Platform Dark

Happy New Year! I pray great blessings, insight, encouragement, and strengthening for you in the coming year! I firmly believe that 2018 will be a banner year for the body of Christ... if we only listen and obey. In that vein- I wanted to let all my supporters and readers know that I’m going to be taking a break from all my social media for the entire month of January. The Pastors and Elders for our church are leading a church-wide month of fasting and prayer to start off this new year and I wanted to throw all my energy into seeking the Lord during this time. It’s no small thing to go ‘platform dark’ but I trust God will be faithful during this time- both to you and myself as well.

I’ll still be posting in the LIFT! Book Club as our January book is Fervent (all about prayer! There’s still time to join if you’d like.) And I’ll be posting my weekly Holy Beautiful Tuesday articles. But past that, please feel free to enjoy past blogs at www.bethanyldouglas.com for daily encouragement and finding God-stuff.

I would love to have you join me and others in this month of prayer. I will be reading several books about prayer during this time; Fervent as I mentioned in the LIFT! Book Club starts today! Additionally I highly recommend Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire by Jim Cymbalta and 30 Days to a More Dynamic Prayer Life by John Franklin. Join me if you are so led! I'll be reviewing them all when we're through.

I look forward to seeing you back in February and we can talk about all God is doing!

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

May all your old 2017 go away, seek God in the new year for a new you!

New Newsletter News!

Hey friends! We're back from camp, I'm exhausted but ready to hit this fall with renewed energy (once I sleep for like 4 straight days... oh wait, I'm a mom...) I cannot wait to write about all God taught me this summer. I hope your summer was full of lessons, blessings, and many wonderful memories.

As part of my return, I've committed to bringing more content and being intentional about building my tribe. I feel with all my heart that God has called me to write and speak more full-time, but that takes commitment and going outside my comfort zone and asking for your help. Being totally honest here, platform numbers (for better or worse) are fast becoming the most important thing publishers look at when deciding on representing an author. I'm not a huge fan of this concept, but as I like to say, "It is what it is..." I'd like to humbly ask for your support on my various social media and that you could spread the word to your friends as well. I don't want to ask this for nothing in return however, so in addition to my blog, I'm starting a bi-weekly newsletter!

I promise I won't spam your inbox, just 2 newsletters a month to encourage, humor, and challenge you. You'll get updates on Helicopter Mom book signings and speaking events, as well as news about the new project I'm working on. Prayer lists for all my readers, devos, memory verses, and more await you! This will have exclusive content, giveaways, and information to my subscribers only! Get sneak-peaks of Junk in the Trunk (my newest book project!) too!

Sign up today for my email, pass the word along to your friends! I appreciate it SO much!

xoxo Bethany

 

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Helicopter Mom Book Launch GIVEAWAY- ENTER TODAY

I am so pleased and blessed to bring Helicopter Mom to you this week! What an honor it has been for me to write this word and get it out to everyone. I encourage you to pick up a copy and pass it around.

You can buy signed copies here,  or unsigned on Amazon, or for Kindle!

In honor of the launch, I'm hosting my first big GIVEAWAY to spread the word.

There are some amazing prizes and great loot available to three lucky winners!

The grand prize will include 2 signed copies of Helicopter Mom, a $10 Starbucks gift card, an Fierce REAL Helicopter Mom mug, a beautiful handmade bracelet to remind you to stop hovering and take flight, a darling bird lantern to help light some of those dark spots, and several pictures you can hang about to give you some extra encouragement during those rough patches. Overall the grand prize is well over $100 value!

There are 2 runner-up prizes that both include a signed copy of Helicopter Mom and a Fierce REAL Helicopter Mom mug.

Rules are as follows:

ABSOLUTELY NO PURCHASE IS NECESSARY!

Points are accrued through the week for each entry made.

There are many ways to gain points through the week! Take a look!

  • Sign up for my email list through my website (mandatory- 5 pts.)
  • Like and comment this post on my FB page (mandatory- 1pt each) (Feel free to like the page too, but that won't count towards your entries.)
  • Get points for following me on Twitter and retweeting this giveaway (2pt to follow/1 each per tweet)

 

 

 

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Are You Missing the Miracle?

