A Toddler Inspired Devotional

A Toddler Inspired Devotional

This beautiful fall season reminded me of a series of devotionals I never finished. I called it Devotions Inspired by a Two-year-old. If you all like it, I’ll share more. The boys in the picture are really mine, and no, it wasn’t staged. Thank you, Daniel Ryan Photography for the photo.

***

This morning my two-year-old ran alongside the double stroller while my infant slept cocooned in blankets to ward off the fall chill.

The oldest stopped and squealed. He stared down at an ugly brown leaf.

Millions of gorgeous leaves littered the ground, but he fixated on the torn, crackly leaf with a spot of mold growing on it…or maybe that white spot was bird poop.

He bent over to pick it up, but his puffy mittens prevented him from gripping it.

A bright red one touched his foot. I pointed. “Hey, look at that leaf. Isn’t it pretty?”

The tip of his tongue stuck out. He slapped his oversized hands together attempting to clutch the ugly leaf.

A unique three-toned leaf with red, yellow, and orange shifted in the grass a few steps away. “Oh my, look at this.” I picked it up and showed it to him. “It’s gorgeous.”

He ignored me again, focused on what may have been the most hideous leaf I’d ever seen. “I can’t get it,” he cried. Then whined. He grew louder and more frustrated.

His fits were annoying, and I didn’t want to reinforce it. So I ignored him and pushed the stroller toward home. He would follow and soon forget.

A blast of wind lifted my hair and cooled my face. How many times had I whined and cried to God to have something undesirable and insignificant in the whole scheme of things? Yet it always felt extremely important to me at the time. When God did pause and meet me where I was with either a lesson or by giving me my heart’s desire it meant a lot. Maybe teaching my child about our relationship was better than a lesson on not whining.

 

2 copy

I stopped and turned back. “Would you like some help?”

He danced in a circle and squealed. “Yes! Yes.”

I picked up the ugly, worthless leaf and handed it to him.

He clapped his mittens together and laughed. Then he dashed toward home in search of his next project.

I didn’t even know where to put the leaf since he never took it.

Grrrr. I pushed the stroller after him. How many times have I wanted something so badly then when I got it didn’t even thank God? Maybe I didn’t even realize he provided it for me. I just moved on to a new obsession, satisfied I’d achieved what I intended.

Not even picking the best leaf. How frustrating it must be for God to provide his children with so many good options, yet we often choose what’s right in front of us to covet and desire then scream and yell when we don’t get. How many times have you done that?

Maybe you keep choosing the same type of guy instead of getting off the easy path and looking for someone special, someone out of your comfort zone. Or maybe it’s your job you’re settling on, or plan for your life? Are you reaching for the ugly brown leaf—an ordinary life—or are you aiming for the bright, exquisite leaf, a life that takes more work to find but is infinitely better? The life God intends for you.

3

If our goal is directed toward the ugly leaf then eventually we may get it. God might take pity on our whining and crying and help us or allow us to achieve it. Then all we’ll have is dead leaf. We may have learned a little something about God’s nature, but we’ll still be holding tight to our own useless, unfruitful agenda.

Be brave, aim high, God has spread a beautiful world of options before you. Choose wisely. And remember to be grateful for Jesus even when the leaves you wanted are ugly.

 

 

Family: Defined By Trial

Family: Defined By Trial

This is dedicated to all my brothers and sisters in Christ.

1991

A high school sophomore, I sit at my desk. The teacher asks the class, “How do you define family?” A twinkle in her eyes signals she’s looking forward to a good debate, but I can’t imagine a reason for conflict.

I’ve read our textbook, and I agree with its broad definition family.

Andrew sits next to me. He’s a handsome guy. Polite, but curt in the face of my friendliness. I can’t blame him, he is a senior stuck in Health.

Andrew answers the teachers question with the traditional definition of family.

My heart gives a little pang. In addition to my mom, it would be awesome to have a dad, brother and sister. No wonder he seems to be have it all together—designer clothes, new backpack, stylish clean-cut brown hair. Lucky guy. I bet he doesn’t ever use his babysitting money to purchase shampoo and toothpaste. He probably doesn’t even have to work. Not that I mind babysitting or my part-time job at Kmart. Actually, I rather enjoy them.

Continue reading “Family: Defined By Trial”

Have Faith. Don’t Stash Your Stuff

Have Faith. Don’t Stash Your Stuff

This year we adopted a young Border Collie. I know very little about Bailey’s life before she became ours. The girl we got her from said Bailey had been abused, kept chained away from food and water, but didn’t go into detail. Other than to say, Bailey hated men, which apparently didn’t apply to the male’s in our household. Continue reading “Have Faith. Don’t Stash Your Stuff”

Bloom in Season

Bloom in Season

As I walked my kids to school, my kindergartener got excited over the “helicopter” seeds that had fallen from a tree. He tossed one up and watched it spin to the ground and my other two boys joined him.IMG_1696 2.JPG

After a few moments, I forced them on and they found some dandelion thistles to blow. The seeds went flying onto the street and sidewalk.

The obvious parallel of the parable of the sower and how some seeds fall on the road and get trampled came to mind (Matthew 13). But when I tried to discuss it with them, somehow the lesson became about how all creation points toward our creator.

I followed them around the corner. “Yes. God made us just like he made the plants, flowers, and trees. But we have more opportunity to impact than a tree.”

Continue reading “Bloom in Season”

The Time Change and Ungrateful Children

The Time Change and Ungrateful Children

The time change put our family in frantic mode this morning. I had to yank my three-year-old, Isaac, out of bed so I could take my five and nine-year-old to school.

He wailed.

I wanted to scream, “You wouldn’t feel this way if you’d gone to sleep last night, instead of sneaking out of bed to play with Legos until midnight!”

But I just strapped him into the car seat while he cried and yelled, “No. No. I don’t want to go. I’m cold.” As if he ever got to choose not to go.

Continue reading “The Time Change and Ungrateful Children”