-Wish grant. Instead of using it for herself, she asked them to make a well in Sierra Leon so children there could have clean drinking water. Her act touched singer Matthew West and inspired a song on his new album.  http://www.breathecast.com/articles/matthew-west-young-girl-brain-cancers-story-inspired-song-new-21755/

I’d love to add more to this list, with stories of courageous people who refuse to be dimmed by the world. In fact, as my contribution to fighting back the darkness, I’ve decided to write a monthly “Stand in the Light” post. But I’ll need your help. If you know someone who is a light to others, I’d like to write about that person. Or, send Rosefitz.portraitwriter@gmail.com a link to your favorite light-filled story, I will share it with my, er…, 49 or so readers. Perhaps we can inspire people to start their own fires…

We’re all in this together, people. Let’s light up the world.

—-

I heard and my heart pounded, my lips quivered at the sound; decay crept into my bones, and my legs trembled. Yet I will wait patiently for the day of calamity to come on the nation invading us.
Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior.
– Habakkuk 3:16-18

 

You Are That Man! Hope for the One Who Feels Overwhelmed

21 Mar

I’m thinking about my friend K, who is carrying a lot on his shoulders these days, and who I’m sure feels as if he’s taken on too much, certainly more than he can handle. He hasn’t come to me for advice, nor would I expect him to, as there are many other friends on his first line of defense. Although I love him dearly, I’m more like the aunt who lives far away.

But if you ever DID ask what I thought K, I’d probably answer with a story (because I’m a storyteller after all) and I’d put you right smack in the middle of it.

I’d tell you to think of yourself as a Dad, sitting at the Saturday morning breakfast table with your 5-year-old son. You’ve just announced it’s leaf-raking day, and his eyes light up like sparklers.

“Oh, Daddy, let me help!”

You say yes, of course. You don’t need his help, and you can probably get the job done much more quickly without his help, but this will be good for him. Teach him about responsibility. Man’s work. Besides, you so deeply enjoy that bonding time.

To the garage you go, you and your little man. You pick out the lightest rake for him, and direct him to the small, level strip of ground beside the mailbox. He starts smacking that ground with gusto, and leaves fly.

“Hold on, son! You might want to try flipping that thing over.” You demonstrate how to use the rake’s teeth and he gives you that grin that never fails to melt your heart.

“Like this?” He pulls exactly four leaves toward his feet.

“Exactly like that.” You smile and watch him joyfully attack his adversaries, and then you turn to tackle the slope with all the bushes, dislodging a mountain of leaves from beneath the tangled mass of roots and shoots.

You pause to check on your little man, who is now holding his small rake horizontally, balancing a pile of leaves as he brings them across the yard.

“Watch this, Dad!” He shoots the leaves upward, laughing as they fall down upon his head.

You laugh with him and return to your work, prying the wet leaves away from the curb. A little later he calls you to come inspect a wooly caterpillar, clearly ready for winter in his thick brown and black coat. The two of you watch together, heads touching, marveling at nature’s ways as the caterpillar forms a tight ball.

You tussle his hair and stand. All that’s left is the area along the driveway. It’s the toughest part because navigating the delicate flower bulbs is somewhat tricky, but you’re enjoying the day so much you have no trouble slowing down to pull some leaves out by hand. Your son starts singing a silly song and you join in.

These are the good times, you think to yourself.

Finally, you’ve amassed a pile for bagging. Your little man takes one look at it and his shoulders sag as he realizes his area is still not complete.

“Whoa buddy, what’s wrong?” You nearly break when you see the tears welling in those beautiful innocent eyes.

He sniffs and wipes his eyes with his sleeve. “Daddy, I wanted to do a good job for you, but I didn’t do anything right.” He gives his small pile a disdainful kick.

“Oh I don’t know about that.” You kneel down to look him in the eye, recognizing the yearning heart and the self-condemnation. “My man, you were great company today, and you made me laugh, and you did make this pile of leaves, which helps more than you know.”

You take his hands and press your large callused palms against his soft pink ones.

“These little hands made that little pile, and the big hands made the big pile. The important thing is, we did it together. When your hands get bigger, they will do more work, but for now, you did just enough. Besides…” You glance at the pile…“We’re not done yet.”

He nods and sniffs again, walking over to yank a lawn bag from the box by the trash can. But when he returns, you kneel again, take the bag from his hands, and set it aside.

“What, are you nuts?” You lift him and carry him to the pile. “How often do you get an opportunity to jump into such an incredibly PERFECT landing pad?”

Giggling, he squirms out of your arms and grabs your hand. Together you fly into the pile in a bundle of side-splitting laughter and start throwing leaves at each other. Finally, as you lie side-by-side, panting, your little man reaches for your hand and again gives you his famous, heart-melting grin.

“I love you, Daddy.”

You sigh, letting those precious words settle over your heart.

It’s been a good day.

————–

handsNow K, I know you can relate to this story, because I know you’re a great dad and you’ve had days like this. So I want to remind you to see yourself in this scenario. Read it again and really see yourself, because, my friend, You Are That Man.

No, silly, not Dad. That’s God.

You are the Little Man.

God’s Little Man.

And don’t you forget it.

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His delight is not in the strength of the horse, nor his pleasure in the legs of a man, but the Lord takes pleasure in those who fear him, in those who hope in his steadfast love. – Psalm 147:10-11