I'm in the middle of a series writing over Matthew 14 where Jesus feeds the crowd of 5000 with only 5 loaves of bread and 2 fish. I have a second and third discussion planned, but the last 2 days I've been reminded, sometimes hourly, of a really phenomenal idea that happened as that miraculous afternoon unfolded. Primarily that... indeed, the miracle unfolded. It wasn't instantaneous, it was not immediate. It took time and I imagine no small amount of trepidation on the part of the disciples. I touched briefly on this idea in my Monday blog, but I keep coming back to this idea of when miracles take time.

Through the majority of the New Testament, when Jesus performed His miracles, they almost all were instantaneous- a blind man saw, a deaf man heard, a bleeding woman was made well, the soldier's ear was replaced, Lazurus rose from the dead. In all these cases, the words were spoken and the deed was done. Wham, bam, done! Totally, 100% completed.

But this particular afternoon, despite the fact that Christ could have most certainly caused every single man, woman, and child to suddenly have a plate of food with their cups overflowing with drink... He didn't. Though we may never know exactly why He chose to do this particular miracle this particular way (at least not on this side of Heaven)- still I would love to venture an educated guess.

Imagine the crowds, easily 15,000 with women and children, it's afternoon, it's late and people are getting restless, they're hungry. Imagine the sun beating down, the general unease that is most likely setting in across the fields of people. Now imagine how the disciples must have felt when Jesus took the food, prayed over it, and then told them to go feed everyone. I'm guessing that there were not a few that did a double take and had some serious thoughts of fading inconspicuously into the crowd .

After all, Jesus had just promised to feed everyone... in front of everyone. The stakes were high and the word had been spoken... Can you envision how rapidly that information spread through the thousands? "They're going to feed us." "Jesus took a small basket of food and promised everyone food." Incredulity may have been the word of the day... both for the disciples and the people.

Perhaps those a bit more gifted in the faith department assumed that food would appear out of the sky... perhaps they were looking to the clouds for the God of the Old Testament to rain down quail and manna for the people.

But He didn't. And I wonder if anyone continued to look up for their deliverance instead of noticing the miracle unfolding right at eye level. It's a fascinating idea.

This miracle was doled out, miraculously and supernaturally- person. by. person.

Step. by. step.

Piece. by. piece.

You gotta think as the disciple were handing out the food from that small basket that each and every person they came to they wondered, "Do we still have enough? How many more people are there? How much food is left?" Those men witnessed the hand of God providing enough for every single person on the hillside that day. The miracle was actually made up of thousands upon thousands of tiny (but no less amazing) miracles.

What an amazing thing! Because so much of this journey is about the journey right? Not the destination. It's about seeing the hand of God in every single miracle (small or large) and knowing that He provides enough through it all. So often, myself included, we desperately want the 'miraculous'- the huge, game-changing event, the writing on the wall, the sign in the heavens addressed directly to us. We want to be healed, fixed, arrived... and we want God to move hugely and immediately.

But He doesn't.

How often do we spend all our time looking up into the sky waiting on the manna from heaven when the piece of bread and slice of fish is being hand-delivered to us?

The miracle we want is unfolding before our eyes, unfurling in our hands.

And the miracle goes unnoticed... because we're looking for the massive and missing the minute.

This day the disciples must have learned such a lesson in relying on God for every. single. miracle. their hands were performing. They had tens of thousands of people, eagerly awaiting their food, all eyes were on them- talk about stress. What happened if they ran out too soon? I imagine mass chaos and potentially even rioting could have occurred. After all, I can;t imagine a crowd of that many people being pleased if only 63% got fed.

They were out there, asked to do the impossible, totally exposed to the expectations of the crowd (anyone feel like you're in a similar position??) You better believe they were sweating bullets and praying mightily for provision- person by person. I think it's not too crazy to think that some of them were still praying for manna from heaven as they were handing out the food! All afternoon! How long must it have taken to hand out that much food to that many people! It's not like they were all neatly arranged in rows in a stadium...

