Grasp

(Five Minute Friday)

And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deepis the love of Christ… Ephesians 3:17b-18

I have to wonder if God is trying to tell me something, because for the second FMF in a row He’s brought the exact same verse to mind.  But I digress….

I’m walking along with my baby girl in the gravel lot of a flea market in rural East Tennessee, holding her tiny hand securely in mine.  It’s a beautiful day and she’s having a wonderful time trying out her new skill:  walking.  I love my baby girl to the depths of my being and I love holding her hand – it reassures me that she is close by, helps me to keep her upright and enables me to pull her back up if she happens to fall.  I think it reassures her for the exact same reasons.  With terrible suddenness, her hand is ripped from my grasp and I see her carried off by a man running ahead of me.  In an instant my world is turned upside down and my mind is racing, at least the part of it that’s not numb with shock and horror.  I don’t think I can accurately describe the thoughts that were skittering around in my brain as I faced what must surely be every parent’s nightmare.  She was there – and then all of a sudden she wasn’t.  My hand was empty.

In this case, what appeared to be a child abduction turned out to be one person’s sadly mistaken idea of a joke, and the person running away with my daughter was someone we knew.  It was, in fact, my husband at the time.  (The fact that he would find this funny might shed some light on why he is no longer my husband)

How thankful I am, then, that there is NOTHING, NOTHING that can rip our hand from God’s grasp! 

And….I’m out of time.  🙂

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Wide (Five Minute Friday)

“And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love,may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ….  Ephesians 3:17b-18

I stand on the balcony of our lovely temporary home (read:  vacation rental) and gaze on the vastness of the ocean before me.   Whenever I plan a beach vacation I’m always imagining myself using that time to rest and reflect on the “bigness” of God and His majesty.  I picture myself sitting on the beach in peaceful contemplation of God’s power, as evidenced by His creation.  The reality is that I rarely get a peaceful moment on vacation and when I do, I sadly don’t usually use it in contemplation of God’s glory.  More than likely I am engrossed in that book I just HAVE to finish because I’m dying to know how it ends.

But when I finally take the time to look out at the ocean I’m reminded of two verses in the Bible:  The one above that talks about how vast God’s love for us is, and the one that tells us He throws our sins as far as the East is from the West.  That’s wide, people.  Just like when I stand on the shore and try to wrap my mind around the size of the ocean, the vastness and the wideness of God’s love is more than I can ever imagine.

Wide.  Stretched to the limits, especially horizontally, like the wideness of a smile or arms opened wide.  I imagine God’s heart opened wide to us, stretched to the limit, and since God has no limits, that must mean it stretches to infinity, and once again it’s more than my human brain can fathom.

Funeral

It hit me as I looked around:  there were no other children in the funeral home besides ours.  We had come to pay our respects to a much-loved gentleman friend who had recently died, and it seemed that we were the only ones who had brought our children along.  Our girls are 8 and 11 and this was certainly not the first funeral they had attended, but since the body was “laid out” and we would be walking by it to greet the gentleman’s wife, my husband and I thought we should do some prep-work to make sure neither child said something embarrassing or upsetting, as children (and especially ours) are prone to do.  Like I said, this wasn’t their first time, but just to be on the safe side we decided to give them a little refresher course.

While we stood in the line, I turned to the girls and looked into two sets of eyes.

“Do you guys remember when I told you about how when we die, the spirit leaves our body and goes to Heaven?  Remember how the pastor said that when we are absent in the body we are present with God?”

Two heads nodded solemnly.

“Remember how I told you that our body is just a shell?  It’s like a peanut shell – you take the peanut out and all you have left is the empty shell, right?”  (OK, so it’s a silly metaphor, but I knew it was something they would understand, and they did.)

More wide-eyed nodding.

“Mr. A’s body is up there and we’re going to walk by it in just a few minutes.  You don’t have to look but you can if you want to.  You’re probably going to have questions and that’s OK.  But whatever you do, do not say a word about it while we are in here.  When we get back in the car you can ask me and Daddy any question you want and we’ll answer it.  OK?”

I’m mentally patting myself on the back for my awesome parenting skills and the speech that deftly allows for curiosity yet respects the feelings of others.  The youngest one nods while the older one thinks a moment, head cocked to one side.  Finally she says this, in complete innocence:

“So I can’t touch him then, right?”

Oh. My. Goodness.

I guess they weren’t quite as prepared as I thought.

(By the way, I love that child’s innocence and sweet spirit.  She would never intentionally do anything to upset the bereaved family but doggone it, she was curious and I’m sure the family’s potential reaction didn’t even cross her mind.  I can’t even bring myself to imagine what the outcome might have been had she not asked the question in advance and instead just proceeded to check things out.  Yikes!)

Focus (Five Minute Friday)

Focus?  Focus?  Is there anyone out there LESS qualified than me to write about focus?  Me – the one whose eyes dart from one thing to the next without a hint of hesitation.   The person who carries around a load of guilt over the child who appears to have inherited my lack of focus, and the one who is always, always juggling so many balls that one is bound to drop, and soon.  And yet… there are those moments.

When the child who struggles to concentrate manages to focus long enough to write a love song to her niece (words and music!).

When the other child (who has NO problem with focus) demonstrates her concentration abilities in a tightly executed gymnastics routine.    

When the lens of the camera zooms in on that one perfect rose so tightly that you can fully see the richness of the red and count the petals,  and the background disappears into, well, the background.

When the mother who is usually shooting off in all directions like an out of control fireworks display stops moving long enough to look into the eyes of her children and see that she is loved not for what she does, but who she is.  And that she is ENOUGH.

When that same mother finally (finally!) stops to spend time with her Father, who assures her of the same thing:  she is ENOUGH.

When the furiously spinning carousel that is life slows down enough that all those details passing by in a blur, they suddenly become clear.  And all those details distill into this one truth:  I am ENOUGH.  He is MORE than ENOUGH.   All the little things disappear into the background as my lens zooms in on Him.