Friday, August 21, 2009

Let's Do'd It!

Our 3 year-old is fiercely independent. Recently potty-trained and armed with a tremendous amount of self-confidence, there is nothing she cannot conquer. The phrase of the week has been "I'd do'd it myself." It's an interesting construct of toddler grammar, accomplishing both present and past tense, which is essential in the mind of our daughter who considers her present task already accomplished.

However, even Charley has her limitations. This morning she came into the living room with both arms though one sleeve hole and a T-shirt so tightly wrapped around her upper torso she was forced to walk with her arms straight-up in the air. The shirt was wrapped around her head, preventing her from seeing, so she bumped and banged her way into the room. Obviously frustrated and getting angry I asked her, "What happened?"

"I'd do'd it myself," was the response.

I mused it over and asked if she wanted help. Again, "I'd do'd it myself," was the curt reply. I watched as she spun around in circles, swaying like a palm tree in a hurricane, until, inevitably, she fell over. I restrained from laughing (no easy task) as I watched Charley lay on the ground and think over her predicament. Finally she asked, "Can you help me do'd this myself?"

I wonder how often God watches us from heaven as we "do'd" it ourselves? When we think we know better, and there are times we do, we end up so wrapped up in our situation we can't function. Then, when we finally are humbled enough to ask for help, we ask God to help us "do'd it ourselves." In other words, we want the credit for God's help.

How often I've seen people struggle with a situation in their lives, whether it be at work, in the family, at school or dealing with relationships, and they are at the end of their rope. Then God provides a way out, and instead of giving Him the credit, they say, "Look what I accomplished and overcame, all by myself." In other words, "I'd do'd it myself."

Let's try something different. Instead of being fiercely independent, let's depend on God to work through us. Let's give Him the credit for our talents and abilities. Let the praise go to Him. Let us rejoice in the fact that, despite our weaknesses, God still chooses to accomplish His will through us. Then we can say, "He do'd it Himself."

"Let your light shine in such a way that men may see your good works and glorify your Father in Heaven." -Jesus

Thursday, August 13, 2009

A Perfectly Crazy Love

As summer winds down, I can't help but wonder how it went by so fast! I see my kids excited for the beginning of the school year and I know, I'm more nervous than they are. This is their first year in public school. Their first year without Mom and Dad working in the same building. Their first year (gulp) alone.

My mind keeps racing with the "what ifs". "What if they get hurt?" "What if someone picks a fight with them?" "What if their teacher hates them?" I know, I'm irrational. But what parents aren't when it comes to the welfare of their child? I can't think of a single parent who isn't insanely concerned for his/her children.

You know, it was the same with God. He was just as irrational and insane when it came to His love for us. In fact, God was so concerned for our welfare, that He did the most irrational act I can fathom: He sacrificed His Son for our benefit. God didn't play the "what if" game. He knew His Son would be rejected. He knew His Son would be ridiculed. He knew His Son would be killed, but He sent Him anyway.

When I think of that, sending my kids off to school doesn't seem nearly as scary. I am also comforted by the fact that God can sympathize with my anxieties. He's been there. The same can be said for you. Whatever you are fearing in life right now, God has looked it in the eye and conquered it.

Do you fear rejection? Jesus was rejected, but is now glorified.
Do you fear the doctor's diagnosis? Jesus can heal any disease, spiritual or physical.
Do you fear being alone? Jesus is with you always.
Do you fear death? Jesus left behind an empty tomb as evidence of death's futility.

Just give your fears to God, and He will conquer them for you because, "perfect love casts out fear." I John 4:18.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009


We have a new addition to the Richmond household. Apparently two kittens have taken up residence beneath the shed in the back yard. As far as I can tell they are only a couple of months old and my guess is that the mother abandoned them there. Of course as soon as they were discovered my daughters were begging to keep them. We already have one cat and the last thing I wanted were two more. But one kitten was so timid and cowed by the other. She almost never ate because her sister would eat all the food and keep her away from the food dish. So we brought the abused one inside, bathed her and fed her. Our other cat seemed none too upset over the smaller feline, so reluctantly (alright, I'm a big softy) we decided to keep the gray and white kitten (named 'Storm' by Ellie's friend, Jackie).

What about the other kitten? We took her to a shelter to be adopted by some other soft-hearted family. As I thought about it, I realized what we did for Storm, God does every day. He takes the weak, lost and abandoned and claims them for His own. He takes those who hunger and can do nothing to satisfy their appetites, and He feeds them (see Matthew 5:4ff). He takes those covered by the filth of this world and cleanses them (Titus 3:5). He takes the abused and neglected and protects them.

He adopts us.
He cares for us.
He shelters us.

Why? Because, like me, God has a soft spot for those who have been orphaned by the world. He takes the shut out and opens His doors for them. He offers His hospitality to those who realize that this world is not their home. God's love is both inexplicable and limitless. His ways are mysterious and sometimes He uses the weakest things of the world, like an abandoned kitten, to teach us a lesson in how to view those who we deem unlovable, unacceptable and unworthy of our attention.

It's my prayer that my heart is softend to the point where I feel the same compassion for the addict, homeless and vile as God did for me. May your heart be softened also.