The miracle must have lasted hours!!

It definitely would have been easier and certainly more convenient for the disciples for the 'massive miracle' . In fact, they probably wouldn't have had to even get up! But Christ needed them to learn this lesson of fully-relying on Him. That everything they were getting ready to do- the preaching, the teaching, the miracles, the church-planting, the persecution- everything was dependent on the power of God.

Is He preparing you for the same thing using the same lesson? 

Today dear one, I challenge you to search you heart and ask yourself what situations in your life you are looking for the massive miracle and missing the minute miracle. It's a miracle both ways- one just takes a bit longer to complete.

Do not miss what may be already in your hands!

What are Your Loaves and Fishes?

Part 1 of Are You Feeding the 5000? This is the first of a 3 part series written over Matthew 14: 13-21. Stay tuned for the second and third blogs the following 2 Mondays!

 

What are your loaves and fishes?

It's an interesting question- one that I was struck by this morning at church. The sermon was not specifically about this, nor did it ask this question, but I felt like this was the first of 3 that God impressed on my heart. So you, my dear readers, get to help me answer this on my own and perhaps work out your personal answers as well.

Strap up, and let's dig in...

In Matthew 14 we read the well-known story of Jesus feeding 5000 men (not including women and children, so in actuality the crowd was closer to 15,000-20,000!) with just 5 loaves of bread and 2 fish. Most people are familiar with the story, the miraculous multiplication of the food in order to feed everyone (if you don't know it or want a refresher, read it here.)

I think often, with miracles like this in the Bible, as voyeurs reading these passages some 2000ish years later we tend to generally mute the awesomeness of such a happening. Since this miracle doesn't include supernatural healing or raising people from the dead, we too quickly put it in a different category. Maybe it's not as dramatic, immediate, or sudden as many of the others- so it's not looked at as such. I mean, seriously, it's simply about a large amount of smelly fish, some old bread, and a ton of tired and hungry people. Not exactly the most glamorous setting. Yet this was no less fantastic than any of the others... and in some ways, I feel like it has much more impact as an example to us today as the other's we subconsciously see as "more miraculous." It's the only miracle of Jesus that is mentioned in all 4 gospels, so it must have had quite the impact on the writer's (aside from the resurrection).

The immediate question that begs to be answered is why didn't Jesus just simply and suddenly cause food to appear out of nothing? I envision Him saying "Let there be FOOD!" in a booming voice and immediately plates of piping hot food appear in everyone laps. But that's not how it happened.

This particular miracle was not immediate, or sudden, or instantaneous... it evolved over time.

And Jesus, for unknown reasons, required a couple of things in order for it to unfold. He required some food to start with and laborers to distribute it. As mentioned, He absolutely could have spoke food into being without a "starter" (much like He did with the Israelites in the desert), but in this case, He wanted to show something more profound. He wanted to show what He could (can!) do with very little... with not enough... with meager... with insufficient.

He took from a young man, a freely given offering; one which was ridiculously small and insufficient in comparison to the need and the purpose of what they were trying to do. And yet after praying for it, as we all know those 5 loaves of bread and 2 fish fed upwards of 20,000 people.... to full.... with baskets of extra left over.

Jesus took the meager and made it massive, magnificent, major... choose your favorite "M" word.

He made it miraculous.

He does the same today. Potential for making the meager into the miraculous lies in every one of us. God desires to feed the 5000 that are looking us in the eyes and needing to be fed (stay tuned for more on that in the second part!) But too often we see the crowd, we know the need, we feel His calling to feed them... and we look down into our basket of food and get caught up in the loaves and fishes we have to offer. Or the lack thereof...

One-hundred percent of the time what we can bring to the table of miracles is very little.. is not enough... is meager... is insufficient. We don't have the time, enough money, the energy, the 'heart', the experience, the education, the contacts, the popularity, the intelligence... the list goes on and on. And we get hopelessly entrenched in the pitiful appearance of our little basket of bread and fish.

His basket of opportunity turns into our basket of excuses.

I would ask the main question again to you dear one- look down into your basket, what are your loaves and fishes? What are your excuses? Why are you not giving those to God to let Him multiply, magnify, and make into miracles?

What would have happened if that kid assumed his meager offering of food wasn't enough? A lot of people potentially would have gone hungry and he for sure would have missed out on being a part of the most chronicled miracle of the Bible. What a missed opportunity!! It was such a small sacrifice to give... which is the irony of it- God asks so very little of us to make into miracles.

The very reason we don't want to give is the very reason it should be so easy to give. The smallness of the offering.

Would you prefer He required a larger one? You can't have it both ways.

I pray that my basket of excuses doesn't cause me to miss out on the miracles God is wanting to do with my involvement! I want to look at what little I have and offer it all... regardless of how meager it may seem. I want to see the God-possibility in it instead of the insufficiency. We will never be enough, good enough, or have enough to give to Him- after all God doesn't need us- but He does ask us to give what we have. I love that He allows us to play a part in the cosmos, though He most certainly doesn't require our participation. It is most generous of Him!

Take an inventory of what your situation is today. Look out at the crowd and start identifying them (again stay tuned for that next Monday!) and for now, look within your basket and what's inside. Instead of the meager, look at it as miraculous. What is He asking you to donate to the crowds today... and will you do it?

How Arriving Late Still Counts

Last week I wrote about Anna's creative new crawling style (check out How Doing It Badly Still Counts!), well my friends she's officially "doing it well"! January 19, 2017 at approximately 6:30pm she pulled her little heiny up and got those 4 limbs working together and that babygirl got to moving! Apparently she hadn't had the proper motivation up until now... which ended up being her brother's red car. Who knew? #growingupwithbrothers (If you want to see the moment it happened...)

But I digress (I promise not every blog will be about my kids!) Today I wanted to talk a little about an idea that up until just recently I had some trouble getting my head around. I'm talking specifically about the parable of the vineyard workers from Matthew 20. This is the story of a vineyard owner who hires laborers throughout the day, some late into the afternoon, and then pays them all the same wage in the evening. For obvious reasons, those who had worked all day long- morning to evening- were a bit miffed that they received the same pay as those who had come late in the day and only worked a little while.

In this story, a single denarius was the promised pay; it equated to an entire day's wages for the workers. Every worker got one- the whole day's pay, the pay for a total day's work. I can imagine the ire this must have caused for some of them! It was not without just cause...

Jesus told this story to show that heaven is open to all who accept the invitation- at whatever time and in whatever circumstances. Not unlike the thief on the cross who Christ promised to be with in paradise that very day, so also does God welcome even the late-comers. Man oh man that does seem a bit unfair- like I said... I get it. My justice meter seems to run a tad high when this kind of story comes around. I can sympathize. Though I mentally understand the grace factor in the story, my heart cries just a bit at the seeming injustice of it.

And while God is just... He is also a Father... and in this case, I think He was playing by parenting rules (which as we all know are much more heart-driven, full of mercy/grace/forgiveness and all around inexplicable patience <thank God for that, can I get an AMEN?!>)

I finally understood this properly on the 19th of January, 2017 at approx 6:30pm...

Anna is crawling late in the game. Most (if not all) of her peers have been crawling for awhile, many of them are already walking. Both her brothers had been walking for months by this age. She's behind... really behind.

But I tell you what, from a mothering point of view... I don't care that she's tardy, I don't care that she's delayed, I don't care that she's late. The ONLY thing I see is that she is finally doing it! And it THRILLS my heart!

She's arrived!

She's come!

She's DOING IT!

I imagine God is the exact same way with us. Every single one of His precious children He wishes- no, desperately desires- to show up, to accept Him, to join the party. He doesn't care how late we are, He doesn't care what baggage we bring or what we look like, He doesn't care that we might have taken longer than we should have in arriving. In the same way Gabe and I have been hopefully and expectantly waiting and watching for Anna to take her first timid and awkward shuffles- so also is Abba Father waiting and watching with great expectation for your arrival.

Today, dear one, are you late? Don't let your pride, your present condition, your fear or guilt keep you from accepting His invitation of salvation. He doesn't care the circumstances of your arrival, He just wants you with Him. He wants you arrived.

Be awkward, crawl timidly, step slowly- but GET THERE.

Thankfully, there's no such thing as tardy for the Kingdom of Heaven.

But... there is TOO LATE....

Don't be too late!

Today if you need to accept God's invitation to join His workers, I promise (better yet- He promises) full wages at the end of the day. An eternity in heaven beside Him, a forever, unbreakable union with Him. For more information, please ask a Christian friend, seek out a local church, or I would love to talk with you as well! Don't hesitate dear one- you're only guaranteed this moment... don't be too late!

Praying for Hulk- Why I Love When My Kids Pray for Their Superheroes

This, my friends, is my 3-year old's bedside table. It gives me hives just to look at it, and what little OCD I do have tends to go into overdrive when I walk in his room. We don't actually allow toys with them during naptimes and overnight (as clearly shown by the picture!), however Jonah has found a way to work my mama-heartstrings... he prays for his toys.

Each night, he brings the ones (dozens?) he wants to pray for into his bed and one by one he prays for them and then places them next to him on the table. Jonah is a little prayer-warrior, it's not unusual for him to pray for 5+ minutes sometimes. He's especially good at asking for protection and safety over people, objects, food, and all manner of random items. He's a bit like Goodnight Moon but with prayers.

I. Love. It.

Jonah has taken to praying extensively over his superhero collection recently. Gabe and I discussed for a bit about the 'parenting' aspect of whether we should allow him to do this- after all, they aren't real and don't exist. It bothered me for a little while, but God gave me an epiphany (thank Jesus for Parenting Epiphany's- hereafter known as PEs forevermore... copyrights to follow!)

In short, we decided we want our children praying over their superheroes.

I want them lifting them up in prayer. Sure, at 3 and 5 years old, that's most likely gonna include Superman, the Ninja Turtles, Peter Pan, Woody, Buzz, Hulk, Thor, Optimus Prime, Bumblebee... and any number of others that this mom can't keep up with. But his prayers also often include praying for the safety of David, Daniel, Samson, and Moses; he even prays for Jesus at times! I get that my son's praying for imaginary characters mixed in with long dead Biblical figures and the occasional inanimate object (he prays nightly for "mama's helicopper") may seem odd- but what a lesson he's learning!

By praying for these things, he's acknowledging that God is bigger, stronger, mightier, and better than they are. In short, his heroes, no matter how awesome he thinks they are, still need God. Because seriously... if Thor needs God's protection... then don't we all?!? The prayers for his heroes now, though make-believe, have the potential to turn into intercession for his heroes in the future- the real ones. The future friends, authors, actors, sports figures, leaders, teachers, or family that become elevated in his eyes as superheroes will need all his prayers. And that is lightning in a bottle I want to nourish! That is behavior I absolutely want to support.

So I will encourage my kids to pray for whoever, whatever, and however they want to place before the Throne. It astounds me the spiritual insight kids have, their soft little hearts feel and see so much more quickly and readily than mine does. Often they will pull out a person we know at random and lift them up- how much we as parent's should pay attention to that!

We should encourage them to pray for everyone on their hearts- the big, powerful, and mighty as well as the meek, humble, poor, and mild; because we ALL need God.

Because you never know when, somewhere on a far distant planet, Thor and Hulk may just need some helping out from the Most High....

 

How Doing It Badly Still Counts

Our daughter Anna, who has Down syndrome, just turned one. Children with these designer genes tend to be delayed on their development- sometimes up to two or three years in motor skills. Because of this, Anna has received physical therapy since she was about 3 weeks old. This entails setting goals for her and then working with her on small steps that help her work towards attaining those goals. For the last 6 months we've been working with her on crawling. She's not technically there yet, but just last week she started doing this bizarre one-shoulder army crawl. It's not pretty but it works for her. I am one proud momma! 'Official' crawling, with the motor movements working together in the traditional way, may come for her... or that particular coordination may not. But she's trying, she's working hard, and by God! that little girl is getting around just fine.

Go Little Miss, GO!

It's been truly a wonderful journey to help teach her little muscles the way to move. It's taken time, energy, and lots of practice; and despite the fact that she's still not 'technically' doing what we want for her... the end goal is the same- she's getting around on her own. It may not look the way it's supposed to (in fact she kind of looks like a wounded little bird hobbling about) but it's progress.

And it warms my heart to no end to see her progress- no matter how bizarre it looks at times.

 

 

Because I don't see the motions so much as I see her MOVING.

The first time I noticed her getting around, I didn't see the way she was doing it incorrectly, I only saw that she was doing it.

Isn't that the real goal after all?

So what's the lesson here? It's been interesting how her crawling progress has paralleled my own spiritual journey of late. There's a goal, instructions, that God's given me to accomplish (as I imagine He has given to you as well.) I have an idea of what it needs to look like and yet, despite practice and patience, my progress is anything but pretty or coordinated. In fact, my spiritual growth is downright ugly at times! It's not regular, it's not consistent, it's not graceful, lovely, or efficient- it's just plain bad. But it is progress! I get frustrated with myself at times, and Satan definitely tries to whisper that my advancements are stupid, worthless, and horribly done.

But, like my own personal pride in my daughter's unlovely progress, so also must my heavenly Father be equally pleased with my ugly path.

I pray He sees that I am moving, I am being obedient... no matter how awkward my motions are in getting there.

Today I encourage you to MOVE. It doesn't matter how unsightly or bizarre-looking the actions are! God wants you moving in whatever direction He's set for you. He doesn't care what it looks like, He only cares that you are, indeed, on the journey to get there.

So dear one.... move badly!

Stinky Blanket Interventions and the Ultimate Laundromat

  Those of you with small children know that getting a chance to wash their blankies/bears/taggies/etc is the mom equivalent to a bank heist in the vein of Ocean's Eleven. It takes time, planning, patience, and not a small amount of cunning, and sometimes outright lying ("I don't know where your blankie is honey....!"), and/or manipulation. At times sheer willpower, bribing, threatening, and the occasional middle-of-the-night-grand-theft is required.

It's not pretty and it's not easy.

For some strange reason my boys are thumb-suckers (which I'm sure is not genetic at all, I mean it's not like their mom sucked her's until 4th grade!). And not only that, they both have the blankie that is a requisite item to fully embrace the entire thumb-sucking-self-soothing experience.

Our 3-year old boy, Jonah, has been likened more than once to Linus in Charlie Brown. The kid carries his rag-tag blanket everywhere. What once was a super cute pattern of lime green polka dots on a bright white background, has now become olive colored splotches against a variegated backdrop of varying tones of browns, tans, some reds, yellows, and oranges. A good portion of the trim has come off and even 'clean', it still looks dingy. (Remind me to NEVER buy anything white for my boys again...)

Jonah blankie

But man! that child loves his blankie, and getting it from him to do the regular laundry is nothing short of a parenting miracle. He will go hours without it but as soon as he notices me putting it in the clothes basket, he immediately determines that it is the most precious possession he owns and will not part with it for the world. No amount of begging, pleading, logical interceding, or threatening will change his mind.

Let's face it, my kid already has an addiction... to his blanket.

What Jonah doesn't realize, and doesn't care about, is how nasty and gross his blanket tends to get. It is drug through all manner of ickiness outside- through leaves, dirt, mud, and (I'm almost sure) dog poop; not to mention the inside hazards- his baby sister's spit up, meal times, superhero fights, and toy room emergencies. We've been potty-training him... so I'll let you imagine those scenes. Grocery store floors, Chuck-E-Cheese equipment, parks, camp sites- you name it, that poor piece of fabric has seen it all. Add in that boys are just dirty and smelly in general and you've got a full-blown Hazmat scene on your hands at times.

Laundering this precious possession is an absolute must.

But washing (i.e. blanketnapping) is not exactly as easy as it sounds. Jonah just doesn't understand the neccesary 'evil' of cleaning his blankie.

Good thing I do. Even if it takes a heist worthy of The Night Fox!

I know that keeping the fabric clean can help him stay healthy and happy. I know that the soap will wash away all the filth and keep it smelling clean and fresh. I know better than him that the short time it takes to wash it thoroughly will, in the end, potentially keep him from getting sick, or at the very least keep him from rubbing unspeakable nastiness all over himself. I know better.

He may not see, smell, or appreciate the filth that he wallows in on a regular basis. He seems to be totally immune to it. I know better, so I will do what I have to keep him safe. Yes, I force my kid to let me wash his blanket. I refuse to let him surround himself with such ickiness all the time.

I imagine for us all, there is some security blanket we hold close. Perhaps too close? Every worldly blanket that we hold near and dear has the high potential to get filthy with human ickiness. In fact, I would argue that any blanket that we're holding which is human-wrought will always be filthy- no matter what we do to clean it up and make it look new and smell fresh. Too many of us wallow in the assumed safety of such things, without realizing (like Jonah) how disgusting and unhealthy it really can be for us.

What is your security blanket?

What does it look like? How dependent on it are you?

How filthy is it?

When was the last time you let your Father wash it?

How hard are you fighting Him to launder it?

Today I encourage you dear ones to examine what if any, blankies you have that are needing a good wash. Give them to Abba to throw in the heavenly laundromat! Let Him get the Holy Spirit Tide and Jesus bleach and do some good old scrubbing with His Living Water! Unlike my son's blanket, I assure you, this particular load of laundry will not need another washing...

Better  yet, scrap the earthly blankie altogether and try a God-one out for size. Because in the end, our only safety can come from God. Period. He is our ultimate security blanket.

Like a Hand in a Glove- How to Avoid Being the Octopus

I had to put gloves on my boys today when I sent them outside.  Easier said than done… Because with 3 and 4 year olds, getting them into gloves is not exactly as easy as simply sliding their little fingers into the holes and sending them on their way. In fact, I would venture to say that getting gloves on them is more akin to trying to fit roller skates on an octopus, upside down, with your eyes closed, after the creature has had an injection of pure adrenaline.

Not exactly easy. Or fast. Or efficient. Or particularly enjoyable.

In fact it's downright challenging.

I know all parents can relate. It takes time, patience, not a small amount of dexterity, and amateur sumo-wrestling moves to get all. those. little. fingers. into. the. right. places. Let’s be honest- it’s exhausting and can be frustrating (depending on the level of excitement to go outside and how that translates into wriggles.)  I won’t even mention when, after 5 minutes, they’ve pulled them all off because “it’s making my fingers hurt!” (What is that?? Seriously child!)

How I wish both my boys could just slide their hands into the gloves with the ease that I can! It would be so much easier and faster! But alas, for a while longer, I’m resigned to baby finger wrestling.

I was struck today, while struggling with Jonah’s little digits, how alike this tussle was to reading and understanding God’s word and following His way. There are times and seasons where I feel like there is a lot of grace for discerning what I’m supposed to be learning- for what God is teaching me. It’s obvious. It’s easy, efficient, and effective.

Like slipping my hand into a glove- seamless and effortless.

Other seasons, (like right now!) the wisdom and lessons are not so obvious or easy. In fact, it’s a downright skirmish to figure out what I’m supposed to be learning. Not unlike Jacob wrestling with the angel, there are days where I’m exhausted from the spiritual mats that I’ve been slung down on. It hurts, it bruises even sometimes. It’s a game of patience, of precision (little fingers into little holes), and it often takes time. The exact opposite of the ease of putting my own gloves on.

But just as it makes my job easier if my boys stand still and patiently while I place each finger into the proper place, so also I imagine that it would do me a heckuva lot of good to just be still and let God place the pieces of my life and heart into the proper positions that He wants as well.

This season requires precision work right now!

He is carefully and gently putting pieces where they’re supposed to go. My “helping” Him by trying to anticipate where those locations are… is, in fact, NOT helping. In my eagerness to get ‘outside’ I fear I’m impending and delaying His ability to get my spiritual ‘fingers into my gloves.’

I need to chill out.

I need to be patient.

I need to BACK OFF sometimes.

I need to let my Father put these gloves on me.

One. Finger. At. A. Time.